When moving to Costa Rica with a pet you must know that there are only two airports in which your pet can arrive, Juan Santamaria (SJO) located just north of San Jose (the capital) and Liberia (LIR) located in Guanacaste on the Pacific Coastal area. Each airport has different requirements for pets entering and the manner of which they arrive.
Juan Santamaria (SJO) is the main airport for the country. This airport handles dozens of pet moves each month, both into and out of the country. When a pet comes into SJO, they can arrive with their owner or alone. Through this airport only, pets are permitted to arrive by private plane or charter provided both the plane and the pet meet all entry requirements and the officials are aware of this arrival well in advance.
Liberia (LIR) is north of San Jose, 3 1/2 – 4 hours by car. This airport does not have cargo service or allow any pets to fly into this airport without the owner on the same flight. Pets cannot fly out of this airport by most of the air carriers and special arrangements must be made for those airlines that can. Only very small pets are considered for transiting from SJO-LIR on the local airlines. Ground transportation is still the safest and best option for those that need to make their way to the northern coastal area.
If you are moving to Costa Rica with a pet, you must check into the best routing for your loved one. If a connection is needed, as many airlines require, the facility where your pet stops meets the AWA (Animal Welfare Act) requirements. It has also been recognized by the TSA, IATA and LAR as a safe environment for your pet.