Traveling to Costa Rica: Entry Protocols, Policy Changes, Easy Testing & More (April 2021)

Eager to plan your first international surf trip since the pandemic? Can’t stop daydreaming about catching World Class Waves in a warm-water paradise? Now that vaccines are being rolled out on a massive scale and covid protocols feel second nature to everyone, travel anxiety is being replaced with travel excitement! When choosing your next destination, our region of Guanacaste, Costa Rica should stand out because sunshine and social distancing are baked into our tourism recipe. Plus, traveling to Costa Rica is remarkably easy compared to similar destinations. 

Protocols Before Entering Costa Rica:

  • All travelers (unless vaccinated*) must purchase travel insurance which covers medical expenses and hotel accommodations in the event that you become infected while on vacation. We’ve been recommending the pre-approved Costa Rican companies, SAGICOR or Anthem Blue Cross, since this became a requirement. These companies have user-friendly websites (in English) and different insurance packages to accommodate single travelers, families, long-term stays, etc. 
  • * Starting on August 1st, vaccinated travelers do not need to purchase travel insurance. Vaccinated travelers must prove they’ve received an approved vaccine: Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson. They must also prove the last dose of the schedule must have been administered at least 14 days before entering Costa Rica. Finally proof must be demonstrated with a document that includes the person’s full name, date of each dose, formula, and lot number.
  • All travelers must fill out a Health Pass within 72-hours of your first departure flight. This is basically a health questionnaire that asks questions about your current state of health, if you’ve been vaccinated, if you’ve had the virus, etc. These form must be completed by all travelers, even minors, without exception. 
  • Costa Rica does not require a negative coronavirus test to enter or exit the country.

Costa Rica’s Nationwide Covid Measures

  • Beaches and National Parks OPEN from 5am – 6pm
  • All outdoor tourism activities permitted
  • Vast majority of restaurants and bars can operate (with some capacity restrictions) from 5am – 11pm
  • Nationwide driving restriction from 11pm – 5am (rental cars / tourism transportation exempt)
  • Concerts, fairs, nightclubs, large religious processions are NOT permitted
  • Masks are required in all indoor settings except when eating, while alone, or in a private residence. You can be denied entry into an establishment if you are not wearing a mask


Witch’s Rock Surf Camp’s Covid Measures

  • 50% van occupancy for surf tours and airport transportation
  • Mandatory mask in van for everyone (Large, 15 passenger Mercedes vans)
  • Restaurant staff, maintenance, surf shop employees with masks 100% of the time without exception
  • Mandatory mask for guests while in surf shop and other closed areas without exception
  • Seminars being held in open air restaurant (mask optional).
  • Hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout camp.
  • Temperature checks daily and frequent testing for Witch’s Rock staff.
  • Social distancing (please use your best judgment).

Witch’s Rock Policy Change – Less is More

Since we’ve opened back up to international travelers in November 2020, we’ve made some policy changes that have been beneficial to our guests and business alike. The major change you’ll notice is less people in our surf programs. In fact, we’ve reduced the surf program numbers by about 50%. We’ve done this by requiring that all surf program guests stay at our main site. In other words, in order to participate in one of our surf programs, you now must stay at our beachfront hotel, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. This policy change has made a noticeable difference in our guest experience as you can see in our latest TripAdvisor Reviews. 

We’re utilizing our sister location, Pueblo Dorado Surf Hotel, as an accommodations-only option which has been ideal for long-term digital nomads working remotely or guests that simply want to explore Costa Rica on their own terms (while still receiving daily breakfast and board rental). 


Getting Back Home (Covid Free)

The overwhelming majority of tourists have come from the United States.  In fact, of the nearly 90,000 arrivals in March 2021, more than two-thirds (70%) came from the United States. 

The (CDC) has announced that all international airline passengers flying back to the United States must show proof of a negative Covid-19 result taken within 3 days before boarding their return flight, even if fully vaccinated.  Policy has been in effect since January 26, 2021 and it’s gone very smoothly at camp.  Witch’s Rock has a doctor coming onsite on Wednesdays to administer a PCR test for our Saturday – Saturday guests.  For those not doing Saturday – Saturday trips, there are several clinics in Tamarindo that also offer this test as well and we’ll help you schedule the test at check-in. There is also new laboratory at the Liberia (LIR) airport where you can take the test on your departure day (must arrive 4 hours before flight). 

Ready to Get on Board?

Costa Rica is an excellent option to travel again. We spend most of our days outside, our food is fresh and local, there is no shortage of Vitamin-D, and our low stress, Pura Vida attitude is just what you need during these crazy times.

Furthermore, several airlines are also opening new routes to Costa Rica from the USA. 

United Airlines will operate more flights to Costa Rica than it did in 2019. This includes flights from Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.

 American Airlines will “unground” remaining planes and operate all of its aircraft for the first time since the pandemic started.

Starting in July, low-cost carrier Frontier will initiate routes from Orlando and Miami, representing new flights from an airline that hadn’t served Costa Rica in several years.

Contact us Toll Free at 1-888-318-7873 or email us at if you’d like to start planning.

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