Shipping to Costa Rica – People deciding on Costa Rica Relocation and shipping to Costa Rica want o know if they should ship their car to Costa Rica or buy another one upon arrival. Although this seems like a straight forward question but the answer is based on many different factors.

car shipping to costa ricaWhat is Involved with Shipping a Car to Costa Rica?

First off you must own your vehicle clear and clear. No liens or payments need to be pending in order to get the vehicle out of the USA. Repo men do not travel to Costa Rica and US customs will not allow the car out of port.  Also make sure that you bring a vehicle that parts are easy to find.  Popular cars to ship to Costa Rica are Toyota 4Runners and Rav4s.  Vehicles made overseas are easier to find parts in Costa Rica. So when it comes to shipping to Costa Rica do not bring a Dodge, Ford or Chevy unless you really want to.

Secondly, you need to find a shipping company that will ship your car to Costa Rica; freight charges from the US to either Puerto Limon or the Port of Caldera amount to about $600 to $1000. The least expensive way for shipping to Costa Rica is roll on roll off which unfortunately is not done from the west coast of the USA.

Remember that all imported vehicles are taxed from 52 to 72 percent. Although this might seem high these import taxes are included in any vehicle you decide to buy in Costa Rica. A car that may cost $3000 in the USA will sell for about double in Costa Rica.

Lastly, once your car arrives in Costa Rica, it needs to be inspected ans pass emissions testing.  Taking it through customs should be something you leave to a Costa Rica shipping company as they do this on a daily basis and you do not want your car held hostage in customs. Those that “know a guy” find out very quickly that should have used the professionals due to extra costs or delays in getting their vehicle out of the customs warehouse.

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Selling Your Car as Opposed to Shipping to Costa Rica

There are three possible scenarios in here.

First, is that you may need to sell it about 5 to 6 six months ahead of your scheduled departure to get the best possible offer you can get for your car. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a buyer that wants to pay full price right away, but that is more the exception to the rule than the rule. The problem with this is that you would be without car for a couple of months and have to take public transportation, Taxis or Uber to get to and from places.  This can get expensive quickly and end up costing money you could have used to enjoy Costa Rica.

On the other hand, if you decide to wait until the last minute to sell your car, you would need to sell it quickly and most likely will not get top dollar for the vehicle.  A buyer can tell if you are desperate to sell.

Lastly, if you are not willing to sell your car for a loss, then you would have to either leave it with a friend to sell it, or pay for storage. Both of these options leave you to really think about shipping to Costa Rica.

Since you did not bring your car to Costa Rica, you would want to buy a replacement vehicle when you arrive in this country. As mentioned before vehicles in Costa Rica are about double the price as the import taxes are included on the price.

Another issue you may encounter when buying a car in Costa Rica is that unlike in the US and Canada where you will be given detailed information of any damage or repairs done on the car and when the yearly maintenance is done, plus a warranty for a period of time that covers you if it suddenly breaks down, in Costa Rica it is unheard of and has never been done. You have to trust the word of the person selling the vehicle in Costa Rica

When you buy a car in Costa Rica you wouldn’t know anything about it and if it breaks down do not expect the seller to foot the repair bill or give you your money back. Furthermore, do not expect the judicial system of Costa Rica to help you get a refund because it would be a total waste of money and time. Per the law of Costa Rica if you buy a car and the engine or clutch has problems in the first 30 days then you should be able to get a refund, but going through the process to do this will cost you sometimes more than the vehicle itself.

Upon doing the numbers and taking everything in consideration, it is actually less expensive and totally hassle-free for shipping a car to Costa Rica as compared to buying a car in the country.

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