One of the things I love about living in Costa Rica is the profusion of fresh fruits and vegetables you can get, and at very low prices compared to North America.
In my little mountain coffee town of Atenas, Costa Rica, we have a long-standing tradition of a Friday Farmers’ Market. Called a “feria” in Spanish, this is the place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, dairy products and meats, plants and herbs – just like in many other countries.
You have bought your dream house in Costa Rica; or, you’ve secured the ideal rental while you check out the country as a place to live. Either way, you’re ready to take the plunge and move to Costa Rica.
Have a faithful companion you don’t want to leave behind? When planning your move to Costa Rica, don’t forget to find out what to do to bring your pet to Costa Rica. While it is not as easy as simply securing passage for Fido or Fluffy on an airline, it is straightforward to bring your dog or cat to Costa Rica with you.
Guidelines given here are for bringing dogs and cats from the United States to Costa Rica. Check this link for other animals from the USA, or with your country’s embassy or governing organization for animals. Many people opt to use a pet moving service, which handles much of the work for you.
What to do in the USA to bring your pet to Costa Rica
Timing is crucial since your pet’s health certificate is only valid within 10 days of the date of departure, and many airlines will only let you make reservations for your pet to fly 13 days or less before traveling. Make sure to have two or three extra copies of all documents, just in case. The governing authority for animals leaving, or entering, the USA is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Your dog or cat must have up-to-date vaccinations against rabies and leptospirosis to enter Costa Rica. You must have certificates of the vaccinations from the veterinarian.
- Your dog or cat must be examined by a USDA accredited veterinarian, who must declare that your pet is healthy. The veterinarian must fill out Federal APHIS Form 7001. The health certificate is only valid for 10 days before traveling. In many cases, the health certificate must be endorsed by the local USDA Veterinary Services office (check with the USDA for the office nearest to your home). Fees to the USDA for endorsement range from $38 to $121 per animal.
- If your pet is being transported as cargo, and not on the same flight as you, an import permit also is required.
Read anything about Atenas, Costa Rica and you will find that it has “The Best Climate in the World.” The motto is plastered across the backs of all buses in Atenas, on a few billboards, and even graces the name of a restaurant in town. It is quite a claim.
But is it true?
Says Dennis Easters of Pure Life Development of Atenas: “For me, Atenas has a perfect climate because we have long sunny days where the temperature rarely goes above 86-87 degrees (F), allowing you to enjoy lounging pool side. The nights in the mountains are fresh with temperatures dipping into the mid 60's, a great sleeping temperature using only a light blanket.”
“This is the sun belt of the Central Valley,” added Atenas resident Judi Purdy from Colorado.
Atenas County is located in the far western corner of Costa Rica’s Central Valley. The capital city of San Jose is less than an hour to the east, and some of the best Pacific Coast beaches are under an hour to the west. The area’s rugged terrain of mountains and valleys ranges in elevation from 2,200 to 4,000 feet above sea level.
There are as many reasons for moving to Atenas, Costa Rica as there are foreign residents living here.
“I love living here,” said Atenas resident Anna Hunt, who is originally from Poland. “One of the main reasons we picked Atenas is because we wanted a cool fresh climate, and it is close to the beach, close to the airport, and close to the city.”
“Atenas is a wonderful location. We’re beautifully situated in the Central Valley but we’re not in San Jose. Atenas has a wonderful climate,” commented longtime Atenas resident and U.S. citizen Scott Schlieman.
“We picked Atenas because of location – being half-way between San Jose and the beach,” agreed Darlyce Brown of Canada. “We love Atenas for the climate, living in the country and being a small town. People are very friendly. It’s a quaint old-style village.”
The small, rural town of Atenas, Costa Rica, rests to the west of the hustle and bustle of the capital city of San Jose. On the far edge of the country’s Central Valley, farms and coffee plantations dot the steep mountains that spill down to the Central Pacific Coast.
Atenas has the reputation for harboring one of the best climates in the world, tending to boast more sunny days than rainy. The praise has made Atenas a major retirement destination for persons from around the world. AARP, the largest international association of retired people, listed Atenas as a top 10 place to retire abroad, putting Atenas real estate in high demand.
A new option for those looking for real estate in Costa Rica is the residential development of Las Brisas del Valle (Breezes of the Valley) in the Atenas neighborhood of Estanquillos. Located 20 minutes from the center of Atenas town, Las Brisas del Valle is surrounded by beautiful coffee plantations at an elevation of 1,200 meters (3,900 feet). Days are warm and nights are fresh and cool.
Costa Rica Realtors Chamber
Tours in Costa Rica
Pure Life Development of Atenas is a full service tour company. We feature full vacation packages and day trips for the family. Our tour director Nelson Conejo is very experienced and provides a personal service and attention to detail second to none in Costa Rica. Please write Nelson or give him a call to arrange your next Costa Rican vacation at (506)2446-0447 or
Retirement Living in Atenas
Interview with Pure Life Development co-founder and certified realtor Dennis Easters, about Costa Rica ranked by AARP as "one of the best places to retire abroad".