Travel to Costa Rica during Covid-19: what you need to know before you go

If you plan to Trip in Costa Rica, here’s what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Costa Rica reopened to tourism in November. The country has eased restrictions in recent weeks and plans to create a digital nomad visa to attract visitors who will make a lasting contribution to the local economy.

However, a new wave of the virus is taking off, with hospitals now “dangerously full” and the country on watch lists of other states.

What’s on offer

Costa Rica is known for its “pura vida” (pure life) and, apart from the pandemic, la vida is still pura here. It is a country for nature lovers, with both a Caribbean and Pacific coast, and a jungle covering around a quarter of the country. Whether you are here for the cloud forests, volcanoes, or the incredible nature and wildlife, your shoulders are sure to drop a few inches. Most visitors pass through the capital San José as just a passing point, but it’s a beautiful city, with stunning architecture, public art, and museums.

Who can go

Everyone. Costa Rica reopened – even for tourism – on November 1, 2020. However, there are of course restrictions. And the standard visa regulations still apply.

What are the restrictions?

It is not necessary to have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result as it was initially. All passengers must complete a Health Pass before the journey. The website gives a QR code which you must present on arrival.

Tourists traveling to Costa Rica must have valid travel insurance, which covers potential quarantine accommodation of up to $ 2,000 and medical costs of at least $ 50,000 related to Covid-19. This must be accompanied by a certificate in English or Spanish, mentioning the name of the policyholder, the dates of cover and the guarantees as stipulated above.

If you cannot purchase a policy that includes quarantine insurance, you can find suggested insurers on the Health Pass website.

Residents and Costa Rican nationals may be subject to self-isolation upon arrival.

The land borders, which had been closed to non-residents, reopened on April 5 to visitors who do not need a visa. The previous 14-day quarantine for people entering by land was also abolished on April 5.

American CDC classifies the risk in Costa Rica as “very high” and says that US citizens should “avoid all travel to Costa Rica”. Even fully vaccinated travelers are at risk of catching variants, he says.

Meanwhile, the UK has added Costa Rica to its “red list,” meaning travelers from there will be subject to around 40 hotels on June 3.

What is the situation of the Covid?

Costa Rica has recorded nearly 326,000 cases and 4,124 deaths during the pandemic, as of June 4. The number of cases is increasing rapidly during the second wave – they doubled in April.

According to the government, May saw record infection rates. Nearly 68,000 new cases were recorded in May, a record since the start of the pandemic. He also saw a record 810 people lose their lives.

On April 28, authorities warned that patients had to wait for hospital beds; two weeks later there was 432 Covid patients in intensive care nationwide, well above the optimal maximum number of 359. By May 20 the number had increased to 520. This is the most comprehensive services have been to date during the pandemic.

May 5, OPS – the Pan American Health Organization – has warned that hospitals in the region are “dangerously full”.

Along with Mexico, Costa Rica was one of the first countries in Latin America to receive vaccines in December. Over 1.6 million doses of vaccination have been administered to date, with a total of 12.81% of the population fully vaccinated. The government asked for help from Europe and the United States, using the COVAX diet.

What can visitors expect?

Things are returning to relative normality. National parks and beaches are open – the latter until 6 p.m. Restaurants and bars have reopened, but clubs haven’t, and concerts and large groups are prohibited. However, businesses must close at 11 p.m.

There is a nighttime curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Driving restrictions, which had ended, have been reinstated in an attempt to stabilize infection rates. This is done via the license plates. cars with plates ending in even numbers can run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Cars with plates ending in odd numbers can run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. There is a total ban on driving from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The beaches are open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. National parks allow a capacity of 50%. The bars are operating at 25% of their capacity and the hotels at 75%. Concerts, discos, fairs and other large gatherings are prohibited.

In a recovery attempt, the country plans to deploy year-round visa for digital nomads, with the possibility of renewal for an additional year. Currently, tourist stays are limited to 90 days. Applicants will be able to take their families with them and will not be subject to income tax. Digital nomads have flocked to Costa Rica These last months.

Authorities did not reinstate new restrictions for Easter week, traditionally a peak travel time, but instead urged citizens play it safe. Instead, they suggested people go to national parks, where they can be safer outside while help revive the tourism sector.

Although the number of cases is increasing, tourists continue to arrive. Dutch airline KLM announced he will resume direct flights June 29.

Useful links

Visit Costa Rica


Tico’s time

Our recent coverage

Last August, Costa Rica was one of the first countries to allow American entry, opening visitors to six US states. Or read about it reforestation project for large green macaws. Ready to book? Check what to do in San José.

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