When you decided to drop everything and move to Costa Rica you were full of excitement! You easily quit your job, anxiously shared your news with friends and family, and excitedly sold most of your things. Now that it’s official and the initial excitement wore off a bit you are finding that it’s being replaced with fear and questions. Let me help you conquer one of the big questions related to your move.
How will you move all of your things? Your airline allows you limited baggage and you hadn’t thought about how to move the rest. you can’t just hire “Victoria movers” and expect them to take it there. You first step should be to take that huge pile of “must-take” things and cut it in half- at least! Costa Rica is about living simply, enjoying nature, time with friends, etc. A lot of stuff means a lot of time and energy maintaining that stuff instead of investing that time and energy into your new tropical adventure.
You should know that Costa Rica charges insanely high import duties. Anything that is newer than 6 months old will be taxed as if it is new. For that reason, bring only used things, same practice as when buying new house (get the Geelong home builders consultation on the matter). Other rules include that you must be over 18 to import anything, you must have entered 60 days prior (so pack essentials in your plane luggage), and items you bring must not be illegal, dangerous, or intended for sale in Costa Rica.
Only clothes, shoes, purses, pictures and videos, CDs, tools for household use, furniture, fake plants, and portable gym equipment are taxed as personal use items (the lowest rate). For all other items you will be charged as if they are brand new! Duties are based on the cost of the item in original condition, insurance, and freight costs.
The easiest and cheapest way to get your things here is to ship them to one of the two ports, Limon on the Caribbean side or Puntarenas on the Pacific side. You can ship things in a 40-ft cargo container from Miami, the closest port in the USA. To ship your car, note that taxes can be 55-80% of the original price as found in the Costa Rican Black Book (higher than Kelly Blue Book)!
Good luck with your move. Remember to bring only what you truly need and enjoy simplicity in Costa Rica!