On Oct 30 the ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Board) posted an infographic, “COVID Travel FAQ” with some answers about how the January 8, 2022 vaccination mandate will work. (see ICT document).
Unfortunately, they sidestep some of the actual most frequently asked questions so our LFAQ (Least Frequently Answered Questions) and best guess at the answers are below.
Costa Rica Vaccination Requirement Questions and Answers
- Question: Are AirBnB, VRBO and other person tp person rentals exempt?
Answer: They are definitely not exempt. The only exemptions mentioned allow unvaccinated visitors to “stay with family, friends or in their own homes.”
However, they are not included either. Lodging that is specifically included are hotels, cabins or commercial lodging establishments with safety certificates.
- Question: What about children coming from countries with different rules and definitions of “fully vaccinated”?
Answer: in mid-November the ICT updated their description of “fully vaccinated” to include children and teens with 1/1 certificates.
NOTE: new >> children 12-17 are now exempt from vaccine requirements until Feb 1, 2022.
Ideally the rules will continue to bend and adapt because it’s one thing for an adult to decide not to visit Costa Rica because they choose not to be vaccinated, but another thing altogether for a whole family to be forced to cancel their trip because their government and medical experts disagree with Costa Rica’s about vaccinating children.
Compromises allowing lower doses or fewer doses will eventually permit most foreign children to enter businesses or participate in tours but in some cases parents may still need to obtain a letter from their doctor and request an exemption.
- Question: How strictly will the requirements be enforced?
Answer: Of course it’s not acknowledged in an official publication but not all businesses will enforce the new rules. The penalties are significant for those that don’t (fine plus complete closure of the business for 15 days) but anyone who’s spent any time in Costa Rica knows enforcement is not predictable.
Costa Rica Vaccine Requirement Questions that are Answered
- Question: What is “proof” and how do travelers get it?
Answer: Proof consists of a passport plus a QR code OR an accepted, printed vaccination certificate. The procedure for obtaining the QR code will remain unchanged. Visitors will fill out the “pase de salud” aka “digital epidemiological form” and upload an image of their vaccine proof.
- Question: Is proof of vaccination required to visit Costa Rica?
Answer: No. Starting January 8, proof of vaccination is only required to enter restaurants, hotels, shops (not supermarkets) and other non-essential businesses or to participate in tours or activities.
- Question: What about people who have recovered from COVID, received one vaccine dose, and are considered fully vaccinated at home?
Answer: Yes, this counts as fully vaccinated in Costa Rica.
- Question: What about mixing different vaccines?
Answer: Although it is not included in the official FAQ, the ICT now agrees with the ministry of health that yes, you can have one dose of one brand and a second dose of any other accepted brand.
- Question: Can I get an exception?
Answer: Yes, if you have a certifiable medical condition accepted by the Ministry of health as a valid reason not to be vaccinated.