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Travel insurance for Costa Rica

Compare the best Costa Rica travel insurance in 2021.

Costa Rica is a natural wonder full of beautiful beaches, delicious food and stunning hikes. It’s known as the home of pura vida, or the “pure life,” given its simple and stress-free atmosphere. So let yourself relax with a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers you for the unexpected.

What's changed in 2021?

The US government has issued a Level 3 travel advisory for Costa Rica as of February 2021. Read the fine print of your travel insurance policy to learn whether it covers emergencies, evacuations, interruptions or cancellations for your DR trip during the pandemic. Learn more about restrictions and requirements for US travelers by country.

*Be aware that most travel insurance policies don’t offer COVID-19 coverage. To find one that does, have a look at travel insurance policies that cover the coronavirus.*

How to compare travel insurance plans for Costa Rica

Depending on the nature of your trip, there are numerous events to cover yourself against. Whether you’re lounging on the beach, touring around to see the sights or participating in extreme sports, here are some suggestions:

Medical. All travelers must consider coverage for the unexpected regardless of age, health or ability. Accidents, injuries or illness can happen in the blink of an eye and you’ll want to be sure you’re covered if you need treatment, medication or a stay in the hospital. Plans can range from the basics to full coverage.

Travel cancellation and interruption. This coverage includes flight delays, interruptions and cancellations — even due to hurricanes.

Luggage loss and theft. If your suitcase accidentally gets rerouted to another location, or if your wallet or purse gets stolen, it’s wise to have this coverage.

Activity. Are you visiting Costa Rica for the thrill? Here is a list of considerations when deciding on activity coverage:

  • River and whitewater boating. River trips in Costa Rica can be languid, scenic or adrenaline-pumping whitewater expeditions, depending on your preference. Take note of any exclusions on your insurance policy — you may be required to hire a licensed guide.
  • Photographing the wildlife. Costa Rica is a favorite spot for photographers. And undoubtedly — it’s home to as much as 5% of the world’s plant and animal species. If you’re bringing expensive equipment, get a policy limit high enough to reimburse you if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Scuba diving. Costa Rica is home to beautiful waters, and diving is popular. Some policies don’t cover diving injuries, so check with your insurer before you get on the boat.
  • Hiking and mountain climbing. If you plan on challenging the peaks and cliffs of Costa Rica, you may consider evacuation coverage, in case you’re injured and need to be helicoptered out.

Compare travel insurance plans for Costa Rica

Name Product Trip Cancellation Emergency Medical Expenses Baggage Coverage Trip Delay
Atlas Travel by Tokio Marine
Customizable policy that balances basic essentials with premium coverage.
Atlas Group Insurance by Tokio Marine
Customizable policy designed for families, student organizations and groups of five or more people.
RoamRight Essential Travel Insurance Plan
Basic policy with coverage that includes trip cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance and baggage insurance.
RoamRight Multi-Trip Annual Insurance for Trip Cancellation
Bare-bones policy designed for those who want trip cancellation coverage and limited medical protection.
AXA Assistance Silver Plan
Basic travel protection with lower amounts of coverage. No option to cancel for any reason.

Compare up to 4 providers

    What doesn’t travel insurance cover?

    Exclusions are conditions that your travel insurance policy may not pay out for. Common exclusions to watch out for include:

    • Reckless or irresponsible behavior. If you think an insurer could successfully argue that your behavior was unreasonable, irresponsible or intentionally put yourself or someone else in danger, then they may refuse to pay out.
    • Pre-existing conditions. If you get sick due to an illness or condition you didn’t clear with your insurer, you may not be covered.
    • Failure to take precautions. If you failed to secure your stolen property or choose not to follow road signs, your insurer can refuse to pay out your policy.

    How to stay safe in Costa Rica

    Find a travel insurance policy to protect yourself from potential hazards while seeing Costa Rica. While you’re there keep in mind to watch out for these issues:

    • Crime. Petty theft and more serious crimes are prevalent, particularly at night. Take sensible precautions with your belongings and avoid traveling alone when possible, even if you’re driving. Watch for “express kidnappings,” where people are abducted and forced to withdraw money from an ATM to secure their release.
    • Driving hazards. Poorly-maintained roads and vehicles, inadequate signage, landslides and inconsistent local driving practices can pose numerous risks. Travelers are advised to drive with the doors closed, windows locked and valuables out of sight. In an accident, you’re required to stay with your vehicle and not move it until traffic police arrive.
    • Dangerous waters. Strong coastal currents on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica can make swimming dangerous. Lifeguards are not common on public beaches, and you should always assume risk.
    • Seismic activity. Volcanic events can result in airport closures and flight delays. Costa Rica is also subject to earthquakes and tsunamis that could delay — or even cancel — your trip.
    • Weather events. The rainy season in Costa Rica is generally from May to November but extends even further, while peak hurricane season is from June to November. Monitor local media for warnings, and follow the instructions of local authorities in the event of an emergency.

      What happens if I have a medical emergency in Costa Rica?

      Costa Rica’s healthcare system is well-developed, and its residents enjoy a higher standard of public medical treatment than most other countries in the region.

      Only Costa Rican citizens and permanent residents get universal healthcare, leaving visitors to rely on travel health insurance.

      • Find a travel insurance policy that pays up front for medical expenses. A doctor or hospital in Costa Rica may refuse to treat you without upfront payment or an arrangement with your insurer.
      • Pharmacies play a more important role in Costa Rica than they do in America. For nonemergencies, go to a pharmacist first. They can accurately treat and diagnose many conditions and refer you to a hospital, if needed.
      • Prescriptions aren’t required for many medications in Costa Rica. But you should still find out how your travel insurance covers prescription medication.

      Who do I contact in an emergency?

      Hopefully your vacation goes off without a hitch. If it doesn’t, keep a list of who to call in your phone:

      • Tourist police. 911.
      • Your travel insurer. Find a 24/7 helpline on your policy documents.
      • A US embassy or consulate. If you lose your passport or there’s a countrywide emergency, contact the nearest US embassy or consulate.

      Bottom line

      An adventure-filled trip full of hiking, climbing and diving or afternoons in a hammock on the beach — the pure life awaits you in Costa Rica.

      Before you leave, take out a travel insurance policy so that a bad meal or a hiking mishap doesn’t ruin your pura vida memories.

      Frequently asked questions

      What are the entry requirements for Costa Rica?

      Americans can visit Costa Rica without a visa, but you must:

      • Have a valid passport.
      • Stay for no more than 90 days.
      • Show proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.
      • Hold documentation and tickets for return or exiting travel.

      When is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

      For the sunniest weather, visit between December and April. More attractions are open and hurricane season has ended.

      If you’re on a tight budget or want to miss the crowds, consider May to November for the lowest prices, or the months of June and July to see the forests at their most lush and verdant.

      What do I do if I have an existing health condition?

      If you have a pre-existing condition, tell your insurer before you buy a policy. Some conditions are covered, but you may have to pay extra. It’s also a good idea to visit your doctor before you leave to make sure your symptoms are under control and that you have any emergency medications you might need.

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