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Shipping Vehicle to CR

Thanks for all the great information so far. I'm considering shipping my vehicle from NJ (live in MD currently). The rates are reasonable and you can stuff the car with personal belongings for less than $200 more. Question is...how much will CR charge in taxes, registrations, titling, etc. once I get it there?

The shipper "should" tell you exactly how much your total will be.  If they don't give you a total cost with all import taxes, etc., find someone else.  I always recommend Michael with shippingcr.com.  I shipped a number of times with them over the years and never had any issues.

- Expat Dave

Over the years, it has been said that it 'not advisable to include items in the vehicle' where they may removed...

Shipping a vehicle.

I did read the other day, that the vehicle must be less than 12 years old (in Spanish) however this article doesn't reflect this.

That's an insane tax rate! Would I be better off purchasing a vehicle in CR once I get there?

Probably....but vehicles will cost you much more here. Plus they are not cheap to maintain, as gas is more expensive,too.

Here http://www.hacienda.go.cr/autohacienda/AutoValor.aspx you will find what Hacienda (IRS equivalent)  says your car is worth and how much import tax it will generate. Shipping not included.

Another helpful link: https://costaricalaw.com/costa-rica-how … osta-rica/

meliiv :

That's an insane tax rate! Would I be better off purchasing a vehicle in CR once I get there?

Hola Meliiv,

Yes, the tax rate is incredibly high; however, keep in mind that the value of the vehicle In CR is much higher.  As an example, I have a Limited Edition 2001 Toyota 4Runner.  It sells for under $6,000 in Florida.  Here, they list for about $12,000+-.  More than double.  So you pay the high import tax, etc., but the resale value also is high.  Well, more like a joke.   :cool:

Whether or not to import or purchase here is a matter of opinion.  My belief is that if you've been here a while, can speak espanol fairly well and have a good mechanic that you can trust, then I would purchase it here.  From what you've described, I don't think those applies in your case.  If you purchase in the States you are protected from "salvage" vehicles and you can look up the vehicle's history on Carfax.  Not the case with cars here at all.

I imported my car and don't have any regrets.  I'm going to be selling it, hopefully, in the near future in order to purchase a newer model pickup.  I do not trust car dealerships here whatsoever so I plan to purchase from a private party and have my mechanic who I do trust go through it throughly before the purchase.

- Expat Dave

Thank you!

ExpatDave :
meliiv :

That's an insane tax rate! Would I be better off purchasing a vehicle in CR once I get there?

Hola Meliiv,



Whether or not to import or purchase here is a matter of opinion.  My belief is that if you've been here a while, can speak espanol fairly well and have a good mechanic that you can trust, then I would purchase it here.  From what you've described, I don't think those applies in your case.  If you purchase in the States you are protected from "salvage" vehicles and you can look up the vehicle's history on Carfax.  Not the case with cars here at all.

- Expat Dave

Not true, again. Carfax will work anywhere on the planet, as long as the car has been titled in the US. Hundreds of used US cars are imported daily into Costa Rica.

rendrag :
ExpatDave :
meliiv :

That's an insane tax rate! Would I be better off purchasing a vehicle in CR once I get there?

Hola Meliiv,



Whether or not to import or purchase here is a matter of opinion.  My belief is that if you've been here a while, can speak espanol fairly well and have a good mechanic that you can trust, then I would purchase it here.  From what you've described, I don't think those applies in your case.  If you purchase in the States you are protected from "salvage" vehicles and you can look up the vehicle's history on Carfax.  Not the case with cars here at all.

- Expat Dave

Not true, again. Carfax will work anywhere on the planet, as long as the car has been titled in the US. Hundreds of used US cars are imported daily into Costa Rica.

Exactly, many cars from the U.S. do come into Costa Rica, including hundreds after Katrina.  ...and the documentation stopped there. 

So if a car is wrecked and repaired in Costa Rica, please, tell me how Carfax would be aware of this.  I can assure you that the average repair shop here does not document anything whatsoever.  Many of the body repair people here are simply someone that uses a garage in their backyard.  No, not always the case, but once you're outside one of the major cities it is.

- Expat Dave

It's a shame that the tax rate is such a gouge...almost enough to consider other retirement options...Panama, etc.

You wouldn't be the Lone Ranger amongst us that love CR but get legal in Panama. 200 minutes separate my bedrooms.

Can you be more specific. I think I understand but not sure!

So you have properties in both countries? Isn't it expensive to rent in Panama? I'd be renting, not buying...that's the best I can do on 20 years as an employee of the State of Maryland!

Hi Dave,

I e-mailed them on Monday, providing VIN and all other requested information, and am yet to get a response. Any suggestions?

ExpatDave :

The shipper "should" tell you exactly how much your total will be.  If they don't give you a total cost with all import taxes, etc., find someone else.  I always recommend Michael with shippingcr.com.  I shipped a number of times with them over the years and never had any issues.

- Expat Dave

Sorry to repeat, but sent my info. to shippingcr.com 4 days ago and have yet to receive a response. Any suggestions? Should I call instead?

Thanks - Martin

MauroN :

Here http://www.hacienda.go.cr/autohacienda/AutoValor.aspx you will find what Hacienda (IRS equivalent)  says your car is worth and how much import tax it will generate. Shipping not included.

Another helpful link: https://costaricalaw.com/costa-rica-how … osta-rica/

I'm afraid my Spanish is not good enough to completely fill out the http://www.hacienda.go.cr/autohacienda/AutoValor.aspx site. Any chance I could get some assistance?

meliiv :
ExpatDave :

The shipper "should" tell you exactly how much your total will be.  If they don't give you a total cost with all import taxes, etc., find someone else.  I always recommend Michael with shippingcr.com.  I shipped a number of times with them over the years and never had any issues.

- Expat Dave

Sorry to repeat, but sent my info. to shippingcr.com 4 days ago and have yet to receive a response. Any suggestions? Should I call instead?

Thanks - Martin

Hola Martin,

I just called myself to find out what was going on.  I don't want to be recommending someone if they are not going to respond to people.  Apparently Michael has been hospitalized for a while and is back working now.  His phone number is 8729-6879 (out side the country 011 506 8729-6879).

Please let me know how it works out for you.

- Expat Dave

Thank you...I hope all is well with Michael.

Also highly recommended is Charles Zeller

I noticed a comment about shipping a car from the US  must be less than 12 years old. Is this true? I have a 199 Jeep that has been completely rebuilt. Can I ship to CR?

Yes it's true,...as far as I am aware.  Read the info on the links.

Of course, you should/could check with shippers to be sure.

Thank you

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