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Essential Travel Restrictions for Costa Rica

Costa Rica travel restrictions are the main thing you should know before visiting this beautiful country during these days when pandemics affected the whole planet.

This article will tell you everything you need to know before travel to Costa Rica but because things change from one hour to another we recommend you double-check the information with government sites before you go.

But before telling you which are the travel requirements to Costa Rica I want to tell you a few interesting things about this country.

Costa Rica is in Spanish and can be translated as Rich Coast and it is believed that it was given by Christopher Columbus once he reached this beautiful territory.

The country is located in Central America and it is bordering Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, and the Pacific Coast to the southwest.

The country has a total population of about 5 million inhabitants and a total surface of 51.050 square kilometers (19.720 square miles).

The largest city of the country is the capital city of San Jose which has a total population of about 2.1 million people including its metropolitan area.

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Costa Rica restrictions

Traveling to Costa Rica is influenced mainly by the number of COVID-19 cases and the corresponding health and security measures adopted by the authorities.

Starting with November 2020, Costa Rica open for tourism, and tourists from all over the world are allowed to enter the country under certain conditions.

At the moment, the marine and air borders are open for all countries, while the land borders can be used only by those of you who do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Travel Restrictions
Costa Rica Travel Restrictions

If you choose to get to this beautiful country by air you have to know that both international airports are open and that private and commercial flights are allowed to take off and land at San Jose International Airport and Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport.

Marine entry is allowed in the following marinas: Golfito, Pez Vela, Los Sueños, Papagayo, and Banana Bar following the visa entry requirements and the COVID 19 restrictions.

Costa Rica entry requirements

The entry requirement for Costa Rica should be split into two main categories:

  • visa requirements
  •  COVID 19 requirements

Visa requirements

Like many other countries in the world, Costa Rica entry requirements vary depending on your nationality, length of the stay, the purpose of your visit, and country of residence.

A thing is sure: a visa does not guarantee you entrance in Costa Rica as the final word comes from the immigration offices after a short interview at arrival.

Costa Rica Travel Restrictions Visa Requirements
Costa Rica Travel Visa Requirements

US citizens do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica, the only requirements are related to COVID 19 pandemic and to have a valid passport.

On the other hand, most European citizens need a visa to enter this country, but the good news is that the process of obtaining the visa is quite simple.


Costa Rica travel restrictions: COVID 19 requirements

During these difficult times, we need to make sure that we do not carry on and transmit any virus, so special requirements are in place when entering Costa Rica.

Starting with 26 January 2021, US citizens should have a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the US.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Costa Rica is ranked at this moment as a country with a high risk of contracting COVID 19 and the authorities recommend being fully vaccinated before traveling here.

Travel Restrictions for Costa Rica
Travel Restrictions for Costa

Besides the COVID-19 testing thing that might differ from one country to another, all tourists, no matter from where they are coming from should:

  • fill in the Costa Rica Health Pass online before entering Costa Rican territory to get the QR code
  • buy medical insurance

The Health Pass form should be completed online at within 72 hours prior to departure time.

You should fill in one form for each person who plans to travel to Costa Rica, no matter if he/she is a minor or not.

The medical insurance that you have to buy should cover not just the medical expenses caused by contracting COVID-19, but also the lodging in the event of a quarantine.

You can buy your medical insurance from any international insurance company if the policy bought to meet the following requirements requested by costa rican government:

  • the validity of the travel insurance policy should cover the dates when you travel to Costa Rica
  • 50,000 USD for all type of medical expenses and the policy should include all the expenses related to COVID-19
  • at least 2.000 USD  guaranteed coverage for accommodation expenses to have you covered in the unexpected event of COVID-19 quarantine.

Stay safe while you travel

  • medical safety abroad
  • medical assistance including COVID-19
  • emergency medical evacuation
  • trip interruption -up to $5.000
  • travel delay - up to $100/day

To avoid any unpleasant events during your visit to Costa Rica, we strongly recommend you ask your insurance company for a letter or any official document written in Spanish and English that contains the following information:

  • the name of the person who travels to Costa Rica
  • the validity of the policy should be at least for the dates when you stay in Costa Rica
  • have a coverage of at least 50.000 USD for medical expenses including COVID-19 treatment when abroad
  • covers at least 2.000 USD for accommodation expenses that occurred due to quarantine or any travel interruption.

Bear in mind that you need to have the insurance policy by the time you apply for Health Pass as you need to attach the policy to the Health Pass for approval by Costa Rican authorities.

Costa Rica travel restrictions: Returning ticket

You will receive your tourist visa for Costa Rica only if you have the above documents plus a valid returning ticket that show that you will leave the country on a certain date.

Travel Restrictions Travel plans
Travel Restrictions Travel plans

The returning ticket also known as the outbound exit ticket is mandatory for all non-resident people who are in the following situations:

  • travel on a one-way ticket
  • fly to Costa Rica and then fly out to another country
  • enter the country with a return ticket for a period that equals a max of 90 days from the entering date

These are all the travel requirements for Costa Rica that you need to be aware of before planning your trip to this amazing country.

Some countries like United Stated might require you to stay 14 days in quarantine when you come back from a foreign country, so you’d better check this out before you go.

Yes, is Costa Rica open for tourism but in order to get your visa and to be allowed to enter the country you need to have the documents mentioned in this article.


Costa Rica is a safe and secure country and offers many amazing opportunities to spend your holiday in nature and enjoy your time spend with your family.

The procedures you have to follow to enter the country are not as strict as those for other countries, and safety regulations are in place to protect costa Ricans and tourists from COVID-19.

You don’t have to be worried about contacting the virus as Costa Ricans follow the rules and the number of cases is under control.

So pack your bags and hit the road, as a wonderful country is waiting to be discovered and explored even during these complicated times.

Some of the following links are affiliate links. When you buy something using the retail links in our article, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. You can read our full disclosure disclaimer and privacy policy.