Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bringing pets To Costa Rica

If you are considering bringing your pets with you to Costa Rica, there are some important documents, rules and regulations that you should be aware of.

For dogs, cats and other small pets you need to prove to both the airlines and Costa Rican customs officers that your animal is without disease. Make sure your animals vaccinations are up to date, and schedule an exam with your veterinarian a couple weeks before your departure date. Have the vet fill out a health certificate stating that the animal is disease-free and has been vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and rabies. The rabies vaccination should be more than 30 days but less than a year old, and is needed only for animals that are four months old or older.

If coming from the United States, dogs and cats entering Costa Rica must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, and endorsed by a Veterinary Service (VS) veterinarian. The examination for the certificate must be conducted within the two weeks prior to travel to Costa Rica. The Health Certificate does NOT need to be signed by a Notary Public, nor does it have to be authenticated by the Consulate of Costa Rica.

Canadian residents visiting or moving to Costa Rica with their pets also require an International Health Certificate completed and signed by a veterinarian, and certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, stating that the pet has all of the required vaccinations. (Please note that the certificate must not be more than three months old.) Once signed and certified, this document must be sent to the General Consulate of Costa Rica in Ottawa for legal purposes. The certification fee is $40 and can be deposited in their bank account. You need to enclose the original as well as a copy of the receipts with the documents.

Once you have arrived in Costa Rica, the customs officer will do a mandatory visual inspection of your pet), and double check the health certificate and authorization from the Costa Rican Health Ministry. Many people claim that they were not asked for documents; however it is best not to take the risk. If everything seems fine you may pass through, although finding a pet-friendly taxi is certainly not an easy task.

If the official decides your pet looks ill or seems infected with disease, or if you are missing any documents, the animal will either be temporarily released to your care or kept in a state kennel for up to 30 days. In the meantime you will have to work out an arrangement either to have the animal shipped back, arrange for the necessary paperwork, or have your animal cared for at a local veterinary hospital.

~ Stephanie Casanova

Friday, September 18, 2009

Required Documents for Costa Rican Weddings

Many engaged couples looking to have their wedding in Costa Rica are not aware of the required documents, rules and regulations pertaining to marriage in this country. For instance, only a Catholic Priest or a Lawyer can marry a couple in Costa Rica, a Protestant Pastor may not. This is a quick guide for those who are wanting to get married in Costa Rica- please note that there are some different rules if one spouse is Costa Rican and the other is not. Visit Tips For Costa Rica for more info on weddings in Costa Rica!

If neither the Bride nor the Groom is Costa Rican:

~ Each person must have a valid passport which does not expire for 6 months, and you must submit two copies of each to your lawyer

~You will need to locate and hire a local attorney to marry you and file your paperwork. If you are being wed at a hotel, the hotel will likely recommend an attorney or hire one for you. If the hotel does locate one, it will likely cost around $500 USD; however if you hire one on your own it will likely cost around $300. If one person’s first language is not Spanish, then a translator must be present and the ceremony must be held in both languages

You will need to give your lawyer the following information approximately one month before the wedding:

~ Full name of both Bride and Groom: first, middle and last. No initials will be accepted

~Passport numbers and nationality

~ Birth dates and places of birth

~ Foreign address

~ Occupation/Profession

~ Marital status certificate - if divorced you will need to provide a copy of the divorce decree. If the Bride has been divorced for less than 12 months, she may need to present a negative pregnancy test to the nearest Costa Rican consulate for authentication.

~ Both the Bride and Grooms Mother and Father’s full name and nationality, the mother’s full name should actually have her maiden name, not married name

~ Parent’s address

Two Witnesses are required to sign the marriage licence. If you are travelling alone, the hotel will most likely provide you with the witnesses. You will need to present the following information about your witnesses to your lawyer at least one month before the wedding:

~Full name, no initials

~Current address

~ Date and place of birth

~ Passport number (copy of passport) and nationality

~ Marital status

*Please Note* In Costa Rica a notary is not solely one who validates signatures. Here, a notary is empowered to make entries directly to a registry and register documents. All notaries are attorneys, however not all attorneys are notaries, so make sure you hire the right person!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Geko Verde

Wow i found some great bungalows here called Geko Verde, check out their website for more info!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Follow Us On Twitter!

DO you want updated Tips? Without having to read through a bunch of wordy stuff? Then Follow us on TWITTER Costa Rica Tips

Awesome Costa Rican websites to Check out!

Alright everyone, here is a list of some great CR sites to check out....

Travel Experta - Great info on all of Central America
Golf in Costa Rica - TeeTimes Costa Rica, an awesome place for golf!
Alajuelenses - A Costa Rican business directory (in Spanish)
Osa Peninsula - A great community with great info on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica
ViniYoga - Anna Jermstrom with ViniYoga will come to your hotel and have 1-on-1 yoga sessions with you. Very professional yoga instructor.
Bamboo Yoga Play - Located in Dominical, Bamboo Yoga Play is pefect for anyone looking for a wellness retreat or getaway.
ZenYogaStudio - Another great studio located in the Central Valley

Here are some good non-Costa Rican sites...

Chicago Photoshop - a great site, and an awesome photographer. He's coming to Costa Rica in February so if you're having a wedding then and want a photographer, email him!
Health Products - Many different types of health prodects for all uses
Wellness - providing services in wellness, education, phsychotherapy and much more!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Another good site


So I found another good site, its called Boomers Off Shore and it has a lot of great pictures and a very interesting story of people who travelled to Costa Rica. It has some great info on Costa Rica, and I totally recommend checking it out. Reason being it's most beneficial to learn about the country before going there, from people who have already experienced the Country. On this site you can explore CR, read their story, or subscribe to their newsletter.

The Url is

Pura Vida!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

La Joya Perfecta

Man today we have found quite a few great resources that we just HAVE to blog about! But dont worry, tomorrow we'll get back on track with our normal blogs...

La Joya Perfecta is a place where you are inspired to live a healthy, invigorated life. Every aspect of health is integrated into the lifestyle so that it's easy to achieve your optimal wellness. With our Preventive and Integrated Medicine Program, you can take control of your body and mind with the help of our health professionals. They can assess you and your health goals and get you on track to a healthier future through our Nutrition Consulting and Fitness Consultation.

Master the power of your mind, release stress, and activate your self-healing abilities.

If you are looking to focus on your spiritual side, we can help you to channel the Healing Energy that you possess within. Remember, your mind is capable of affecting change outside of the human body; we'll help you to learn to capture and cultivate better thinking and, in turn, better living.

Costa Rica Wellness

Costa Rica Real Estate

Pacific Home Furnashing

Guess what, we found a great online furniture catalog in Costa Rica! These guys are awesome! Read below....

Pacific Home Furnishings is an online furniture store, and has been in the market since 2004, and is the largest furniture online catalog in Costa Rica. If it's convenience you're looking for, check out . Michael and Ana, the owners, will work closely with you to define your furnishing needs, and will even offer different selections and proposals to achieve your decoration goals!

Pacific Home Furnishings sells local and imported furniture from the best suppliers in the country,and will deliver to your door, ANYWHERE in Costa Rica!

They have very high manufacturing standards, reforested, treated and kiln dried woods are used in the production of furniture. In addition, you can have CUSTOM MADE FURNITURE as their manufacturers can make exact replicas of the furniture you would like!

Check out their home page and the testimonials on their webpage. Pacific Home Furnishings takes excellent care of every client and they are well known for going the extra mile when it comes to quality and customer service.

For more information, visit their website at

Office phone: 506-2665-1750

Location: 2.5 Km. West from Burger King Liberia Villa de Guanacaste Office Building #10, Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sushi anyone?

Buenas Noches a todos donde sea que estes... (good evening everyone wherever you are..)

Ok so today was my birthday (this is David by the way) and i had to work, I honestly had a great day today. I showed up and all my employees said happy b-david

You now may be wondering what do I do for a living... well, i am the assistance supervisor for an outsource company, and I have under my responsibility 16 people that report to me and I report to my boss and he reports to I don't know who...

Anyways, the reason I'm writing this is because I wanted to share with you guys that I found a great Sushi restaurant in Heredia. Now, if you have been to Costa Rica, you will notice that there are not that many good Japanese Restaurant around here, or maybe I just haven't been to yet! I think maybe after living in Vancouver, BC, where Sushi is great, I just can't take crappy sushi.

