Properties in Costa Rica Blog

Monthly Archives: February 2021


6 Tips for Solo Travel With Your Dog

6 Tips for Solo Travel With Your Dog

February 23, 2021

Properties in Costa Rica

Solo travel is one of life’s great pleasures, and it’s made even more fun when your pooch can come along.

However, if you want to explore the world with your furry pal, you’ll need to do a lot of preparation and planning beforehand.

You can’t be as spontaneous when you have a canine companion, and if you’re crossing borders, one innocent misjudgment could place you both in a difficult situation.

Planning your trip in advance, while keeping your dog’s needs in mind, is the best way to ensure a great travel experience. Check out these six tips for solo travel with your dog and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

1. Consider Whether Your Dog is Suitable for Travel

Before packing your suitcase and hitting the road with your pooch, take the time to consider whether your pup is cut out for travel.

Are they anxious or reactive by nature? Do they get upset when their daily routine is disrupted? Or are they getting older or suffering from health issues?

You should ask yourself all these questions and more before deciding to travel with your dog. Not all dogs will enjoy the constant changing of surroundings that comes with travel, while others may struggle with disruptions to their routine.

If you’re unsure how your dog will react to travel, it’s best to do a short trial run first. Take your pup away with you for an overnight stay or weekend break to see how they get on before committing to a longer trip.

2. Plan Your Trip Ahead

A popular travel quote is “travel is about the journey, not the destination”, and this is especially true when traveling with your dog. Before heading off on your adventures, make the time to plan your route in detail – with the needs of your dog in mind.

If you’re traveling by car, you should choose an itinerary that has plenty of dog-friendly stops on the way, so you can punctuate the journey with shady walks and toilet stops. Your dog will be much more relaxed if they have frequent opportunities for a leg-stretch and some fresh air.

You should also make a note of all the vet clinics and pet supply stores along the way, just in case your pooch needs some medical help during your trip.

If you’re flying with your dog, triple-check the airline and arrival country requirements before you book. The last thing you want is to turn up at the airport with the wrong size of airline carrier or a missing vaccine stamp on your dog’s paperwork.

Airlines are very specific about which carriers are allowed, including requirements as minor as the bolt material and locking mechanisms. You should also check whether your dog is small enough to come into the cabin, as the hold can be an extremely stressful experience.

Most airports have areas where you can walk your pup and allow them to relieve themselves before boarding – so be sure to factor this time into your travel plans.

3. Pre-Book Dog-Friendly Venues

While more venues are pet-friendly nowadays, you cannot assume the next hotel on your route will allow you to bring your pooch. Being stranded with nowhere to stay is bad enough when you’re on your own, let alone when you have your furry pal.

To avoid this situation, make sure to research dog-friendly hotels and restaurants along your route and book well in advance to avoid disappointment. Some hotels may offer pet-sitting services, too – so you can nip out for essentials and leave your pup in safe hands.

The good news is that there are many dog-friendly hotels in Costa Rica. You’ll need to search for the area you’re visiting, but some examples include:

  • Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica (Papagayo.) This hotel allows pets of any size for no additional fee, making it an excellent choice for larger dogs.
  • Hotel Poseidon Y Restaurante (Jaco.) Unlike the Four Seasons, this hotel only allows dogs up to 15kg, and you’ll need to pay a small deposit.
  • Casa Conde Hotel and Suites (San Jose.) This hotel allows dogs up to 20lbs with a daily refundable deposit.

4. Bring All the Essentials

Whether you’re traveling by air or overland, you’ll need to bring lots of supplies to keep your dog happy and healthy during the journey.

For road trips, make sure there’s plenty of space in the car to bring everything your pup needs and keep it within easy reach for your rest stops. Items such as a crash-tested travel crate, collapsible water bowls, poop bags, wipes, snacks, blankets, leashes, and harnesses are essential, and I recommend you also bring a comfy bed (The Dog Clinic has some good travel options,) their favorite toys and a first aid kit.

If you’re flying with your dog in the cabin with you, be sure to bring comfort items such as toys, blankets, absorbent pads, wipes, snacks, and a collapsible water bowl. If your dog is anxious on the plane, you may want to bring a calming supplement recommended by your vet.

5. Keep Copies of all Your Documents

If you’re planning to cross borders, you’ll need to have all your dog’s health and vaccination records ready. These are checked by border officials to make sure your dog is healthy and won’t bring any diseases into the country.

Countries have different entry requirements, so it’s crucial to research these thoroughly before traveling. Some countries will require a rabies vaccination and blood test results to prove it. If you arrive and you don’t have the correct documentation, your dog could be taken away and placed into quarantine.

Alongside the original documents, make sure you make several copies and keep them somewhere safe. Officials will usually want to make copies of the documents, so if you have some ready, this will save time and make the entry process much easier.

It’s a good idea to have some copies saved digitally, too, so you can still access them should the hard copies get lost or damaged.

6. Make Use of Dog-Friendly Travel Apps

Essentially everyone is online nowadays, so you’ll likely plan your vacation with your smartphone. Aside from browsing websites for information, you can also download dedicated dog travel apps to help you make the most of your trip.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Bring Fido – this app lists nearby dog-friendly venues.
  • Pet First Aid– run by the American Red Cross, this app tells you where the nearest emergency veterinarian clinics are and provides easy instructions to help you deal with an emergency.
  • All Trails – this app lists more than 50,000 trails with maps and reviews. You can filter the search to locate dog-friendly walks nearby.

