Posted on 1/21/2021

Is Costa Rica a Safe Destination to Visit During COVID?

We've said it before (and we'll probably say it again): The decision to travel right now is a personal one. No one can make it for you. What we can do, however, is share some information (and a few personal experiences and anecdotes) on what Costa Rica travel is like right now. Is it safe? What kind of restrictions are in place? What about the airport – what's flying like, right now? And on and on. And, if you do decide to travel, we can also help put your mind at ease with a selection of Costa Rica private villas and beach houses where you can keep your distance and have your vacation, too. But first:

Costa Rica and COVID-19: What to Expect on Your Vacation

The first impression you'll have is that Costa Rica feels safe. And, within today's global framework, Costa Rica is safe: Costa Rica has received the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council. This stamp certifies a destination as safe for travel, per 16 health and hygiene protocols. Masks are mandatory. Nearly every business offers a hand-washing station and/or gel alcohol at the entrance. Many check-out and purchasing areas have a clear divide to separate customers from cashiers. Some taxis have even installed plexiglass partitions. There is no doubt that Costa Rica has taken the pandemic seriously. Or that these efforts go beyond what we immediately see: Costa Rica has also enacted a series of [sometimes complicated] protocols and provisions regarding driving, shop openings, restaurant/bar capacity, and even beach hours ­– all, in an effort to slow the spread. Here's what you can expect:

COVID Health Protections in Costa Rica

Costa Rica: land of lush rain forests, idyllic beaches, rolling mountains, and roaring rivers. It's the perfect place to stay distanced – to keep to yourself, gloriously isolated in paradise. And, Costa Rica has been working to keep its outdoor spaces safe. As of January 2021, vacations look very much as they always have: Restaurants and bars (limited capacity), tour operators, attractions and activities are open. National parks are welcoming visitors. Through January 31, 2021, beach hours close at 6 p.m. Beginning February 1, 2021, beaches are scheduled to re-open. Non-contact sports – surfing, SUP, etc. – are permitted, although beachgoers are reminded to stay within their social bubbles. Driving restrictions are in place, but they don't apply to rental vehicles. In other words, a Costa Rican vacation today is very similar to how it has always been: Outdoors, splashing in the Pacific, exploring the tropics, and lounging by your private pool.

Where to Stay: Two Costa Rica Private Villas for Luxury Social Distancing

Speaking of private pools – where better than a Costa Rica private villa, to stay distanced and safe, while vacationing in Costa Rica? At Stay in Tamarindo, we observe strict safety and cleaning protocols, so you can escape to peace of mind and paradise with your bubble. Here are two just such private villas, to get your travel inspiration flowing:

Casa Orchidea

Hacienda Pinilla | 6 Bedrooms | 4.5 Baths | Sleeps 13

Named for Costa Rica's national flower, Casa Orchidea is a Spanish-style mansion, ensconced within serenity and the luxury of Hacienda Pinilla. Spend languid afternoons by your ultra-private infinity pool and relaxing on the terrace, in a hammock, or on cozy loungers. The surrounding living green privacy fence affords an extra layer of separation and, what's more, you're also just a short walk to the beach and the Pacific – to long walks on the sand, surfing at sunset, and splashing in warm waves. Welcome to paradise!

Casa Lomas del Mar

Tamarindo | 4 Bedrooms | 4 Baths | Sleeps 8

This sleek, modern and luxurious Costa Rica private villa offers one of the country's most breathtaking, most jaw-dropping panoramic views. There's nothing like it. Secreted into a hillside paradise and an exclusive gated community, Casa Lomas del Mar is a perfect choice for your unforgettable vacation away from the crowds. Here, you'll bask by your private infinity-edge pool, sit down to outdoor dinners, read on your ocean-view balcony, and enjoy all the luxuries of a just-for-you getaway. And, if you're the type to work while you vacation, you'll be happy to know that many of our Costa Rica private villas, including Casa Orchidea and Casa Lomas del Mar, offer 100 Mbps internet access – sufficient for everything you need, from video conference calls to, yes, even streaming entertainment.

Find Your Ideal Villa Rental

Costa Rica 2021 COVID-19 Protocols & Policies

When you're not installed at your Costa Rica private villa, enjoying all the big and little luxuries, you'll be out enjoying Costa Rica at large: rainforests and beaches, mangroves and dry forests, rivers and islands. But first, you'll have to travel here. We did say a few things had changed, and most of them related to air travel to/from Costa Rica. Here's what you can expect:

COVID Protocols at Costa Rican Airports

At Stay in Tamarindo, we're in the unique position of speaking with travelers who have recently flown to/from Costa Rica. So, first things first: What's it like to fly right now? In general, it's a lot like everyday life: You're going to be wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and using a lot of hand sanitizer. What's different, depending on your departure and destination, is that lines and wait times are often shorter than they were pre-pandemic. After all, there are fewer travelers and, additionally, airports and airlines want to protect those who do. Other than that, flying is fairly same-old, same-old. Same planes, same travel times, same in-flight entertainment options. There are typically no in-flight snacks or beverages, though! (Read more on why science deems air travel a "lower-risk" activity.) That said, here's what is different:

Requirements to Enter Costa Rica:

  • You must complete the Health Pass.
  • You must purchase Traveler's Medical Insurance (international or Costa Rican), effective for your visit and that covers at least $50,000 in medical expenses (including COVID) and a minimum $2,000 for COVID-related (possible quarantine) lodging expenses.
That's it!

Requirements to Return Home:

Depending on your home country, you may be required to complete additional requirements. Please note that these requirements are valid only as of January 2020; please check current requirements for your home country!
  • United States: As of January 26, 2021, anyone traveling to the U.S., including citizens and permanent residents, will be required to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of boarding their flight. Alternately, people who have tested positive in the last three months may present their positive test results AND a doctor's letter clearing them for travel. On January 21, 2021, the U.S. also announced that international travelers will be required to quarantine; details, including the quarantine period, are still under review. We will update when we have more information.
  • Canada: As of January 7, 2021, all travelers to Canada are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test prior to entering the country. By law, they are also required to quarantine for 14 days upon return.
  • United Kingdom: As of January 18, 2021, the United Kingdom will require all incoming travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test (within 72 hours) and quarantine upon arrival.
  • European Union: Requirements vary by country. Please check with your Health Ministry or Embassy.
Need help with finding buying travel health insurance, getting a COVID-19 test prior to a flight, or finding that just-right Costa Rica private villa rental? We can help!


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