State Dept Travel Advisory - Level 1

Costa Rica Reopens During Ongoing COVID-19 Outbreak

Visiting Costa Rica comes with various health concerns
keel billed toucan lives in costa rica forests

Known for the ‘Pura Vida' way of life, Costa Rica's tourism has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020. However, Costa Rica’s tourism is slowly starting up even though the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase.

As of September 26, 2020, data sources indicate Costa Rica’s reported (1,233) new SARS-CoV-2 cases and (16) COVID-19 related fatalities.

The Government of Costa Rica has implemented a series of restrictive measures to try and curb the number of new COVID-19 infections. These restrictive measures vary in intensity depending on each area’s alert designation.

For areas under Orange Alert, there are restrictions on the types of business which are allowed to operate and their operating hours.

In locations under a Yellow Alert, most businesses can continue to operate normally, though operating hours may be restricted. Beaches and open-air tourism activities in areas under Yellow Alert are also allowed to operate, though hours are restricted.

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) frequently announces updates to the areas under Orange or Yellow Alert, as well as business and vehicle restrictions.  For up-to-date information on current restrictions and Alerts, please review the U.S. Embassy’s Mascot Messages.

Since August 1, 2020, select international travelers have been permitted to enter Costa Rica, arriving at these international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport, Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport, and Tobías Bolaños Airport.

Residents of the following countries are permitted to visit, such as all EU and Schengen Nations, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

And as of September 1, 2020, U.S. citizen tourists who are residents of New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia may enter Costa Rica on flights departing from the USA.

As of September 15th, residents of Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, and Rhode Island can also enter Costa Rica on flights departing from the USA.  

And residents of California will be able to enter Costa Rica as of October 1st. 

Additionally, U.S. tourists from the above-mentioned states wishing to enter Costa Rica must complete a digital epidemiological health pass, obtain a negative PCR-RT coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of their departure from the USA, and purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19.  

U.S. tourists must also demonstrate, via a valid driver’s license or State ID card, that they live in one of the authorized states.  No forms of documentation establishing residency in these authorized states other than a valid driver’s license or state ID card will be accepted at this time.  

Accompanying minors are not required to have a driver’s license or State ID card.

U.S. citizens with permanent or temporary Costa Rican residency may enter Costa Rica via air regardless of where they are coming from and must present the following documentation: 1) passport, 2) Valid DIMEX, 3) evidence Caja payments are up to date for each person entering, and 4) a completed Health Pass (Pase de Salud).  

U.S. citizens with residency in Costa Rica who are not up to date with Caja payments will still be allowed to enter but will be required to come up to date with all payments within 22 days.

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) has an English-language website detailing these entry requirements.

The link for the Ministry of Health can be found on this webpage.

For up-to-date information on current entry requirements, please review the U.S. Embassy’s Mascot Messages.

Costa Rica is home to over 4 million residents and is located on an isthmus with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the countries of Nicaragua to its north, and Panama to its south.

From a health risk perspective, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued various Travel Alerts for Costa Rica in 2020.

Recently, on September 25, 2020, the CDC issued a Level 1 Travel Alert regarding Dengue outbreaks in many parts of Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The CDC suggests anyone intending to visit Costa Rica to speak with a healthcare provider at least 1-month prior to departure to discuss relevant travel vaccinations and medications for malaria, rabies, and yellow fever.

Vax-Before-Travel publishes international travel news.