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How to purchase items from Costa Rica online

I have just spent almost an hour in an online chat with Aeropost.  Given that Amazon has a distribution center in San Jose, I thought that I could buy items from within CR online and have them shipped to my Correos address.  Well, I found today that the item I wanted to purchase had to be shipped from Miami to CR and then on to my Correos address.  The cost of the item went from $31.00 to $59.00.  Is there a better and less expensive way to purchase items online destined for CR?  I have used this method before.  It took three weeks for the purchased item to arrive at our Correos address.  Sure I could go to a brick and mortar store however, we live in Montezuma.  It's a long trip to San Jose.  Pura Vida!

I didn't think that any items from Amazon were shipped from within Costa Rica...

It's actually cheaper to fly to Florida, fill up two suitcases and fly back.  I'm serious.  Airfare is only about $250 round trip.  (I just confirmed this price on cheapoair.com).  One night in a hotel at $50 and $25 for the extra suitcase.  So for $325 you get two full suit cases of goodies.  And you're not paying the ridiculous taxes that Aero or CR adds on.

And of course if you have friends or acquaintances that are coming this way, ask if they can bring things for you.

- Expat Dave

Thanks, Expat Dave!  Given where I live in Montezuma it's a little more difficult and expensive to travel to the US.  It comes down to either paying taxes and fees for online purchases or paying for flights and hotel rooms.  Of course your purchases are in hand when you fly to Florida and purchase them.  When I've purchased items online in the past and had them shipped it has taken three weeks to receive them from Miami.  Items have been held in customs and I had to jump through hoops to receive them.  Pura Vida!

I got the impression that some items were available in Costa Rica.  Certainly, I could be wrong.  It's probably that we can have them shipped here not that there's a warehouse here that items can be selected from.  Any items that I have purchased have come from the US.  Shipping and fees add amounts that are close to 50% of the cost of the item itself.  I think I pay in part for the convenience of not having to fly back to the US.  That's how I'm beginning to rationalize paying to receive items in CR.  Have a great day!

Durphym :

Thanks, Expat Dave!  Given where I live in Montezuma it's a little more difficult and expensive to travel to the US.  It comes down to either paying taxes and fees for online purchases or paying for flights and hotel rooms.  Of course your purchases are in hand when you fly to Florida and purchase them.  When I've purchased items online in the past and had them shipped it has taken three weeks to receive them from Miami.  Items have been held in customs and I had to jump through hoops to receive them.  Pura Vida!

What we've done in the past is order a "bunch" of stuff from Amazon, and just have them shipped to the hotel.  It was all there when we arrived.  So we'd have a nice dinner and head home the next day.  I agree that you're still spending quite a bit; however, as you've figured out you're paying an additional $25+/- per item to ship after adding taxes, etc.  With two suitcases you'd be shipping many items and no hassles.

I do understand your hesitation with the drive from Montezuma.  That "is" a drive, especially considering the roads between there and San Jose.

- Expat Dave

My Tico friend orders stuff from aliexpress and wish.com and gets them within 10 days to 3 weeks he says - from CHINA! Since Costa Rica was for all practical purposes sold out to  the Chinese by former President Arias, China seems to have favored status and can stuff to  Costa Rica without jumping through the usual hoops you have to jump through to get stuff from amazon etc.
However sometimes the stuff doesn't arrive for MONTHS via Wish... he says aliexpress has been very good lately though.

That said, my friend also gets stuff from ebay within a few weeks.
All the above shipped to the San Ramon post office. Assume you could have it shipped to your nearest post office as well.

Might be worth it to try buying a few cheap items and see if they get to you.

The problem is that these sites that ship stuff here from China often don't have the things I want, whereas amazon almost always has what I want.

Luckily I have a friend in FL and I try to go there once a year for a few days or so to get stuff, but if I didn't have a friend to visit there, I would find it too expensive to do it, and even with my friend there I still can't afford it more than once a year.

My usual m.o. is to have a friend or family member bring stuff here when they come, but sometimes that doesn't work out either like when they say they're planning to come, but then don't come for many more months or don't want to carry an extra suitcase.

These services that ship from amazon to Miami and then here are not a very good deal,  in my opinion.

Thank you for providing this info.  First time that I've heard of AliExpress.com.  I will definitely check it out.  Luckily, one of our daughters is coming to visit soon.  We usually purchase from Amazon, have the items shipped to her and she brings them with her.  Looks like she may have one suitcase dedicated just for us!  Pura Vida!

I have a mail box in Miami from Correos de Costa Rica and another one from Ultrabox. The times I've used correos I've had no problem, but they keep changing their minds. The last email I received from them, it says I can order up to $500, no import taxes, who knows. I've also received items from Wish through Correos de CR, no problem. Ultrabox brought me an iPhone from the US, no import taxes (Invoice said it was a replacement, which it was).  I have also received packages from Europe through DHL, three times. The first time, no problem, second time and the same but less number of items, retained in Customs, Third time, the same amount of items as the second time, delivered to my house. So, go figure.; it looks like when asking for a US visa: hundred of requirements and the consulate doesn't ask to see them or denies the visa, other times, not all requirements at hand, the visa is given. Like a lottery.

