Can You Fly A Drone in Costa Rica? (Answered)


In this blog post, we’ll explore the question, “Is drone flying allowed in Costa Rica?”.

So, let’s jump in and discover everything you need to know — regulations, penalties (if any) and safety tips to keep in mind!

Can You Fly A Drone in Costa Rica

Can You Fly a Drone in Costa Rica?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Costa Rica. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal flying experience. Here drone flights are regulated by the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), which has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect public safety and privacy. By adhering to these regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, drone enthusiasts can enjoy capturing stunning aerial footage while exploring Costa Rica’s beautiful landscapes.

Overview of Drone Regulations

Let’s take a look at some of the key points for drone regulations:

Maximum Altitude Limits

  • All drone operators must ensure that their drones do not exceed a maximum flight altitude of 120 meters (400 feet) above ground level.
  • Drones must not be flown at an altitude that could interfere with the operation of manned aircraft, i.e., they must always stay well below any possible flight paths.

Distance Restrictions

  • Drones must maintain a minimum distance of 30 meters horizontally and 20 meters vertically from persons not involved in the drone operation.
  • Drone operators must not fly their drones within an 8 km radius of any airport or airstrip unless they have explicit permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Prohibited Activities and Actions

  • Drone operators must not fly their drones over populated areas or large gatherings of people, including concerts, sports events, or public demonstrations.
  • All drone flights must be conducted within the operator’s visual line of sight, without the aid of any device other than corrective lenses; flights beyond visual line of sight are prohibited.

Privacy and Data Protection Considerations

  • All drone operators must respect the privacy rights of individuals. This includes not capturing images or video footage of private property without explicit consent from the property owner or the individuals present. Any data collected must comply with Costa Rica’s Protection of the Person in the Processing of Personal Data Law No. 8968.
  • Any collected data, including photographs or video footage, must not be published or distributed without the explicit consent of the individuals identifiable in the data. Failure to comply can lead to legal penalties under Costa Rica’s Right to Rectification, Cancellation and Opposition Law, contained within Law No. 8968.

Commercial Operations

  • All commercial drone operators must possess a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC). This includes passing detailed examinations on aeronautical knowledge and drone operations.
  • Commercial drones weighing more than 250 grams must be registered with the DGAC and display a unique identification number. Furthermore, these drones are not allowed to fly more than 120 meters above the ground, nor in populated areas, near airports, or in national parks without special permission.

Penalties for Violating Drone Regulations

If you violate the drone regulations in Costa Rica, you may face significant fines. The exact amount varies based on the severity of the violation, but it can range from $500 to $3,000. For instance, flying a drone in restricted areas or near an airport without the necessary permissions could result in these hefty fines.

Additionally, if you don’t comply with the regulations, your drone could be confiscated by authorities. This could happen if you’re caught flying without the necessary insurance, or if you don’t meet the age requirement of 18 years or above. Legal action could also be taken if your drone is involved in an accident or poses a risk to people’s safety.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Drone Flying in Costa Rica

To ensure a positive drone flying experience and comply with the regulations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Understand Rules: Familiarize yourself with Costa Rica’s specific drone regulations to ensure legal and safe operation.
  2. Respect Privacy: Avoid flying over private property or populated areas to respect privacy and prevent potential disturbances.
  3. Weather Considerations: Check weather conditions before flight – high winds, rain, or storms can make controlling the drone challenging.
  4. Maintain Visibility: Always ensure your drone is within your line of sight to avoid collisions and maintain control.
  5. Wildlife Protection: Avoid disturbing wildlife, particularly in protected areas, as this can lead to ecological impact and legal issues.


Can I Fly My Drone at Night in Costa Rica?

Yes, you can fly your drone at night in Costa Rica. However, be aware that you must follow standard safety protocols, including maintaining visual line of sight with your drone, to ensure safe and responsible operation.

Can You Bring a Drone to Costa Rica?

Yes, you can bring a drone to Costa Rica. However, it’s essential to adhere to the country’s specific drone regulations to ensure legal and safe operation during your stay.

Do I Need a License or Permit to Fly a Drone in Costa Rica?

Yes, to fly a drone in Costa Rica, you need a permit. The Costa Rican Civil Aviation Authority mandates all drone operators to obtain a permit irrespective of the drone’s weight and the purpose of its use.


Before you launch your drone into the Costa Rica skies, it’s crucial to understand the area’s drone laws and regulations.

This applies not only to Costa Rica but also to other destinations around the world. For example, if you’re heading to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, it’s important to know the specific rules and guidelines for drone flying there. Similarly, if you have dreams of capturing breathtaking footage of Boracay or exploring drone opportunities around Provincial Parks Canada, it’s essential to be aware of the local drone regulations in those locations as well.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

So, whether you’re planning a leisurely flight or engaging in commercial drone operations, make sure to fly responsibly, and stay informed.

Resources and Further Information:

Photo of author
Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

Leave a Comment