Online shopping for Costa Rican residents has never been easier; all you need is a credit card and a Miami mailbox, easily rented through a courier service such as Mail Boxes Etc. or Aerocasillas.
Mail Boxes Etc. – the UPS Store in the United States since a 2003 buyout – uses its Miami UPS address, combined with a personal P.O. box as an address for clients. It then ships out the packages in bulk using UPS air cargo, according to Neil Harris, franchise owner of the Escazú (2289-3696), Curridabat (2225-7347) and Santa Ana (2203-8615) Mail Boxes Etc. in the Central Valley (www.mailboxesetc.co.cr, www.centam-mbe.com).
All mail and magazines are delivered the same day they touch down in the country, while packages detained by customs. Usually take two to five days, Harris said.
Customers have three service options. The first costs $25 per month and allows up to two kilograms to be imported. The second is $40 and covers up to four kilograms. The “occasional” plan charges users at the end of the month for the total weight of all the packages they received.
Mail Boxes Etc. patrons also have the option to choose among FedEx, UPS, DHL, TNT and IBC when they send packages out, to ensure the best deal possible.
In addition to the three locations listed above, there is a Mail Boxes Etc. in Playa Langosta, on the northern Pacific coast (2653-0502).
Aerocasillas offers several different plans. Its “Basic” membership costs $20 annually, requires no monthly minimum and charges $10 per kilogram of documents, with a minimum shipment of 150 grams. The cost of package deliveries ranges from $6 for up to half a kg to $58.50 for 10 kg; each additional kg over 10 costs $3.50 up to 100 kg, and $2.50 over 100 kg.
The “Gold” membership comes with free annual membership but requires at least a $12 monthly expenditure. Document deliveries cost $8 per kg up to one kg, with a minimum document delivery of 100 g. Package deliveries range from $5 for up to half a kg to $53 for 10 kg; additional kilograms over 10 cost $3 each, and $2 each over 100 kg.
The “Platinum”membership, with a minimum expenditure of $30 a month, also comes with a free annual membership. The document minimum is also 100 g and delivery costs $7. Package deliveries cost from $5 for up to half a kg to $48 for 10 kg. The charge for each kg over 10 is $2.50, and $1.90 over 100 kg.
The “Diamond” membership, for those spending more than $75 a month, also has no annual fee. The document delivery price is the same as the Gold membership. Package deliveries range from $5 for up to half a kg to $43 for 10 kg. Additional kilograms over 10 are $2.25 each, and $1.80 each over 100 kg.
Aerocasillas, in operation for more than 20 years, has updated its service in the past couple of years, according to Jeff Duchesneau, general manager of Aerocasillas, S.A.
Some of the new features include an online cost calculator that includes customs. Values and a plan that allows members without credit cards to purchase online goods by giving the company cash and ordering the items with an Aerocasillas company credit card.
The company has offices throughout the Central Valley, as well as in San Carlos, in north-central Costa Rica, and in Jacó, on the central Pacific coast. For more information, visit www.aeropost.com/sjo or call 2208-4848.