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Beginning November 1, 2020, Costa Rica opened its borders to visitors arriving by air from around the world as long as they meet the country’s new COVID-19 entry requirements. One of these requirements is that travelers must have travel insurance.
With so many different travel insurance plans on the market, how do you know if your plan will meet the new Costa Rica travel insurance requirements and which plans are best for covering coronavirus related expenses?
Below you’ll find an overview of the Costa Rica entry requirements and everything you need to know about booking travel to Costa Rica during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Costa Rica Entry Requirements for Tourists
Costa Rica no longer requires a negative coronavirus test in order to enter. This requirement was no longer necessary as of October 26, 2020. To enter Costa Rica by flight, visitors must complete a digital health form and provide proof of a valid travel insurance plan.
Complete a Digital Epidemiological Form
All travelers to Costa Rica must complete a digital health form called HEALTH PASS within 48 hours of departure. The form must be filled out by every member of your family including children. HEALTH PASS asks for personal information including your name, age, passport numbers, flight details, accommodation information, and proof of travel insurance.
The HEALTH PASS is available in a variety of languages and gate agents will not let travelers board the plane without proof of form completion. Visitors reporting COVID-19 symptoms may be tested upon arrival and subjected to quarantine requirements.
Purchase a Qualified Travel Insurance Policy
It is mandatory that visitors purchase a travel insurance plan valid for the entire length of stay in Costa Rica. Acceptable insurance plans must meet the following conditions:
- The validity of the policy during the entire duration of the visit to Costa Rica.
- Guarantee of coverage in the amount of at least U.S. $50,000 for medical expenses related to COVID-19 if becoming ill while in Costa Rica.
- A minimum coverage of $2,000 for extended lodging needs due to COVID-19 illness.
Travelers must request a certification letter from their insurance carrier in English or Spanish that notes the policy dates, guarantee of COVID-19-related coverage, and a minimum coverage of $2,000 for extended lodging expenses due to COVID-19 illness.
Who Can Enter Costa Rica?
Beginning August 1, 2020, only select international travelers were allowed to enter Costa Rica. Beginning November 1, 2020, travelers from all countries are welcome to visit as long as they follow normal (pre-COVID-19) visa requirements.
United States residents do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. However, they must have a valid passport and a return ticket within 90 days.
Land borders remain closed to tourists, but visitors can also arrive by sailboat or yacht.
Although Costa Rica does not require a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends testing within one to three days of your trip. If you test positive or have any symptoms, you should not travel. The CDC also recommends testing within three to five days after travel and staying home for at least seven days.
What Travel Insurance Plans Meets Costa Rica’s Travel Requirements
Visitors have two options for purchasing travel insurance for their trip to Costa Rica. One is to purchase insurance through a provider in Costa Rica that has been pre-approved to offer COVID-19 insurance and the other is to purchase international travel insurance through a provider of your choice.
When the pandemic first hit, very few travel insurance plans covered trip interruptions or medical expenses related to COVID-19, often because they exclude epidemics and pandemics. Now that there’s a better understanding of the virus and the travel industry is eager to resume some sense of normalcy, policies that include COVID-19 coverage are now available.
Like all travel insurance policies, it’s a good idea to review all plan details to understand what is and isn’t covered. Not all travel insurance policies will cover COVID-19-related expenses and some plans may provide up to $250,000 in medical coverage including COVID-19 but may not include the minimum coverage of $2,000 required for quarantine lodging expenses.
The Trawick International Safe Travels Voyager Plan found on TravelInsurance.com meets Costa Rica’s travel requirements and provides additional benefits including trip cancellation coverage, baggage coverage, and the option to upgrade to cancel for any reason coverage
The Safe Travels Voyager Plan is one of most comprehensive travel insurance plans on the market, which is a good bet given the uncertainty that still remains surrounding travel during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have questions about the requirements or to see if your insurance plan meets Costa Rica’s current requirements, you may contact the Costa Rica government before departure.
What Travel Insurance Plans Provide Additional COVID-19 Coverage?
Keep in mind that Costa Rica’s travel insurance requirements are a minimum and you can purchase travel insurance with additional benefits for more peace of mind. Making travel plans always comes with a bit of uncertainty but traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic makes planning a bit more risky.
The COVID-19 situation is constantly changing and having a comprehensive travel insurance plan takes the worry out of travel planning. More comprehensive travel plans don’t necessarily cost more money and plans like the Trawick International Safe Travels Voyager Plan can be upgraded to include higher coverage options, trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, and cancel for any reason coverage.
With a comprehensive plan that offers COVID-19 coverage, you’ll be able to recoup much of your trip costs if you or your travel companion tests positive for the virus before you travel. If you happen to contract COVID-19 while traveling, it would cover any medical expenses you incur at your destination, reimburse any prepaid arrangements and lodging, and cover airfare changes to get you back home once it is safe for you to travel.
What is it Like to Visit Costa Rica During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Tourism is the lifeblood of Costa Rica and the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact. Thankfully, Costa Rica’s tourism industry is slowly opening to visitors who agree to comply with their public health requirements.
Masks are required in Costa Rica for both citizens and tourists. Masks must be worn indoors in places such as supermarkets, stores, airports, theaters, churches, banks, and all other public spaces. Masks also need to be worn while waiting for buses, taxis, and trains and aboard all forms of public transportation.
Establishments can deny entry to anyone not wearing a mask and can require patrons to wash their hands, sanitize, or complete a temperature check before entering. Visitors who violate this mandatory health order will be subjected to a fine. The only places masks are not required are in outdoor spaces where you can maintain six feet of distance from others at all times.
Nearly all restaurants, beaches, parks, and tour companies are open for business but it’s a good idea to make sure before you show up. Stores and restaurants are open with a reduced capacity so you may have to wait to enter. Due to nightly driving restrictions, many businesses close early.
Activities such as zip lining, canopy tours, and horseback riding have to follow limited capacity rules so advanced reservations and pre-purchased tickets are recommended. Not all parks may have opened up all their trails and outdoor activities so it’s best to contact tour companies for the latest information while planning your trip.
What if I Test Positive for COVID-19 in Costa Rica?
If you begin to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, and while you’re visiting Costa Rica, you’ll need to self-isolate and call the government hotline for help. The operator will help you find the nearest testing facility. If you need hospitalization, the operator will help get you to the nearest hospital.