Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

ALERT - COVID-19 - Do not travel overseas at this time. Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, New Zealanders overseas need to take steps to stay safely where they are and shelter in place....Read more

ALERT - COVID-19 - Do not travel overseas at this time. Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, New Zealanders overseas need to take steps to stay safely where they are and shelter in place....Read more

  • Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:41 NZDT
  • Still current at: 7 June 2020

Related news features

View Larger Map Close/Open map

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Costa Rica.

Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.

Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.

For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel.  IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.

As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.

For further travel advice and information about COVID-19, please see our webpage here. We encourage all New Zealanders living and travelling overseas to register with us.

Violent Crime
Violent crime is a concern in Costa Rica and can include armed robbery, home invasions, gang mugging and car-jacking. Exercise particular caution in the capital, San Jose. In January 2018 a tourist bus was stopped by criminals and passengers were robbed at gunpoint in Tortuguero, Limon province.

Incidents of “express kidnappings”, where individuals are forced to withdraw funds from automatic teller machines (ATMs) to secure their release, have occurred. To reduce the risk of this occurring we recommend you use ATMs located inside banks during daylight hours. Credit card fraud is a growing problem.

We advise New Zealanders travelling in Costa Rica to stay alert, be aware of your surroundings and exercise vigilance at all times, particularly in popular tourist destinations, including airports, bus stations, harbour facilities and the capital city of San Jose. You should avoid travelling alone at night and only use official red taxis (with a yellow triangle on side panels) or pre-booked orange airport taxis.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, is a significant problem, including in tourist areas and from vehicles. Theft from overhead compartments on buses is common. You should take steps to secure your personal belongings and avoid wearing or displaying valuables such as mobile devices and jewellery or leaving them visible in vehicles. Theft may involve attempts to distract victims, such as slashing car tyres.

There have been incidents of drink spiking followed by robbery and assault reported in Costa Rica. Extra care should be taken to ensure your drink is never left unattended. We recommend against accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.

If you do become a victim of a crime, report it to the closest office of the ‘Organismo de Investigacion Judicial’ (the Judicial Investigation Department) to ensure local authorities can conduct an investigation.

Civil Unrest
Demonstrations and strikes take place occasionally in Costa Rica and may disrupt local public services and transport. While protests are generally peaceful, New Zealanders in Costa Rica are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and marches as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Costa Rica’s constitution prohibits political activity by foreigners, and such actions may result in detention or deportation.

General Travel Advice
Costa Rica is located in an active seismic zone, and earthquakes occur regularly.

There are several active volcanoes, which have caused airport closures in the recent past and tsunamis are possible.

Keep your passport in a safe place and only carry a photocopy for identification purposes.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

New Zealanders in Costa Rica should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Costa Rica are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Mexico City, Mexico is accredited to Costa Rica

Street Address Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510 Telephone +52 55 5283 9460 Fax +52 55 5283 9480 Email nzmexico@mfat.govt.nz Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/mexico Hours Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

See our regional advice for Central/South America

Share this page:

Related News features

Accredited New Zealand Embassy Mexico

Street Address
Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510

Telephone: +52 55 5283 9460

Fax: +52 55 5283 9480

Email: nzmexico@mfat.govt.nz

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/mexico

Hours: Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

Related advice from other countries

Share this page:

Other pages in this section: