Last week, we got a box of new clothes sent by the Willow Family. They have a tall son, too. There is a dearth of tall boy clothes here due to the dearth of tall ticos. Our new friends shipped to our private mail service, and receiving the box was $72 on our end: $38 duty and $34 of the private mail service’s charges. My friends were appalled. From our point of view, the cost was still cheaper than having to actually BUY new clothes. And the boys love them. Nice when your boys love clothes!!!
But I understand their dismay… and thought others may be interested in the sticky details of deciding how to get your Stuff here once YOU are here.
When a box is mailed to any private mail service (Jetbox, Starbox, Aerocasillas, there are several now) from the U.S., it costs the sender RELATIVELY little and the CR receiver more, because customs definitely opens the box and if it’s dutiable, you pay the tab. Then the private service adds their handling and then tax and service charge on top of everything (yes, tax on the duty). Highway robbery? Maybe, but safer (so they say) and faster (so they say). We use our private mail service for legal stuff that needs a signed delivery receipt, whether coming or going.
When mailing to our apartado (our po box here), it costs the sender in the states more and us nothing, unless it gets opened by customs and they deem it dutiable. Even still, we don’t pay tax on the duty and all the private service charges. Plus, apparently, things that get shipped to an apartado are rarely opened by customs and are usually safe in arriving.
Mom ships me my Amazon books, $30-$40 on her end (yes, I pay her back, I’m a good daughter.) Mom just shipped me a box of books and some vitamins to the apartado, so we will see if it gets opened, if it gets here, and what my charges are. Jan in AZ ships me Triscuits to my apartado – $34 or so for 6 or 7 boxes of Triscuits and a few various paperbacks… Mary in Key West ships me books, cards, little trinkets and same thing: they’ve always gotten here. Never opened. We’ll see.
The bottom line is that everything shipped has to be evaluated for risk of theft and value. A box of videos, we have sent to the private carrier. Things of relatively little value, we use the apartado. Although, a neighbor just posted a very positive review of our local apartado and the correo system here in general:
"I think a lot of the negative reputation of the Correo is a holdover from the past, when it was richly deserved. If I remember correctly, in approx. 1995, the entire correo system was revamped which resulted in the dismissal of about 600 employees for theft (whole bags were found in private homes)! Since then, we have had no trouble at all."
— Paul, no longer going Postal in Escazú
I love my correo!
Do they use M-bags to ship your books and can one get away with putting other rectangular objects in with them?
Do you have an importation permit or does Laura, La Aduana, just have something against me hence not letting me have the two boxes from the Christmas present which took oh-so-long to arrive (some of which is food and generic allergy medication).
Of course, my cousin was sitting there glaring at her because he felt it was taking far too long for her to go look at the boxes, which I had to open twice, just for that extra little bit of “Here’s what your kind friend sent you. You can look but you can’t have it!”.
Did you ever get your boxes? Were you able to get any of the allowable things out of it? I’m worried now – my mom shipped me some great books along with some vitamins. Now I’ve heard vitamins will NEVER make it thru… so I’m wondering about the books. Ack.
Enjoy your blog. It’s very interesting to me as my husband and I plan to move to CR at some point. He is a tico so luckily he knows the ropes….
Thank you, Miz Ellie. I’m having a good time writing and I love knowing there is a journal of our journey! Yes, a tico husband has GOT to be a leg up! Pura vida!
Nope, still don’t have the boxes but they were sent to my cousin’s Jetbox account and Jetbox is trying to get them now and no, they wouldn’t let me take anything from them (but I did take out an envelope with a renewed credit card when no one was looking). I seriously think the problem is because the boxes went through Jetbox!
By the way, my cousin is a tico, also, and it doesn’t seem to help one bit!
Well, my mom sent those vitamins and a couple of video games wrapped as a gift for my son (they were a gift actually) and we picked up the box yesterday from our apartado in Escazu! It even said vitamins on the shipping label and vitamins are a no no… so I think it’s a crap shoot. But if it goes thru a mailing service, customs WILL open the box, no doubt about that.