Foreign travel advice

Costa Rica

Important COVID-19 Travel

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.

Check the rules that apply to you in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.

Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. You must self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.

When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. For those travelling from a country on the banned travel list you will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.

Summary

The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • the whole of Costa Rica based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

Travel to Costa Rica is subject to entry restrictions

  • From 1 November 2020, all travellers proceeding from any country will be admitted into Costa Rica as long as they comply with the requirements below:
  • Check the requirements for entry. From 26 October 2020, you will no longer need to have a negative COVID-19 certificate within 72 hours of departure, or self-isolate for 14 days. However, you will still need to buy insurance with specific cover requirements and complete an advance epidemiological information form. These requirements are likely to be strictly enforced
  • If you are a resident of Costa Rica, you will be allowed entry into the country, but may have to self-isolate for 14 days. You must complete the epidemiological information form which will specify the exact actions to be taken

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.

Preparing for your return journey to the UK

If you are returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:

If your return journey to the UK transits another country, you should check whether it is subject to a travel ban or any other additional requirements. If so, contact your travel provider.

Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.

Keep up to date with FCDO travel advice and social media. You can sign up for our email alert service to be notified of any updates to our travel advice. See our tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a storm.

If you are planning travel to Costa Rica, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page.

Commercial flights are not running normally. United Airlines, Iberia, Air France and Lufthansa are operating some flights and other airlines are resuming operations on certain dates. Check with the airlines or a travel agent. If you need consular assistance, email the British Embassy at consular.costarica@fcdo.gov.uk.

Around 91,000 British nationals visited Costa Rica in 2019. Most visits are trouble-free, but incidents of violent crime against tourists have increased. There have been incidents of robbery at gunpoint involving groups of British visitors, and 2 incidents in August 2018 that led to the deaths of tourists. See Crime.

Although there’s no history of terrorism in Costa Rica, attacks can’t be ruled out. Attacks involving an explosive device occurred in front of a parliamentary office building and a TV station in San Jose in June and July 2019 respectively. See Terrorism.

There have been a number of deaths and cases of serious illness in Costa Rica caused by drinking alcoholic drinks containing methanol. See Methanol poisoning.

Beaches in Costa Rica may have dangerous currents and these are not always indicated by signs. Life guards are not usually present. Seek local advice and take extreme care. See Swimming and water sports.

Cases of dengue in Costa Rica have been increasing year-on-year. The rise in cases in 2020 has been significant and is most pronounced in the provinces of Limon and Puntarenas. See Health.

UK health authorities have classified Costa Rica as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Increased activity of several volcanoes has caused national park and airport closures and this could happen again at any time. See Natural disasters.

If you need to contact the emergency services, call 911 (English speaking operators are available).

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission.