Before the pandemic, Costa Rica received over 1.7 million tourists annually, bringing an estimated 1.7 billion dollars in revenue with them. With COVID-19 devastating the tourism industry it’s no wonder governing officials in Costa Rica have been hard at work developing safety guidelines to bring tourists back to this breathtaking gem safely.
One way the Central American country is doing this is by requiring all tourists to register for a health pass before visiting the country.
The official website for the Health Pass is salud.go.cr.
Here’s a look at what you need to know about the Costa Rica Health Pass before you go.
Why Get the Health Pass?
Because it’s required.
What is a Costa Rica Health Pass?
To help restore tourism in the safest way possible for both visitors as well as the country’s inhabitants, Costa Rican officials have created several sanitation control measures. Among these orders is the Costa Rican health pass requirement.
The pass is essentially a form that includes the: contact, travel, and insurance/vaccine information of the individual visiting the country. All tourists are currently required to complete the form requesting the health pass prior to arrival. Once the form is completed, a QR code is sent to you. If you do not have this code, you will not be granted entry into the country.
What questions will they ask?
All tourists will need to provide their: travel information, insurance policy number or vaccine proof, and contact information. Additionally, every person must complete the form individually and every visitor must complete a new form with each trip to Costa Rica. A parent or legal guardian will need to complete the form for any person under the age of 18 unless that person is under two years of age. When completing the form you will also be asked to read and accept the legal terms and conditions of the health pass.
Documents and information you will be asked to provide include:
- Contact information
- Flight/travel information
- Certificate of insurance coverage or vaccine card
- Planned duration of visit
Is Travel insurance required?
No. Since August 1, minors and adults who are fully vaccinated do not need insurance. However, they must show proof of vaccination. You can upload a photo of your vaccine card to the Health Pass.
Unvaccinated adults are required to have travel insurance coverage from companies such as Squaremouth should the need to quarantine arise. This helps protect you and local providers from any unforeseen costs you may not be able to cover.
Insurance cards are not accepted for this. Visitors must obtain a certificate that specifies that their policy covers COVD-19 related claims. Visitors should request a letter or certificate from their insurance provider that must contain: the traveler’s name, travel dates, and proof of minimum coverage.
How much coverage do I need?
Unvaccinated tourists must have insurance from a travel insurance company that includes both accommodation and medical coverage. It’s also necessary that your insurance provider covers Covid-19.
To enter the country your insurance policy must:
- Be valid in Costa Rica during the entire duration of your visit.
- Have guaranteed coverage of at least $50,000 for medical expenses
- Have guaranteed coverage of $2,000 for accommodation expenses
- Have coverage of at least 5 days (even if just passing through the country)
You can also opt for $20,000 medical coverage as opposed to the $50,000 that is required from international providers. You can do this by choosing a provider from Costa Rica. Local insurance policies are available through INS, Sagicor, and BlueCross Blue Shield.
Who can enter with the health pass?
Tourists from almost every country are now able to use this documentation to enter Costa Rica. The Costa Rican government is not currently requiring travelers to present a negative Covid test, nor are they requiring them to be vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, you do not need insurance, but you still need to complete the Health Pass.
If you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms you may be refused entry into Costa Rica. As before the pandemic, some nationalities require a visa to enter Costa Rica.
Do my children need one?
Yes. Anyone entering the country who is not a citizen of Costa Rica needs a health pass in order to enter the country. The only exception to this are children under the age of 2. Parents or legal guardians must complete the form for minors ages 2-17.
How long does the process take?
The form itself takes only a few minutes to fill out and you can save the QR code on your phone or you can print it out and take it to the airport with you.
How does the pass work?
After completing the travel pass, visitors receive a QR identification code that they must carry with them throughout their trip. The code can be printed or kept on a mobile device. This code is necessary to pass through security checkpoints. All information gathered for visitors’ health pass is stored electronically and protected under Costa Rican privacy laws and regulations.
Could I be turned away without it?
Yes, and you will. Currently all visitors are required to fill out the Health Pass form at least 72 hours prior to arrival. You will be asked to provide your QR code at the airport. Without your QR code, you will not be allowed beyond the airport check counter. You may also be turned away if you are exhibiting any signs of COVID-19 upon arrival such as: fever, chills, cough, loss of smell or taste, signs of respiratory infection, among others.
Are there other entry requirements?
While the country has been opened up internationally to tourists, flights are currently only being received through Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport or Juan Santamaría International Airport. In addition, Banana Bar, Los Sueños, Pez Vela, Papagayo, and the marinas of Golfito are the one entry points for marine travel.
While taking a international trip may not be what we’re used to right now, sanitation safety measures have never been stricter. Traveling during a pandemic can be scary but with a little careful planning and by adhering to safety protocols such as completing the Costa Rica health pass, it can also be safe.