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International Moving Company to Costa Rica

Published on Jul 12, 2021 by Kfir Cohen

Are you moving to Costa Rica? We are an International Moving Company to Costa Rica with years of experience relocating households and commercial shipments to Costa Rica.

SDC International Shipping is an international moving company to Costa Rica. Whether you are moving for retirement or employment, we will help you relocate to this warm country.


What’s on this page?

01 | International Household Moving to Costa Rica
02 | International Car Shipping to Costa Rica
03 | Costa Rican Customs and Regulations
04 | Moving to Costa Rica from US Checklist
05 | International Shipping Options to Costa Rica


International Household Moving to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a great destination for Americans relocating to Central America. We help families relocate to this lovely country every year. With extensive coasts on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica has many attractive locations to move to like Limon on the Caribbean and Jaco on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast. Of course, San Jose and nearby cities like Heredia are the locations we are most commonly requested to send households to.

SDC International Shipping will get your household to your new Costa Rican home intact. We can deliver to any location in Costa Rica, including remote locations like Hermosa.

When you are considering your international household moving to Costa Rica you should start with decisions about what to take with you and what you will be leaving in the United States. We presume that you have already visited the country several times, and suggest one more trip before moving. If you haven’t yet found a place to live, ask a local real estate agent to show you properties. Take a look at the size of the dwelling. If there is any doubt, even measure room sizes.

Bring enough furniture for the house you are moving into and get rid of what you won’t be taking. Though the climate might be different than where you now live, your American furniture will be better than what is available in Costa Rica. What you won’t need much of in Costa Rica is winter gear, you can give that away or put it into storage if you plan on returning to the USA in a few years.

The good news for those moving to Costa Rica is that American major appliances work there. A big American clothes washing machine that costs around $400 goes for over $700 in Costa Rica. The same will be true for your dishwasher, dryer, etc., all of which should work without a problem in your new home. Keep in mind that in order to qualify for tax-free import, these are expected to be used items.

You should definitely send your electronics like TVs, computers, small kitchen appliances, etc. Also send or bring in your luggage things TV streaming device, gaming consoles if you have them, and the latest model router.

All of Costa Rica has a warm, pleasant climate. There is considerable rainfall in the winter. You might not need winter gear, but you might want to double up on rain gear!

Do you enjoy bicycling? Both the beautiful trails in the mountains and Costa Rica’s seemingly endless beaches, there are plenty of locations for biking in the country, so you should put yours in your shipping container. Bicycles do not enjoy a tax holiday, even if used, so if you decide to send some in your container, it’s ok to send new ones.

Do you enjoy fishing? With extensive coasts on two oceans, Costa Rica has countless fishing opportunities. Make sure to clean all of your gear before sending it.


International Car Shipping to Costa Rica

We do not recommend shipping automobiles to Costa Rica. While it is allowed, automobiles are not considered a part of your household that qualifies for tax-free import. Expect to pay up to 70% of the retail value of a car on import. Adding this to the costs of shipment and legal fees will not make sense.

Read more: International Vehicle Shipping from USA


Costa Rican Customs and Regulations

You should not use any new wood in your shipment, similar to wood in pallets. Any wood used must be treated and certified as conforming to ISPM 15 rules and have an accompanying fumigation certificate. If you are sending any fine art or especially fragile items that need crating for protection let us crate them for you. We will use wood that conforms to the ISMP 15 rules.

Returning Costa Rican citizens who have lived abroad for at least 2 years are allowed to send a shipment of used goods to the country without paying customs on most items. You will need to get a certificate of this from the closest Costa Rican consulate.

Costa Rica does not prohibit the import of electronics, appliances, and computers, but you can only send one of each type. Please note that your shipping list should include exact details of each appliance, including serial numbers. Your shipping list is prepared by SDC International Shipping’s movers, but it is your ultimate responsibility to make sure it is accurate and contains all necessary information. Your packing list does not need to be translated into Spanish.

Are you bringing a cat or dog? Rabies vaccination is mandatory for any pet over 3 months of age. Your animal should be examined and an APHIS health certificate issued within 10 days of your departure from the USA.


Moving to Costa Rica from US Checklist

Have you made your decision to move to Costa Rica? Good for you. Some things you need to do:

  • Contract SDC International Shipping to relocate your family to Costa Rica. If you contact us early, it will be easier for us to working according to your schedule.
  • If you are a returning Costa Rican citizen, you must visit the closest Costa Rican consulate and obtain a proof of residence abroad document.
  • If you are not a Costa Rican citizen, make sure that you have a long term residence visa.
  • If you don’t have family to help, you might want to look into concierge services for help with setting up house and life in the country.
  • Costa Rica offers universal medical care at affordable prices. There is also private insurance available that you might be interested in. We recommend that you investigate this now.
  • Check the CDC vaccination recommendations for Costa Rica. Please note that Malaria is recommended and if you don’t have this yet, please get started as it might take several visits.
  • Try to set up a Costa Rican bank account before you move there. Go to your American bank and make sure that you will be able to easily transfer money to yourself.

Read more: The Ultimate International Relocation Checklist


International Shipping Options to Costa Rica

Most of our clients moving to Costa Rica choose to send private full container load (FCL) to Costa Rica. Depending on the exact delivery location, this is usually an affordable option. Please note that even those sending full containers should expect to have their goods delivered to their new homes via moving vans, as there is a mandatory inspection in Costa Rica and your goods are removed from the container and customs clearance. An FCL usually makes sense if you are sending over 500 cubic feet of cargo. A 20’ container will accommodate up to 1100 cubic feet of storage when loaded by our movers. This is large enough for the contents of most 3 bedroom homes. If you are sending more than this, a 40’ container is available.

Read more: International Shipping Containers Explained

For those sending less than 500 cubic feet, we can send a less than full container load (LCL) shipment that makes the most sense. We can offer door-to-door service starting from 100 cubic feet.

Door-to-door delivery time to Costa Rica is about 4-5 weeks. As the country has mandatory inspections that can take up to two weeks, the delivery takes longer than you might expect.

If you have anything that can’t wait that long, please ask your SDC International Shipping relocation specialist about air cargo. This option is more costly, but your things will arrive in about a week. It is common for clients to send a portion of their cargo via air and the bulk via sea cargo.

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