In September, Becci and I decided to leave everything behind and travel. We sold most everything we had, gave our notice to our landlord, and bought two tickets to Costa Rica.
You’re probably thinking – of all the times to travel, why now?
Read more about our decision to leave Los Angeles HERE
The short version of that answer is we saw this time as an opportunity. A chance for us to explore, learn new skills, and follow our dreams.
The following is everything you need to know in order to get to Costa Rica safely and enjoy the pura vida lifestyle.
IMPORTANT: Always check with your country’s local embassy in Costa Rica to get the latest information specific to you.
STEP 1: Get a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-19
This was definitely new to us and will most likely be new to you, as well, but it’s very important because entry into Costa Rica requires all travelers to have proof of a medical insurance policy that also covers any COVID-19 related medical treatment or quarantine lodging while in Costa Rica. And you’ll need the medical insurance policy to cover the exact days that you are in Costa Rica.
You can purchase a Costa Rican medical insurance policy through the National Insurance Institute (INS) or Sagicor. We looked into both and chose to buy our policy through INS which was slightly cheaper at the time we bought. Reason being is that INS has a variable rate that takes into consideration trip length and Sagicor has a flat rate. So, if you are staying in the country for a longer period, INS will most likely be cheaper for you, but if you are staying for a short trip then Sagicor will most likely be your best bet.
If you’d like to use an international policy, these are accepted by Costa Rica as long as they cover the following:
- $50,000 USD for medical expenses associated with COVID-19
- $2,000 USD in accommodation expenses to cover at least 14 days of quarantine
*If you’d like to know how we actually benefited from the travel medical insurance policy read: HERE. We go into detail about how we both contracted Dengue Fever, our experience at the local clinic, and what we learned.
STEP 2: Complete an online Health Pass
IMPORTANT: This pass can only be filled out within 48 hours of your flight and you must first have purchased your travel insurance policy.
The Health Pass (you can access it: HERE) asks for your NAME, AGE, NATIONALITY, PASSPORT NUMBER, FLIGHT DETAILS, HOTEL/ACCOMMODATION (if you are staying in more than one place, you only need to list the first place you are staying), and INSURANCE POLICY NUMBER for verification.
Once you finish filling out the Health Pass you’ll receive a QR Code that you’ll show to the airport gate agent before entering your flight as well as the Immigration Officer at Customs when you land in Costa Rica. You don’t have to print this, so just keep it handy on your phone.
Now that you’re in Costa Rica, what can you do?
STEP 3: Getting around safely
For the most part, Costa Rica is back open. Because tourism is such a huge part of their economy, the government of Costa Rica has been working hard to make it safe for travelers.
In most places you’ll see people wearing masks, even outdoors. We noticed this in San Jose immediately when we arrived there and went out to find some groceries. The streets were busy, but nearly everyone is wearing masks. Also, masks are required to be worn at all times within stores and hotels (grocery, hostels/lodging etc) and on all public transportation (buses, cabs, Uber, etc). Since you’ll be reaching for your mask a lot, make sure you have it on you at all times.
All of this being said, we would like to be very real and honest with you. Although masks are required there are some places where these rules are not adhered to. While we were in Puerto Viejo, many of the bars/restaurants did not require masks to be worn at all. We saw this specifically at places that had entirely outdoor seating. The waiters/waitresses are all wearing masks, however, the customers are almost entirely not wearing masks. We wanted to let you know this so that you can make the decision for yourself on whether or not you want to wear your mask while dining as a precaution.
On December 23rd, the Costa Rican Government implemented new temporary restrictions for driving that apply to the entire country equally:
- Thursday December 31st: Driving is restricted from 7PM to 5AM
- Friday January 1st – January 3rd: Driving is restricted from 8PM to 5AM
- January 4th – January 17th: During the first two weeks of January (from Monday the 4th to Sunday the 17th of January) bars and casinos will operate at 25% capacity, National Parks will operate at 50% capacity, and the beaches are only accessible between 5:00 am and 2:30 pm.
OUR CLOSING THOUGHTS
Costa Rica is a truly beautiful place and we have loved our time here, during Covid-19 and all. If you are planning on a trip here we highly recommend it. The wildlife, nature, pura vida lifestyle, amazing and warm people, will have you loving this place the moment you arrive.
If you have any specific questions for us feel free to leave us a comment below!