Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus that is primarily transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes. Though reports of an illness consistent with chikungunya date back over 200 years, CHIKV only gained worldwide attention during a massive pandemic that began in East Africa in 2004. Chikungunya, the clinical illness caused by CHIKV, is characterized by a rapid onset of high fever and debilitating joint pain, though in practice, etiologic confirmation of CHIKV requires the availability and use of specific laboratory diagnostics. Similar to infections caused by other arboviruses, CHIKV infections are most commonly detected with a combination of molecular and serological methods, though cell culture and antigen detection are reported. This review provides an overview of available CHIKV diagnostics and highlights aspects of basic virology and epidemiology that pertain to viral detection. Although the number of chikungunya cases has decreased since 2014, CHIKV has become endemic in countries across the tropics and will continue to cause sporadic outbreaks in naive individuals. Consistent access to accurate diagnostics is needed to detect individual cases and initiate timely responses to new outbreaks.