Pet travel Costa Rica – willie enjoys the “Pura Vida”

In December of 2012 we travelled down to Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Tamarindo is a town located on the pacific coast of Costa Rica with waves perfect for surfing. During peak season in November and December, the biggest waves can get up to twelve feet in height! Because of its beauty it has become quite a tourist destination, making it significantly more expensive than the rest of the country. There’s lots to do there including scuba diving, snorkeling, body surfing, zip-lining, estuary trips, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, or simply hanging out on the beach. If you’re an outdoorsy kind of person you’ll absolutely love Tamarindo.

Once again, because we’d be flying internationally, preparing for the trip was a little involved. Here’s what we needed:

1) Vaccinations: willie needed up to date vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and rabies. They didn’t have to be given in any specific date range before entering the country, but they still needed to be valid.
2) Export Forms: Be sure to have a licensed veterinarian complete an export APHIS form 7001 for the USA or CFIA Health Certificate for Canada. This needed to be completed within fourteen days of travel and your vet should already have the government export form.
3) Endorse the Forms: Take the completed forms to your local APHIS or CFIA office to be endorsed. There is a fee for endorsement, $38 for APHIS, $20 for CFIA.

Remember that these rules can change, so please visit the following sites to view the most current information on pet travel Costa Rica:
USDA/APHIS – pet travel info
CFIA – pet travel info

We also had to check with the individual airline to make sure that willie could fly in-cabin with us before booking a reservation. There was a pet in-cabin fee of $100 each way, but it’s worth the price to not travel alone in the cold cargo area. Make sure to check your airline’s website for their pet policy as some do not allow pets in-cabin and may have weight limits or restrictions concerning certain dog breeds. Also make sure to check with your destination that there are no other restrictions.

Upon arriving in Costa Rica the officials were quite friendly and asked if willie’s paperwork was in order. Even though they were supposed to, they didn’t even bother to look it over. It was signed and stamped by the appropriate people and willie was free to go, no import fee charged! 🙂

As you will notice, there is only one photo of willie on our trip to Costa Rica. Unfortunately, December is the busiest time of year in the country because of the holidays which also makes it high season for thieves. After only two weeks in our home we were robbed and lost both our camera and computer. Though the electronics were easy to replace most of our travel photos from 2012 were gone. Very disappointing. 🙁

If you happen have a photo of me from my time in Costa Rica please email it to [email protected]

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