Kathleen and Sampson Retire in Costa Rica

Kathleen (72) and Sampson (11) moved to CR the 5th of this move to live out the rest of their lives in paradise. Pura Vida!!

Kathleen (72) and Sampson (11) moved to CR the 5th of this move to live out the rest of their lives in paradise. Pura Vida!!


Loose Laws in Costa Rica

A U.S.-bound air passenger was found to be carrying nearly $10,000 in counterfeit $100 bills Wednesday, but he was allowed to leave after police confiscated the funny money.

The incident took place at Juan Santamaría airport. The Policía Aeroportuaria of the Fuerza Pública said they found 95 fake bills in the pocket of the 34-year-old traveler. He was identified by the last name of Modia. Police officers sought the expertise of workers at a bank at the airport. Some of the bills had the same serial number, police said.

The man is a U.S. citizen originally from Cuba, police said.

Police could not hold the man or his female companion because there is a flaw in Costa Rica’s law. So although the pair missed their flight, they were allowed to leave later without the bills. They headed to Miami Thursday.

The $9,500 was below the limit that would have required reporting in an international flight if the bills were authentic.


Cost to import or export a pet to Costa Rica

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.


Public School in Costa Rica

Public school in Costa Rica is not as cheap as some would think and it is definitely not free. When you add up the cost of materials and uniforms there are children that drop out of school each year because of the exorbitant cost of these items.

School starts the first or second week of February for public schools as they are on the Costa Rica calendar, usually around the 8th or 10th of the month. When school starts the children are required to motor in with a bag of supplies that equals anywhere from $80-$250.00 worth of supplies. This amount would include the mandatory uniforms that they are required to wear. Add this to the transportation cost which is always extra. And don’t forget the backpack which was not included in the cost mentioned above.

When there is a family of 3 or 4 children this amount adds up for a family of a modest income. There is financial support of some sort but honestly I don’t quite understand how that works. This is built in so that children do not drop out of school before the 11th grade and they go onto to University.

Costa Rica is all about education. They pride themselves on the strong educational backbone of the country and to have this they must support the children in the public schools.

The public schools are very over populated and the children to not get the same education that they do in the private schools, this much I know for a fact. They are short on teachers and the schedules are shorter in hours than the private schools meaning they are not in school for as many hours a day.

I’m sure that there are many bright kids that come out of public schools but I feel that the children have a definite advantage if given a private education in Costa Rica.


Bird to Costa Rica

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.!!


Costa Rica Closed

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.


Getting Directions in Costa Rica

I’m not the cyber guru that Ramiro is and i could not figure out how to get this video to open on this page but I believe that if you cut and paste the link into your browser it should work.  This video portrays the directions one would get and how an expat would interpret those directions EXACTLY!  It is definitely worth the time and a good laugh that you all could relate to if you have ever asked for directions in Costa Rica 🙂

Good luck and my apologies that I am not more internet savvy!


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.


Rentista in Costa Rica

Residency laws in Costa Rica are changing again!  I am having difficulty keeping up with all of the changes this time so I have enlisted the help of my friends at Fragomen to help weed through some of the new laws.

I will be posting them here as they are made clear to me.

The first of the many changes that I learned of today is the following….for RENTISTA status.  This is the status that  family would file or someone that is not yet of the retirement age.

This new law is both good and bad for the Rentista’s.  For a family, it is a very good thing.  A family of 3, 4, 5 + it is far less expensive to file for residency now than it has been for the last couple of years. Now whether there is one member or 10 in your family, the amount that you have to prove as income is $2500/month or $125k/annually.

That opens another can of worms…Until a couple of years ago, it was only proof of $1k/month/ $65k /annually for a family of 1-2 or more to file for Rentista status, then everything changed.  The amount doubled, tripled, quadrupled etc.  The more in your family, the more you had to prove in income and deposit as guarantee in income.  If you had a family of 5, you would have to deposit $210k to file for Rentista.  It was just a bit ridiculous and apparently the CR government saw the err or their ways because only 2 years after this law went into effect another one follows that makes a little more sense economically for a large family.

This new law will be in full effect in March of 2010.  Until that time, I imagine many people will continue to hold off on filing for Rentista.

More to follow about the other types of residency status available to foreigners soon.


Immigration laws in Costa Rica

Well it has happened again….I didn’t think it would ever pass but I was wrong.  President Arias has signed the bill into law.  On Wednesday the 19th of August the bill became a law changing the amount for Pensinado’s required to have in income and several other changes.

The amount that Pensinado’s must now have to file for residency has gone from $600 a month to $1000 a month.  This is NOT retro-active so it will not affect those pensinado’s that have been in the country for years.  A retro-active clause was deleted.

Rentistas will now have to show a steady monthly income of $2,500 but close family members are included in that requirement.

The law will not take effect until six months after it is signed and published, so expats seeking residency will have options.

Answers to many of the questions expats have on how the law will be applied will be contained in the regulations that have not yet been published.

With a requirement that residents join the Caja and a beefed up police force, the possibility of a crackdown on so-called perpetual tourists is a possibility. Some in government seek to restrict tourists to two 90-day visits a year.