Bringing your Pet with you to Costa Rica.

IMG_3440 We are animal lovers here at Four Winds Weddings & Events. As the owners of two Golden Retrievers, we understand that pets play a very important role in the family. We also know that there is an emerging trend towards families vacationing with their pets. This blog entry will serve as a how to guide for planning a short term trip with your pet in Costa Rica.

kennelFlying with your Pet Its quite easy to fly to Costa Rica and back to the United States. Unlike other countries, Costa Rica has no dog or cat quarantine period. This makes it a very ideal place to travel with a pet. There are two major airlines in the United States that allow pets to fly in the cabin and cargo internationally.  In order for you pet to be eligible to go through customs once in Costa Rica, the pet must be current on its rabies vaccinations and must have received its last vaccination at least 30 days prior to entering the country. Also, you must obtain a Certificate of Good Health from your veterinarian in the united states. (note- your vet needs the address in which you will be staying in Costa Rica). The crate must be large enough for your pet to stand up and it must have a rail that allows for easy lifting. Airlines also require that you feed your animal 3 hours in advance to flying.

  • American Airlines has flight service into San Jose and Liberia, Costa Rica. They charge $150 per dog each way.
  • Continental Airlines also has flight service to San Jose and Liberia international airport. They charge around $175 per dog each way.

Finding Pet Friendly Accommodations. Costa Rica, in general, is a pet friendly country. There are several ways to locate places that allow pets without having to call and ask each individual accommodation option.

craigslistscreenshotCraigslist Costa Rica is a great resource for people with pets. It allows you to narrow your search to listing that only allow animals

  • Make sure that you give yourself several months to research the locations that you would like to travel to. Traveling with pets requires a good amount of prior planning.
  • Check Craigslist daily for new updates as they happen quite frequently
  • Craigslist Costa Rica is not divided into regions because it doesn't have the same kind of user submissions present in the States. In order to find houses in a specific area, you must type in the town in the "search for" section. The nice thing about craigslist is that it turns links that you have already clicked on purple, so you don't revisit the same link twice.

homeaway1Home Away is another really useful resource when looking for accommodations in Costa Rica. This site is comprised of vacation rental properties from all around the world. It is quite handy, because it has a calendar that displays the dates in which the home is available. I find that this is a helpful tool when negotiating a price with the owner. If the schedule is all clear, then you have more negotiating power.

  • You can narrow your search for a number of special preferences. To do this, click advanced, scroll down and select your criteria.
  • Home Away is organized quite a bit better than craigslist. You can search by regions of the country.

Traveling Within Costa Rica with a Pet Although Costa Rica is an animal friendly country, taxis, shuttles and busses tend not to be as embracing of your four legged friend. The best way to go is to rent a car. This is where the process gets a little strategical.  I would recommend having someone stay with the animal while a "family representative" goes to the rental desk at the airport.

  • Make sure that you print out your rental invoice from home and bring it to the rental desk with you. This prevents the rental car agent from charging you whatever he feels like
  • I would highly recommend renting a GPS. They typically cost an additional $8-10 per day and are well worth it.
  • Have the "family representative" take the shuttle to the rental location (usually a 2 minute drive from the airport) and return to the airport to pick up the rest of the family and pet.
  • If you don't need a rental car for you entire stay, many rental companies offer one way rentals that you can return at your destination.

If you follow these steps, you can enjoy your vacation with the addition of your pet. Good luck and safe travels!