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Shipping your household to Costa Rica

Shipping your household to Costa Rica Before moving to Costa Rica, you better first decide if you need shipping your household to Costa Rica or not. The decision to buy or rent a property comes next.

Before you move, get rid of all that old stuff and clutter. You don’t want to pay your mover to ship stuff that you don’t need to your new home in Costa Rica. You have to pay import taxes when shipping your household to Costa Rica, did you know that?

See if you need to purchase new furniture before moving as it might be cheaper than it is in Costa Rica or if it is special to you. Think hard about bringing your car or buying another one and shipping it to Costa Rica.

At the end of this blog is a list of companies that can take care of shipping your household to Costa Rica from your home country. I have personally worked with WinMovers for over 20 years and have had very few complaints, so that is the company I recommend.

It is important to have a company in Costa Rica who understands how to do the paperwork, how to get your household through customs, how to keep the Shipping your household to Costa Ricaimport taxes low and get you installed in your new home in Costa Rica. So start by contacting them and tell them where you live. Then they will tell you which moving company you should contact in your home area for shipping your household to Costa Rica.

A mover in your area

The Costa Rican moving company should recommend one or several movers in your home area. You should contact them to get a quote for shipping your household to Costa Rica. They all belong to associations of movers and they work within these networks like LACMA, an association of movers in Latin America and the Caribbean. There is also the Household Goods Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (HHGFAA) or AMSA, American Moving & Storage Association. Make sure you tell the company you hire who they should work within Costa Rica, so you’re covered on this side too.

Shipping your household to Costa Rica

Between your mover in your hometown and your mover in Costa Rica, they will get you organized. They will make the packing list of your cargo and have it double checked by the supervisor of the moving company. Then they will have that person sign off on it, so there is a person responsible if there are any mistakes made.

Make sure each item is on this list, so you will not have any trouble when your container gets to customs in Costa Rica. The mover will also inform you when they will be shipping your household to Costa Rica. They will let you know when the ship will leave port and when your container will arrive in Costa Rica. That way, you can make your travel plans accordingly. Make sure you make a list of things you will need before the container with your belongings will arrive at your new home in Costa Rica. Because you might be camping for a while.

Costarican Customs Regulations

From door to door

You can hire the moving company either from door to port or from door to door. You would want Shipping your household to Costa Ricayour mover in Costa Rica (who got your belongings from the ship and through customs) take it to your new home. Tell the moving company about the access to your house. They need to know if the container can be parked up front. Or if everything needs to be moved with smaller trucks.

You have several options for size:

  • D-container of 58″ x 41″ x 45″
  • A 20-foot container
  • A 40-foot container
  • or even consolidate your cargo with someone else’s.

Your choice depends on how much space you need for shipping your household to Costa Rica.


You have a choice of insuring your household during the journey or not. That is entirely your choice. Customs in Costa Rica will calculate your taxes based on Cost – Insurance – Freight (C.I.F.). If you decide to undervalue your household for tax reasons, you can save yourself some money as long as nothing gets lost or damaged.

Costa Rican customs

No matter which shipping company or moving company you use, they all depend on the Costa Rica Customs department. As soon as your container arrives from the ship in Costa Rican territory, it will go into the fiscal warehouse in the port of arrival. Your moving company in Costa Rica can pick your container up at the fiscal warehouse in port first. Then they can move it to a fiscal warehouse in San Jose.

This sounds really easy but it almost never is. Do not expect a smooth operation. Find a nice and comfortable place to live during the time needed to get your container through customs and delivered to your new home in Costa Rica.

Bill of lading

At the fiscal warehouse in San Jose, customs will check your whole household against your bill of lading.

You will be charged taxes when you import your household. So please make sure you put the word USED in front of EVERY item when making your packing list. That is where your packing lists becomeShipping your household to Costa Rica very important. Make sure the number of pieces on your packing list. The bill of lading should be EXACT as this can get you into trouble. Because they will withhold the larger and more expensive pieces like your appliances, so they can charge you more taxes.  A bed, for example, is not 1 piece, it could be 4 or 5 pieces. And you want to list it accordingly.

Who to use for moving your household

I put WinMovers at the top of my list because they have shipped most of my client’s household from anywhere in the world to Costa Rica and back.

They attend a lot of embassies and are used to go the extra mile for their clients. Contact Edwin Obando at Winmovers email or phones (506) 2215-3536 /2215-3530

There are several other companies with who I don’t have any experience with. So you need to do your own due diligence: ShiptoCR.comShipCostaRica and Cargo Experts among others.

Before shipping your household to Costa Rica, we recommend you first look for a home to buy or rent. For professional assistance, contact any of our affiliated real estate agents from coast to coast.

Contact us now to see great Costa Rica real estate options.

Contact the AE MLS Costa Rica

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon. If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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