Taking a pet from Costa Rica

It figures, just when we thought we’d started to have everything figured out, we hit another snag. (There’s always another snag.) This time, it’s with Asia, our cat.

Our problem is not with Canada — all they need is a valid rabies vaccination, which we have. Our problem is not our airline (Continental) — we already have a reservation that allows us to take our cat. Our problem is with Costa Rica.

I’m so not surprised.

It hit us about a week or so ago that merely leaving the country with Asia wasn’t just a matter of having the airline say a pet was okay. There was the matter if we had documentation saying that she was okay. Wendy, our super-awesome travel agent, managed to find out that Continental needed a letter from a vet saying that Asia was fit to fly. No biggie.

So Alex trucked over to the veterinarian (conveniently located at the front of our condo complex) to get that sorted out. That’s when the complications came in. It wasn’t just as simple as a letter from the vet. Oh, no, that would be too easy. How quickly we forgot how much Costa Rica loves its bureaucracy!  (Keep in mind that it took us over a year to get our temporary residency.)

No, to leave Costa Rica means that we need to have an export permit to take Asia. Export. Like she’s a Costa Rican product or something. This isn’t quite as bad as the fact that we also had to get a similar legal document so we could leave with our two year-old daughter! (That one has me at a level of disbelief that I can’t even fathom.)

[Insert rising panic here.]

This is not something you want to discover with a mere 11 days (now 10) remaining until you leave. Down here, things never happen quickly, and the word “urgent” (as spoken by a North American) never translates well.

Alex got the vet started on getting us a certificate, which could take — and I’m not joking — a week. This could get uuuuugly. We don’t have the luxury of delaying even a single day going home. We have too many things lined up to start the morning after we arrive, and the balls are already well in motion. I’m not saying we’re going to abandon Asia here (we’re not, just to make that abundantly clear), but it’s not going to make me in any way happy if things don’t go according to plan.

We even went through calling 10 different hotels before we could find one that would allow pets of any kind. That’s enough of an annoying snag. This current one is borderline catastrophic. (CATastrophic. Cat. Get it? Ha!)

I hate moving.

4 Replies to “Taking a pet from Costa Rica”

  1. A little cheese with that whine?? Sure there is a lot of bureaucracy but with all due respect it is not Costa Rican fault that you didn’t start your process with enough time. If your travel agent didn’t tell you or didn’t know about it, it’s her fault, she should have known or research or you guys should have asked your vet before…
    Sure there’s a lot of bureaucracy in CR and is awful and should be removed!, but where isn’t? Same thing happens to us when we have to apply for a visa or something from the US or Canada…
    But hey! at least your heading back to your country I guess everything will be a lot easier for you… have a great trip!

    1. I won’t argue — we were uninformed on details that our relocation company should have disclosed. Finding out that additional documentation was needed so late in the process is definitely stressful. And yes, I do say that having an export permit for our cat is a bit odd; even more so for permission to take our own daughter out. Never seen that one before. And yes, I do love a good cheese.

      Things are rarely easier just because of a relocation. More familiar, maybe.

  2. Hang in there! It will all be over soon……

    Unfortunately, it looks like you will be arriving back just in time for a cold snap. BRRR

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