Costa Rica Relocation – People move to Costa Rica for many reasons. It could be because they want to start afresh, get away from all the hustles and bustles of a big city, live in a stress-free tropical country, live a simple life, move due to business and so on and so forth. However, no matter what their reasons are, they are all asking the same thing, “What should I bring along?”
To easily determine which of your prized possessions you should take with you, figure out why you are moving. If it is because you want to start a new and simpler life then the best option is to downsize before you move and buy new stuff when you get down to Costa Rica; remember you want to start a new life so you should leave your old life back home and create new memories. On the other hand, if your reason for relocating is because you want to live under the sun and move away from a chaotic life you always have the option to bring all your stuff in.
When deciding on which of your things you have to take with you, you have to understand a few things:
- Necessities and luxury items are available in Costa Rica, although the inventory is modest compared to stores in the US and Canada.
- All electronics (camera, laptop, cellular phone, hard drive etc) are subject to exorbitant import taxes so you should consider packing those items in your suitcase.
- Books published in English are available in Costa Rica, but just like luxury items the inventory is limited and prices are sky-high.
- Premium-quality linens in Costa Rica costs three times their price in the US and Canada.
- If you are keen on using a specific brand for you toiletries and cosmetics but want to avoid paying steep prices, make sure to bring a few months supply.
- Video rentals and music stores only carry mainstream choices so you may be a little disappointed if you are looking for a certain movie or music. Nevertheless, Netflix instant and iTunes downloads can now be accessed in Costa Rica.
- If you are a taking vitamins and supplements, be aware that certain brands are not available in Costa Rica and some are very difficult to find. You can have your vitamins and supplements imported by mail but you have to pay duties for them.
To avoid over packing and paying extra, it is highly advisable that you travel light especially if you are renting a furnished apartment. Furthermore, by packing light you will get to experience the fun and adventure of setting up house by starting from scratch, plus you get to go shopping while exploring the beautiful country.
If you will purchase household items, there are department stores and specialty shops in San Jose that offers great selections. Custom-made furniture can be bought at Sachi or Palmares; you can buy a hardwood table plus six chairs for around $800 and a complete living room set for just $1500. Major appliances and fancy items should be purchased at Golfito, a duty-free zone, so you can save money since you can buy up to $1000 worth of duty-free items every six months.
Bringing in Items
There are a couple of ways for you to bring in your stuff from your home country to Costa Rica.
- Checked Baggage – used personal and household stuff that are not intended for business or commercial use may be taken in without you paying import duties. Items include tools, sporting goods, clothing, musical instruments etc. Moreover, many airlines are now allowing cardboard boxes and plastic tubs as additional luggage, you just have to ensure that the box does not reach or go beyond the maximum allowed size.
- Air Cargo – Airfreight services are now being offered by major airlines, where you can import one item that is $500 worth every six months duty-free. Additional goods are subject to import taxes and you need to provide a list of items in the box and their net worth. Rates vary and are dependent on the distance between the departure and destination airports.
- Shipping Containers – if you want to bring in all your possessions and household items in Costa Rica your best choice is to make use of shipping container that normally measures 20-40 ft in length. With this process you are responsible for packing all boxes and loading and moving the truck but once all that is done, the shipping company will be taking care of the rest like transporting the container to the closest domestic port, maritime transportation, offloading in Limon, customs and delivery to your new house. On the other hand, this process can take up to two months and it is going to cost you around $6000 up to $15000.
Typical Steps in a Household Move
Why Ship Household Items to CR
Typical Steps in a Vehicle Move
Why Ship Your Vehicle to CR
Helpful Shipping Links