From today, Costa Rica will open its borders and welcome international tourists from the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union*. For now, only tourists from authorised countries will be permitted to visit. Tourists will only be able to enter the country by air as land borders remain closed.
Like many countries, tourism is a vital part of Costa Rica’s GDP and the economy has been badly affected by the pandemic. The government is trying to find a balance between safeguarding its citizens and revitalising the economy. The list of authorised countries allowed to enter Costa Rica will be reviewed regularly and this controlled reopening is a positive step forward for a return to international travel.
Latin America is the current hotspot for the pandemic and Costa Rica is undergoing a second wave of Coronavirus. However, due to strong regional prevention measures and a quick response from the start, Costa Rica has been relatively successful in managing the situation. In a country of 5 million, there are currently 18,187 cases and 154 deaths due to Coronavirus*.
Areas under ‘orange alert’ must operate under stringent control measures and many businesses, including hotels and restaurants, are required to close partially or completely. However, national parks are open and beaches are accessible from 5am to 9.30am. Bars, casinos, nightclubs and mass gatherings are still prohibited everywhere and there are nationwide driving restrictions in place.
In areas under yellow alert, including Libélula Lounge, almost all businesses are able to operate as normal, national parks are open, beaches are accessible from 5am to 2.30pm every day and outdoor tours and activities are permitted. Orange and yellow zones are reviewed by the Government regularly and are subject to change.
In all areas of the country, it is mandatory to wear a mask in all public, indoor spaces. You are permitted to be outside without a mask as long as you observe social distancing and remain 6 feet away from other people. Workers who interact with the public must wear a mask at all times and handwashing or sanitising is required before entry to most places.
To visit Costa Rica, you need to travel from an authorised country, fulfill the entry requirements and observe national and local protocols. If you don’t meet the entry requirements, you cannot board the plane and you cannot layover in unauthorised countries (including the US). The list of authorised countries will be reviewed and updated fortnightly by the Costa Rican Government.
Entry requirements -
You must purchase health insurance from the Instituto Nacional de Seguros of Costa Rica that covers Covid-19 and at least $20,000 of medical care.
You must have completed the online epidemiological form from Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health. You can also purchase the mandatory insurance here.
You must have proof of a negative PCR-RT Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of your departure to Costa Rica for anyone over 12 years old.
National and local protocols -
You must wear a mask in all indoor, public spaces
You must observe social distancing (six feet between people)
You must wash or sanitise your hands before entering public spaces
Tourists must abide by local orange and yellow zone rules
Please note -
Tourists do not have to quarantine on arrival
Rental cars, tourist transport and taxis are exempt from the driving restrictions
Public transport is operating normally nationwide
This is a constantly changing situation and we recommend that you check the latest news from Costa Rica, the embassy of your home country, your insurance company and your airline before you travel. Here are some useful resources:
Ministerio de Salud - Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health website
Ministerio de Salud Facebook - Regularly updated Ministry of Health on Facebook
Costa Rica Contra El Covid - Government website detailing preventative actions
Embajada de Costa Rica - Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington DC
La Nacion - Costa Rica’s national newspaper
The Tico Times - English language news site for Costa Rica
Teletica - Costa Rica’s national television channel
Visit Costa Rica - Official tourism site for Costa Rica in multiple languages
My Tan Feet - Regularly updated Costa Rica travel blog written in English
Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaria - San Jose International Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber Quirós - Liberia International Airport
* Permitted EU countries - Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland.
** Figures correct on 1 August 2020