Travel to Costa Rica during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

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(CNN) — If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Costa Rica opened back up for tourism in November. The country has eased restrictions in recent weeks, and is looking into creating a digital nomad visa to drum up visitors who’ll make lasting contributions to the local economy.

What’s on offer

Costa Rica is known for its “pura vida” (pure life), and, pandemic aside, the vida is still pura here. This is a country for nature lovers, with both a Caribbean and Pacific coast, and jungle covering about a quarter of the country. Whether you’re here for the cloudforests, the volcanoes or the incredible nature and wildlife, your shoulders will definitely drop a few inches.

Who can go

Everyone. Costa Rica opened back up — even for tourism — on November 1, 2020. However, there are of course restrictions. And standard visa regulations still apply.

What are the restrictions?

There’s no need for a negative PCR test as there was initially. All passengers must fill out a Health Pass before travel. The website gives a QR code that you should show on arrival.

Tourists traveling to Costa Rica must have valid travel insurance which covers potential quarantine accommodation up to $2,000 and medical expenses of at least $50,000 due to Covid-19. This must be accompanied by a certificate in English or Spanish, giving the policyholder’s name, the dates of coverage, and guarantees as stipulated above.

If you can’t get a policy that includes quarantine insurance, there are suggestions of insurers on the Health Pass website.

Residents and Costa Rican nationals may be subject to self-isolation on arrival.

The land borders are closed to non-residents, and residents crossing via land must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

What’s the Covid situation?

Costa Rica has seen 206,000 cases and under 3,000 deaths during the pandemic. Along with Mexico, it was the first country to receive vaccines in December. Around 150,000 people have been vaccinated so far.

What can visitors expect?

Things are getting back to a relative normal. National parks and beaches are open — the latter till 6 p.m.. Restaurants and bars have reopened, but clubs have not, and concerts and large groups are banned.

There is a nightly curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Daytime driving restrictions, which were previously in place, have ended (except in capital San José, where congestion-reducing restrictions are the norm anyway).

In an attempt at recovery, the country is planning a roll-out of year-long visas for digital nomads, with the possibility of renewal for one more year. Currently there’s a 90-day limit on tourist stays.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

CNN’s Julia Buckley contributed to this report

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