Moving to Costa Rica With Pets

I have written about this many times before but some things bear repeating time and time again 🙂 . There is so much bad information out there!!! Just this weekend I learned of another poor animal dying because someone received BAD information, information they received from an airline.

This poor cat came into Costa Rica last week from Canada. After many hours in flight and many more unnecessary hours in the customs warehouse because the paperwork was not in order. The cat was finally released to the owner but it was too late. The cat was severely dehydrated. It was rushed to the veterinarian but passed away the following day.

ALL pets coming as manifest cargo MUST have an import permit!!!  This permit must be applied for 4 business days prior to the pet arriving with the Senasa.  In order to apply, the Senasa must have a copy of the pets vaccination records.  Any pet over 3 months old must have a current rabies vaccination that is under one year.  No exceptions under any circumstances to this rabies law.  No puppies under 3 months and no dogs with rabies over one year old will be permitted entry into the country.

The permit cannot be applied for by an individual.  It must be applied for through a broker and there is a process that must be followed.  The original is held by the agency that is clearing the pet through customs.  The owner cannot do this themselves without the pet spending much unnecessary time sitting on pallets in the customs warehouse.

This is only a brief outline of some of what you need to know when moving to Costa Rica with pets.  For more information, contact our pet moving division at World Pet Travel.

You can read of some of their moves at testimonials and you can also learn here how to contact them directly.


Birds to Costa Rica

So you want to bring your beloved bird with you to Costa Rica?  Do you know what all is involved in this endeavor?  Lots of paperwork and permissions from your home country and Costa Rica’s government agency’s.

This month we brought in a bird from Honduras.  Birds from Central and South America are not permitted entry to Costa Rica but we did it and Phoenix is with her mother on the Pacific Coast, both very happy.

If you are coming out of the United States, you must first get the permission of the US Fish & Wildlife Agency in the form of what they call a CITES permit.  This is the first step towards getting your bird OUT of the US.  You must then get a CITES from the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture and approval from the MINAE.

After you have all of this, you must get your bird to Costa Rica within 30 days of the issuance of the Costa Rican CITES or your window of opportunity is gone.

This is not a process that is simple by any means.  You must know who to talk to and truthfully, have a little pull with them or it never gets done.

This year so far, we have brought 4 birds into the country.  We are now working on 3 more.

Do NOT try to bring your bird with you on the plane as it WILL be taken away from you when you arrive at the airport in San Jose and you might never see your bird again.


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. or you can email to

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


Pet Relocation

Pet relocation is a topic that never gets old.  There is so much to it that the normal pet owners never think about. What is the best airport to send my pets out of? What is the best airlines?  Is it safe to send my pet as cargo?  I’ve heard so many bad things about pet travel, is it safe for Fluffy?

World Pet Travel and their associates have been handling the pet relocation of our clients for almost 10 years now and we know the best options available for anyone trying to arrange pet travel on their own.

We STRONGLY discourage anyone trying to handle an international move on their own.  The laws that surround international pet relocation can be very complex and complicated to someone that is not aware of the all of the details involved.

If you do something wrong, or don’t have the right paperwork and documents when you enter another country, your pet will either be sent back to the country of origin or worse euthenized.  This is why you don’t want to take chances with those that you love.

We are coming upon the busy season now so it gets a little hectic around here but we will get back to you with the details of your pet move as soon as possible if you contact us for help.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Two Horses

Two Horses
Author – Unknown

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.

From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing….

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

This alone is amazing.

If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

Attached to the horse’s halter is a small bell.

It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends,
you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse,
and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk
to where the other horse is,
trusting that he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns
to the shelter of the barn each evening,
it stops occasionally and looks back,
making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Good friends are like that …


Deposit Needed

World Pet Travel/Guardian Angels CR and many other pet transporters have encountered problems recently with people contacting us and asking for help with their international moves for their pets.

Just this week Frank and Susana Wheeler from London England, new to Costa Rica, refused to pay for the services that they requested that I have been working on for months in preparation of their pets and their relocation arrangements for housing which they requested me to find them temporary and permanent housing. Since these cats originated in Spain then went onto London and were on their way to Costa Rica there was quite a bit of time and effort put into this move.

