Getting Mail in Costa Rica
You have several options to receive mail in Costa Rica. First, some caveats.
Correos de Costa Rica (The Post Office)
There is really no such thing as reliable home delivery of mail, at least not in every location. There is in my area, but with no mailbox, I just do not want to take a chance.
If you wish to receive snail mail here, you go to any post office and request a box. The box is called an apartado. A decent sized mailbox runs maybe $8-12 per year
As with any other mail box, you must visit the post office to get your mail.
Be prepared for a wait as in many locations, you cannot get a mailbox for a
Mail to Costa Rica from the USA takes from 3 weeks to 1 month, but lately, I have reports it is improving. Even so, if you wait until you get your credit card bill, you may find you have some serious problems as it has probably already reached the past due point and you get socked with one of those rip-off finance changes or late fees. That is why elsewhere, I recommend paying your bills via the Internet.
In the Spring, 2007), the post office has switched to using the Costa Rica equivalent of a zip code. This should serve to make the system work a lot faster... but who knows?
Here is an example (mine) of an apartado address:
Costa Rica 4005
Vets living here receive truly excellent benefits, but they are required to have a permanent mailbox here.
Mail Courier Service - Costa Rica
There are alternative services for those who need them. For credit cards, and other monthly bills that must be paid, you must really learn online banking. It is really important that you be able to manage and move funds in your home country from here.
If you wait for your US credit card statement to arrive, you will be paying a
ton of late fees!
There are several services that will provide you with two addresses in the US. One is for
mail and the other is for packages. This is extremely handy when doing on-line ordering from Amazon, Buy.com, or any of the other zillion web sites that offer goods by Internet.
Set up is easy and most seem to have English speaking employees though not necessarily web sites in Englsih.. All require a deposit (refundable) and all will deliver to your door in the San Jose area. For deliveries outside this area, check with the company. The going rate is $15.00 per month, and includes a couple of pounds free. That is a LOT of mail, but not necessarily a lot of packages.
Some of these companies offer a tracking service that keeps a record of what you have purchased. As you are legally allowed to bring in $500.00 of merchandise tax (duty) free every six months, this can be a big deal and can save you a lot on import duties.
Here are a few of the companies operating here:
MailBoxes Etc. (Do a Google search. All are separately owned and operated.)
Jetex (in English here)
Interlink is another service but it is NOT RECOMMENDED.
Note: If you operate a private courier service or private mail service and wish to have your company listed here, email us
and include contact information, web site address and any other relevant information.
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