We posted an article about bringing a pet to Costa Rica and had a number of people asking for more specifics. Here is what we were able to find. Please bear in mind that while one year the rules might be this, and then the next year something else without notifying you. Your best way to get solid information is to either talk to someone who has already traveled with their pet to Costa Rica or contact the office that controls the laws related to bringing pets to Costa Rica.
In order to enter Costa Rica with your pet, you will need the following documents:
1. A pet health certificate and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS). Note: The pet health certificate must be issued within 10 days of travel to Costa Rica.
2. For dogs, proof of vaccination against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus (DHLPP), corona virus, parainfluenza, and rabies is required. For cats, feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia (FVRCP), and rabies are required. Note: Vaccines, except for rabies, must be administered within 30 days of departure to Costa Rica. Rabies vaccines must be given more than 30 days but less than 12 months prior to travel to Costa Rica. The Costa Rican government does not recognize the three-year rabies vaccine.
3. As of January 2008, Costa Rica is allowing the import of birds. However, birds may never be exported under any circumstances, so you should be absolutely sure of your intentions to remain in Costa Rica before importing your avian companion. Parrots require an import permit and proof of ownership for more than six months. Additionally, the parrot’s veterinary certificate must state that the animal comes from an area free of ornithosis, psittacosis, salmonella, or any other contagious disease.
4. For registered, purebred animals, you must provide a personal letter stating the pet’s market value or a document that proves it, such as a purchase receipt.
5. Proof of payment of your Pet Customs Duty (if applicable).
6. A pet’s quarantine permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Control (“Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia”, aka MAG) in Costa Rica. In general, the quarantine permit is only necessary if you ship an animal in as cargo; if the pet arrives with you as carry-on or checked luggage, the permit should not be necessary. However, always check the latest requirements with the Costa Rican embassy nearest you.
For the final word on anything here in Costa Rica related to pet travel, you should contact the ministry that takes care of this process. Click here for their website