as of February 2022
Do I need to be vaccinated or provide a negative test result to enter Costa Rica?
Currently, Costa Rica is not requiring vaccination certification or negative test results to enter the country. However, ABS and the meeting hotel will require vaccination and recommend testing before attending the meeting, for the safety of all participants.
Each person entering Costa Rica must fill out the "Health Pass" form online within 72 hours before arrival, found here: https://salud.go.cr . This form will ask for certification of one of the following options:
(1) fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (with AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac, Sinopharm, or Covaxin)
(2) under 18
(3) purchased a medical travel insurance policy with a duration equal to the time of stay in the country that would cover your expenses in the event of hospitalization. Various policies are available from Costa Rican agencies (such as INS, Sagicor, BlueCross BlueShield) and some international policies are also accepted. This is only required for unvaccinated travelers.
More information about these requirements and travel insurance options can be found on the Costa Rican Tourism Institute ("ICT") website: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/planning-your-trip/entry-requirements as well as in this PDF FAQ document: https://www.ict.go.cr/es/documentos-institucionales/material-de-apoyo-coronavirus/pruebas-covid-para-usa/1970-costa-rica-entry-requirements-faq-fully-vaccinated-tourists-and-minors/file.html
How can I get a PCR or antigen COVID test within 1 calendar day before returning home from Costa Rica?
The US, Canada, and many other countries are currently requiring either an antigen or PCR test within 1 day of travel, and airlines will ask for your negative result before letting you board the plane. Note that according to the CDC website, you do not need to worry about it being exactly 24 hours, because the rule is one calendar day prior, not 24 hours. Test results in English or Spanish are accepted. In Costa Rica, there are many private laboratories that provide both antigen ($50-100) and PCR ($100-130) testing for tourists, some with results guaranteed in as little as 3 hours.
Prior to your testing appointment, the lab will send you a consent form (in English or Spanish) to indicate that you agree to isolate if you test positive, and that you understand your results will be shared with the Costa Rican government officials.
There are numerous laboratories located within 2 kilometers of the meeting hotel that could be contacted in the week or two prior to your return home to schedule a test appointment within the 24 hours before departure (some are closed on Sundays):
• Laboratorios Echandi Rohrmoser & Laboratorio Echandi Boulevard (http://labechandi.com/2020/11/pruebas-covid-19/)
• Laboratorios Paez Sabana (https://laboratoriopaez.com)
• Laboratorios Sáenz Renauld Paseo Colón (https://www.labsaenzrenauld.com)
• Laboratorio San José Rohrmoser & Laboratorio San José Don Bosco (https://www.laboratoriosanjose.com)
• Labin Rohrmoser y Labin Sabana (https://labinlab.com)
There are also 24-hour testing facilities (by Laboratorios Echandi) at the airport that provide quick results, and appointments can be made online here: https://covid.morphotr.com. A full list of recommended laboratories around the country can be found here: https://www.ict.go.cr/es/documentos-institucionales/material-de-apoyo-coronavirus/pruebas-covid-para-usa/1898-laboratories-authorized-in-costa-rica-for-test-sars-cov-2/file.html
ABS is also looking into the possibility of arranging testing services on site at the meeting hotel during the final days of the meeting.
Is there required or voluntary COVID travel insurance available in Costa Rica?
For unvaccinated travelers, travel insurance is mandatory. For vaccinated travelers, insurance is not required but is recommended. Some travel insurance policies include coverage for expenses in the event of a need to quarantine/isolate due to a positive test. More information on insurance policy options can be found at the tourism institute's website: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/planning-your-trip/entry-requirements
What resources are available if I were to test positive while in Costa Rica? What do I do if I need to isolate?
In the event that you test positive for COVID while in Costa Rica, you will be required to isolate for a period of time as determined by the medical professionals that issue the legally binding "orden sanitario" or sanitary isolation order. It is usually 7-10 days depending on severity of symptoms, starting on the date of the positive test. A subsequent negative test does not negate the duration of the sanitary order, so you must wait out the full duration of the order.
You can choose the hotel or vacation rental where you would prefer to isolate, and would need to inform the government of that location. Government officials may or may not call you at that site to check that you are there during your isolation period, and there is a fine for violating the order, with exceptions made for those seeking medical attention. There is a government "COVID hotline" with English-speaking operators that can provide answers about the sanitary order and other information about testing and medical assistance, which can be called from within the country at 1322.
While isolating, you can easily get food delivered, either using the "Express" service offered by many restaurants, or with UberEats, Glovo, DiDi or other delivery services available by app on your phone. Some grocery stores (e.g. Automercado, AM/PM) also offer delivery services.
More information is available on the following websites:
• US embassy in Costa Rica: https://cr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
• Official Ministry of Health documents in Spanish about isolation of COVID-positive people given an "orden sanitario" in Costa Rica: https://www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/index.php/centro-de-prensa/noticias/741-noticias-2020/1532-lineamientos-nacionales-para-la-vigilancia-de-la-infeccion-por-coronavirus-2019-ncov
More information regarding re-entry to the US following a positive test abroad can be found here:
If you require medical assistance during your stay in Costa Rica due to COVID or any other illness, high quality care is easily available and affordable. The following private (and bilingual) hospitals are among the most highly regarded, near the conference hotel, and have 24-hour emergency services including COVID testing:
• Hospital CIMA (https://hospitalcima.com/en/)
• Hospital Clinica Bíblica (https://www.clinicabiblica.com/en/)
• Hospital La Católica (https://www.hospitallacatolica.com/en/homepage)
• Hospital Metropolitana (https://metropolitanocr.com)
What are the regulations and culture of vaccination and mask use in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica has strict policies and Costa Ricans, relatively speaking, have a culture of solidarity with respect to vaccination and masks. While some people do use cloth masks or loose-fitting surgical masks, generally well-fit surgical, KN95, FFP2, or N95 masks are used and preferred because they have demonstrated more effective isolation from transmission of airborne and viral particles.
To enter commercial establishments, buses, taxis, restaurants, and hotels, both vaccination and masks are required. While some people do walk around outdoors without masks on, in general most people wear masks at all times in public places unless eating or drinking. There is a country-wide regulation that commercial establishments should require a "QR code" demonstrating that each person is fully vaccinated prior to entry, although there is leniency in the case of tourists who can show their vaccination card in place of a QR code. Negative test results are generally not allowed in lieu of QR codes or vaccination cards.
Do I need a visa to visit Costa Rica?
Those traveling with a passport or residency from the US, Canada, Europe, or Latin America are generally allowed to enter Costa Rica as a tourist for 30 or 90 days without a visa, with a few exceptions. More detailed information can be found in English here: http://www.costarica-embassy.org/index.php?q=node/72 and in Spanish from the Costa Rican government here: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Paginas/Visas.aspx.