Summary

There you have it, my top tips for solo travel with your dog.

Organizing a trip with your pooch maybe a little more difficult than going it alone, but if you do your research and plan well in advance, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy exploring the world with your best friend!




Tennis a Sport For All

Tennis a Sport For All

February 17, 2021

Properties in Costa Rica

Ever since the first Tennis courts started appearing back in 1941, the sport of Tennis here in Costa Rica has little by little become a sport now practiced by thousands of kids and adults. Even though soccer has always been reigning in terms of popularity, one of the events that facilitated this shift in Costa Rica’s sporting selections is the rise in gated condominiums, country clubs, and hotels over the last decade. Establishments are now interested in offering to their customers a complete experience, and this experience has been connected to sports and facilities that are made to incentivize a healthy and fun lifestyle. This is the case for tennis, and different courts can now be found from San José up to the Guanacaste Region, where you can enjoy playing with your family & friends while relaxing to the soothing sounds of the forest and its fauna. Here in Costa Rica, you’re able to find two different types of courts, predominantly hard and a few clay ones in the new Santa Ana Country Club.

In terms of competitions, perhaps you’ve heard of an important one that is played every year at the Costa Rica Country Club: “La Copa del Café”. First started 56 years ago, this junior tennis event is held each year at the country club and is included in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) program, meaning there are excellent players to be seen. Unfortunately, due to lack of sponsoring and the pandemic as a whole, the tournament was canceled and will take place in 2022, where hopefully the maximum capacity of 25,000 people can attend and enjoy this wonderful experience. Through this tournament, the game of Tennis has become more than a sport and for Costa Ricans and ex-pats, it has turned into a social event where the sport is celebrated and friends are made. If you are looking to learn and get involved in the Tennis world here in Costa Rica, don’t hesitate in doing so! Until next time.




3 Ways You Can Finance a House in Costa Rica

3 Ways You Can Finance a House in Costa Rica

February 15, 2021

Properties in Costa Rica

Buying a vacation home with cash is a dream of many people. In fact, paying by cash used to be the only way to purchase property in Costa Rica. It remains the easiest way to secure real estate in the country, with buyers having more power to negotiate without dealing with stringent real estate financing.

However, paying cash is not always possible for many interested homebuyers. So what other options are available?

Here are three ways foreigners can finance a house in Costa Rica.

1. Local Banking

The banking system in Costa Rica can be divided into two categories: public and private banks. Public banks, those owned by the government, have been the dominant financial providers in the country for many years. Most foreigners end up dealing with either Banco Nacional or Banco de Costa Rica when seeking real estate financing from a public bank.

Private banking was not available in Costa Rica until a law change in 1996, which allowed them to accept consumer deposits. These local private banks have started aggressively offering mortgages to foreigners in the past few years.

The largest of these private banks is BAC San Jose, which is a division of BAC International. Other private banking options include Scotiabank, HSBC, and CitiBank.

Although the slowdown in the global economy has scaled back Costa Rican banks from marketing to foreigners, these efforts will surely get back on track once the markets begin moving once again.

2. Local Mortgage

For those looking to purchase a new home or condominium from an experienced developer, there is a good chance that the agent has a relationship with a bank that already agreed to provide real estate financing.

According to Paperless Pipeline, real estate financing is an approach where a buyer secures a method to fund their real estate purchase. Pre-approved financing can be very beneficial.

The main advantage is that a pre-approved development for financing through a bank is one that has undergone proper research. This means that everything from reviews of the value and structure to title searches has been analyzed. It also means that the property is in good shape.

However, this does not mean that the price given to foreign buyers is fair. Although the bank will hire an expert to estimate the value of a property, it also sends in a second expert to review it before granting loans. This assessed value could be higher or lower than what was initially assessed by the bank and what a buyer has agreed to pay.

If you require a mortgage but will not be buying from a developer, you can shop around and see what the different banks have to offer. The banks mentioned earlier already have programs aimed at foreigners and should be willing to provide their products to you.

3. Foreign Mortgage

Although banks that are not domiciled in Costa Rica are not allowed to advertise their services, providing them to clients is a different matter. With the rest of the world catching wind of its real estate boom and tourist attractions, many foreign banks have started offering mortgages in the country.

These deals are legal, and the terms they provide are quite competitive with what you can find in the United States. But how does one find these loans? Stewart Title is one place you can explore.

Stewart Title is a provider of title insurance and information services needed for the settlement of real estate and mortgage industries. It has ties to the United States and international markets through a network of owned operations. The company connects lenders with borrowers and vice versa.

Other places where interested buyers can find leads regarding a foreign bank include real estate brokers, lawyers, or the developer selling the property in Costa Rica. If all else fails, it could never hurt to ask a local bank where you live. Although they may not offer a specific program, they could still be open to the idea of financing foreign real estate.

After finding a bank that offers a loan for buying a property overseas, the process is similar to a normal application in the United States. Your credit score will be analyzed against your assets and income, and the bank will either approve or deny your application.

In the past, some individuals were able to buy a home in Costa Rica by using a home equity loan. This may be difficult to do at the moment, given the current financial environment.

Conclusion

The housing market in Costa Rica remains strong. Buyers from the United States are one of the key factors driving property demand.

People who wish to purchase a house in Costa Rica have three primary options to choose from if they cannot pay by cash. Dealing with local banks and getting a mortgage are the primary choices for real estate financing in the country.



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