Pros and Cons with Importing a Vehicle to Costa Rica

When you are relocating to Costa Rica one of the first things you ask yourself is whether or not it is a good idea to ship your car over.

This is a repetitive question among our clients, which is why we felt it was important to establish the pros and cons of shipping your car to Costa Rica so you can decide for yourself if it is a good idea or not.

Our vehicles are without a doubt a necessary evil, they sure are a great tool that makes our life simpler in many ways, but they also involve maintenance and different payments. In Costa Rica this is particularly true since the cars are very expensive in comparison to the United States, good mechanic shops are hard to come across and the conditions of the roads are, let’s say, “not the best”, which is why it is important that you give some long and hard thought to this decision.


Things to consider before importing your car to Costa Rica:

1) Importing a car to Costa Rica is not so complicated, but it is important that you do the necessary research in terms of the steps to follow and the costs involved so that you can make an educated decision and know what to expect.

2) Consider how many times a year you’ll be going back to your native country, sometimes we forget that we will need a means of transportation when we are visiting. If you are going to do a lot of back and forth traveling, this is something to take into account.

3) Time and patience, if there are two things you should always have when dealing with the majority of institutions in Costa Rica these are time and patience, so take into consideration that bringing your car in could take a while.

4) It’s important to investigate if finding parts for your car is an issue in Costa Rica.

5) Keep in mind there are no import duties for people that are bringing their car in for less than 90 days.

6) The country/state where you are shipping from will make a difference in the price, bringing in your car from the US West Coast for instance is more expensive than if you are sending it in from the East Coast.

7) Cars older than 12 years are usually not accepted this because old models generally don’t pass the gas emissions limits.

8) There is currently an electric transportation bill awaiting approval at the Legislative Assembly that will reduce the taxes on these cars considerably; this bill will likely be approved by the beginning of 2018.



– Bringing your own car means you will know exactly the condition it’s in.

– Naturally you’ll save the trouble and expense of having to buy one, which, if you are looking for a used car this means a risk of not knowing for sure what’s under the hood, and new cars are very expensive in comparison to what you pay in North America.

– If you do your homework and you have a car model that meets all the requirements, and, of course, the right help to ship it in you may actually save money.




– You will get charged import taxes, freight, etc. In order to estimate the amount you’ll pay in taxes you’ll have to consider the car model, year, etc. Sometimes the amount you pay in taxes plus the time it takes you to ship it in are just not worth it. Taxes can go anywhere from 52% to 73% of the value of the car. (Yes you read this correctly)

– Once you’ve paid the taxes the car needs to be registered in the country to get Costa Rican plates.

– The older the car the higher the amount you pay in taxes, but the newer the model the higher the yearly marchamo will cost.


After having considered all this information if you decide to import your car our recommendation is that you go through a reputable car importer, there are many companies that have experience in shipping cars to Costa Rica and can walk you through the whole process; of course, you can save some money by doing everything yourself, but you’ll have to do a lot of research and learn along the way which is not always good, the fee to have an importer do it for you is actually worth it to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, these agencies will know that they have to that the car meets emission standards before shipping and will keep you posted on the steps to follow once your vehicle is in Costa Rica.

In order to calculate the amount you’ll pay in taxes on your car you can visit: //


If you need a partner to help you arrange your move to this wonderful country or you need to find your home in Costa Rica don’t hesitate to contact // and we will make sure to have every aspect of your move covered for you and your loved ones.

Also for short-term and long-term housing options – – +506 6255 7577.