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Traveling from the US to Costa Rica: Everything You Need to Know

Traveling from US to Costa Rica is simple, fast, and comfortable especially if you choose to fly to this country with direct flights from US.

Pristine beaches, national parks, and stunning volcanoes are just some of the things that attract thousands of visitors each year.

No matter if you are looking for a beach holiday, an adventure, or a family-friendly hotel, you will find everything you are searching for in this country.

The rainforest, the river valley, the abundance of plants and animals as well as the luxury retreats and hotels, and the good food are just some reasons why you should consider traveling to Costa Rica from US.

The best time to visit this magnificent country is during the dry season, from December to April with October being considered a great period to visit the Caribbean coast.

Many companies from US operate regular flights from US countries to Costa Rica with multiple flights per week and direct flights from the main American cities to San Jose, the capital of the country.

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Traveling from US to Costa Rica

Starting with November 2020, Costa Rica opens its borders for travelers from all over the world with clear guidance about safety and health procedures.

Traveling from US to Costa Rica

Traveling outside US

Can Americans travel to Costa Rica

Americans from all 50 states and Washington DC are allowed to travel to Costa Rica by air or using the specially designated land borders.

American citizens do not need Visa to enter Costa Rica and the maximum length of stay is 90 days.

At the moment the maritime and air borders of the country are open and Americans are allowed to enter Costa Rica if they follow a certain set of rules and have the documents mentioned above.

What do I need to travel to Costa Rica

Entry requirements for this beautiful country:

  • complete the Health Pass within 72 hours prior to departure date
  • buy medical insurance valid for the dates when you travel abroad with a minimum limit of coverage of 50.000 USD for medical expenses and 2.000 USD for accommodation expense in the event of a COVID-19 quarantine order.
  •  no COVID-19 test is required to enter Costa Rica
  •  valid passport for at least 6 months from the entrance date to Costa Rica

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

Traveling back from Costa Rica to US

American tourists that travel from Costa Rica back to US should have a negative test result for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours prior to departure flight.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days before the traveling date may provide a document from any licensed health care provider that confirms this thing and are exempt from PCR testing.

Only in extreme cases, United States travel from Costa Rica is exempt from the above COVID-19 testing rules by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here I am talking about emergency travel when your life and your safety are threatened but only in the situation when your COVID-19 test is negative.

If your test result is positive, then no waves can be applied and you are not allowed to enter Costa Rica.

When you believe that you meet all the criteria for waver, you have to contact the United States Embassy from San Jose and submit a form with all the details related to your flight details and personal information as well as the reason for waver.

Information on COVID-19

The US department of state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC classified Costa Rica as a country with a high level of COVID-19 and advise us to postpone our holidays to this country for a future date.

The COVID-19 in Costa Rica cases increased in the last days but things are under control by the Costa Rican government and things cannot be compared with Brasil for example.

Travel Restrictions for Costa Rica

Travel Restrictions for Costarica

Still, as a safety measurement,  the Ministry of health from most countries imposed a 10 or 14 days quarantine period for the people coming back from most foreign countries, including Costa Rica.

Costa Rica travel advisory

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US travel to Costa Rica should be avoided if not mandatory as the country is ranked on Level 4, the maximum one after the COVID-19 classification scheme.

Tourists interested in traveling from US to Costa Rica are advised to be fully vaccinated before they go to this country.

If you are fully vaccinated you don’t have to stay in quarantine after they come back to the United States.

Travelers who are not fully vaccinated must get tested 1-3 days before departure and after they come back home they should get tested again on day 3-5 after arrival and self-isolate for 7 days.

If you don’t want to be tested again on day 3-5 after arrival then you should self-isolate for 10 days starting the day you enter US.

Before leaving United States make sure you read, understand, and know the rules and regulations applied by flight carriers and destination countries, as rules might be different than the ones from US.

On planes, buses, trains and any other forms of public transport the mask is mandatory and it should cover your nose and mouth.

In many countries from all over the world the wearing of masks and social distancing are mandatory in public so check the country’s regulations before you go.

Traveling from the US to Costa Rica should be made in accordance with international and local regulations about the COVID-19 pandemic.

You are not allowed to travel if you are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms, have a positive COVID-19 test result or have been exposed to COVID-19.


Costa Rica money

Now that you know the most important aspects of traveling to Costa Rica during pandemic times, let me tell you a few words about the money you need to have for traveling to Costa Rican territories.

You can have US dollars with you as most of the shops, hotels, and restaurants accept dollars instead of the local currency, Costa Rican colon.

The main downside of using US dollars is that you will lose money because of the exchange rate used, which is generally favorable for sellers.

Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted in Costa Rica and you can use them to pay entrance fees for national parks and other attractions, hotels, restaurants, and some shops.

The best practice advice is to use a mix of credit cards, debit cards, and local currency so that you don’t remain with colons by the time you leave the country.

And there is another thing you should take into consideration: never exchange money at the airport, as the exchange rate is extremely bad for you.

Use a bank or withdraw money from your card as the exchange rates are better and you save some money on commissions and other taxes that might appear when exchange money on exchange offices.


Traveling from US to Costa Rica is possible and more and more popular following the rules and regulations in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actually today it is quite a good time to plan a trip to Costa Rica as the prices are lower, the queues are small and the crowds are not here yet, so you have Costa Rica more for yourself.

All you have to do is to follow the rules, keep your mask on and respect the rules regarding social distancing and you will have a memorable holiday in this exotic paradise.


Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.