There have always been pros and cons to owning a car in Costa Rica as well as the question of buying one in the country or importing one.
It’s obviously extremely convenient to have your own vehicle but just like buying anything else in Costa Rica, it’s quite expensive. Especially if you come from a country where cars are usually much cheaper the sticker shock hurts.
Add to that the mandatory registration, maintenance, and auto insurance, and maintaining a car becomes a real hit to your wallet. Vehicles must be well maintained both to handle the Costa Rican roads and to comply with emission rates and other legal standards.
If you decide that the benefits of having the freedom to travel when and where you want in your own car far outweigh the costs involved, there’s some new good news for you. You can get a car much cheaper (and in better shape!) in the US than in Costa Rica and no longer have to pay import tax on it.
This is thanks to the new “Law to Attract Investors, Renters, and Retirees.” You will be allowed to import two vehicles for personal or family use free of import, custom, and value added taxes, greatly lowering the cost of getting a car.