Prior to the Wheelers, John and Mary Harding of Phoenix Arizona needed help getting their 13 cats to Costa Rica. After making all of the necessary arrangements with the airlines and customs, the Hardings decided that they did not want to pay WPT for their time or expenses. They would pay for the airline expense but that was it. This has happened 3 times this week and we have been out hundreds of dollars in international phone calls and other expenses involved and will not be reimbursed by these dishonest and cheating people.

For years we have done this at no charge to our client and have never had a problem with our clients following through on their obligation or proceeding with their moves.

As of late, many professional pet transporters including World Pet Travel/Guardian Angels CR have had a problem with people not following through on their move after we and other agents have gone through all the motions setting up the move.

Setting up an international move requires a lot of time, phone calls and contacts with agents and veterinarians in the destination country as well as the departure country. Often times we spend a minimum of 2-3 days pulling everything together for the move with the help of the airlines, other agents and brokers in the country of destination.

After we have made all of the necessary arrangements for this move, including setting up airline reservations and customs arrival requirements, many people have backed out of their obligation to make the move with our company and others. This seems to be a problem across the board with professional pet transporters that work together to insure the safest and most stress-free trip for your pet. If you read our blog, you know that we have been doing this successfully with 100’s of happy clients and 4 legged friends.

Because of this, we will be requiring a deposit from this point forward (February 1, 2008) to work up international moving arrangements for each pet.

World Pet Travel/Guardian Angels CR now requests a deposit of $50.00 per pet to move forward with making the necessary arrangements for your international move.

We are very sorry that it has come to this but at this point, we see no other way to be reimbursed for our expenses when someone backs out of their move at the last minute.

This fee will be credited to your move if you complete your move with us. If you back out at the last minute, your deposit will not be refunded.

Please note pet transportation when handled by a professional pet transporter is tax deductible.


Costa Rica Pet Transportation

I am very upset with the information that I have found on Costa Rica websites regarding importing pets to Costa Rica. This information is not only incorrect it will cause your pets to be put into quarantine or put down upon entry into the country.

One very well known website states that the laws importing birds changed in January 2008 and you are now allowed to bring your birds into Costa Rica but you can never take them out. This is completely and totally wrong according to the MAG (Ministry of Agriculture) in Costa Rica who oversees the importation and exportation of birds.

The laws have not changed since the embargo was put into place in late 2006. The only way to bring your bird into the country is to complete a ridiculous set of tests but the kicker is that you MUST have the flight tendon cut which will prevent your bird from ever being able to fly again. These rules have not changed as of last week. My last conversation with the MAG (the government office that controls the import and export of animals), people that do not meet these requirements will be taken away from the owner and put into quarantine and the owner will never be able to see them again.

None of these sites mention that you must have a CITES permit (CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and more information can be found at . CITES is an international treaty drawn up in 1973 to protect wildlife against over-exploitation, and to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction.) which is required by both the US government which takes 90 days to acquire (minimum) or the CITES that is required by the CR government. You must also get an export permit from the USDA in addition to the health certificate mentioned before you are permitted to leave the US with a bird on the endangered species list which covers just about all birds but cockatiels’ and parakeets.

This is a very hard lesson for someone that has had their birds for 20+ years and I hate like everything that the people that are running these websites are putting up bad information. They are obviously not looking out for the best interest of the animals but trying to please their readers by telling them what they want to hear.

Another website states in several places on their forum that all you need is a health certificate from your local veterinarian within 3 weeks of your arrival in Costa Rica. This is NOT true!!! You must have a health certificate from a USDA accredited vet then the USDA/APHIS form must be signed and sealed by the state USDA veterinarian. This document is only good for 10 days. If you happen to “slip” by customs with the wrong paperwork you are very lucky but unfortunately all of the MINAE quarantine facilities are overrun with animals that didn’t “slip” by. This same website advises their clients to contact the airlines to get the proper information on shipping your pet. The reservation agents with the airlines do not have knowledge of what is required by each country or Consulate to ship a pet to ANY country. If you talk to 5 different agents, you are guaranteed 5 different answers and NONE of them will be correct. The LAST person that you want to go to for information on shipping your pet is the airlines. Contact the closest USDA office to where you live and they can give you the requirements for shipping your pets to any country if you choose not to use a professional pet transporter.

