Pura vida!!! Just when you think that you know a few dog-friendly countries, you get a pleasant surprise! This month we find ourselves in Santa Teresa (Costa Rica), hands-down the most dog-friendly place I have been to on earth! You literally see dogs everywhere: from cafés to the beach, from restaurants to airports, not to mention on top of bicycles, motorbikes, quad bikes. It’s hard to tell whether they all have homes as some end up following you for days or weeks if you pay them any attention. Like in a lot of people’s experiences, dogs end up choosing you and not the other way around. I guess the most surprising aspect to me was that dogs walk everywhere off lead, even navigating busy traffic. We saw people leave restaurants with their dog off lead, get on their motorbikes and have the dog follow them home on foot (paw); sometimes even running ahead of their owner’s bike. So even though it’s busy traffic, the way of life here is so chilled and drivers are so considerate that it probably is pretty safe – pura vida!
Having a 4×4 vehicle is a real must! We wouldn’t have managed to navigate some of the steep roads without ours. Especially as some routes aren’t even tarmacked yet so earth turns into mud and dust; in the more remote areas which are a lot of fun to get to, roads are impossible to reach without 4×4 drive – you can get stuck easily.


Welcome to our Costa Rica DogBlog!


Funky bar with pretty people, mainly foreigners (both visiting and living here), all very healthy-looking and clearly into watersports. Music can be a bit loud if you’re planning on having a chat; but if you go on a Live Music night you will probably manage and really enjoy it. The burgers are delicious and the staff quite friendly.


Gorgeous beach club with bar and restaurant, chilled music and amazing food! So pura vida… Beautiful sea views which really go with the cocktails… Definitely try the fish tacos and the mahi mahi (dolphin fish)! The sunbeds are so comfortable you can lie in them for hours, way past sunset… And the swings are extremely instagrammable. Probably the best beach club we came across.


Not the best experience simply because it felt disfunctional. Very dog-friendly but the staff were clueless and poorly managed. One was even a bit unfriendly. The juices, coffees and pastries are lovely though, so maybe consider a take-away, or you’ll be there an hour and still not get served… Wifi signal is nil outside, quite strong inside. Definitely London prices if not more expensive.



The quality of the breakfast really impressed us: fresh ingredients, intriguing flavours and massive portions. Dogs walk in and out freely, you have no idea whether they live there or belong to anyone. Nobody complains, in fact they get a cuddle per table. The issue is whether to feed them anything because they may be starving or they may be overfed by all the places they visit during the day.


Probably my favourite food in Santa Teresa (Playa Carmen), stunning views of the ocean and beautiful cocktails! I absolutely loved their breaded king prawns and fried calamari, but my favourite dish here was undeniably their seafood pizza, covered in prawns, squid, octopus and lots and lots of fish sauce… not easy to single out every ingredient in the pizza, it was simply delicious!


This restaurant as the name suggests is supposed to be a meat-eater’s paradise. But I thoroughly enjoyed my king prawns in a creamy wine sauce and the mixed ceviche with plantain looked very appealing too. The star of the show was however the mixed chicken and steak grill which was of course accompanied by chips and rice – that just goes without saying – oh and beans obviously… you are in Costa Rica after all… pura vida!


Chico’s claims to have “the best f@#*ing view in Costa Rica“… I wasn’t disappointed. Truly breathtaking, relaxing, awe-inspiring! From the brief of pelicans flying overhead to the typical “homemade” food, prices are more european than central american… but the high quality is pretty standard anywhere you go.


Our boat Gecko II was crewed by the friendliest guys in Playa Organos (Paquera), who really took the time to introduce themselves and identify customers’ individual needs. While this wasn’t a dog-friendly ride, we did come across a few dogs during the day and their treatment of the pooches was indicative of their best instincts as human beings, including naming and feeding a dog that lived on the remote and uninhabited Paquera beach. We also fed fresh fruit to an iguana living in one of the islands we visited. We called her Rebecca – she refused the pineapple but adored watermelon.
By the way, you must be wondering what this “Pura Vida” means… I could obviously understand its literal meaning as it’s the same as in portuguese – Pure Life – but what I did not get was why it was used in so many different situations and contexts. Turns out Costa Ricans use it to say “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”, “Good evening”, “How are you?”, “Nice to meet you!” and many other conversation fillers… You hear it so much all day every day that you end up saying it yourself! It’s also on billboards and street signs everywhere. It pretty much sums up the Costa Rica way of life.

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