Since December 2019, Coronavirus (COVID-19), a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been spreading worldwide, affecting the lives and wellbeing of millions of people around the world. The first case of COVID 19 in Costa Rica was confirmed on March 6, 2020, and the virus circulated in the country ever since.
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COVID 19 in Costa Rica
Since the beginning of the COVID -19 pandemic in Costa Rica, the local government has taken a very fast and proactive role in managing coronavirus in the country. They closed schools, prohibited mass gatherings, shut all non-essential businesses, and closed the borders within just 10 days of the first case being confirmed in the country.
A few months into the pandemic, Costa Rica has been praised for being one of the most successful nations in the fight against Coronavirus. The country had the lowest death rate in all of Latin America and has been one of the most successful at flattening the curve.
Now, as of April 2022, Costa Rica’s daily cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have stabilized to a point that nearly all COVID restrictions have been lifted.
For the most up-to-date information on the number of cases, you can visit the Ministry of Health Facebook.
COVID 19 in Costa Rica: Current Situation
Current Statistics (April 5, 2022)
Average daily cases: 663
Average daily deaths: 6
Total confirmed cases: 839,368
Total COVID-19-related deaths: 8,308 (1% fatality rate)
As of April 2022, 85% of Costa Ricans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately 78% of the population is fully vaccinated and 36% of Costa Ricans have received their booster shot.
Proof of vaccination is no longer required to enter establishments in Costa Rica.
Since August 2021, all of Costa Rica’s borders are open to tourists, residents, and citizens arriving by flights, boats, and land crossings.
Negative COVID tests, proof of vaccination, and health insurance are NOT required to enter Costa Rica. This came into effect on April 1, 2022, after the Health Pass App was eliminated.
Also, there are NO mandatory quarantine requirements for tourists entering Costa Rica.
Very few international insurance companies offer the right insurance policy for Costa Rica. Two Costa Rican companies: INS and Sagicor are two pre-approved companies. Their policies start from $10/person/day. The other approved option is Trawick International’s Safe Travels Voyager Policy – it is much cheaper, at just $40/person/month, but is only available to US citizens/residents.
Even with COVID restrictions lifting, it is still mandatory to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, including:
- Any employee interacting with the public (e.g. waiters, bank tellers, public transport drivers, etc)
- Drivers and the public using public transport (e.g. buses, taxis)
- Officiants and guests at religious services
- In theatres and cinemas
- Anyone visiting a health center, prison, drug or alcohol treatment center, or centers caring for at-risk populations
- For caretakers attending to the elderly or those with disabilities, especially at nursing homes or residential alternatives
- Call-center employees who share cubicles
- Customers at banks
- Inside any public establishment (restaurants, hotels, etc.) except while eating or drinking
- When purchasing your ticket to a National Park (can be removed after)
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As of April 2022, Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) has lowered 75 cantons to a Yellow Alert. Seven cantons in southern Costa Rica, primarily in the Puntarenas province, continue to be under Orange Alert. The CNE will continue to monitor active cases, hospitalizations, and vaccination rates in these regions.
For the latest updates to Costa Rica’s Emergency Alerts, visit the CNE’s interactive map.
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As of March 2022, all COVID-related driving restrictions have been eliminated. Drivers can now circulate freely during daytime and nighttime hours country-wide.
Vehicle restrictions on the San José ring road will resume to pre-COVID license plate-based limitations, which run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays begin with license plates ending in 1 and 2 not being able to drive and continue to Friday where plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot drive.
Note that the standard list of vehicle exceptions still apply. Rental cars, tourism vehicles, and those driving to/from the airport, a hotel, or work are exempt from the driving restrictions.
As of March 2022, all businesses across the country can resume normal, unrestricted operating hours.
Proof of vaccination and capacity restrictions no longer apply as of April 1, 2022. ALL businesses may resume pre-COVID operations but do still require masks to be worn indoors.
COVID 19 in Costa Rica: General Rules
The Health Ministry asked all residents to observe and adhere to a number of general rules as it pertains to COVID 19.
- No one with a cold or flu, or with respiratory symptoms, should leave the house.
- People with high-risk factors should avoid going to public places.
- While in public, maintain a distance of 1.8 meters (6 feet) between anyone not in your “social bubble.”
- Do not touch your face in public without first washing your hands.
- Do not sing, shout or speak loudly in public.
- Wear face masks, especially on public transportation or if remaining in a public place for more than 15 minutes.
