How to ship a car to Costa Rica | A How-To Guide

LAC Team


Updated: January 17, 2022

If you are moving to Costa Rica and you already own a car, the smart choice would be to transfer your car to your new place of living. It will be much easier to get around with a car once you are there since the public transportation infrastructure is not that great and you can not truly rely on it for getting you to where you need to be on time. Road infrastructure is pretty decent, all the towns are interconnected and have paved roads, but you could face some dirt roads of poor quality in rural areas. In any case, having your own car is the best way to get around.
How to Ship a Car to Costa Rica? If you want to ship a vehicle to Costa Rica here are a few things you should pay attention to:

Hiring a Professional to Ship Your Vehicle to Costa Rica

This is the first and most important step to get your car to Costa Rica. You need to hire a reliable professional (an individual or company) to transport your car. At first look, there will be many options, but you need to do some in-depth research and choose the right option for you. When choosing your service provider, you should follow these steps:

  • Check reviews:

    Use every advantage our internet age is providing you read about past experiences with companies you find interesting at first glance, bad reviews will help you narrow your search. When you have narrowed down your list to a couple of companies with mostly good reviews ask them for all for offers.

  • Read the printed copy carefully:

    When you do receive the offers be sure to read everything very carefully to avoid any potential hidden cost you may face if you are not careful.

  • Get everything in writing:

    Make sure you receive everything that was agreed upon in writing, so you have the argumentation if something does not go as it was supposed to.

  • Choose the right shipping option:

    Basically, there are two shipping options for shipping your wheels to Costa Rica, RORO, and Container. Both are secure and good options with their own features. RORO is comparatively less costly than the container. Also, RORO is compatible with shipping any kind of vehicle, starting from personal cars to tractors. Anything with wheels is OK for RORO. LAC offers RORO shipping services to Costa Rica at a reasonable price.

  • The Cost of Shipping a Vehicle:

    The cost of shipping will vary depending on the company of course and your best option may not necessarily be the cheapest option. If we take the US as an example and if you are shipping your car from Miami, you can expect a price range from 800-1500 USD.

Getting the Vehicle Ready to Ship

Prior to your car actually getting shipped to Costa Rica, you need to make sure to pay all the customs and tariff fees. Take note that this cost can vary 50-70% of the value of the car. The fees vary depending on the car model, emission class, engine power, year of the car was, etc. The best-case scenario is 50% of the car value but always wise to prepare for the worst option and be ready to cover 70%. When it comes to the actual paperwork your chosen company will be able to support you there, but the cost is entirely on you.

After all the fees are paid there is just the matter of a technical evaluation which consists of:

  • Emissions test (Car needs to satisfy emissions regulations in Costa Rica, but most car models will be ok here)
  • Fuel should be dropped to less than half a tank
  • All personal belongings must be removed from the car
  • The rear-view mirrors should be closed, and any antennas removed in order not to be damaged or fall off during the transportation
  • All lighting must work properly

How to ship a car to Costa Rica? There you have it! If you follow the steps above, you will be able to transfer your car to Costa Rica safely and legally. As mentioned in the opening having a car is by far the best way to get around in Costa Rica.


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