Costa Rica is an amazingly dog-friendly place! You can go anywhere with a pup, including restaurants, bars, beaches, and shopping centers. If you’re up for some dog-friendly travel, it should definitely be on your bucket list!
If you’re confident that your dog is well-trained enough to come with you on vacation, we’ve put together some info for you on popular dog-friendly travel destinations in Costa Rica.
Even though you can book your pet into their own hotel, we’ll be focusing on pet-friendly hotels so you and your fluff can stay together!
The province of Puerto Viejo is an unusual melting pot of local indigenous people and expats who have made the beautiful beaches their home.
You most likely won’t find luxury resorts here. While you can find more upmarket accommodation, it’s a true taste of local life. If you and your pup are happy to stay in a bungalow on the beach, then you won’t have a problem!
Pet-friendly accommodation includes:
- Tierra de Suenos Lodge & Wellness Center
- Playa Chiquita Lodge
- Villas Lomas del Caribe
- Selina Puerto Viejo
Interestingly, Puerto Viejo is one of the greenest areas of the country, with an emphasis on recycling, preservation, and veganism.
Both you and your dog will be welcome here. If you’re both fans of the water, you won’t find a better beach spot.
If you’re planning on viewing some of Costa Rica’s amazing protected flora and fauna while you’re there, Cahuita could be a good location for you. You can find plenty of dog-friendly accommodation, such as:
- Magellan Boutique Hotel
- Costa Azul Lodge
The area is also known for its Caribbean culture. You’ll be able to experience a bit of local culture and food, but be careful not to feed your dog anything he may not be familiar with.
From here, it’s minutes away to the Cahuita National Park. You may not be able to take your dog with you into the park, due to the preservation of species. You may have to leave your dog in your accommodation (if it’s allowed), with a chew toy to keep him busy.
But the area is dog-friendly and your pooch will appreciate the white beaches and variety of grilled chicken!
Gulf of Papagayo
The Gulf of Papagayo is a popular resort destination. If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious but that still has the raw, natural feeling of Costa Rica, this could be the spot for you.
Check out these pet-friendly accommodation options:
- Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica
- Casa Conde Beach Front Hotel
- Andaz Papagayo Resort
You can lounge around at the pool with your pooch nearby. Or, you can organize a hiking trip, visit the beach, visit a waterfall or volcano, or take your dog along to a yoga class.
Dogs are well-received in restaurants and bars, and of course on the beach. If there are specific activities you’d like to do, you’ll need to call ahead and find out if your fluffy friend can come along.
What You Need to Know
You can’t just pack your dog in your suitcase and fly to Costa Rica! There are some rules and regulations you need to know about.
The Legalities of Dog Travel
In order to be allowed into Costa Rica legally, your dog needs to have:
- A pet passport
- A valid health certificate (within 30 days of departure, if your pet has no passport)
- Proof of vaccination (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, rabies, Leptospirosis)
How to Travel
How your dog gets to Costa Rica depends largely on which country you’re flying from. Check your chosen airline in advance to find out their rules for pets.
You should declare your dog as part of your luggage, whether they’re traveling in-cabin with you or separately.
If the dog is declared as air cargo and not personal luggage, the authorities will require a Health Import Permit. This can be a much longer process that usually requires you to fill in forms in advance and visit the Animal Health Services Division with a valid health certificate.
Remember, as much as you love your dog, not everyone feels the same. Keep your dog leashed when you’re out in public, don’t assume that everyone is okay with dogs, and make sure you obey rules and regulations.
Although most places are pet-friendly, some will require that you leave your dog outside while you shop.
Although dogs roam around off-leash, many of them are strays. If your dog is nervous or aggressive, it may be best to leave them at home! If your pooch is happy and friendly, they’ll fare better.
But there’s always a chance of a stray dog getting territorial or aggressive with your pup. It’s advisable to keep your dog on the leash and avoid getting too close to other dogs, even if they look friendly.
Your Pup’s Health
You can never be too careful when it comes to your beloved dog’s health. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Fleas and ticks: Invest in a tick and flea shampoo.
- The toads: Don’t let your pooch near one! They’re extremely poisonous.
- Insect bites: Bring along a vet-approved medication for bites and stings.
Make sure you have enough dog food for your pet while you’re there. Also, putting together a doggy first aid kit would be a good idea.
Lastly, make a note of the closest vet and keep their details close at hand in case you need them. Familiarize yourself with some basic dog first aid so you can look after your dog while waiting for a vet, if necessary.
If you haven’t yet traveled to this jungle wonderland, it should certainly be on your list. It’s a paradise for eco-tourists, vegans, nature-lovers, and dog-lovers!
These are just a few dog-friendly travel destinations in Costa Rica. Generally, wherever you go in the country, your dog (and you) will be well-received. Most restaurants, bars, and shopping centers will welcome your fluff.
Just remember, safety first! Always consider your dog’s and your own safety before anything else. Secondly, respect others and remember that not everyone loves dogs as much as you do!