Guide to Importing a Car and Other Household Items into Costa Rica

Guide to Importing a Car and Other Household Items into Costa Rica – Written by Jason Mueller

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It’s understandable why anyone would want to move to Costa Rica. The country has a majestic landscape, exciting outdoor activities, low cost of living, favorable foreigner/expatriate policies and ample working opportunities. Costa Rica is however known for high import duties. Living in Costa Rica as a foreigner is easy. Moving is the main hurdle especially if you want to move with your car and personal belongings such as household items. To move seamlessly, there are several things you must know/understand.

Laws and regulations
Costa Rica’s Customs Law has several articles relating to the importation of used goods/items. Duty varies depending on several factors i.e. when and how you import the goods. Here’s an important criteria to consider.
Your household items are exempt from duty if; you are an adult who is importing the goods for personal use (not for sale). The items must also be used (at least 6 months old) and the importer must enter Costa Rica within three months (90 days) prior to custom clearance. If your shipment meets the above criteria, your household items will be exempt of duty. If you have new items, duty is based on CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) as well as the value of those items. It is worth noting it is cheaper to ship more items.

Shipping a vehicle
Shipping a vehicle to Costa Rica is costly (costs more than shipping household items). Total costs vary depending on factors such as the; tax, size of the car, age of the car, how the car is shipped (i.e., in a container). It’s worth noting that taxation is charged against the original price, not the age or condition. The average retail value of the car is considered. The import value of a car can be established in the Ministry of Treasury Valuation Database:    http://www.hacienda.go.cr/autohacienda/AutoValor.aspx .
Total cost of importing a car to Costa Rica is highest for older car models. Cars manufactured in 1999 or earlier pay approximately 80%. Cars manufactured in 2000 to 2004 pay approximately 65% while those manufactured earlier i.e. 2004 and earlier pay approximately 55%.
International moving companies such as A-1 Auto Transport Inc. can assist with moving household goods and vehicles to Costa Rica. For more information visit  https://www.a1autotransport.com/moving-to-costa-rica/ .

Important considerations

Essentials

After considering the cost of shipping your car and household items to Costa Rica, you may become reluctant. However, most foreign residents, as well as Costa Ricans, prefer imported goods from countries like the U.S. because they are of better quality. If you value quality, you may want to go ahead and import. If you don’t mind living without luxuries, you can consider living in furnished apartments or consider what you need locally. Remember, what you need to import solely depends on your own preferences and budget. However, don’t ship what you can get cheaply or easily in Costa Rica. You should also make an effort to declutter before shipping. Also, avoid bulky items to avoid excessive shipping and taxation costs. It may also be smart to talk to foreign residents in advance just to get firsthand insights.

Port proximity

You should also consider shipping from the nearest port. If you live in the U.S. for instance, you should ship your car and household items from Miami, the U.S. port that is nearest to Costa Rica to enjoy lower shipping costs.

Tax waivers on household items

Foreign residents in Costa Rica are allowed to import merchandise worth $500 tax-free after every 6-months. This waiver is in addition to regular traveler’s luggage. You can take advantage of this waiver to import the items you need overtime. However, you must not exceed the $500 limit to avoid additional charges and customs restrictions.

Container shipping

It is very expensive to import large items by air. For items such as refrigerators, washing machines, etc. that exceed 500 pounds, consider shipping such items in a large container. You can choose a large or small container (40-foot or 20-foot). It costs approximately $1,500 including tax to ship items to Costa Rica using a 20-foot container. Large 40-foot containers cost approximately $2,000.

You need a customs agent to get all your household items and belongings (such as your car) out of customs seamlessly. You can find a reputable customs agent by conducting a simple search online or asking for referrals.

Required documents

Documents required to clear a shipment through customs include; a copy of your passport (the main page) plus the page containing last entry. This is required for your shipment to be treated as personal effects given customs must clear personal items within 90 days of a person’s arrival. You also need a packing inventory showing the value of the declared items. If the items are imported via air, you need an original airway bill. Freight forwarders send airway bills with shipments. Airline agents usually give you this document after you pay Terminal handling fees.

The above information summarizes the process of importing a car and other household items into Costa Rica. Since it is a lengthy and tedious process, most people prefer paying custom brokers/agents to handle everything on their behalf. It may cost more; however, you will save valuable time and effort.
Best of luck and pura vida!