The restaurant is called "Kabuto" and there are two, one in front of Universidad Nacional in Downtown Heredia, and the other one is in La aurora in Plaza Aurora.

Everyday I drive by it and i see a lot of people going to it, well, today since it was my birthday Steph took me there, and that was awesome because she does not like Japanese food that much, and when we came out I was in awe.

To begin with, the waiter was extremely nice, polite and courteous, he asked what we wanted and we order and paraphrase and so I thought that was nice because here in Costa Rica the restaurants lack costumer service. The food did not take long and it Great!

We were pretty happy with the taste and the service and we knew the total cost at front. You might be wondering what I mean by that, well, here in Costa Rica the restaurants usually charge you extra taxes, but if you want more info, visit our website.

At the end of the night, I was very satisfied with the service and the way we were attended.

I highly recommend it for you guys to try it.

Bye for now


Sunday, August 2, 2009

The smaller things in life...

Hola todos! It's Stephanie again! So todays blog will be on the smaller things in life here in Costa Rica; the water, internet, cable/satellite, food, etc. Hopefully you will find it useful, I like to make things as practical as possible so you can apply it in your life. If you are planning to move to Costa Rica, and you have sort of decided where you would like to live (mountains, beach, or city as mentioned in previous blogs), then there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Your water bill in Costa Rica will be very cheap when compared to your bill in the US. David and I pay approximately $5-$8 per month (last month's bill was 2,352 colones which is about $5), and I take long showers! What you really need to know about the water here, is that it is very difficult to find a home that has a hot water tank. We do not have hot water in our house, and often have to boil water to clean our dishes or wash extremely dirty clothes. If you are like me and HAVE to have hot showers, you can purchase a "termo ducha" (thermal shower head) at major grocery stores such as Hipermas or Pricemart here in Costa Rica. You can attach this shower head to your shower and PRESTO hot water! Just keep in mind this is an electrical shower head, so you do not want to play with it. I would suggest you turn it on and keep it on, I don't even know how to turn mine off! LOL. You can, however, find a home with hot water, it will most likely be more expensive though. Places such as new gated communities and condominiums usually have hot water.

There is only one cell phone company in Costa Rica, and that is ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad). There are two options you can choose from with this company, TDM or GSM. There is a long waiting list for both, so you could be waiting anywhere from one month to over a year to get your phone connected.

If you chose TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) or "all technology," you can get it sooner than the GSM phone, because not as many people use this system anymore. It is slower and cuts out more, you cannot send pictures or get the internet on your phone through here. Reception is poor in many places.

GSM (Groupe Spécial Mobile) is the most popular choice, with this option you can receive or send photos, surf the internet, it has better reception and better technology. The down side is the waiting list. There are not enough phone numbers in Costa Rica, and so you could be waiting up to a year, maybe longer, to have it connected.

There are four providers for internet services here in Costa Rica. There is Racsa who offers dial up internet service only. They have a maximum transfer speed of 56kb (kilobytes), which is quite slow. ICE only offers ADSL internet services. You can purchase different speeds for different prices. The down side is that it depends of port availability, which means it can also take a long time to have it connected. We signed up for ICE ADSL in October of 2008, they did not hook up our internet until May 2009. The other two are through CableTica and Amnet. You must have cable with these companies in order to purchase internet, and these two companies do not offer services in every area.

Which cable company you use may depend on where you live. If you live in the larger areas, such as Alajuela, San Jose or Heredia, you will have more choices than if you live farther out. CableTica and Amnet are the two cable companies, and SKY is the only satellite company. It doesn't take long to have your cable or satellite connected, usually they can be connected within a week.

ELECTRICTY: The only provider of electricity is ICE; it's nationwide and pretty cheap. Last month we paid 9, 818 colones for electricity, which is roughly $20 American, however the price did increase slightly this month. This month we will probably pay about 11,000 colones ($22). You can find a home for rent which includes cable, electricity, and internet so you don't have to hassel with all these companies. Almost every home has cable, electricity and water. If it doesn't, don't move there!

One last note, you will not find a home with heat in Costa Rica. We live in the mountains where it is cold and rains all the time, and we had to purchase a small electric heater on our honeymoon in Miami last year. Heat is next to impossible to find year, but it is really not needed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coke in a BAG!!!!