- If possible, take the temperature of patrons before allowing them into an establishment
The Health Minister wants to make it clear that although restrictions are lifting, the COVID-19 pandemic in Costa Rica is still not over. It’s vital to continue taking proper measures to protect yourself and others.
What happens if you contract COVID-19 while in Costa Rica?
If you test positive for coronavirus or come into close contact with someone who has, you may be issued a self-isolation order. You will be required to remain at your place of residence (hotel, apartment, etc) until that order is lifted. If you are caught violating a stay-at-home order, you may be detained. You cannot leave the country until the order is lifted.
People that are fully vaccinated with 3 doses of recognized vaccines do not need to isolate if they come in contact with Covid-19.
Call 1322 or 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency. 1322 is Costa Rica’s coronavirus hotline. Both services are offered in English and Spanish.
Where to Get COVID test in Costa Rica?
US, Canada, the UK, and a number of other countries now require passengers to show a negative COVID test before boarding a flight to the country. The test must be taken within 72 hours to departure and without it, airlines have the right to deny boarding.
If you require a COVID test to depart Costa Rica, there are more than 100 private labs and hospitals in Costa Rica that offer PCR COVID testing. The price of the test ranges from USD $100-150. Getting the test in San Jose is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.
In addition to labs and facilities, both Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José and Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) in Liberia offer on-site COVID-19 testing for outgoing travelers.
CLICK HERE for a list of all the labs/hospitals/clinics that offer COVID testing in Costa Rica. The easiest way to secure an appointment is to call the clinic or send them a Whatsapp. Most clinics will be able to communicate in English.
COVID 19 & Costa Rican the Economy
As with everywhere in the world, COVID 19 has had a devastating impact on the Costa Rican economy, particularly as it affected tourism, one of the largest segments of the local economy. According to the Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR), Costa Rica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to decrease by 3.6% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 600,000 people who directly and indirectly make a living from the tourism sector have suffered great losses as a result of the pandemic.
Now, thanks to the lifting of capacity, driving, and vaccination restrictions, The National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR) is hopeful that the tourism industry can finally begin to rebuild.
But it’ll be a long and difficult road to recovery.
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6 thoughts on “Coronavirus (COVID 19) in Costa Rica: Current Situation & Travel Requirements (UPDATED)”
I hope you are well and having a great week!
Myself and my boyfriend are looking at travelling to Costa Rica for 2 weeks from the 14th-28th November. We were planning on going from La Fortuna to Tamarindo to Guiones and then Santa Teresa. With regards to COvid 19 will the beaches/national parks/restaurants/bars be opening. Im just wondering as you reported the Bars were closed and the beaches only open from 5am – 2:30pm.
Hi Kelly, yes it looks like everything will be opened for the coming high season. Tourists from all countries are now welcomed to Costa Rica. You can check back on this post every week to get the latest info on the situation. We update it weekly.
My boyfriend and I are traveling to Costa Rica from May 10th until May 19th! We are considering postponing our trip due to the possibility of being stuck for ten days if we test positive … Have you heard about what happens if you test positive? Is it 10 days and then you can leave the country? Or do you have to be retested and then cleared to go? What happens if you have no symptoms but test positive repeatedly? Will you be stuck until you test negative? Curious on if Costa Rica is the best choice for a vacation right now… Thank you !
Costa Rica no longer has any entry/exit testing requirements. So Costa Rica will not stop you from coming or going in and out of the country if you test positive. However, depending on where you are flying back to, your home country may not allow you to enter back if you test positive. So if you do get a positive test while in Costa Rica, you will be required to self-isolate and can use your insurance to pay for your accommodation for that time. Hope that helps!
Have you been back to CR recently? Since covid? Did you feel safe with masks and distancing yourself? Considering an August 2021 trip to playa Carrillo, fly into Liberia, rent a car and a house on beach to distance from others. What’s your thoughts on safety of the situation there right now?
Yes, we were in Costa Rica earlier this year at the height of the pandemic. Since we own a hotel in Costa Rica, we are always in touch with staff on the ground who share the latest info about the situation there. What we can tell you is that yes, it is safe to be in Costa Rica during the pandemic, given that you practice social distancing and wear a mask. The locals follow the rules and so do most visitors. Vaccinations in Costa Rica are slow although things are progressing and while the country does have a significant number of new cases daily, they are mostly concentrated in the capital city/metropolitan area. So if you want to be extra safe, we recommend that you plan to spend your holiday in nature, in National Parks and beaches, away from crowds. Stay in smaller hotels, avoid all inclusive resorts, bars, clubs, and stay away from buffets or other shared dining facilities.