There are professional pet transporters for a reason. I have offices in the US and Costa Rica and get emails weekly from the different airlines with constant changes and updates on the requirements of the airlines. I am also registered with the USDA as an Intermediate Handler and the TSA as a known shipper as well as a member of IPATA which is an International Association of Pet Transporters. These are very difficult licenses to obtain and you do not get these licenses if you don’t know what you are doing.

If because of the expense involved, you do not want to hire a company like mine, please contact the USDA closest to where you live to get the correct information for shipping your pet in or out of Costa Rica. If you are going to a European Country, you would do better off to hire a pet transporter because there is a lot of hoops to jump through to get an animal from a third world country into any European Country and you need someone well versed and well connected to secure a safe transportation for your pet.


Horse Transportation

Horse Transportation Worldwide

World Pet Travel Horse Transportation Division is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality transport service for your horses at competitive prices.

At World Pet Travel, we pride ourselves on providing you with trouble free transport for your horses from door to door.

Fly Horses on Demand

Most importantly, transport is arranged to suit your own personal requirements. We fly horses on demand. Subject to numbers and preparation requirements, we go when you want to go. And any inquiry you make with us is treated in the strictest confidence.

Veterinary Surgeons

World Pet Travel has close connections with qualified veterinary surgeons and road transport companies. However, you can elect to use your own preferred veterinarian and road transport company. World Pet Travel listens to your requirements and makes every possible effort to meet your needs.

Experienced Grooms

All shipments are accompanied by an Experienced Groom that is both licensed and well equipped to deal with any situation that may arise. All horses receive a high quality head collar and lead rope.

World Pet Travel can send your horses accompanied by a groom to almost any destination in the world from Costa Rica or the United States.

International Destinations

Some international destinations include:

• Costa Rica, Central and South America
• Sydney, Melbourne
• Singapore, Kuala Lumpur
• Tokyo, Sapporo
• Seoul
• Shanghai
• Israel
• Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London
• Bombay, Delhi
• Saudi Arabia

For a large numbers of horses, World Pet Travel can arrange to charter an aircraft for your exclusive use.

Horse Travel Within the Continental United States
Can Also be Provided by Air or Ground Transport.


New Office for Pet Travel

Moving pets around the worldThis is one of our happy clients that made their pet move with World Pet Travel known formerly Guardian Angels CR.

Hurray! Hurray! :) World Pet Travel is now open for business!

After much thought and preparation, we have finally branched out with our pet travel services. We have opened an office in the U.S. to help serve our clients coming from the U.S. make the transition a little smother on both ends. Whether you are coming or going from Costa Rica or anywhere else in the world, our pet transportation services are available to you anywhere worldwide.

We have a new website which will be dedicated to pet relocation which you can link to below or find at We are just in the development stages of the website so give us a little time to make it look as nice as our relocationcr website.

There is a contact page that you can complete to better help us understand your needs and come up with the best solution for you and your pets.

We hope that you will continue to have confidence in our ability to serve you and your pets needs and look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Angela Passman with Louis Vuitton and Maxine


Birds Into Costa Rica

Bringing birds into Costa Rica has become difficult to impossible.  There was an embargo put on the importation of birds over a year ago due to the Avian flu.  This however is not the only reason for the embargo.

There is an entity called the MAG that has made it impossible to bring your pet birds into Costa Rica.  Along with a whole series of tests that have to be done to show proof that they are not bringing any diseases into Costa Rica, they have come up with a new law which is barbaric in nature.

You need a CITES from the US and a CITES permit from Costa Rica but in order to obtain these permits you must meet the requirements of the MAG.  Aside from the tests, you must have the tendon cut on each bird that permits them to fly.  There is no way around this.  If you can even find a vet willing to do this in the US, it is a horrible thing to do to a bird.

If you can not find a vet to do this in the states and I don’t think that you will, this surgery will take place in Costa Rica by the vet at the airport before the bird is permitted to leave the airport.

Now this gets tricky in that you can’t get the CITES permit from Costa Rica until you have had this surgery done.

For me and other bird lovers, this simply says that I can not bring my beloved bird into Costa Rica.

This is the new law that has been passed and I don’t see it being turned over as Costa Rica is very behind in the times.

Should you have any other questions or need direction on bringing in your other pets, let us know by email.