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Moves Around The World!

We want to send a shout out to all our pets that recently made it home to their families. Quibbles, a Boston Terrier / Pug mix, her sisters Dream Catcher, a cocker spaniel and Tazzie a Siamese / Tort Cat mix were transported from San Francisco to Costa Rica. Jake, a Labrador Retriever, came out of Costa Rica and met up with his family in Canada! Our French Poodle friend, Linda, arrived in sunny Miami after safely flying across the nation from San Jose, CA. 3 Cats, Jungle Boy, Melanie and Bo were excited to get to Tel Aviv after a long flight from Chicago. Welcome home everyone!!

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Semana Santa

Costa Rica is closed for business for the next few days!!! The streets are bare, traffic…well there isn’t any to speak of. The valley is a virtual ghost town. Getting around a breeze right now. Great if you live in the valley!!

Everyone is at the beach. You cannot find a hotel anywhere near the beach unless you booked it months ago.

Buses are not running on Thursday or Friday so the laborers and domestics cannot get to work on these days either. The country pretty much shuts down for Easter. I tried to call the bank today and they aren’t even answering the phone ūüôĀ

The airport is closed for transporting animals because all of the government agencies are closed that approve the documents for the animals to come in and go out.

Today is Holy Thursday, tomorrow is Good Friday. Nothing is happening business wise. This is a long weekend for rest and relaxation. Most people are spending time with their families and friends during this long holiday in Costa Rica since they don’t have to work. Aside from Christmas, this is the biggest holiday of the year.

Happy Semana Santa to everyone!!!!

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Medical Care In Costa Rica

Costa Rica is becoming the mecca for North Americans and others who need reasonable health care. The president of Costa Rica has put out the welcome map for foreigners who want to come here to take advantage of the lower-cost medical care.

The president, Nobel-Peace Prize winner √ďscar Arias S√°nchez, issued a formal decree to assist those local clinics, medical professionals and the foreigners who wish to come here.

Among other actions, the president said the country would promote international accreditation of hospitals and clinics which specialize in foreign patients. Already Costa Rica has hospitals that are highly respected. One even is associated with Southern Methodist University.

Accreditation will give visitors a guarantee that highly trained professionals from elsewhere have studied the education, facilities, practices and philosophies of those organizations offering health care.

Arias already has told the educational ministry to make sure high school graduates are functional in English within a few years. That goes double for the health professions, because many physicians, dentists and nurses have studied in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

Arias also said that his government would work with foreign insurance providers to make certain that medical care here will be covered by  companies in the home country.

In 2007 some 8,500 foreigners, mostly U.S. citizens, came to Costa Rica for health care. Costa Rica has a dynamic system covering most of its citizens, and many practitioners share their time between private and public hospitals and clinics. So they have the advantages of both.

Why is health care so reasonable here? A lot has to do with the bureaucracy of the U.S. system. Some sources estimated that fully 40 percent of the money spent on medical care in the United states goes to administration.  Costa Rica is a country that is not known for its high insurance rates on medical professional. Plus the overall cost of living is much lower.

Costa Rica is convenient and just a few hours by air from most of the United states. And as a recovery spot nothing can beat the great climate, the great service and the many possibilities a medical vacationer can find in Costa Rica.

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Driving Laws in Costa Rica

New transit or driving laws are about to pass this September 23rd.  As usual the government of Costa Rica is rushing around trying to piece together all of the last minute changes before the deadline.

A couple of the changes that are coming about are the following:

  1. All children 12 and under MUST be in a car seat
  2. All vehicles MUST have a first aid kit

There is much controversy on just these two items.  The first being that most families cannot afford car seats for their smaller children nor do they have room in their car for one car seat let alone car seats for the older children.  If you have not been to Costa Rica to see how families pack 5 or 6 small children into the back seat of a car you cannot fully appreciate this statement.

The second concern is the first aid kit contains liquids that go bad if the temperature exceeds 85 degrees.¬† Again, if you have been to Costa Rica, you understand that this is the case most days so the first aid salves don’t do you much good.

Then there is the issue of the fines…. I have not actually seen the breakdown of the fees but from preliminary reports and what I have seen so far, it is not looking good for the average Costa Rica family.¬† The fines are higher than what some will make in a week and more than what many will be able to pay.

I hope that in this case the people will not lose.

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What to Take to Costa Rica

You are moving to Costa Rica and the question comes up….What do I take with me?¬† The answer to this question varies with everyone.

If you are a family with children, you are of course going to want to bring more than if you are an individual traveling alone.

The cost to replace a house full of furniture and household items can far exceed the cost of bringing down what you already have in the States.  This is a rule that fits a larger family.  If you have a family of 5 for instance and a house with say 4 bedrooms.  The cost to bring it to Costa Rica from most locations in the US will be far less than the cost would be to replace all that you have with the same quality of items once you get to Costa Rica.  Shipping your household items, while it may seem expensive, is not near as high as the price of quality furniture, electronics and appliances in Costa Rica.

