Costa Rica

Last updated October 26, 2020

Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2021 — Green

Starting August 1, Costa Rica started allowing passengers from certain countries as long as they have the proper medical certification and insurance. And as of November 1, the country is allowing travelers from all US states. After a short increase, virus levels are going down and we are extremely optimistic for a Spring 2021 semester in Costa Rica.

Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching. Each of these components help us determine when we’ll be able to send volunteers to Costa Rica again (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info changes often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.

Getting There

As of November  1st, US citizens from all U.S. states are allowed to visit Costa Rica

Travelers must arrive with an electronic health pass and a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test (taken within 48 hours of travel).  Americans must also provide a driver’s license proving their home address is in one of the permitted states. All travelers must have medical insurance, which for an ILP semester depends on your age and extent of the coverage. We found a policy ILP volunteers could purchase that meets the country’s minimal requirements for around $240 – $280 for the duration of your semester.

ILP volunteers don’t need a visa to visit Costa Rica, so no need to wait on that!

Flights to Costa Rica are operating as of August 1st.

Daily Life

This small country has done an excellent job keeping virus numbers low, reporting very low cases for several months. There has been a trend of daily cases increasing, then decreasing over the last few weeks. It’s something we are watching very closely. As of October 26th, Costa Rica reported more than 780 active cases per 100,000. We’re hoping that number goes back down.

Schools in Costa Rica opened July 1st with a phased approach from oldest to youngest students. With the country’s increase in cases, having younger students come back to school has been pushed back until September 1st, but some educators think that date may be pushed back even further, unfortunately. 

It’s important to also note that ILP volunteers teach at some places that are not public schools and not under the same restrictions. We will post information about those programs separately as it begins to change.

We’re working on gathering more details about what daily life is looking like (and what it will look like when borders open back up). Thanks for hanging tight for right now.

Out & About

More info coming soon, so stay tuned.

Costa Rica was first focused on opening up their country for domestic tourism. Recently, locals have been visiting favorite beaches, resorts, and national parks. Having so many things open is a good sign for international tourists when the time comes.

Volunteers should be able to spend time with the country’s famous waterfalls, hiking through jungles, and soaking up some serious sunshine while on the beach. 

Typically, volunteers love heading to Nicaragua or Panama on vacation.  Out of country travel like that will likely be an option if there aren’t quarantine requirements for returning back to Costa Rica or arriving in countries you’d like to vacation in. Panama is currently a virus hotspot (with high infection rates like the US) while Nicaragua could still turn out to be a vacation option.

We’re keeping an eye on policies in these popular vacay spots and will let volunteers know their options as their semester gets closer.

Can I still apply for Costa Rica?

Absolutely! Things are looking good for a Spring 2021 semester here, so we’d recommend getting a jump on your application ASAP. As outlined above, we are eying a few policies and will update those as it will impact future semesters, but are excited for our current and future volunteers at this location.  If  you’re considering traveling in 2021 or even 2022, now is a great time to start your application for those semesters as well. 

We’ve been in contact on a local level to help us paint a picture of what volunteering and teaching there will be like and are so excited for volunteers to get back to Costa Rica.

What is traveling and living in Costa Rica like right now? 

For Costa Rica, things have slowly been opening back up both for domestic and international tourism. We’re anticipating some of the same precautions you’d take at home (plan on wearing a mask and social distancing). Just like there is a risk to go out in Utah right now, there will be risks to traveling anywhere, including Costa Rica.