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The #1 guide to bring your pets safely to Costa Rica

Moving to Costa RicaThe #1 guide to bring your pets safely to Costa Rica and wondering how to bring your pets to Costa Rica? They’re family, right? If you have a dog, a cat, a horse or a parakeet, you will want to bring them with you when you move to Costa Rica. Of course, once you have decided where to purchase or rent Costa Rica real estate.

If you do your research online about the requirements to travel with your pets to Costa Rica and how you can travel with them, you’ll find different ways and different opinions about how to and how much. Therefore you need to do your due diligence, just like you do when searching for a home in Costa Rica or where to live in Costa Rica.

Looking to rent and you don’t know how to handle a rental with your pet? Check out this pet-friendly blog.

I’d like to give you the correct information about how to bring your pets to Costa Rica and how to travel with your pets to Costa Rica. Information that doesn’t change all the time and the links to the right places. Here is a guide to how to get the right information to bring your pets to Costa Rica.

What are the requirements to bring your pets to Costa Rica

The #1 guide to bring your pets safely to Costa Rica
How to get your dogs to Costa Rica

The requirements to bring your pets might change at any time. But your dog or cat must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS) veterinarian. Check the up to date requirements to import your pet to Costa Rica on the US Embassy in San Jose website.

Recent update

The ARCR, in their magazine, published the following comment about pet travel in their July/August 2018 issue:

UPDATE TO PET TRAVEL BAN. Delta Airlines has announced additional restrictions for shipping animals, effective June 18, 2018. (Changes to the program, called PetSafe, were sparked by a series of pet transport disasters earlier this year, prompting the carrier to originally suspending its pet shipping program on March 20).

The new pet travel policy bans 21 breeds of dogs and four breeds of cats from traveling as cargo due to health concerns. Additionally, the airline will no longer accept “giant” crates (taller than 30-inches); a restriction that affects large-breed pets such as Great Danes and some large Golden Retrievers or Labradors. If traveling internationally, pets must be shipped through a third-party contractor that is part of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. The new rules were developed through a partnership with the animal organization American Humane, Delta officials said.

How can you fly your pet to Costa Rica

You have three ways to fly your pet to Costa Rica: as carry-on, as checked baggage, or as cargo, depending on the size and the weight of your pet. Requirements and costs are issues you need to check with each airline.

Your pet carrier must meet the airline’s safety standards, check on that too before you purchase one. Most airlines adhere to day-of-travel temperature restrictions.

Check the up to date information for each airline

American Airlines

Pets that travel in the cabin of an AA flight to Costa Rica require a reservation to ensure no more than seven pets are booked on any single flight. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in most cases, cats and dogs should not be given sedatives or tranquilizers prior to flying. See for more to bring your pets on the AA traveling with your pet information.

Delta Airlines

The #1 guide to bring your pets safely to Costa Rica
How to get your cats to Costa Rica

Review the health, kennel and weather requirements in the Delta Airlines website to help keep your pets safe and secure during travel. Due to seasonal weather conditions, Delta Airlines does not accept pets as checked baggage from May 15 through September 15. You can, however, bring your pets as cargo with the Delta Pet First program. Find more information on traveling with your pets by Delta Airlines.

United Airlines

Bring your pets with you on your United Airlines flight. Domesticated cats, small dogs, rabbits, and birds may travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights. PetSafe is their specially designed program for shipping animals safely and comfortably on their flights. View their PetSafe page for guidelines and restrictions and to book travel for your pet.

Martinair – KLM – Airfrance from Europe

The Air France – KLM Cargo & Martinair Cargo Animal Hotel at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the world’s largest and most modern facility, designed especially for animals in transit. It is the only one in the world operated by an airline, which means that you can trust your animals to them in the knowledge that they will remain in their hands at all time.

Other pet travel organizations

World Pet Travel

The #1 guide to bring your pets safely to Costa Rica
How to get your horses to Costa Rica

I recommend using Angela Passman of World Pet Travel if you don’t have the time to do all the research. Angela has made sure the pets of many of my clients have arrived happy and safely to Costa Rica. And she can do the unusual, not only a cat or a dog.

It will cost you more, but it is well worth to invest in the well-being of your family members and get them in good shape to their new country.

International Pet and Animal Transportation Association IPATA

IPATA recommends using a professional to assist in relocating your family’s VIP (Very Important Pet).

You need to check out their website to find out how to facilitate the process of how to travel with your pets to Costa Rica.

There are quite a few issues to be aware of when bringing your pets to the tropics. Find a vet as soon as you arrive. Your American European Real Estate affiliate agent can recommend your local veterinarian for the attention of your pets.

If you are looking to purchase or rent a pet-friendly property in Costa Rica, contact us now.


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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon. If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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