Andrea and Natacha with Angel Bass taking a quick break after her bath at La Carrana Quarantine facility in La Sabana, Costa Rica.
Angel and Wizard’s adventure began in San Diego, California in mid-November when they were transported down to Miami by trailer. They had to do a brief quarantine in Miami as well as a series of blood testing in order to be permitted to enter Costa Rica.
Once all of the test results were returned and the health certificate was completed to meet Costa Rica standards, the MAG issued an import permit and Angel and Wizard were permitted to enter the country.
After the flight arrived in San Jose the horses were transported to La Carrana in La Sabana by trailer to their private stalls where they are boarded until the MAG does a blood test (the same one that was done in the US) and the results come back negative (again). This usually takes about 10-14 days then the horses will be released to go to their new home in Guanacaste. World Pet Travel transports the horses to Guanacaste once they have been released by the MAG and reunites them with their owner Cindy. They will be together before Christmas 🙂
The costs are ever-rising for pet transportation into and out of Costa Rica. It is always less expensive if the pet owner manages the move themselves but not everyone can do this because they are leaving either before or after their pets travel.
You must keep in mind that the most of the reason that costs are high because dogs and cats need to be hand carried through much of their travel. When you have a pet to leave Costa Rica for instance the pet must be carried through security and each check point before being hand-loaded onto the plane. Once your pet arrives at its destination or airport of transfer it must again be transported by airline employees from point A to point B.
Airfare for people is far less than that of pets because we can do our own walking through the airports and change planes without supervision of anyone. Also, people do not need to have someone to clear customs for them as they can do it themselves. We have to walk all over the airport to get through customs but we don’t have to be carried as the pets do.
Another item that contributes to the higher cost for transporting pets to destinations far away is the fact that we put pets on flights that are not too long. The long 12-15 hour flights we will not put a pet on because the time that they are in their kennel can exceed 20 + hours with the time that they have to be at the airport before departure and after arrival at their destination.
Animal travel is regulated by the Animal Welfare Act, USDA and TSA when traveling to or from Costa Rica so the animals are taken good care of along their journey but this is at a cost to the pet owner.
Kiara traveled from Mexico to Costa Rica on Friday to be reunited with her family Sadalgo. She was held up in customs when the computers went down for longer than we would have liked but Andrea spent the day with her walking her every couple of hours and seeing that she had food and water. She was kept comfortable during her stay at Juan Santa Maria terminal warehouse while she was forced to wait for the computers to come back on.
Unfortunately with the computers down Costa Rica customs cannot do anything so we must wait for the system to come back up. This can take anywhere from a couple of hours to 24. Fortunately most times it is usually back up within the same day and pets don’t have to spend the night in the customs warehouse.
Kiara finally made it to her family around 7:00 pm on Friday night. They were very happy to see her as you can see from the family portrait we were fortunate enough to get. Another happy family reunion!
Words you don’t want to hear when there are pets coming into Costa Rica. When World Pet Travel or anyone else has pets coming into Costa Rica you do NOT want to hear are “Tica system is down”. What this means is that your pets are not going anywhere. They cannot clear customs when the system is down. It cannot be done manually or the old fashioned way like it used to be done. It MUST be done with the TICA system and if the system is down it does not get done.
Pets will sit in the customs warehouse all day when they arrive at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning because the system is down waiting for the system to come up again. There have even been cases where the animals have had to stay overnight in the customs warehouse until the following morning because the system did not come up the same day that the animals came in.
Makes the old slow way of doing things seem so much better at times. AT least then you didn’t have to worry about computers going down and everything coming to a screeching halt.
In January of 2010 Laurel, Jean Luc’s owner flew down to Costa Rica from California with Jean Luc in cabin thinking that she could arrive in Costa Rica with just a health certificate and a prayer and be let into the country with her bird. She spent the next 24 hours in the airport guarding her bird, protecting him from being euthanized for breaking every country rule for birds allowed to enter Costa Rica. She had not checked with Costa Rica to find out what their regulations were for birds coming into the country and the airlines had not given her a clue when she booked with them either. This is very commonly a problem with airlines.
Once Laurel was allowed to board the plane to come back into the US, Jean Luc was allowed entry back into the States only because she received a letter from the MAG in Costa Rica saying that she had been refused entry into Costa Rica. Without this letter she would not have been allowed entry back into the US.
After arriving in the US, Jean Luc had to go through a substantial amount of blood tests and quarantine. Only after the testing was complete and the documents were in order and approved by both governments was Jean Luc allowed to re-enter Costa Rica.
