- Shipping to Costa Rica
- Shipping from Costa Rica
You can read auto transport reviews from major companies in Costa Rica to see the services offered by each company, read testimonials from their customers, and compare quotes side-by-side instantly. In addition, you can get detailed information about shipping to Costa Rica or get professional advice for shipping from Costa Rica to the United States or elsewhere in the world.
Travel Warnings & Advisories When Shipping
At this time, there are no major travel warnings for people venturing to Costa Rica. However, be aware that street crimes do occur there; in particular, be on the lookout for “Good Samaritan” crimes, such as criminals who rob you after pretending to help you change a flat tire.
CarShipping.com works with many of the best auto transport companies, who are recommended for vehicle shipping, freight and personal moving services. Review each Costa Rica moving company and compare multiple quotes when you’re ready.
Reviews of Costa Rica International Shipping Companies
Car Shipping Between the US and Costa Rica
Miami is the port that is most often used to ship cars from the US to Costa Rica. The average shipping time from Miami to Costa Rica’s Puerto Limon is about three days. Most international shipping companies usually transport cars in 20′ containers, 40′ containers or on Roll-On/Roll-Off ships.
Choosing Between Container Shipping and RoRo Shipping
You can choose the method by which you want your car transported. RoRo shipping is cheaper because your car will simply be driven on board the ship, parked on a car deck and driven off the ship at its destination. With a container, however, you will be able to also transport a lot of your personal goods with your car. Different Costa Rica international shipping companies have different rules regarding container shipping. So, make sure you understand what each company’s policies are before selecting one to transport your car.
Shipping a Car to Costa Rica
Importing a car into Costa Rica from the US can be challenging, especially if you are new to the country or are not fluent in Spanish. Many Costa Rica international shipping companies offer services to help clear your car through customs formalities in Costa Rica. Several also offer freight forwarding services within Costa Rica. So, if you want to receive your car in Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose, you can ask your shipping company to transport it there for you from Puerto Limon.
Risks with International Shipping
There are many issues that you can run into when shipping a car to a different country. If you don’t choose the right shipping company, your vehicle could end up sitting in a port because of incorrect paperwork, because it was seized by customs, or because it was damaged in transit.
Things to Remember When Choosing an International Car Shipper
Here are a few things to remember when selecting an international shipping company:
- When shipping internationally, make sure the shipping company is licensed, bonded and registered with the Federal Maritime Commission.
- Get all quotes in writing, and make sure you read the fine print to know exactly what services are included and excluded.
- Use a different company to transport your car from your door to the port. Many international shipping companies offer bundled services, but it is often cheaper to use a separate carrier to get your car to port.
Costa Rica international shipping companies can make the task of transporting your car between the two countries easier, so consider hiring one if you need to import or export from the U.S. or Costa Rica.
You will first need to ship your car from a U.S. port to Costa Rica. The most commonly used method for importing a car to Costa Rica is to ship it by sea. Depending on your shipping choice, you car will be transported either in a container along with other personal goods, or it will be transported on a car deck on a Roll on Roll off vessel. Car decks are more economical to use than containers, but offer less protection and security for your vehicle.
Shipping to Puerto Limón or Puerto Caldera
If you are shipping a car to Costa Rica from the U.S. east coat, your vehicle will most likely be shipped from Miami and it will arrive in Puerto Limón. If you plan to ship a car to Costa Rica from the west coast, your car will be shipped to Puerto Caldera on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Shipping times take between 3 and 10 days, depending on port of origin. Typically, the cost to ship a car from Miami to Puerto Limón is around $650 to $750, which is inclusive of insurance.
Customs Clearance at San Jose
Regardless of the port to which your car is shipped, it is generally considered a good idea to have your vehicle forwarded to San José for customs clearance formalities. You can do this by using either a local freight forwarding service, or by asking your shipping company to do it for you at extra cost. Most people who ship a car to Costa Rica prefer receiving it in San Jose because customs formalities are far easier to clear in this city compared to either of the two ports.
If you are importing a car to Costa Rica on a temporary basis, you do not need to pay any import taxes on the vehicle. Tourists can bring in their car duty free for a period of up to three months. During that time, the only one permitted to drive the vehicle is the person who imported the vehicle. The country has very steep import duties on all vehicles that are imported into the country permanently.
Cars that are less than three years old attract a 53 percent import tax. The tax is based on the retail value of the car as established by Costa Rican customs authorities. The import duties on cars that are older than three years can range anywhere from 63 percent to 79 percent of the original retail value. If you want to import a car to Costa Rica either temporarily or permanently, it is best to allow the shipping company to handle all the customs formalities for you, even if it means paying a little extra.
Shipping a Car from Costa Rica
All cars that are transported to the US from Costa Rica are shipped either from Puerto Limón or Puerto Caldera, a city on the country’s Pacific Coast. The former port is used for all shipments to the US East Coast, while Puerto Caldera is used for shipments to the West Coast. Depending on your preference, your car will be shipped to the US either in a container ship or on a car deck on a Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo) ship. The average cost to ship a car from Costa Rica to the US is between $650 and $750.
Upon arrival at a US port, your car will need to pass through US customs inspection. For this, you will require the original title of your vehicle, its foreign registration, the original bill of sale and the bill of lading from your shipping company. Before you can import a car from Costa Rica, it will need to pass a set of strict safety and emissions tests.
Rules for Non-Conforming Vehicles
Vehicles designed for use in America will have a label that says the car meets US requirements relating to issues such as safety harnesses, air bags, headlights and front and rear bumpers. You can import a car from Costa Rica even if it does not meet these requirements. However, you will need to bring your car into compliance with US safety requirements within 45 days of your arrival.
When you ship a car from Costa Rica it will also be subject to intensive emissions testing, which sometimes can take up to 14 hours to complete. If your car fails the emissions test, you will have 45 days to bring the vehicle into compliance. In the interim, you will be required to deposit a bond equal to 150 percent of the value of your car. If you fail to bring your car into compliance within 45 days, you will forfeit that bond.
Things to Know When Importing a Car to the United States
Here are a few other things you need to know when importing a car to the US from another country.
- You will need to pay a customs duty of 2.5 percent of the value of your car if you plan to bring in your car permanently.
- If your car fails safety or emissions tests, you will be required to work with a Registered Importer (RI) to bring your car into compliance.
- Before shipping your car, make sure to wash the undercarriage thoroughly and to clean out the interior of the vehicle.
Shipping a car from Costa Rica can appear daunting at first, but, if you take the effort to understand US customs and safety regulations, you will discover that it is a fairly straightforward task.