Now, if you are single and light on baggage, shipping your personal items down might not be such a good idea.¬† The above example was a 40′ packed container.¬† Usually a single person can’t fill even a 20′ container.¬† If you are a person of simple means and only need a one or two bedroom home/apartment, you can furnish one less expensively than you can ship a container down.

What to take to Costa Rica really depends on who you are and what your needs are.  Maybe this will give you a basic idea of which way to go.

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Taking a Pet to Costa Rica

Taking a pet to Costa Rica has it’s upside and downside depending on how you go about doing it.¬† It you want to travel with your pet on the same plane it is a relatively simple process.¬† But during the summer months and going back into the United States this gets a little more difficult.

The TSA has made it impossible for an individual to book one’s own pet on a flight entering the US as manifest cargo which is the only way pets that are over 70 lbs (crate and pet’s weight combined) can travel.¬† They must use a licensed broker or a registered and licensed IPATA agent to book the flight for them.

If you have a smaller pet and the temperature is not over 85 degrees at any point of your travel or in the winter months below 40 degrees you can take your pet as checked baggage.  Provided of course it does not exceed the weight limit.

If you take a pet into Costa Rica as manifest cargo and you are NOT on the same plane, you have a whole other mess if you have not taken efforts to get an import permit well in advance of your pets arrival.  It is guaranteed that your pet will spend at least one night in the customs warehouse (off-site of the airport) in wait of an import permit.

Then there is the paperwork that is required to enter and exit Costa Rica.  Government approved and state USDA/MAG stamped and sealed paperwork.

Taking a pet into or out of Costa Rica is not as simple as taking a child.  Do not take this lightly or your pet will be the one to suffer and you will be unduly stressed with the process.

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Same Sex Marriage in Costa Rica

This week the Sala IV constitutional court has rejected an appeal against a section of family law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.  A lawyer filed the appeal which, if accepted, it would have opened the door in Costa Rica for same-sex marriages.

With the strong religious beliefs of this country, I do not believe that this law will ever be turned over.  The country is 80% Catholic.

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Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Costa Rica government officials are expection almost 100,000 people a month to ride the new train, San Jose’ to Heredia.¬† If all goes according to plan, there will be 42 trips a day for the 6 mile route.

To avoid the horrible traffic jams between LaUruca and Heredia Centro, TAKE THE TRAIN!  If you have ever been on these roads you can fully appreciate the idea of finding another way to get to where you are going than sitting in the traffic that is SOOOOO bad in his area.

The one-way fare is supposed to be 350 colones or about .62 cents.  Do not try to give the conductor US money though.  They will only accept colones.

The train will make two stops along the route, includint one at Cinco Esquinas in Tibas.

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Moving to Europe with Pets

Once you land in Costa Rica, most think that they are going to stay here forever.¬† Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way and for one reason or another you have to leave.¬† This is directed at those that are leaving to go to any European country with pets….

Costa Rica is not considered a rabies controlled country as is all of Central and South America.¬† Because of this, your dog¬† must undergo a blood test by your veterinarian or ours.¬† After this is done, the blood is sent off to University of Kansas in the US for the titre test.¬† It usually takes 3-4 weeks to get these results back, BUT…your pet CANNOT leave the country for 90 days from the date that the blood draw took place.

This is the case for the majority of European countries.  When you are going to England, Ireland, Sweeden or Malta, there is a completely different process.  Your pet MUST go into quarantine for 6 months as these are considered rabies free countries.  There is no way around this.  The only option that you would have is to move to the US for 7 months and do inhome quarantine and testing there.

When going to England, and many other countries, you must acquire and import permit.  There is also special documentation that is required to travel with your pet.  Without this paperwork, your pet can be returned to Costa Rica or if you cannot afford to pay the fare back, your pet WILL be euthanized.

This is why it is so important to work with someone that does this all the time.¬† So many of the veterinarians in Costa Rica will tell you they know just what needs to be done to get your pet to Europe then the pet is returned because the vet didn’t know what the heck he was talking about.

Don’t make the mistake so many others have made at the cost of losing a loved one.¬† Contact a local pet transportation specialist to help you with all of the documentation and following of the laws of the country of which you are entering.¬† They can work together with specialists in the country of which you are going to ease the process for everyone.

In Costa Rica there is one company that does this.  They are members of IPATA (Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association)  If you are considering a move to Europe, please contact them so that all is done correctly.  www.worldpettravel.com or you can email to info@worldpettravel.com.

Check out the website and good luck with moving your animals in and around Europe.

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Thought You Had Heard it All?

Ex-governor considered as jungle survivor here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just when you think you have heard everything, along comes the Huffington Post to report that former Illinois governor  Rod Blagojevich is negotiating with NBC to be dropped into a Costa Rican jungle for a reality television show.

The ex-governor is facing federal racketeering and fraud charges. The television network plans to drop 10 well-known individuals into the jungle and follow them as they make their way out.

The Huffington Post notes that Blagojevich is under court order not to leave the United States. Costa Rican immigration officials also might not admit someone who is named in a federal indictment.