Costa Rica has become the latest country to launch a mandatory vaccine passport, following an announcement from the country’s President. The vaccine passport will be required by travelers to enter a wide range of different establishments in the country, severely limiting the entertainment and activity options for those heading to the country on vacation if they are ineligible to receive one.

costa rica bay sea

Costa Rica has been a haven for travelers in recent weeks, given that travelers do not need to be vaccinated or even tested for Covid-19 in order to enter, but this latest development could come as a hammer blow to those who are planning or have booked a trip to the country. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the vaccine passport, including when it is set to come into effect, what it is used for and how you can get one. 

costa rica waterfall

Costa Rica’s Vaccine Passport – Information For Travelers

On Tuesday, Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado announced that there would be three changes made in order to facilitate the “gradual and responsible” reopening of the Costa Rica economy. Whilst the first two were fairly innocuous – a relaxation of the country’s vehicle restrictions and an increase of the capacity limits of shops, transport and tourism sectors – it was the third one which is bound to have the most significant impact on travelers and locals alike. 

costa rica bridge

Alvarado revealed that the government will be bringing in a vaccine passport, or vaccine certificate as they are also know. The vaccine passport will be required to access to places under the following 12 categories:

– Restaurants, sodas, cafes and food parks (food courts or food trucks).

– Bars and casinos.

– Retail shops and shopping centers.

– Museums.

– Physical conditioning centers.

– Hotels, cabins, accommodation establishments.

– Spas.

– Activities, organizations and congregations in places of worship.

– Event rooms for business, academic or social activities.

 Adventure tourism.

– Theaters, cinemas, art and dance academies, artistic activity establishments.

– Sports activities establishments.

Playa Chiquita - beach close to Puerto Viejo,

Speaking about the decision to implement a vaccine passport, Alvarado said:

“This will allow us to have greater economic openness and get out of the pandemic faster. Those people who do not have a complete scheme should not be allowed in certain place. Each unvaccinated person puts others at risk.” 

Costa Rica waterfall

The vaccine passport is set to go live from December 1st of this year. It will exist in the form of a QR code, that will need to be scanned to check the holder’s credentials prior to gaining admission to an event or venue. It is set to be made available in the form of an app, which will be released for those living in Costa Rica in the coming days. 

For those visiting the country as a tourist, the process is different. Whilst tourists will be unable to use the Costa Rican vaccine passport, vaccinated travelers can still access the above listed establishments by showing their Health Pass, a document that is needed to enter the country, or their vaccination cards

costa rica is welcoming tourists with travel insurance that covers covid-19

Whilst unvaccinated travelers are still able to enter Costa Rica providing they are insured, the reality of the situation with the vaccine passport means that they will be unable to enjoy the country to its fullest, which could lead to a drop in tourist numbers in the coming months and to some last-minute cancellation of travel plans. 

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19

Mexico Covid-19 Entry Requirements

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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

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Rick T

October 15, 2021 at 08:26 AM

A country that markets itself as a destination for those seeking contact with nature and wellness is mandating a vaccine passport. At least this reveals that it was always just a marketing ploy and that the government there never actually believed any of this.

Their president is part of the Davos crowd so this isn’t a surprise. He must have received a nice kickback for instituting this.



October 15, 2021 at 07:48 AM

Costa Rica was on my travel list along with Colombia and the Dominican Republic coming from Mexico. I guess I will go to Colombia instead. No regrets though. I Costa Rica doesn’t have much to offer except for their Eco-Tourism scams.



October 15, 2021 at 05:52 AM

I guess the globalist money was more appealing than tourist money…

Can’t really say I’m surprised. When I visited recently the general mood was much more like mid-2020, with people still paranoid and worried about masks and such. Quite different from Mexico and the US where in 90% of places people are living normally.

Indeed, people will travel where they are treated better instead. If countries want to be stupid and increase restrictions they will pay the price.

CR is a bit overrated in my opinion and that was in “normal” times. Beach people and pensioners are drawn to it, but it has limited appeal otherwise.

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