Shipping to Costa Rica – This is a continuation of a previous article A Journey in Shipping to Costa Rica for a “Pura Vida” Relocation. You can read part 1 by clicking here.
No matter who you want to pay as little as possible during the Costa Rica relocation process and shipping to Costa Rica. As an informed consumer you normally get more than one quote, but some of the companies are including import taxes in Costa Rica and some aren’t. For this always ask the Costa Rica shipping company to separate out the taxes from the shipping. If they are not willing to do this they are normally padding their profits as no one is going to underestimate taxes. With that being said if you do want an estimate on what the taxes will be, this can be obtained before you ship to Costa Rica. If they are a company that knows what they are doing they will ask you to provide a detailed inventory list from which they can give you an estimate.
“What is next and how long does it take?” is a question that either you have asked or need to ask before pick up. Normally the process from door to door takes about 4 to 8 weeks. This is dependent on a few factors.
- Time of Year
- Holiday season whether in Costa Rica or anywhere in the world can slow down the shipping process a little. If your container arrives in Costa Rica during Christmas or Easter Week (Semana Santa). Although the ports are open the processing can take a bit longer as either the customs officials are on vacation or they are mentally on vacation. Expect shipping to take a little bit longer during these times of year.
- Port Delays
- There is always a possibility of US customs to pull your container and search it. This is the same as when you are travelling internationally and the airport official pulls you aside to search your suitcases. The containers are chosen at random and it they unload and reload the container. Not only does this cause delays it actually costs you more as these inspections are never included in the cost you are quoted. But don’t worry it seldom happens.
- Costa Rica Customs Delays
- If you are moving to Costa Rica you most likely have heard of “Tico Time”. The same applies to customs when shipping to Costa Rica. They get to your shipment when they get to your shipment and it can be frustrating at times. Your Costa Rica shipping company should always keep you updated on a daily basis about what is going on with your shipment once it arrives in the country.
As mentioned in the last bullet point about delays, communication is a key when picking the company to use for shipping to Costa Rica. After your shipment is picked up and in port in the USA or Canada and it has been loaded onto an ocean carrier, you should receive information about the name of the ship it is on and when it is arriving in Costa Rica. A few days before arrival the company that is processing your shipment will receive a notification that the shipment is arriving. After it arrives in Costa Rica it takes about 10 business days to process the goods and take it through customs. During this process you will be given what the taxes are on the shipment. After this amount is paid the shipping company will receive a DUA or Documento Único Aduanero, this is the receipt of payment of the taxes. You as the consumer should always ask for this to know that you were not overcharged by the Costa Rica shipping company.
After payment of the taxes, if you have opted for door to door services and not to pick it up in Limon, Caldera or San Jose, it will be loaded and delivered to your new home in Costa Rica.
The process of shipping to Costa Rica can be scary but if the shipping company is professional and knows what they are doing then it should not cause you much stress. Communication is the key during shipping to Costa Rica. You should be updated at several key milestones.
- The Pick Up Date (This is a no brainer, but if the company does not show up on time or at all this can be a red flag)
- When your shipment is loaded on the vessel (Ship Name and Arrival Date in Costa Rica)
- When Your Shipment Arrives in Costa Rica
- When it Arrives in the Warehouse to Begin Processing
- When the Taxes are Declared
- When the shipment is Going to Be Delivered
Costa Rica relocation is already stressful as you are adjusting to a new culture and new life. The shipping to Costa Rica part should be stress free.