With email and attachments nowadays sending a message to Costa Rica is just the push of a few keys. However, the other day I had to send four tutorial DVDs to a account in Santa Ana. I guess you can say I was a little skeptical. The last time (many years ago) I sent a package it arrived in about 60 days and cost an arm and a leg, not including the hassle of dealing with a lost item that I still believe went to Mexico first via snail mail. Oh well … life goes on.
However, times have changes, and proud to say, sending packages and or letters to Costa Rica has become very easy and reasonable.
Many who live in Costa Rica order stuff via eBay and other online retailers and receive packages from family, relatives, and friends all the time. One of the things NOT to do is waste your money on these 3rd party mail forwarding service as their costs can be about twice of what is normally is AND some go as far as telling you there is a mandatory customs fees that make sending even the simplest of things VERY expensive. This is BS!, well at lease to a point and it depends on what you are sending.
For example, if you are sending, lets say, $500 worth of electronics, you will get nailed, since Costa Rica’s import tax is about double of what the cost of the luxury item is. Bulk shipment of electronics (like 10 ipods) are looked upon as luxury/retail items.
If you are so lucky and know a business in Costa Rica who receives items/mail all the time from the US have set up bonded courier services that deliver to Costa Rica daily. Many are based in Miami. However, it can be expensive; a 10lb package may cost you $50-$100 … not including if the items qualified for import tax.
But getting back to that cool DVD (with a few copies of that awesome wave you caught at Witch’s Rock) you want to send to your friend – you can send 2-5 DVD’s via United States Postal Service (USPS) Priority Mail International. It will usually arrive in 5-7 days from the U.S. to a Post Office Box in Costa Rica (Apartado de la Correos de Costa Rica).
The USPS Priority Mail International flat rate for envelope will hold up to 4lbs (which is a lot) and the cost is around $15.00, plus insurance. If the items are worth something, be sure to insure the contents and declare the items if they are worth anything to customs. The US Postal Service will help you on this. Personally, I would stay away from sending anything that may or may not be a luxury item. Why take the chance of it getting it flagged in customs. Always obtain a tracking number just in-case it gets ‘sidetracked’ in a “Black Hole.”
I would also recommend, if you want to send the items in your own package, simply take it down to your local post office without sealing and the clerk will assist you in finding the least expensive method of shipping and filling out the simple forms.
And last (MOST IMPORTANT) make sure whomever you are sending to has a VERY good Costa Rica mailing address or PO Box, otherwise it will bounce around in a Black Hole.
Oh yes, my account got the DVDs in six days!