Beginning on January 8, Costa Rica will require proof of vaccination for access to hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, museums, stores and even the country's famed adventure tourism services. The new rules will apply to anyone over the age of 12—including locals and visitors.

Costa Rica doesn't require proof of vaccination for entry to the country but from January 8, "unvaccinated tourists 12 years and older will not be allowed to enter commercial establishments," the Costa Rica tourism board confirmed.

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Traditional Costa Rican restaurant Soda – a colorful wooden house surrounded by lush tropical vegetation in Puerto Viejo
Proof of vaccination will be required to access restaurants in Costa Rica ©phortun/Shutterstock

Who will be impacted by Costa Rica's new COVID-19 policies? 

With its vaccination pass applying to most everyday places across the country, Costa Rica's rules will be among the tightest in the Americas. Hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, cafes, stores, museums, theaters, cinemas, gyms, leisure facilities and adventure tourism services will all be covered under the scheme. Only essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies will not require proof of vaccination from customers.

Individuals will be required to show proof through a QR code or a "COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card". Vaccines recognized in Costa Rica include the Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson shots.

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Will there be a transition period for local businesses? 

The transition period where businesses can admit patrons who are not vaccinated, provided they operate at 50% capacity, is slated to end on January 7. If a business wishes to operate at 100% capacity, it must require proof of vaccination from customers at the door.

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What are entry requirements for unvaccinated travelers?

January will also bring about changes to Costa Rica's entry requirements. Currently, anyone can visit, regardless of vaccination status but people over 18 who are unvaccinated must take out a health insurance policy that covers COVID-19 and quarantine expenses. From January 8, the travel insurance requirement will be extended to those over the age of 12 who are unvaccinated.

Visitors will still need to complete the digital Health Pass form at least 72 hours before their trip.

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This article was first published November 2021 and updated December 2021

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