Costa Rica Open For International Tourism

This blog is up to date as of the 25th July 2020.

From the 1st of August, tourists from the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom will be allowed to enter Costa Rica. Travelers will need to have a negative COVID test within 48 hours of arrival in Costa Rica. You must have travel insurance that covers medical care, and you are required to fill out a short online epidemiological form. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, you will be required to abide by all health measures- this includes wearing a mask or face-covering in public, and socially distancing.

Land borders between Panama and Nicauragua remain closed. For foreigners who entered the country on a tourist visa after Dec 17, all visas have been extended to November 16. Keep checking this blog for live updates.

Should We Book Our Trip?

Overall, Drake Bay remains a very safe location. This is due to the low density of population, relatively low levels of international tourism (less than 1% of the national total), and an abundance of clean water and food. We do not recommend spending time in areas such as San Jose, Jaco, Guanacaste, or near the borders of Panama and Nicaragua. Special care should be taken if you are elderly or have risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, hypertension, or obesity.

You can see a current map of areas with high numbers of COVID cases in orange:

How Many Cases are there in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has 10077 active cases, 298 of which are hospitalized. 87 people have died. There are cases in all 7 provinces of Costa Rica. None have been confirmed in Drake Bay or Puerto Jimenez.

Are There Travel Restrictions?

Some districts in Costa Rica are under yellow alert, and some are under orange alert (see map above). All zones require a mask or face covering while in public, and you must remain at least 1.8 meters away from anyone outside your “social bubble”. Businesses such as supermarkets will have hand sanitizer available, and you should make use of this when entering and exiting.

In yellow alert areas (such as Drake Bay), beaches are open until 2.30 pm and all outdoor tourism activities are permitted. Hotels and restaurants can operate at 50% capacity, and public transportation is available with limited services. Bars and nightclubs remain closed.

In orange alert areas (such as San Jose), businesses may only operate between the hours of 5 am and 5 pm. Additionally, driving is not permitted past 5 pm. If you are planning to get a rental car in Costa Rica, make sure that you stay up to date on the increasingly complicated driving regulations. You can check them at the following link, by putting in the last digit of your license plate.

All schools and universities have been closed until further notice. Public events of more than 30 people have been canceled. And church services may operate with up to 75 people.

Panama has closed its borders to all non-residents. If you are planning to transit through Panama, you may have to change or cancel your flights. Also, foreigners in Costa Rica who need to do “border runs” to renew visas should be aware that the General Directorate of Migration has automatically extended tourist visas to anyone who entered the country after December 17, 2019. You can legally remain in Costa Rica until November 16, 2020.

Citizens returning to Costa Rica from overseas will now face a 14-day mandatory self-isolation.

How to Stay Safe in Costa Rica

If you are traveling in Costa Rica, you should consider the following measures. Although Drake Bay is very isolated and currently has a very low risk of contact with the virus, these measures may make you feel more comfortable on your trip.

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after handling money or cell phones.
  • Refrain from hugs and handshakes
  • Consider bringing your own snorkel mask and/or life jacket. If you do not have space in your luggage, bring a small container of bleach to wash the mouthpiece of rented gear. Make sure to rinse well.
  • Bring your own refillable water bottle or CamelBak (we always recommend this, regardless of the virus, as it cuts down on plastic waste)
  • Consider bringing your own cup and cutlery set for dining out.
  • Avoid San Jose (as much as possible) and other orange alert areas
  • Book private tours, instead of large tour groups, wherever availability and budget allows.
  • Do not travel through the USA. Direct routes are being planned from the UK, EU and Canada.

What if I get Sick in Costa Rica?

The Public Health system in Costa Rica is both excellent and cheap. However, current regulations require that visitors must have travel insurance that covers medical care. If you develop coronavirus symptoms while in Costa Rica, you should visit the nearest hospital or clinic for testing and treatment.

For non-emergency situations, an information hotline has been set up and can be reached by calling 1322. In an emergency, please call 911.

What About Flights?

The Costa Rican government is expecting only 5 flights per week from the EU, UK, and Canada. Strict hygiene protocols will be in place on planes and in airports.

United Kingdom flights will be operated by British Airways and Iberia from London. Schedule to be announced in the coming months.

Flights from the EU are available through British Airways, Lufthansa and Iberia from various countries. The first flights will be from Frankfurt in Germany and Madrid in Spain. More routes will be announced in the coming months.

Canadians may fly with Air Canada. Direct routes are to be announced.

We highly recommend booking directly with the airline, instead of using comparison websites. Check prices and flight policies thoroughly before committing.

What About Returning Home?

Some travelers may face additional screenings or even quarantines when returning to their home countries.

Canada has implemented 14-day quarantines/self-isolation for ALL returning travelers. These may be mandatory for government employees and health workers. Check with your local health authority. In addition, if you have returned via China, Iran or Italy, you must register with the public health authority less than 24 hours after your arrival in Canada.

Those returning to the UK must self-isolate for 14 days, and may be fined up to 1000 pounds if they do not comply. You must also provide your contact details and address to health officials.

Those returning from EU countries may have voluntary or mandatory 14-day self-isolation. Check the requirements with your countries travel advice website.

Government Travel Advice Websites:

United States
United Kingdom

What Are the Cancellation Policies?

You can find our full cancellation policy on our Questions and Answers Page. We will endeavor to stick to this policy as things progress, but if we have a high volume of cancellations, there may be a delay in receiving your refund. We would also like to extend an additional offer for those who are postponing their trips for future months. Wherever possible, we will carry over deposits for postponed itineraries.

Please contact us if you have any concerns or questions about your trip to Drake Bay, Costa Rica, due to the Coronavirus. We will endeavor to keep this page up to date daily. Also, check out the below video for general scientific information about the virus and what scientists are doing to develop solutions.