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Costa Rica Launches Mandatory Vaccine Passport

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Costa Rica has become the latest country to launch a mandatory vaccine passport, following an announcement from the country's President. The vaccine passport will be required by travelers to enter a wide range of different establishments in the country, severely limiting the entertainment and activity options for those heading to the country on vacation if they are ineligible to receive one.

costa rica bay sea

Costa Rica has been a haven for travelers in recent weeks, given that travelers do not need to be vaccinated or even tested for Covid-19 in order to enter, but this latest development could come as a hammer blow to those who are planning or have booked a trip to the country. Here's a look at everything you need to know about the vaccine passport, including when it is set to come into effect, what it is used for and how you can get one. 

costa rica waterfall

Costa Rica's Vaccine Passport – Information For Travelers

On Tuesday, Costa Rica's President Carlos Alvarado announced that there would be three changes made in order to facilitate the “gradual and responsible” reopening of the Costa Rica economy. Whilst the first two were fairly innocuous – a relaxation of the country's vehicle restrictions and an increase of the capacity limits of shops, transport and tourism sectors – it was the third one which is bound to have the most significant impact on travelers and locals alike. 

costa rica bridge

Alvarado revealed that the government will be bringing in a vaccine passport, or vaccine certificate as they are also know. The vaccine passport will be required to access to places under the following 12 categories:

– Restaurants, sodas, cafes and food parks (food courts or food trucks).

– Bars and casinos.

– Retail shops and shopping centers.

– Museums.

– Physical conditioning centers.

– Hotels, cabins, accommodation establishments.

– Spas.

– Activities, organizations and congregations in places of worship.

– Event rooms for business, academic or social activities.

Adventure tourism.

– Theaters, cinemas, art and dance academies, artistic activity establishments.

– Sports activities establishments.

Playa Chiquita - beach close to Puerto Viejo,

Speaking about the decision to implement a vaccine passport, Alvarado said:

“This will allow us to have greater economic openness and get out of the pandemic faster. Those people who do not have a complete scheme should not be allowed in certain place. Each unvaccinated person puts others at risk.” 

Costa Rica waterfall

The vaccine passport is set to go live from December 1st of this year. It will exist in the form of a QR code, that will need to be scanned to check the holder's credentials prior to gaining admission to an event or venue. It is set to be made available in the form of an app, which will be released for those living in Costa Rica in the coming days. 

For those visiting the country as a tourist, the process is different. Whilst tourists will be unable to use the Costa Rican vaccine passport, vaccinated travelers can still access the above listed establishments by showing their Health Pass, a document that is needed to enter the country, or their vaccination cards

costa rica is welcoming tourists with travel insurance that covers covid-19

Whilst unvaccinated travelers are still able to enter Costa Rica providing they are insured, the reality of the situation with the vaccine passport means that they will be unable to enjoy the country to its fullest, which could lead to a drop in tourist numbers in the coming months and to some last-minute cancellation of travel plans. 

Read More:

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Sunday 31st of October 2021

Totally stupid move. I cancelled travel to Costa Rica and a planned investment there. Vaccine injured, cannot take for medical reasons.


Wednesday 27th of October 2021

I can't believe the number of negative comments about this. We are booked in March and know more people that are coming now because it's so much safer this way. There will soon be nowhere for unvaccinated travellers and that's a good thing. And for those that say "you can still transmit the virus if you're vaccinated", you are MUCH less likely to do so if you are vaccinated, and you are MUCH less likely to become sick and/or die. Why should you be allowed into a country with limited resources just because you're too stubborn or stupid to get vaccinated?


Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Very unfortunate! The Costa Rican tourism industry was kept afloat over the last year by mainly unvaccinated travelers. I was there in May/June and they didn't even require a negative PCR test to enter. Now, they going to bite all of the hands that have fed them and impose ridiculous restrictions. Not allowing anyone who is not vaccinated to stay in a hotel, cabin, Aribnb or other accomodation???!!! WTF??!! Why not just start requiring a negative PCR test as well as a health insurance policy? I had a 3.5 week trip booked in January and will now change it to spend all of my time and $$ in another country.


Thursday 28th of October 2021

@Cheryl, I guess Colombia would be a good option now? Totally dumb move by CR. My guess/hope is the policy will be reversed after a few months.


Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Does this for sure affect tourists? Every hotel I've contacted said it doesn't, but there is also a language barrier there so its hard to say.


Friday 19th of November 2021

@Kendra, they probably told you that because it does not go into effect until Dec. 1st and they want to trick you into coming.


Monday 18th of October 2021

well. i'll be canelling our trip for a month to CR. Heading to land of the Free: Florida instead. Sounds like the non science following CR doesn't wan my money.