did anyone drive to CR?

Probably going to drive to CR but have read about some pretty high import taxes on vehicles and things. Has anyone already been this route? Any suggestions?

We've thought about it too, because we have several dogs and flying them in is pretty much a nightmare.  I've been told not to attempt it due to the safety concerns of travelling through Mexico in particular and also Nicarauga.  I do know someone who did it so I think if it's men, and you can speak Spanish, it may not be impossible to do.  Remember that you will eventually have to pay the import fees on any vehicle you register in CR and you are going to get stopped from time to time to check your papers so you can't drive around forever without doing it right.

I did it and it was fantastic! BUT...there is ALOT you need to know and yes, import taxes are wicked. It can be done. It will take about two weeks, give or take. I really wish I had more time to spend on the trip but we were on a schedule. You need to speak fluent Spanish...or have alot of money.

I would really love to make the drive too but I'm pretty scared to attempt it.  My sister is completely bilingual but I keep wondering if having two women and several dogs on the trip is an invitation for trouble.  What were your experiences like?

Drive only during the daylight hours. Carry good maps. We had a Thule, but I would refrane from having anything else on the car (bikes, kayaks, etc). The roads are not as bad as they say but have a vehicle that can handle rough spots. Our Subaru Outback was perfect. Gas was easy to find and we paid mostly with credit cards. Transfer your cash at every crossing and know the exchange rate, otherwise they will rip you off. You will not travel as far as you think each day. Average speed is about 40mph. MX was a breeze...long but easy. Stay out of MX City. In fact, we stayed away from most of the major cities only because they are a rats nest of streets and very difficult to get through. We did GT in one day. El Salvadore was lovely, but we took the coastal route. Slower but nicer. Blew through HN in one day too. NI was a bitch. Lots of bribes. Stand your ground and DO NOT let them keep any of your information. Expect 2-4 hours per crossing and remember, you check in and out of each country including the US. There will be people pawing at your car when you get to each border saying they are brokers willing to help you crossing. Some are legit, most are hacks. Most of the time you don't need them. We met up with a couple traveling with a big Shepard and they had no problems but if I were you, a handful of hours on a plane for them beats weeks traveling through doggie hell and trust me, Central America is NOT dog friendly. CR certainly is, but the rest of Latin America not so much. The roving packs of strays will leave humans alone, but I have seen them seriously fuck up other dogs, leash or no leash. You may be animal lovers but DO NOT touch the strays. It is the tropics and they will have every disease/parasite immaginable and many transfer to humans. It's a trip not for the faint of heart. You are driving through some pretty brutal areas but it is the adventure of a life time, none the less. Good Luck!

Thanks for the insights.  We are a little bit daunted at the outrageous prices we've been quoted, like $30,000, to transport our pack of dogs.  I'm thinking we may just have to make multiple flights and take a couple of dogs each time.  It's the two really big dogs that present a problem as they may be too big to even fly as cargo.  I understand there's a 100 lb limit for the dog and the crate combined.  We have two dogs who weigh 70-80 lbs and the crates are not light.  Still trying to figure it out!

Ok here is my take on it.  Me and my buddy did the trip in September of 2009.  If you hauling a trailer and entering the northern border and leaving through the southern boaqrder you must register as a tourista, meaning you have to pay someone to itemize the list you have already made for the trip.  It cost up 500$ I think.  We drove a 2007 Jeep Commender and hauled a box of our lives behind us.  We drove 30 hours through Mexico straight, everyone has told us to get the hell away from the border!  We spoke no spanish and were told we had to take a guide through the country to make sure we left, that is bullshit and if we would have spoke spanish and did a little better on our research would have saved up about 2000 in all.  They did keep us from bribing cops until we got to Hondorus were we probally got swindled into bribing people to get into the country and then sneak out after the border had closed.  Don't bother changing money at every boarder most places take credit cards or dollars on that route.  We took CA2 all the way.  It can be done we did it in less than 5 days.  Pets are a different story.  It is supposed to be hard to do we left the dogs in the states.  the car is crazy expensive here!  My buddy sold his jeep here.  Like what was said before stay out of the cities we only drove through them at night and never stopped.  We took food for the trip expecting all the worst of road and people.  The road will be good if its not you probally took a wrong turn.  It was almoast totally completed in 2009!  Watch the borders for kids begging and crack pots trying to help you out.  Know spanish!!!  Very important know spanish, one more time know spanish.  Carry money in multiple pockets for bribes, you do not want to wave cash around for all to see.  Stick to your gus people will try to take advantage of your ignorance.  I just met a guy who did the trip earlier this year and he said the same thing so it can be done but it is not exactly like going from Cali to York.

