Updated October 27, 2021
The New Policy Starts January 8, 2022
The Costa Rican government recently announced a new policy that will affect all who live in or travel to Costa Rica. As of January 8, 2022, people will have to show proof of vaccination in order to enter the following non-essential establishments: hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, shops, museums, gyms, resorts, and adventure tourism.
Travelers can verify their vaccination status with a government provided QR code or official printed vaccination certificates. This applies to all patrons over the age of 12.
Vaccines that the Costa Rican health ministry accepts for this policy include Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and J&J vaccines. Noticeably absent from this list are supermarkets, pharmacies, and other establishments that are considered essential services. Travelers with an approved, documented medical condition that prevents them from applying the vaccine are exempt from this new policy.
What does fully vaccinated mean in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica recognizes fully vaccinated as the total number of doses for each vaccine as indicated by its corresponding pharmaceutical company, with the final dose having been applied at least 14 days before entry into Costa Rica. The indicated doses for each approved vaccine are:
- AstraZeneca/Oxford: 2-dose series
- Pfizer-BioNTech: 2-dose series
- Moderna: 2-dose series
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): single dose
COVID-19 vaccines will be accepted as long as they have been authorized by a Strict Regulatory Authority (e.g., WHO). Cases in which the traveler receives a single dose after being diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus will also be considered fully vaccinated by Costa Rica. In these instances, the vaccination documentation must indicate a 1/1 dose (dose one of one).
Documentation verifying vaccination status in the Health Pass must contain the following information in order to apply:
- Full name (consistent with passport)
- Name of administered vaccine
- Date of each administered dose
Is having recovered from COVID-19 recently an alternative to being vaccinated?
No. While travelers who are not fully vaccinated may enter the country, this is not an alternative to the requirement to enter commercial establishments.
How will travelers obtain a QR code as proof of vaccination?
Travelers must fill out a Health Pass in order to enter the country. Upon filling out this digital form, they will receive a QR code. If they entered data to support full vaccination status, this QR code will work to let them enter commercial establishments.
What is the transition period between December 1, 2021 and January 7, 2022?
There will be two models for commercial establishments operate under as the country transitions to this new policy. All establishments, including hotels, restaurants, adventure tourism, museums, stores, bars, casinos, gyms, and pools must visibly display signage indicating which model they are operating under.
Fully Vaccinated Model
Establishments may operate at 100% capacity as long as they’ve verified that all clientele aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
For establishments not checking and requiring vaccination status, their capacity will be limited to 50%.
Will Tours Require Proof of Vaccination?
Yes. All adventure tour operators will only permit fully vaccinated individuals as of January 8, 2022. This includes, but is not limited to the following activities:
- Terrestrial activities: Hiking, mountain biking, trekking, horseback riding tours
- In-air activities: Ballooning (hot air balloons), paragliding
- Aquatic activities: rafting, scuba diving, tubing, kayaking, parasailing
- Activities with cables and ropes: Climbing, bungee jumping, rappelling, zip-lining, canyoning, via ferrata, spelunking (caving), high ropes, pendulum (Tarzan swing)
- Motorized activities: use of quad-cycles, motorcycles, boats, jet-skis
COVID-19 Testing Policies Remain the Same
As of the time of this publication, travelers still do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test when entering Costa Rica.
Vaccinations Entry Requirements Remain the Same
While there are vaccination policies within the country, as established above. Vaccination is still not an entry requirement for travelers entering Costa Rica.
As of August 2021, vaccinated travelers are not required to purchase COVID-related travel insurance. However, unvaccinated travelers are still required to purchase this. Travel insurance for unvaccinated travelers must cover all COVID-19 related medical expenses and lodging in the case of quarantine.
For more on COVID-19 related entry requirements, visit the official page here.