Costa Rica has reopened its land borders

Many tourists can now enter via Costa Rica's land border posts.

As of today, Costa Rica’s land borders have reopened to visitors for the first time in more than a year.

Tourists who don’t require an entry visa can enter Costa Rica via land border posts. This includes citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama and dozens of others. (For a full list, see “Primer Grupo” and “Segundo Grupo” in this link.)

Citizens of countries that do require a visa (Groups 3 and 4 in the above link) still cannot enter via the land borders; this includes Nicaragua.1

As part of today’s changes, Costa Rica has eliminated the 14-day quarantine requirement for people entering via land borders.

Tourists entering Costa Rica must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the Health Pass digital epidemiological form at https://salud.go.cr/. This must be completed within the 48 hours before entering Costa Rica.

  2. Purchase medical insurance covering $50,000 of medical expenses, including Covid-19, and $2,000 for accommodation expenses in case of Covid-19-related quarantine.2

In addition to Covid-related requirements, tourists must demonstrate continuity of travel (e.g. a plan to exit Costa Rica) and economic solvency ($100 per month).

Residents entering Costa Rica must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the Health Pass.

  2. Have a valid DIMEX (ID card) and passport.

  3. Have insurance through the Caja (check here) or purchase 22 days’ worth of travel insurance that meets the above requirements.

Citizens entering Costa Rica must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the Health Pass.

  2. Have a valid Costa Rican passport or cédula (ID card).

For all travelers, the Health Pass generates a QR code that must be presented to immigration authorities.

Why this matters

Costa Rica’s land borders had been closed to visitors since mid-March 2020 due to the coronavirus. This has been a nuisance for so-called perpetual tourists, who had to rely on last-minute extensions from the Immigration Administration in order to legally remain in Costa Rica.

While citizens and residents have been allowed to enter (and exit) via Costa Rica’s land borders since last August, until today a 14-day quarantine order was imposed.

Finally, driving in Costa Rica with a foreign license is tied to the individual’s passport stamp. Easing border restrictions makes it easier for people with a foreign license to continue driving in Costa Rica.

Though this likely doesn’t directly pertain to most of our readers, it’s important to note that flow of migrants through Costa Rica en route to the United States remains suspended by the Tico government.

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1

Regional governments have established “sanitary bubbles” for Nicaraguans who need to transit from Panama through Costa Rica to re-enter their country.

2

Policies offered by the National Insurance Institute (INS) and Sagicor automatically comply with the requirements; there is only a $20,000 medical requirement for those policies.