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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 03/06/2023

Can I Bring my Pet to Costa Rica?

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Over the years many people have asked about bringing their pets with them to Costa Rica, but very few have followed through with it. We reached out to a couple of those who have to get some advice on moving to Costa Rica with a pet. Thanks to Krista and Constance for your expert help!

Both ladies said that even though the process may seem intimidating, it's actually quite simple. First things first, make sure the breed of pet  will have permission to fly. Restrictions are placed on certain breeds. Second, be prepared to spend some money to get things set in place. Krista said she spent around $500 to get her cat here.

Timing is really the most stressful part about this process as the exam for the health certificate must be done within two weeks of departure.  All requirements can be found on the U.S. Embassy Costa Rica website.

What are the steps?

1. Check your airline’s requirements as they all have different guidelines.  For example, Southwest Airlines does not allow any pets to fly on international flights UNLESS you have a letter from a mental health professional indicating the emotional, mental need to have your pet with you.  In this case, there is no fee for your special needs animal to fly with you.

2. Schedule an appointment with a USDA accredited veterinarian. The cost of these exams vary depending on many factors. Print the health certificate for Costa Rica and take it with you to your appointment.

3. When your certificate is ready, you will need to include all applicable fees and overnight the package, including payment for overnight return back to you. Remember, all has to take place within 2 weeks of your departure. To find your state’s USDA contact, choose your state from the drop down on the bottom right-hand side. 

4. Receive your health certificate, make copies and pack up your four-legged friend and go!  Don’t forget to add him or her to your airline reservation!

Your Pet in Costa Rica 

When you arrive in Costa Rica, you will go through immigration, baggage, then customs. After putting all of your baggage on the belt and walking around the machine with your pet, this is where you will give the agent a copy of the certificate and rabies certificate. 

If your pet requires special food, it can either be difficult to find or quite expensive. Bring enough food from home to mix with a new one so your pet’s tummy doesn’t get upset.

There are veterinarians all over the country, so you will not have a problem finding one.  Although the fees charged are around half the cost of those in the United States, shop around until you find one you like.  Furthermore, your vet can get your health certificate for your return to the U.S. as well, and the process is easier than coming here.

Finally, relax and enjoy your time exploring paradise with your fur baby!  Feel better now about your decision to join us in Costa Rica?  Contact us today to save a spot in one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL courses!

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