Worried about Testing Requirements? We have you covered!

Questions About Covid Testing in Costa Rica and Panama?

We’re Here to Help and Make Sure that this does not get in the way of your Travel Plans. Many guests have done this in the past months and it really is quite easy…

When the U.S. CDC announced new Covid-19 testing or proof of recovery requirements beginning January 26th for travelers entering the United States by aircraft, it understandably caused concern among our guests.  Other countries like France, Germany and the UK implemented similar requirements.

Was testing readily available in Costa Rica or Panama? Would the results come back on time? Would they need to alter their trip? How expensive would the tests be?

Fortunately, Covid testing in both Costa Rica and Panama is fairly easy to arrange & readily available and both countries are allocating more resources towards improving the process.

Following is current information on testing availability, approximate costs and turnaround times at each of the Cayuga Collection Hotels + San Jose, Costa Rica and Panama City, Panama. 

While this is accurate at the time of writing, we all know that especially right now, the only constant is change. Check-in with your travel agent or directly with our hotel’s reservations teams prior to your trip and make sure to schedule your testing appointment in advance.

By the way…

  • Vaccination efforts in Costa Rica and Panama are picking up speed.  Currently, over 70% of the population in both countries have received at least one shot which takes care of the most vulnerable demographic. Almost 50% have completed the vaccination process.
  • At our hotels and lodges in Costa Rica and Panama over 95% of the staff have received at least one shot of the vaccine and we expect to complete vaccination in late October.
  • Hotels, restaurants, beaches, and national parks as well as other tourist attractions are open and functioning normally.  We can help you with reservations to make sure you enjoy all the experiences that you planned for. You won’t miss out on any experiences!

Costa Rica

PCR and Antigen tests are being offered in Costa Rica. Antigen tests are offered at a Lab next to both international airports and results are available within an hour or less. It is recommended to arrive at the airport 4 hours before the departure of your flight.

If you want to do the tests ahead of time to avoid a last-minute rush, we can help you set up the tests at our hotels. Many guests commented how easy this process was at the hotels. It did not interfere with the vacation experience.

Arenas Del Mar, Quepos, Manuel Antonio:  A doctor from the Linea Vital in Quepos can come to the hotel and perform a PCR test in-room for approximately $150 per person. Turnaround time is within 36 hours and results are frequently returned in 24 hours. Must be scheduled in advance. (Testing is also available at the hospital for $125 + transfer costs.)  

Antigen Tests are available at the Sig Sigma Laboratory at a cost of $70. They can come to the hotel if they have availability otherwise the exam is performed at their installations. Results are available in less than 24 hours.

Hotel Aguas Claras, Puerto Viejo: Testing is available at the Laboratory Bioclinic in Puerto Viejo. (Due to the small size of the clinic, in-room testing at the hotel cannot be guaranteed). The cost is approximately $140 per person with a turnaround time of less than 48 hours.

Kura, Uvita: PCR and Antigen tests with a 24-hour turnaround time can be arranged in Uvita for $110 (Antigen) or $160 (PCR) per person.  If guests prefer the doctor to come to the hotel and take the sample there, this option is available for $200 (PCR) and $150 (Antigen).

Senda Monteverde, Santa Elena: Testing is now available in Monteverde. Antigen test results are available within two hours. The doctors from emergencias medicas in Monteverde can come to the hotel to take the samples that will then be sent to the laboratory. The cost for the PCR test is $200 and the Antigen test $150.

There are a number of private hospitals, clinics and labs in and around San Jose with about 24 hour return times (PCR) or 2 to 3 hours return times (Antigen) on results and testing costs starting at $85 per person or less.

We can help make arrangements for testing in San Jose a day prior to your departure.

  • Results will be delivered the same day.
  • Requirements: Present identification.
  • The sample for the test is a nasopharyngeal swab.


Panama offers both PCR and antigen testing, including rapid testing at PTY (Tocumen International Airport) for approximately $50. This is now available for both inbound and outbound international travelers. While appointments are not available, in our experience it only takes around 45 minutes to arrive to the testing line, get tested and receive your results.

Testing is also widely available in Panama City; your ground operator should be able to arrange a private doctor for in-room testing at your hotel or you can opt to go a lab, private hospital or the drive-through testing center at Hospital Punta Pacifica.

Isla Palenque:

We are working with a lab in David to offer testing in-room, on-island. Testing must be scheduled in advance through the hotel. There is a $150 “testing service fee” charged by the lab for each trip to the island which is shared by anyone booking testing on a given day.  Guests may pay the lab directly in cash or add the charge to their room account to process through the hotel.