JASON MUELLER
A Canadian expat, Jason Muller is currently living in Costa Rica and operating a small business. Jason enjoys travelling to many exotic locations and enjoyed meeting new people and telling related stories. Life is short, live your dream
http://www.jacoropes.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jacoropes/
http://twitter.com/@JacoRopes

 

Eco Friendly Costa Rica

Written by Jason Mueller

ecofriendly

Costa Rica is the ideal country for anyone to relocate to that is conscious about their footprint on mother earth. Costa Rica is the perfect place for anyone looking to retire and they can even do it on a budget when saving money living a greener lifestyle. This pristine piece of paradise is very popular for tourism coming to see the abundance of wildlife and beauty within. The countries residents and government are very conscious about keeping Costa Rica as beautiful as it was before tourism became the number one income earner for the country. You must learn how to become more sustainable before you step foot in this country in order to pay your full respect.

This is a peaceful country where you will rarely find a negative confrontation. In fact, Costa Rica renounced their army in in 1949 making it one of 15 countries with no army. The prior military budget was put towards culture, health and education. The most popular words that come from every one’s mouth is “pura vida” This translates to pure life and seems to be a way of life for laid back locales.

Costa Rica is rich in bio-diversity from coast to coast. The country is incredibly small with only 19,730 square miles. That equals .03% of the surface of the globe. However, the country is proud to say that it is home to 5% of the total biodiversity in the world.

Over 25% of the countries land is protected by national parks and conservation areas. The government even pays landowners to conserve their own private land, this is referred to as “selling the air, yes you can even make extra money while doing your part to save the planet in Costa Rica.

Roughly 50% of Costa Rica is forested and 7.5% of that is classified as primary forest. Primary forest is the most bio-diverse forest known or unknown to man whichever way you look at it. Primary forest means that there are no clear indications of human activities and the ecological processes are left undisturbed.

Renewable Energy

When you turn on the lights or use any sort of electricity in Costa Rica you can feel a little better about your decision knowing that the country runs nearly 100% on renewable energy. In 2016 the country ran for more than two months straight on 100% renewable energy. They accomplished this task twice. That means the country ran for 150 days on 100% renewable energy. One of the biggest goals for the country is to be completely running on renewable energy in the near future.

Costa Rica is giving huge incentives for those looking to go green and import an EV. Import custom duty taxes of 52.29% on new vehicles and 79% for vehicles 6 years or older make vehicles super expensive in Costa Rica and fully electric vehicles under $30,000 are 100% exempt from customs taxes. Also, there is a 10-year exemption for EV parts.

ECO Tours

The country does capitalize on the natural ecology for tourism that is for sure. There is an abundance of eco-tours to choose from. The most popular eco-tours are the nature tours such as monkey tours, tree top tours, crocodile tours, and turtle tours. Many of the beaches are protected areas for turtles to nestle, only certain guided tours are allowed to explore these beaches. It is highly recommended that a guide accompanies you into the wild because there is so much that you would miss if you were all alone.

There are 9 volcanoes in Costa Rica and all of them are a sight to see. The most popular and spectacular ones are Poas, Irazu, and Arenal. Turrialba has recently been active in 2016 and the beginning of 2017 canceling some flights in and out of the San Jose International Airport.

Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited park in the country and is only 45 KM from Dominical. There are 184 species of birds in the park and 109 species of mammals. Monkeys are the main attraction and you are certain to spot one when visiting the park. The trails within the park are in great condition offering an easy path for elders to enjoy the scenery. The white sand beaches within the park are the perfect place to relax for the day.

One of the best ways to really appreciate the land is to join a tour that teaches you all about the agriculture in Costa Rica. There is an organic pineapple tour and organic coffee tours. Saint Michaels Organic Farm offers free education for sustainable farming, they also welcome volunteers looking for a free place to stay, look for them on WWOOF.

Adventure meets eco-tour with the affluence of zip line canopy tours in the country. Many people don’t know it but zip lining was first invented in Costa Rica. Biologists first used this method in Costa Rica to access previous unreachable and unexplored rainforests.

JASON MUELLER
A Canadian expat, Jason Muller is currently living in Costa Rica and operating a small business. Jason enjoys travelling to many exotic locations and enjoyed meeting new people and telling related stories. Life is short, live your dream
http://www.jacoropes.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jacoropes/
http://twitter.com/@JacoRopes