Whether you are city dweller or in the burbs, once the temps hit below 35 F there are very few things more tempting than turquoise waters and palm trees. Luckily there are tons of gorgeous beaches a short flight away, but unfortunately not a lot of them are dog-friendly. And nothing better than having a drink with your dog on the beach!
After some digging, and of course some travel, here are our favorite dog-friendly beaches within a short flight away from NYC:
Where: Tulum, Mexico , Zona Hotelera
How: Direct flights to Cancun are available with most airlines. Tulum is about 1.25-2h car ride from Cancun Airport and you can either take a shuttle or car service. If you decide on car service, we highly recommend booking it online ahead of time as the airport taxi prices are almost double.
The Deeds: Your dog DOES NOT need a Health Certificate** (Best part!!), however they DO NEED a valid Rabies Certificate*. After passing passport control the Airport security will direct you to the an office where they will physically inspect your dog for pests and throw everything extra that is in the carrier- clothes, toys, etc- so heads up- put all away before debarking!
Once you reach paradise (aka Zona Hotelera is our favorite but all Tulum is beautiful), and get situated in one of the many dog-friendly hotels, your dog can run off-leash on the beach all they want! Just be careful in case there are untrained or street dogs.
Where: Playa Jobos, Isabela, Puerto Rico
How: Direct flights to San Juan are available with most airlines. Isabela’s beautiful beaches including one of our favorites: Playa Jobos-are about 2h car ride from San Juan Airport. We highly recommend renting a car ahead of time from a car rental close to the airport as Isabela area is pretty spread out and you will definitely not want to miss all the amazing places around there!
The Deeds: Since Puerto Rico is a part of the USA no Health Certificate* Needed! However your dog still needs a valid Rabies Certificate. Everyone in the area is very dog friendly and once you get settled in your Airbnb (very few hotels in the area) your dog can run free on the beach all day long!
Where: Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
How: Direct flights to Liberia are available with Jetblue, and seasonally with a few other airlines.Tamarindo is about 1.5-2.5h car ride from Liberia Airport and you can either take a shuttle or car service. Whichever you decide to use, we highly recommend booking it online ahead of time as the airport taxi prices are almost double. There is also Uber, however that can take a very long time to arrive.
The Deeds: Your dog DOES need a Health Certificate* as well as a rabies Certificate and a flea and tick treatment at the vet’s office before they leave. Once you arrive at LIR and have your dog’s paperwork all sorted out it is pretty straightforward and quick. Tamarindo is a very lively beach town and dogs are welcome almost everywhere. Your dog can run free on the beach and socialize or learn how to surf! Be aware of the street dogs- they are mostly very friendly but they might be missing vaccines. On the way back to the USA you need something like an exit visa for your pet- ask an airport official to point you to the desk where you can pay it as it is a separate desk from the check in windows.
As you can probably tell, we do travel a lot and we do take our dogs with us! So here is our list of dog-grooming must-haves for a beach vacation:
- Waterless shampoo - A game changer if you would rather spend your time enjoying the beach than cleaning your dog
- A Detangling & Conditioning Spray - even if your dog is short-coated applying the extra moisture & oils which are in those sprays will do miracles with hydrating their dry from the sun and salty water skin
- Bug spray - yes, you are not in the woods. However, those little guys are everywhere! And the last thing you want is to bring them back home!
- Breath spray- let's face it is a vacation and we will take any shortcut so we can spend the most time beaching vs grooming a breath spray will definitely do it!
- Paw balm- even if you do not usually use paw balm for your dog, a beach vacay is the time to do it- all the sand and salty water really damage their paws and a payer of paw balm before bed is a must
Here are our favorite all-natural products:
Waterless Foaming Dog Shampoo by Pure and Natural Pet
Leave in Conditioner & Detangler Spray by Lilian Ruff
Insect Repellent Spray by Cordoba Farms
Dog Breath Spray by Be Kind Petline
Paw & Nose Balm by M Barclay
* Health certificates and Rabies Certificates are obtained from your veterinarian and can take anywhere between 2 and 10 days as they go through the USDA so we highly recommend making the health check appointment with the vet as soon as you book your trip.
** Due to the pandemic and all other constantly changing international travel conditions please check with your veterinarian to confirm the travel conditions have not changed.