So today Steph and I were sitting at a soda (local restaurant)having a piece of fried chicken in Belen, Heredia and we got to talking about more tips for you guys and for the Costa Rica website. Stephanie asked me if she could drink out of the the glass coke bottle with her meal rather than use the cup and I said "sure, I don't see what is so fun about it." Well, then we realized that it is very hard to find coke in the US or Canada in glass bottles.

After having a good time with our inside jokes we realized that here in Costa Rica, the local corner store (pulperias) will literally give you a coke in a little plastic baggie, because they have to return the glass bottle to the factory where it came from. Crazy eh? Yeah I know.... what do you do? Have fun I would suggest....

The first time Steph came to Costa Rica in 2007, she was shocked when she tried to buy a coke at the local store. They poured the coke out into a plastic baggie, gave her a straw and kept the glass bottle. Steph could hardly speak Spanish at that time and was REALLY confused. She rushed back to my house, opened the door and started yelling "Coke in a bag! Coke in a BAG!" And reached out her hand with the bag to show me. I laughed for days because to me it was normal- I was used to coke in a bag.

DON'T WORRY, here in Costa Rica we also have plastic bottles and aluminun cans so if you are not so confortable drinking out of the bag... you do have other options...

Ahhhh.... traveling... what a great experience! Wouldn't you agree? Anyways, I thought I would post a pic of Steph actually holding one, and also if you guys are wondering what kind of ice cream she is eating, it's called "CHOCOLETA" (pronounce = Sho-ko-le-ta) in case you want to have one for the little price of Ç 350 colones ($0.59 USD) isn't that cheap?

ok.. for more updates... check back soon!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Moving To Costa Rica

Hey everyone, It's Stephanie again! (I thought I would mention who is writing because David and I both write on here.)

SO I was speaking to a person on facebook who was interested in moving to Costa Rica, I won't mention his name until I have permission but this is what he had to say,

"It's also been sort of hard to find anyone that will actually tell us what the real conditions in CR are like. I've done lots of research online and read many blogs, but haven't talked with anyone from there until today."

After reading his message I decided to dedicate my next few blogs to helping people who want to move here, and giving them tips on what to do and how to make your move more comfortable.

First off, before you start searching for a place to live, you need to know what you are looking for. Do you want to live by the beach, or do you prefer the city? Do you want to live in the tropical jungle or maybe even the cloud forest? I am going to start off with a brief description of each potential living arrangement so you can get a better feel.

Life by the beach: Now it really depends which Coast you prefer. The Pacific Coast is more popular, especially in Liberia. However, Guanacaste can be extremely hot and dry, especially in the dry season which runs from the end of November to mid- April. Jaco and playa Herradura (playa is Spanish for beach) are located in the province of Puntarenas, where it is not as hot most of the time, but still nice enough to go swimming at the beach in the rain! The Caribbean side is not as popular, and is thought to be more unsafe, especially for tourists. During our visits to the Caribbean I didn't feel at all unsafe but there are some stereotypes and negative connotations associated with Limon. I would not recommend moving to the Caribbean coast however, because during the rainy season (May to Mid November) there is horrible weather and it floods every year. It's a great place to visit, but not so much to live. Also, the roads are very bad here so you definitely need a 4x4 to get around.

Life in the city: City life has it's ups and downs, although it can be very difficult if you don't know any spanish. Most people in the city speak very little English, except in the tourist areas, so knowing at least the basics is a must. The bus system is tricky, and taxi drivers will often rip you off. But if you are into the club scene and shopping, then San Jose might be for you. The weather is not too hot not too cold, although it does rain a fair bit. You can get really cheap homes for rent here but the areas are not usually as nice.

Life in the mountains: David and I live in the mountains, between San Isidro and San Rafael in Heredia. It's fairly close to the city, close to the cloud forest, but about 3 hours away from the beach. David has to work in Heredia, which is why we don't move closer to the beach. It can get pretty cold in the mountains during the rainy season, and the power goes out a little more often. The sights from the mountains are to DIE for, and living in the mountains is a mountain biker’s paradise. There are always bikers around training all year round.

That seems to be the main areas, after you have f
igured out generally what you are looking for, you can then start digging a little deeper into what you want. Still not sure what area is best for you? Think about it a bit more and check back tomorrow for my next blog, where I will attempt to go more in depth. Hope this helps!