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Costa Rica Removes PCR Test Requirement For Tourists

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Costa Rica announced today they will be removing the PCR Covid-19 test requirement for incoming tourists effective October 26th. 

The current requirement forced visitors to bring proof of a negative test result, taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival into the country.

airport in costa rica no pcr test

With many Americans and Canadians (Costa Rica’s largest tourism base) finding it difficult to fulfill the testing requirements, many travelers were looking elsewhere to vacation, notable countries with no test requirements like Mexico or the Dominican Republic.

Now, with Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura announcing Costa Rica’s decision to eliminate the PCR test requirement, they are about to see a surge in their tourism industry.

jungle costa rica

Costa Rica has been in the news non-stop lately, all with great news for eager visitors this winter.

On October 6th they announced that they will allow tourists from every US state to visit, On October 13th the US government dropped their travel advisory for Costa Rica from a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ to a Level 3 ‘Reconsider Travel’, and now with wonderful news about dropping the PCR test.

flying into costa rica

October 26, 2020 is the effective date for ‘test-free’ entry.

Any visitors before October 26th will still be required to bring a 72-hour negative PCR test. 

This lines up perfectly with the November 1st date of welcoming ALL American travelers, as currently, only visitors from select states can visit.

Rio Celeste, a waterfall in Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica

Even though the PCR test may be disappearing passengers into Costa Rica will still need to adhere to all other entry requirements, like filling out an electronic Health Pass before departure, obtaining travel insurance that meets their specific criteria, and of course being a resident in a country currently permitted to visit.

sloth in costa rica

Residents of the following countries can currently visit Costa Rica:

  • All EU and Schengen Nations
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Uruguay
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • China
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • The United States (all states as of Nov 1)

Update November 1: Costa Rica has now reopened to ALL destinations as of November, 1, 2020. The above list is no longer needed. 

costa rica travel 2020

Since entry requirements and rules can change a lot, we've made a frequently updated guide called “Costa Rica Covid-19 Entry Requirements”

Bookmark it and check it before your trip!

American tourist in Costa Rica

With restrictions loosening, airlines are going to start to expand on their flight routes into Costa Rica, which is again perfect timing for winter holidays. 

Read More: See all countries where Americans and Canadians can travel, companies offering travel insurance that covers covid, and the TOP 10 places to travel during the pandemic

Sources: TicoTimes 

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

Article originally published October 22, 2020


Friday 23rd of October 2020

This is great news! We have a cruise scheduled for January but if that gets canceled, we may consider doing an AI in Costa Rica. I've always heard such good things about that country. In any event, this decision tracks with what I've been thinking for about 3 months, namely that countries whose economies depend heavily on tourism have to find some way of luring tourists back. Good for them!


Friday 23rd of October 2020

One question: do you need to be a resident in one of the listed countries to be allowed to enter Costa Rica or just had spent the last 14 days in one of the allowed countries? Thanks!!

Kashlee Kucheran

Friday 23rd of October 2020

We aren't sure at this time, sorry. Most countries base it on Residency

Andre Larkins Griffin II

Friday 23rd of October 2020

Is this fake news? Or is this real? I just scheduled my RT PCR test for next month. So now I don’t need it!

Kashlee Kucheran

Friday 23rd of October 2020

Obviously, we don't publish 'fake news' (insert eye roll here) Yes, Costa Rica is removing the PCR test requirement as of October 26. If you have doubts, you are welcome to contact border police, the consulate, or the tourism board to confirm.


Thursday 22nd of October 2020

Wow, what are they thinking? Mexico was pretty bad from the beginning, but Costa Rica clamped down early and kept delaying tourism and did a good job for the most part managing the crisis while enabling responsible tourism They're just going to blow all their progress for a few months of American tourist dollars? Pretty irresponsible.


Friday 23rd of October 2020

What progress? They have one of the worst cases-per-capita ratio worldwide. :)