Drones are a very new and fast moving part of the technology. Cameras are becoming more advanced than ever, giving travelers the opportunity to take pictures and videos from new heights. It’s important to know right out of the gate that every country has their own drone laws. In short, yes, you can travel to Costa Rica with a drone but there are a few things to note:
- You cannot fly higher than 120 meters (400 ft)
- You must fly stay at least 8km (5 mi) from an airport
- You cannot fly within 30 m (100 ft) of any house or building
- You cannot fly over large activities or groups of people without prior authorization
- You must fly during daylight hours and only fly in good weather conditions
- Do not fly above buildings, or around built up areas
- The following areas are completely off limits to drones, La Reforma Prison, The Presidential House, El Ministerio de seguridad publica, Arenal volcano, La palma passage, The Zurqui Tunnel, El Murcielago Police Training Center
In addition to these laws and restrictions, there are few more things you should be aware of while traveling with your drone. All drones should be with your carry on and should not be put in checked bags. For a few reasons, potential damage, theft and lost baggage. On the flip side, it’s worth noting that you should get a case for your drone and avoid cramming it in your travel bag, which could also cause damage to the drone. It’s also important to know that you need to store your lithium-ion batteries in a lipo battery safe bag. These batteries are considered “dangerous goods” and can be confiscated by the airline and TSA if not properly stored.
You may also need a drone permit if its purpose is for commercial use. You can click here to try and submit a letter of authorization to obtain a permit for commercial drone use or contact the local authorities of where you’re traveling to in Costa Rica. If you’re using your drone for personal use, you do not need a permit. I’ve read that people haven’t had issues traveling to Costa Rica with a drone but there are definitely areas that you can’t fly drones at. In most cases the authorities were nice about it and just asked travelers to return the drone to their car. Just be respectful of how you fly, following the rules and being considerate of others.