I have heard that if your spanish is notvery good just learn how to say"i am german" or "i am french" in spanish and then act completely confused at whatever they say. Argue to the core if they accuse you of something you didnt do and dont pay any bribes if possible. If they think you are not American, they wont be as likely to mess with you. Any truth to that at all?

False. How can you say you're another nationality if your ID is your passport, you're driving a US plated car, and all you speak is English? You WILL pay bribes or you will spend hours in the police station/border crossing. But I guess that is your choice. Remember, the bribes are not because you are an American but because they get paid squat and they are padding their income. They will squeeze a little more out of Americans but you are better off claiming an illness ("I am diabetic, I need to eat, rest, water, etc." or in my case I said I was pregnant). Trust me, you do not want to be confused about anything when you are crossing borders or you will be eaten alive.

PS It is VERY important to carry tons of copies of everything. Our copy packet consisted of passport, drivers license, car title etc. You will need to submit this packet many times at the borders and if you have to run around and find a copy machine somewhere you could be seriously screwed.

Ok makes sense. For the most part it doesnt really seem nearly as dangerous as the media makes it sound. There are a lot of blogs and websites of people that have done it with just like two women in a little Toyota with no problem.

Dangerous? Not really. Have common sense. Be polite. Be prepared. And speak Spanish! Your ability to communicate clearly is what will save you, in bribes and time. Case in point: after hauling ass throught GT we got to the El Salvador border just at sunset. A truck driver told us there was a four hour wait. My boyfriend politely asked for some urgency since I was pregnant (Ha!) and nauseous. A female border guard took pity on us and got us through in 1 hour. No bribes, no chest thumping egos, just asking politely and clearly. And regardless of what religion you are, a lot of "God bless you" too and if you want some added protection, carry some Madonnas or Jesus statues. It helps!

awesome! ill keep that in mind haha

my first question is do you really want to live here?
honestly the ticos will be polite to your face and disrespectful behind your back they think we are made of money and have no problem trying to scam/overcharge us there is a real lack of integrity not to say some honest folks dont exist but they are few and far between also inflation here is off the charts and in many ways it is more expensive to live here than in the US
as far as importing your car it will cost you between 60-80% of what they value it at

my advice to you is sell the car and sell your stuff b/c you will be taxed up the whazoo for those things too
now that being said i did drive down by myself from the northeast a single woman w/14 cats i had no problems driving down i had all my paperwork in order so the border crossings were pretty easy i did not have to wait it took a minimum of 30minutes per border and i avoided the helpers like the plague

it is just another money grab i did not speak much spanish but most ppl at the borders do speak some english

i drove day and night sometimes i could not find suitable accomadations

in mexico they will not take US currency that is the only country where it is a must to have local currency

i had to go to 5 different banks b4 i could change dollars for pesos
you can get temporary vehicle permits in CR they are good for 90 days and then the vehicle must leave the country for 90 days actually it does not have to leave the country you just have to wait 90 days b4 you get another one just dont be tempted to drive w/out papers during that time

if you are set on leaving the us and who could blame you w/things the way they are now you might want to consider Panama
there are many perks for those pensionados that have residency status

they will allow you to import 1 vehicle tax exempt once every 3 years and they will allow you to import your household goods tax exempt there are also many discounts offered such as prescription drugs etc

i believe that you may get a temporary vehicle permit good for 6 months but then the taxes would be due

i believe you have to already be a resident b4 they allow you to import vehicles/household goods tax free not sure quite how that works

you can purchase things for much less there but the vehicle import taxes are going to be high there as well

i do not reccomend bringing your household goods b/c your needs will be different here and and most things that you will need can be purchased for very little you can have furniture made for you at a fraction of the price it still will cost you more to hire a mover and things can get damaged

ths is the tropics and things do get moldy fabrics and leather do not do well things need to be machine washable

basically sell or give away most of your stuff things that are irreplacable like family photos etc do take

ok thank you I will keep that in mind. If Panama is that much better why did you choose Cr? (dont mean that in a condescending way)

didnt realise it til i got here

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