Costa Rica fully reopens its borders on Nov. 1 — and you don’t need a COVID test to get in

Oct 24, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information. As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

Beginning in November, U.S. travelers across all states and territories will once again be allowed to travel to Costa Rica. In fact, the Central American country is opening to travelers around the world.

There’s an even more interesting — and perhaps, alarming — twist: you won’t even need to bring a negative COVID test result with you.

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Starting on Oct. 26, 2020, all travelers who enter Costa Rica will no longer be required to present a PCR diagnostic test with a negative result, in accordance with health officials’ guidance. A quarantine period is also not required.

This is a deviation from the previous protocol that required passengers to produce a negative test result within 72 hours of departure to Costa Rica.

Likewise, previously only travelers from select U.S. regions have been allowed to enter Costa Rica. Starting in August, only residents of 12 states and territories were allowed entry. “The entry of travelers from these 12 states is allowed because they currently have an epidemiological condition similar or lower levels of contagion to those of Costa Rica,” Segura said on Aug. 27.

However, that is changing now for travelers entering the country’s three international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport (LIR) and Tobías Bolaños Airport (SYQ).

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Who can visit Costa Rica?

The biggest news is that all U.S. residents can visit Costa Rica as of Nov. 1, 2020 — and without a negative COVID test result. Here is the complete breakdown as Costa Rica opens more fully in the coming weeks.

International travelers can expect to enter Costa Rica on the following schedule as of Oct. 26, 2020

  • United States: Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wyoming, California, Ohio, Florida, Georgia and Texas
  • Canada: All citizens and residents
  • Mexico: All citizens and residents
  • The European Union Schengen Zone: All citizens and residents
  • United Kingdom: All citizens and residents
  • Central American and Panama: All citizens and residents
  • South America: Citizens and residents of Uruguay
  • The Caribbean: Citizens and residents of Jamaica
  • Asia: Citizens and residents of Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China
  • Oceania: Citizens and residents of Australia and New Zealand

International travelers can expect to enter Costa Rica on the following schedule as of Nov. 1 2020

  • United States: All U.S. residents and citizens
  • Rest of the world: Costa Rica is reopening to all other nations as long as they “meet the visa requirements when required, as well as the requirements established in the framework of the pandemic.”
Andaz Costa Rica (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
All U.S. residents can visit Costa Rica, including the Andaz Costa Rica hotel, starting Nov. 1, 2020. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

What are the new entry requirements?

While the requirements to enter Costa Rica are becoming much more lenient, there are still certain entry requirements including mandatory traveler’s medical insurance.

To be allowed entry, travelers must complete the following requirements starting on Oct. 26, 2020:

  • Fill out the electronic epidemiological health pass form before departure
  • Show proof of traveler’s medical insurance, either purchased internationally or directly from Costa Rica through the National Insurance Institute or Sagicor.
  • For international insurance policies, tourists must request a certification from their insurance company, issued in English or Spanish, verifying at least the following three conditions:
    • Effectiveness of the policy during the visit to Costa Rica
    • Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with the pandemic COVID-19 virus while in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000
    • Includes minimum coverage of $2,000 for potential quarantine lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic
    • Note that any emergency medical or dental coverage provided by credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve will not meet this requirement.
  • Of course, you’ll still need a passport (and visa, if required) to enter Costa Rica like usual.

Bottom line

Per recent guidance from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) — which states that conducting coronavirus testing for incoming travelers “is not recommended as a tool to mitigate the risk of international spread” — Costa Rica is widely opening up entry into its borders in the coming week. Note that a quarantine period is also not required.

As of mid-October, Costa Rica has 100,616 cumulative coronavirus cases with 1,251 COVID-19-related deaths.

While it’s great to start seeing more countries open to U.S. tourists, especially in beautiful tropical destinations perfect for winter escapes, how long these places remain open to Americans — and the rest of the world — will depend on controlling the continued spread of COVID-19.

Related: TPG’s destination guide to Costa Rica

Additional reporting by Katherine Fan and Madison Blancaflor.

Featured image by Westend61 / Getty Images.

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