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Mistakes People Make When Shipping to Costa Rica

Costa Rica Shipping & Relocation – When it comes to Shipping to Costa Rica, whether you are in the middle of your Costa Rica relocation process or just adding more items to your home, there are many mistakes that you might make that can end up costing you more money than you really wanted to spend.  Below is a list of possible bumps in the road during shipping to Costa Rica that can take you by surprise and end up draining money from your bank account that could have been spent exploring the wonders of the land of “Pura Vida”

Getting Quotes

As a consumer it is always recommended that you get quotes from multiple companies for anything. Be it a car repair, a vacation and especially when deciding on Costa Rica shipping during your Costa Rica relocation process.  You need to get comparative quotes. But when you get these quotes there are thing you need to look out for.  We have listed a few below:Shipping to Costa Rica

  1. Does the Quote Include Everything. Many companies will tell you that they ship to Costa Rica but that is all they do. Getting the container from your home wherever that might be in the world to port in Costa Rica is the easy part.  There are many fees on the Costa Rica end that may not be included such as port handling, drayage, redestino, warehousing fees, customs broker, delivery to San Jose, tracking device and more.  These fees add up quickly and if they are not included in the quote you were given then expect extra charges upon arrival into Costa Rica. Make sure you ask about these fees and if they are included.
  2. Under Bidding.  Shipping Companies will sometimes underbid on the price in order to get your business.  For example on a less than container load they will low ball the quote and then when it arrives at their warehouse they will let you know that the weight and volume is higher than you estimated and they require more money.  You are then stuck it having to  make the decision on whether to pay them or hire someone else to pick up your shipment and finish the process while having to pay the original company additionally for the work they have already done. There is no way to really avoid this other than if you think a price is too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Including Costa Rica Import Taxes. A few companies will include import taxes in Costa Rica in their quote.  If they are doing this before seeing an inventory list then they are padding their profits. No one underbids on taxes. A Costa Rica shipping company should only give you an estimate on taxes after you have provided an inventory list. When a company quotes you with import taxes included ask them to separate out the import taxes from the shipping portion.

Click to Get Your Free Costa Rica Shipping Guide

“I’ve Got a Friend That Can Handle the Costa Rica End”

If you are in the midst of your Costa Rica relocation process and you are shipping your life from one location to Costa Rica, there is a high chance that you have been to the country before.  Not many people that are shipping to Costa Rica that have never been to the country. During those visits to Costa Rica you have asked around and found a person that has told you “I can help you with the customs process” or “I have a guy that can do that.” Most of the time unless they actually work in customs or in shipping this is not a person you really want to use.  

“The guy” is usually someone that knows someone at customs that helped him one time get his stuff out but does not do this on a normal basis.  The last thing you want is to trust someone that might not know what they are doing. It can end up costing you more to get the shipment out of Costa Rica customs or even worse get your shipment caught in customs.  Because of the relationships that Costa Rica shipping companies have with customs the price is usually lower than what you would get through a friend both for the processing and for the import taxes.

Costa Rica Import Taxes

During the Shipping to Costa Rica process the import taxes that Costa Rican customs charges can be a crap shoot.  If you are working with a Costa Rica shipping company they have done this 1000 times and know how to get your items through for as little as possible.  It is also a common practice to send a little money under the table to get the taxes lower. If you are trying to do this yourself or using “the guy” there is a good chance you are going to pay the highest amount customs wants to charge you.  

After taxes are paid you the client can request the DUA or Documento Único Aduanero, this is the receipt of payment of the taxes. This will show you that the amount you paid was actually the amount they charged you.  Always ask for this as there have been Costa Rica shipping companies known for overcharging for this part of your shipment in order to make a little more profit.


During Costa Rica relocation can you ship your things yourself? The answer is of course “yes”.  Is it recommended…..”no”. There are a multitude of pitfalls that can make the shipping process cost more than your original quote and cause stress and frustration. The last thing you need to worry about is having to be worried about your shipment arriving safe in Costa Rica while you are trying to adjust to your new life in the country.  Leave this job to a professional Costa Rica shipping company and of course always always ask for recent references from the past 6 months.  

Click to Get Your Free Costa Rica Shipping Guide

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