Costa Rica Mandatory Health Insurance During COVID
As noted previously, while Costa Rica does not require quarantine or negative PCR COVID tests upon entry, all tourists entering Costa Rica must present travel insurance that meets their specific requirements.
There are two nationally recognized insurance agencies recommended by the Costa Rican government, both of which are extremely costly.
Choosing Your Own Insurance
A preferable, and less expensive option is for tourists to choose their own insurance, as long as the policy meets three particular criteria:
- It is in effect for the full length of the trip (from the time you land in Costa Rica until the time you leave);
- It provides a minimum of $50,000 USD worth of COVID-19 medical coverage. Note: most policies will not describe this as ‘COVID-19 medical coverage.’ Rather, COVID-19 will either be specifically included or excluded from the policy. The Safety Wing policy we recommend, specifically includes COVID-19 medical coverage; and
- It provides minimum $2000 USD coverage for lodging expenses as a result of the pandemic. Note: most policies describe this coverage as ‘trip interruption’ or ‘trip cancellation’ insurance.
This is the route we recommend, and we, along with other members of our team from various countries, have entered Costa Rica multiple times during the pandemic using the Safety Wing health insurance plan linked here. Safety Wing is considerably cheaper than other options we have found and meets all the requirements set by the Costa Rica government. For instance, our team members between the ages of 30-40 paid approximately $40 for a two week trip, while our younger adults paid only $20, with even our senior members paying $65 (when other companies said she could not be insured).
Read on for full instructions on how to purchase insurance that meets the Costa Rican guidelines with Safety Wing.
How to Purchase Travel Insurance on Safety Wing for Travel to Costa Rica During COVID
Travel to Costa Rica during COVID requires mandatory health insurance meeting certain criteria. Here’s a step by step guide on how to purchase it with Safety Wing. Our team has entered Costa Rica multiple times during the pandemic using the Safety Wing health insurance plan linked here and has found it to be much more affordable than other options.
1. Click here and sign up for an account on Safety Wing.
2. Click “Buy insurance” and select your start date. We recommend choosing the option “I want an end date” but Safety Wing also has monthly and other forms of plans available.
3. If you receive an error message indicating that Safety Wing cannot sell you insurance because you are located in your home country, simply click the option to confirm that you are not. This is an error that some, but not all of our writers have received. Another option for those who receive this message is to wait to purchase the insurance until you have left your home country. This error message may look something like this:
“Are you currently located in the United States? Your address is located in the United States. Due to restrictions and regulations we cannot sell you insurance if you are currently physically located there. You can cross the border in any way and buy insurance immediately when you have left.
I confirm that I am not currently physically located in United States.
4. Enter your personal information, your beneficiary name and Costa Rica as your destination.
5. On the next page you can choose to add group members. Here you can add multiple members to your insurance policy. This will not save money on the policy, but it may be easier to have all members of your party on a single insurance policy for logistics purposes. Note that this option only works if all member of your party are in the same age category. Otherwise you will need to sign up for their insurance policy under a separate account on Safety Wing.
6. Complete the insurance purchase.
7. Wait for the email with your Safety Wing. insurance policy number and take a screenshot or download the policy card. You will submit a photo of this policy number on the online Costa Rica Health Pass (QR Code) form that must be filled out before you travel. That form is linked here.
8. **Important: After you have submitted your information on the above linked Costa Rica Health Pass (QR Code) form, the Costa Rican health authority will email you saying that you need to prove that you have trip interruption/ trip cancellation insurance of up to $2000. They may also tell you that your insurance is not adequate and you have to pay more. You do not need to.
As explained to me by the Costa Rican Customs authority, this is because with only the policy number you submitted on the Costa Rica Health Pass (QR Code) form, they cannot access the full description of your policy coverage, and Safety Wing has a variety of policies, some of which do not meet the full requirements for Costa Rican travel during COVID.
To address this, simply reply to the email with the following: “Please find attached our insurance coverage policy. We have $5000 in trip interruption as described on page 8.” Then attach your Description of Coverage PDF linked here. You should also download this PDF to your phone or print it in case you need to show it at the border in the event you did not fill out the Costa Rica Health Pass (QR Code) form early enough or there is a backlog in their internal review process.
10. Note: If you failed to fill out the Costa Rica Health Pass (QR Code) form early enough before traveling to Costa Rica, or failed to respond to the emails noted in Step 8 with a copy of the Description of Coverage PDF, you may be asked to go to a secondary inspection area upon arrival in Costa Rica to present this information. Do not worry if this happens to you. Simply show them the information noted in Step 8 and they will send you on your way. This happened to us on our third entry to Costa Rica during the pandemic, and we were somewhat worried, but soon realized there was nothing to fear. We showed them the Description of Coverage PDF at page 8 (Trip Interruption clause) and were sent on our way.
11. Enjoy Costa Rica!
Costa Rica COVID Entry Requirements Checklist
Use this list as a guide to ensure you have all you need to enter Costa Rica during COVID.
- Check if you need a visa for entry to Costa Rica. American and Canadian citizens do not.
- Complete online Costa Rica Health Pass. Take a screenshot of the QR Code produced or keep the email handy. You will need to show this QR Code multiple times throughout the air journey to Costa Rica and upon arrival at customs.
- Obtain travel health insurance that meets the Costa Rican COVID travel requirements.
- Follow all health protocols while in Costa Rica.
- Before returning to the United States or Canada: Get proof of a negative COVID-19 test, performed no longer than 72 hours before departure while in Costa Rica. For Canada, a PCR test is required. For the USA, either an Antigen or PCR test may be utilized. Note, at the time of writing, fully vaccinated travelers still require a negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada and the USA.
~Eileen Rhein from @lighttravelsfaster