Testing Options Available on Isla Palenque: Antigen Test: Same day if a sample is taken AM, next day if taken PM. Costs $45 per person. PCR: 48 hours turnaround: Cost: $95 per person 

More useful blogs:

Cayuga Collection Safety and Sanitary Measures: https://www.cayugacollection.com/cayuga-collection-hotels-lodges-covid-19-protocols-measures/

Cayuga Collection’s Zero Risk Zero Hassle Reservations and Cancelation Policies: https://www.cayugacollection.com/zero-risk-zero-hassle/

What to expect when traveling in Costa Rica: https://www.cayugacollection.com/travel-in-costa-rica-in-2020/

Still concerned about traveling? Read this update: https://www.cayugacollection.com/i-have-some-concerns-about-travelling-to-costa-rica/

22 Responses

  1. I am flying to Guatemala City on March 1st and returning the same day. My departure from SJO is 1:30 PM. I think, but am not sure yet if Guatemala requires the Covid test before they allow you to board the airplane. Do you know for sure?

    Can I get tested at or near the SJO airport that morning and get the results before my flight? If so, where and how much does it cost? Thank you for your quick reply and help. I am staying at the Hampton Courts Hotel. Do they have testing there perhaps?

    1. Dear Nick,
      thanks for your question. You can get a rapid test at the Hospital Metropolitan in Quepos. Our concierge team at Arenas del Mar can help you set this up. Saludos and safe travels.

    1. Dear Serenity, the closest place as of today to get a rapid test near Uvita is in Manuel Antonio. If you are staying at one of our Cayuga Collection Hotels in the area, our concierge team will be happy to set this up for you so you can enjoy your vacation to the maximum and don’t have to worry about this. Saludos.

  2. Hello,

    is there an option of taking a PCR or antigen test near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and how long should the results take?
    Thank You!

    1. Dear Alex,
      yes, tests are available in that region of the country. It takes about 24 to 48 hours to get the results. Our concierge team at Hotel Aguas Claras in Puerto Viejo has become very skilled at setting up tests for our guests. Safe travels.

        1. At Clínica San Gabriel next to Megasuper in Puert Viejo downtown. For our guests at Hotel Aguas Claras, we can also set up the testing in the hotel. Good luck.

  3. Are these antigen tests approved for entering Germany (who accepts Antigen already)?

    Here is the conditions for germany:

    “Meet ≥80% sensitivity and ≥97% specificity. The performance indicators of rapid antigen tests are always compared relative to a PCR test and vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (see package leaflet of antigen test).

    The tests must be performed or supervised (also possible via video) by a third party that is legally authorised to perform or supervise such tests in that country. The third party must also verify and confirm the identity of the tested person with official photo identification. The certificate/test result must indicate what date the test was taken as well as the type of test carried out.

    The proof of testing is to be provided in paper or electronic form in either English, French or German. In order for the competent public health offices to quickly ascertain whether the minimum criteria have been met, the (rapid) antigen test’s manufacturer details must be provided.”

    1. Dear Adam. Regulations with all the countries change often. We recommend to check with the authorities of each country. Once you know what kind of test is permited, we can help you organize the testing at our hotels. Saluods und Gute Reise.

  4. We are looking for a testing site near Uvita. We inquired with Hospital Metropolitano but they are not taking appointments.

    1. We would be happy to set up a test for you. Just contact our concierge team at the hotel. Saludos.

  5. Hi!
    Thanks for the clarifications about the testing. I have a question regarding the quarantine one should do when entering Panama.
    I would like to go first to Costa Rica and then take a flight to Panama City, I don’t understand if I should stay at the hotel for a 3 night stay ?
    I’m wondering because I saw that if you come from UK, South Africa or South America you should do 3 days of quarantine anyways. I was wondering if Costa Rica was part of South America ? (I thought not – rather Central America)

    Thank you in advance for the help!!!

    1. Dear Angela. Thanks for asking. There are lots of test centers in Panama City. Probably your best bet is there. Since we operate in Isla Palenque, Chiriqui, we don’t have information on other locations. Safe travels.

    1. Dear Trixie,
      if yu are not staying at Kura, where we can do the test for you in the hotel, you should go to the local clinic. They can help you there.

  6. Thank you for this article — we need to have PCR tests to return to Canada. We would like to book tests as close to Samara as possible, for early January 2022. Do you know the closest location and are you able to arrange for this?

    1. Dear Pasha, thanks for reaching out. We don’t operate any Cayuga Collection Hotels in the Samara area and hence, we are not familiar with the testing situation there. It should be no problem though. Just reach out to the hotel you are staying at and they can help you. Safe travels. We are happy to see Canadians travel again.

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