Here is the link regarding placing an  order up to $500 with no import taxes.
Just have to see if it actually works out that way. :/

MauroN :

I have a mail box in Miami from Correos de Costa Rica and another one from Ultrabox. The times I've used correos I've had no problem, but they keep changing their minds. The last email I received from them, it says I can order up to $500, no import taxes, who knows. I've also received items from Wish through Correos de CR, no problem. Ultrabox brought me an iPhone from the US, no import taxes (Invoice said it was a replacement, which it was).  I have also received packages from Europe through DHL, three times. The first time, no problem, second time and the same but less number of items, retained in Customs, Third time, the same amount of items as the second time, delivered to my house. So, go figure.; it looks like when asking for a US visa: hundred of requirements and the consulate doesn't ask to see them or denies the visa, other times, not all requirements at hand, the visa is given. Like a lottery.

MauroN  I've heard about having stuff retained in customs but have no experience with that. Can you expand on that a little? Where do you have to go to get the retained item(s)? How much time did it take after you arrived there? Is it a one-line procedure, a two line procedure or ? Please tell me how this works. I've avoided ordering stuff that *might* get retained in aduanis  because I really don't want to go to the SJ area to get it and wait in line(s). On the other hand I've heard some stuff - especially in small boxes - gets through to the San Ramon post office without being held in customs.

kohlerias :

Here is the link regarding placing an  order up to $500 with no import taxes.
Just have to see if it actually works out that way. :/

Part of the linked article says "The key is the purchase to be exempt must be for personal or family use. Hacienda clarified that to apply for this exemption, it is a requirement that the recipient has not used the benefit during the last six months prior to the arrival of the merchandise, and that the merchandise is not for commercial purposes.

The tax exemption not automatic, the procedure can be carried out in person to the Aduana (Customs) or by means of a special power granted to a third party, conferred by the person who appears as consignee in the boarding document,|

I dunno, Sounds a little dicey to me.  And sounds like you can only order once every 6 months and one day...

I do hope someone here on this forum tries it and reports back as to how it went!

But if a lot of people start getting stuff at the post office it will stress the correos system to the breaking point, I predict.

My friend had stuff sitting at the correo in San Ramon for weeks and he was somehow able to track that it was THERE yet they kept telling him it was not. He finally showed them the proof he had and then the clerk got off her duff and went to the back room and found it.

All of which goes to say that if the U.S. postal service clerks are lazy and incompetent, you haven't seen anything til you've seen the San Ramon post office clerks. I've finally decided not to even deal with them if I don't have to. What's the point of having a post office box if you don't get your mail in it?
By the way that's the 4th time I've not gotten mail I know was sent there.

Now I can't prove it was the fault of the SR post office (could be the fault of San jose or ?) but I just had 2 letters I KNOW were mailed to my correct post office box in September, and neither of those 2 letters arrived after almost 3 months now (one from the social security dept).

I explained this to the clerk at the correo  after she assured me it wasn't in the back room,  and she just looked at me, no suggestion or explanation.  Like "So you didn't get your mail? What else is new?"

In other words, it's apparently very common for people not to get their mail here. Most gringos I know just say "Don't bother to send anything here through the mail!"

Always receive my mail for the last 14 years anyway. I know all the people in the Post Office, and treat them with respect.

We had a package detained in Customs for over a week.  It contained bath oil.  Once we provided additional documentation it was released.  Luckily, we only had to provide a letter and didn't have to go anywhere.  The item didn't have the original payment information with it because my daughter purchased it for her business and then just shipped it to us.  How I wish we had a zip code here :)

Costa Rica zip codes

Thanks for providing the zip codes.  Unfortunately,  there isn't one for Montezuma. :)

I'm sure more than just Montezuma didn't make the list... :rolleyes: ... but try this one, 60111
Found this here

Very surprised to see that we have zip codes.   ...and thank you Kohlerias for posting that.     :thanks:

- Expat Dave

rendrag :

Always receive my mail for the last 14 years anyway. I know all the people in the Post Office, and treat them with respect.

Here it is difficult to know the people in the post office, there's always a line of people and they're not too talkative which is probably good - better to do their job and get to the next person in line.

But I always treat people with respect until they don't treat me with respect, which happens.

That said, I've never had a cross word with anyone at the post office.

I have pointed out that I am not getting my mail though.

I also pointed out when I opened my box, that 2 months later they still said they didn't have the key for me.
They finally gave me the master key and said "here go make one".  I had to make it with my own funds. No big deal but seems a bit odd...

When I brought back the copy of the key,  I said "but then, isn't the guy who had the box before me, who never brought back his key,  going to be able to get my mail?"

They said "Yes."

Welcome to the 3rd world.

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