Drone Laws in Costa Rica

In this post, you’ll learn what laws to follow if you want to fly in Costa Rica with your drone.

Maximum altitude: You are not allowed to fly in Costa Rica with a drone higher than 120 meters.

Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: Drones must always be operated in sight.

Compulsory insurance: As far as I know, you do not need special drone insurance by law. Nevertheless, you should cover your drone worldwide.

Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): Private drones cannot be heavier than 25 kilograms.

Distance to airports: To airports, you have to keep a distance of 8 kilometers. If you want to get your drone within 8 kilometers of an airfield, you will need a single permit from the Dirección General de Aviación Civil (DGAC).

Other safety distances: Flights are only allowed in uncontrolled airspace. For buildings, a distance of 30 meters must be observed.

No flight zones: Drone flights are only permitted outside urban centers. You need permission for flights in cities and communities and crowds. Absolute flight bans apply in the following areas: La Reforma Prison, Presidential House, El Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, Arenal Volcano, La Palma Passage, Zurquí Tunnel and El Murciélago Police Training Center.

Operating Hours: Drone flights are only allowed in daylight. Night flights are subject to approval by the DGAC, which imposes special conditions for flights at night.

Requirements for commercial pilots: Commercial users of drones need to register with the Dirección General de Aviación Civil (DGAC).

Helpful Links: DGAC

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Costa Rica to the best of our knowledge. We cannot guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Costa Rica!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

  • RockingTiger | 21.06.2018

    Any update in 2018? I found some new docs in the Costa Rica DGAC webpage. But my spanish is not enough going through it… I am travelling to CR n July and planend to take my dji spark with me…

    • Philipp | 25.06.2018

      Send me the link to the documents and I’ll try my best at translating it. I’ve spent a year as a high school exchange student there

      • RockingTiger | 26.06.2018

        Hi, our travel agent in CR has called the DGAC and they said „No change, register the drone to be sure and don‘t fly over houses and people“. Ggggrh, I got lost!
        Here the link I found by searching DGAC webpage for ‚drone‘:
        http://www.dgac.go.cr/servicio/aeronaves-no-tripuladas/

  • Jim | 31.07.2018

    Francis, im curious as why you chose the Typhoon H. I recently purchased one as well before reading this article. My reasoning was good camera and portability. Plus I hope to use it for some volunteer work with Atenas Costa Rica fire department for search and rescue type events. It has 6 rotors and I can easily transport on my motorcycle. It also has availability of quick change to IR camera. I was just wondering why the Typhoon H as apposed to a DJI Mavic which has extreme portability.
    Regards, Jim

    • Will | 08.07.2019

      I was wondering as of 2019 is there any changes ?

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