When most people come to Costa Rica, it’s hard to count all the things they want to take back with them. Though things like north-central Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano can’t be tucked into a cardboard box, plenty of other colorful items can be exported. Whether it’s a letter to a loved one or a set of furniture, it can be conveniently shipped out through a variety of mail couriers.
Before sending a package, however, it’s important to know that many countries have restrictions on what products can be imported,and readers should find out what those are. The United States, for example, has special regulations for shipping goods such as coffee, liquor, fruit and other foods, medications and drugs. For information on shipping these items to the United States, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Web site at www.fda.gov.
Most companies will charge you for your package by the kilogram, beginning with a higher price for the first kilogram and then a lower charge for each additional kilogram.
The most popular options for shipping cost more, but promise more efficient service than the national postal service, which can take much longer to deliver a package. The best-known international courier services, DHL (209-0000, www.dhl.co.cr), UPS (290-2828, www.ups.com/content/cr/en/index.jsx) and FedEx (800-Go-FedEx, www.fedex.com/cr), can handle a wide variety of shipping orders, large or small, and offer extensive specialized services to meet individual shipping and tracking needs.
These companies also offer next-day delivery for packages and documents, but this will cost you plenty more than the package’s weight. UPS offers a rate calculation service on its Web site that lets you know immediately what your package would cost to ship.
For example, if you wanted to send a UPS Express Box package weighing five kilograms and containing $30 worth of books to the United States in one day, the UPS Web site would tell you it could cost anywhere from $132.31 to $169.83. The price depends on which service you want to use.
Jet Box (253-5400, www.jetbox.com), a smaller, Costa Rica-based company that has a global reach, offers fast service and competitive rates, according to Jet Box representative Gabriela Apuy. She said the cost of its courier service varies depending on the size, weight and destination of packages.
Some other popular couriers in Costa Rica include Aerocasillas (208-4848, www.aerocasillas.com), SkyNet Worldwide Express (232-5678, www.skynet.net), Aero Express (442-4433), Dacotrans (256-8400) and Star Box (289-9393). Mail Boxes Etc. (291-4761, www.mbecr.com), which is owned by UPS, recently opened its fifth Costa Rican office in the western San José suburb of Escazú, and its courier service is another respected option.
Many companies offer membership-based rates for shipping. The per-kilo cost of shipping the goods depends on the kind of membership you have, so it’s important to ask about the different memberships and rates the courier service offers.
Correos de Costa Rica (232-3843, www.correos.go.cr), the national postal service, offers a relatively cheaper service than the other companies offering international shipping from Costa Rica.
According to Correos de Costa Rica’s Web site, sending a five-kilo package to the United States costs about $63, unless you’re sending it to Miami, which would cost you about half the price of something bound for anywhere else in the United States. Miami is a worldwide hub for packages being sent to and from Central America, so it’s much cheaper to send a package there, no matter what company you use.
To send that same package to South America would cost $89 and sending it to Europe and Canada would run $96. To send it anywhere else in the world, the price tag would be $110.
Correos de Costa Rica recommends finding a good Customs broker (agencia aduanera) for assistance with all matters related to importing products, household goods or vehicles.
For larger items, such as a sofa, for example, freight companies such as Ship Costa Rica (email@example.com), SG Global Costa Rica (258-0018,www.sgglobalcr.com) and Jet Box are the way to go.
The Tico Times asked Jet Box how much it would cost to send a 67.5-kilo sofa to Miami using either its air or ocean cargo services. Apuy said it would cost $603.69 to ship by air from San José to Miami, and $358.20 to ship by sea.