Although Costa Rica is a pretty easy country to travel to, there are still requirements and some restrictions. Be sure you and your guests doublecheck what you need at least 4 months before your trip so you’re not being turned away at the airport (it happens on a regular basis).
Visitors from the USA, Canada, European Union, Japan and a number of other countries do not need a visa – a complete list of countries and their visa requirements can be found here. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from date of entrance (ie if you enter Costa Rica on January 1, 2015, your passport cannot expire prior to July 1, 2015).
You must also have either a return ticket or a ticket to travel onwards to another country.
Vaccines are not required to enter Costa Rica except for people whom have traveled via the Sub-Saharan Africa or South America. Below is the info from the Costa Rican Embassy website:
If you will be traveling to Costa Rica from South America and/or sub-Saharan Africa, you will need the YELLOW FEVER VACCINE. The countries considered at risk are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso,Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria,Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Venezuela.
You can travel to Costa Rica ten days after the shot.
Any individual traveling to Costa Rica that has been in transit, whether in airports, sea ports, or land borders, in the following countries, will require a vaccination: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela
- People who have been in countries considered at risk, but who have remained at least six days in a non-risk country before entering Costa Rican territory and who haven’t developed the yellow fever.
- People with contraindications for the vaccination against yellow fever who carry a valid medical opinion supported by the health authority in the country from where they are from.
- Children under 9 months old, people with severe allergy to eggs, immunosuppression and thymic disease present or in their medical history.
- There must be a medical assessment of the pros and cons of vaccination on people with the following conditions: over 60 years of age, pregnancy, lactation, family history of adverse events associated with vaccination against yellow fever, hypersensitivity to gelatin and asymptomatic HIV infection, with laboratory verification of adequate immune system function.
If you or your guests have any questions, please contact the Costa Rican consulate in your jurisdiction. Better to be safe than sorry!