Costa Rica is wide open to all tourists and is one of the best places to travel for the 2021 holiday season. Find the best vacation packages for Christmas and New Year’s.
Beautiful beaches and mountains, lush green rainforest, diverse wildlife, and friendly locals make this country special. This is a place for nature lovers, with Pacific and Caribbean coasts and more than a quarter of the country protected in nature reserves and national parks. There are plenty of things to do in Costa Rica, and family vacations in Costa Rica are fun and safe.
Costa Rica was one of the first countries to open back up for tourism, which it did in November 2020, and nearly 1 million travelers have visited so far in 2021. National statistics state that 62.3% of Costa Rica’s population is fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, and 75.3% have received at least one shot.
What you need to know to travel to Costa Rica during COVID-19
If you’re planning on traveling to Costa Rica for the 2021 holiday season, here’s what you’ll need to know about requirements and restrictions during the global coronavirus pandemic.
All international tourists can enter Costa Rica by air, land, and sea as long as they meet any visa requirements (if applicable). The Government of Costa Rica does not require tourists to present a negative COVID-19 test nor quarantine upon arrival. However, tourists visiting Costa Rica must follow the health protocols resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
National parks and beaches are open. Businesses must close at 11 p.m., and there is a nightly curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The newest requirement as of December 1 is that restaurants, bars, shops, shopping centers, museums, and other commercial establishments may voluntarily request their customers to show proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter. Businesses that willingly follow this new protocol can operate at 100% of their capacity (with exceptions). Those businesses that do not ask for vaccination proof will only be able to accept 50% capacity. Businesses that operate at 100% capacity without requesting proof of vaccination with the QR code risk fines and closures.
Exceptions to this new rule include discotheques, dance halls, and nightclubs, which can only operate at 50% capacity with proof of vaccination, or 25% capacity with no vaccination proof required. Sports, cultural, and academic activities can operate at 40% capacity with proof of vaccination or 20% capacity with no vaccination proof required.
Proof of complete vaccination will be verified by a QR code stored and shown on a person’s smartphone. Costa Rican citizens and residents will receive the code from the Costa Rican Health Ministry. Foreign visitors are subject to the same vaccine requirement and must show the QR code that is generated by the digital Health Pass required to enter Costa Rica. Minors will not have to present proof of vaccination.
All persons traveling to Costa Rica must complete the Health Pass within 72 hours before arriving in the country. One form must be completed per person, including minors. The website gives a QR code that you should show on arrival to immigration officials.
Tourists who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with an approved vaccine and individuals aged 18 and younger (even if unvaccinated) can enter the country without a travel insurance policy. The last dose of the vaccine must have been received at least 14 days before arrival in Costa Rica. Vaccinated tourists must attach their vaccination certificate to the Health Pass when they complete it online.
Unvaccinated tourists aged 18 and older, or those with unauthorized vaccines, must purchase a travel insurance policy that is valid for at least five days and covers accommodation and medical expenses in the event of a COVID-19 infection.
Find out more about the list of approved vaccines and entry requirements to Costa Rica during the COVID-19 pandemic here.
Travelers who require COVID-19 diagnostic tests to return to their home country (USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, etc.) can easily access RT-PCR tests and antigen tests at numerous pharmacies and medical centers throughout the country. Get the complete list of official places authorized to do COVID-19 testing here.