Before Jean Luc came into the country, Laurel’s home had to be inspected to determine if it was ready for a parrot and whether or not it met the required specs according to the Ministry of Agriculture of Costa Rica. Once the house passed inspection, an importation permit was issued and an import CITES, not necessarily in that order.
Then the final documentation for the US needs to be finalized in the proper time frame as required. Then and only then does Jean Luc fly from California to Costa Rica.
After arrival Jean Luc is inspected by a MAG vet and clears customs. Finally he is delivered to Laurel!! One year since being separated from his mommy!! IT is a sweet reunion.!!
Is Costa Rica closed for the holidays? This is a question one might ask if trying to do business with one of the government agencies during the end of December or the first week of January in Costa Rica.
Most of the government offices close for the week between Christmas and New Years and many take an extended vacation beginning the 18th of December and not ending until after the 3rd of January.
If you are trying to import a pet you will find that this rule applies to you and the offices that you need to be opened to facilitate your need for an import permit. While some offices will be opened on a skeleton crew they will not be issuing import permits during this time and will only resume this practice after the 3rd of January.
Pets can still leave the country but should not try to enter the country by the proper means or they risk being held by the customs officials for an unlimited period of time.
TSA has a new directive that is affecting people and pets departing Costa Rica effective November 8, 2010. This directive states that the airlines cannot accept a pet from an unknown shipper or from someone that does not have a business relationship with them.
This breaks down to mean that only an IPATA or IATA agent can tender a pet to the airlines for flight according to the TSA. Even then the IATA or IPATA agent must have had a business relationship with the pet owner for 30 days. Without this 30 day prior relationship the IPATA/IATA agent cannot tender the pet to the airline according to the TSA.
For more information contact World Pet Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-889-1131.
I write a lot about animals coming into Costa Rica, but this is a subject close to my heart. This past week 3 birds FINALLY made it into Costa Rica after a year of toil and trouble with Costa Rica government issues. They came in last November only to be turned away after being given an import permit and being approved to enter by the government. It was a sad day last November when we had to put those babies back on a plane to the US. It was very scary too because the MAG threatened to euthanize them because they said that their papers were not in order. Again, after giving them permission (in 2 different forms) to come into the country.
About 3 weeks ago a woman brought a parrot into Costa Rica through the passenger terminal without as much as a health certificate. She didn’t have any paperwork whatsoever. Nothing, nada! And the dumb a…. in the US at the airport allowed her to get on the plane with the bird in cabin. (This is so illegal it is not even close to funny). When the bird arrived in the passenger terminal without and documents the woman and bird had a very serious problem. I was called to see if there was anything that I could do but without a health certificate the bird could not even go back on a plane to go back into the US.
There are international laws that protect parrots on the endangered species list from trafficking and this bird was one of those birds. There was no way to prove ownership of the bird, where it came from, where it was born, captive or wild, nothing. This bird, a pet of many years, was taken from the owner at the airport and euthanized, killed, destroyed!
This could have been prevented if the owner had done her due diligence and gotten the proper permits for her bird. This was not the fault of the Costa Rica government in this instance. It was the fault of the owner and the airline for letting her on the plane without any documents.
Getting everything right and in order IS a long, drawn out and expensive process to come into Costa Rica, but THIS is what happens when you don’t follow the laws of the country.
Another client of ours was more fortunate than this woman. She had her CITES permit from the US and her health certificate when she arrived. This was only a small portion of what is required to enter the country but she had enough to keep her baby alive. Laurel was allowed to board the plane and go back to the US with Jean Luc and we are now working on getting her blood tests and documents in order for his safe return in a month or so.
This same rule applies to dogs and cats. DO NOT run the risk of coming into the country without the proper paperwork. Your pet WILL be euthanized!!!! Costa Rica does not fool around with this stuff. It happens more times than the public will ever be aware of.
As of February 2009, the TSA in the USA will not allow anyone to book their own pet as cargo coming into the US. As excess baggage if you are on the same plane, no problem. But as manifest cargo, you will have a problem as TSA will not allow anyone that is not a known shipper to book a pet into the US on an airline carrier flying into the US.
For this among other reasons, like travel to the US being higher than in years in the past, our moves are up considerably this year. This past week was a record setting week for pets coming out of Costa Rica. It seems that 3 families with multiple pets decided to leave all within 3 days with us.
A record week for World Pet Travel was 18 pets out of Costa Rica in 3 days. Andrea, Jose, Edgar and Mandiel were at their best in these days. Thank goodness for all the great people with World Pet Travel and those that support them in Costa Rica.