Advice on bringing personal effects on plane

We are arriving from the USA to CR in Feb. 2021 - We are wondering about bringing some of our USED personal effects in our luggage on the plane.

Would we have to declare them on the customs form at the airport in San Jose?

If so, what value do we put?  These items, such as a juicer, a record player, some records, a portable sewing machine, etc... are VERY USED.  We do not have receipts for any of it.  What sort of thing do we show as a receipt and its used value (of close to nothing)??

A little confused about this.


No, you wouldn't pay duty when arriving by plane with 'used goods.' Pack them in Rubbermaid-type  containers which will prove useful for storage when in CR. You should check with your intended airline if there is a 'black out' for your chosen dates.

Not unusual to see people at the airport with a dozen containers...

I have brought in both new and used items in large quantities (2-3-4 huge duffel bags full) on several occasions and I never had a problem. Sometimes I would see someone getting their bags gone through but never happened to me.
It seems to me all they are really looking for, when they do look, is if you are bringing in illegal things or things to sell as opposed for personal use.

I recommend taking any new items out of their boxes, saving whatever accessories or instructions that come with them in a separate bag such as a purse or backpack carry on, and if anyone asks you say it's used. They can't really prove it's new.

But like I say, I've known others who had the same experience as me: never went through my bags.

As to what to put on the form, just say "used household items", "used clothes" etc. Heck I think I've even just not filled it out sometimes, or been very general, and as for "value" just figure low prices for used items and add it up roughly and put, say, $400...

I've brought in tons of new clothes, appliances, tools etc this way. Just take them out of packaging. Also if you have a super full duffel bag or suitcase I think they don't really want to deal with it - too  much trouble!

If you have new clothes, and if you have time, just wash them once first. Then they ARE used... new shoes: wear them once... etc.

Thank you for the replies!

Upon further investigation, I found this which states that all household items are no longer being taxed (import tax).  Its true???

So, this means if it is shipped in CR as well? … osta-rica/

into* Costa Rica - typo**

I don't know if that is true. I hadn't heard that before. I hope it's true!

My read on it, was that the import of household goods and a car was 'under discussion.' So this could take a while...

Seems that it is in effect as of Nov. 17 2020??? … tranjeros/

Re-reading the article on Costa Rica Law, it seems to me that one would have to be a legal Temporary Legal Resident with their cedula 'in hand' before actually moving you, your family and your vehicle and household goods to benefit these proposed new rules, else people could ould do this then possibly change their mind and return to their home country. The government would have a very difficult time them to recoup theses 'taxes.'

It is often mentioned that between 50-60% don't stay longer than 2-3 years.

Of course, this is only my opinion  :/

Good Luck!

Yeh, i saw that too when re-reading.  It is only after you obtain the residency that it is applicable.  Still, not too shabby if one stays long enough.