Costa Rica Blog

Should I Bring a Car to Costa Rica?

Posted by Jason Mueller on Fri, Feb, 17, 2017

Should You Bring Your Car?

Bringing a personal car is a decision that needs to be carefully considered. If you own a car that is common in Costa Rica and is perhaps a few years old, then by all means, it may be very beneficial to bring it over. This is especially true for those staying long-term. Many people ship their vehicles over to save money as cars in Costa Rica can be expensive to buy as they typically hold their value well over the years. The disadvantage to buying a used car here is that many of the local used cars are not in the best of shape and you never know when you may be purchasing a bad car. Shipping a car can be very expensive as tax rates for customs can range anywhere from 50% to 75% based on the car value. The actual shipment cost may be low, but when you have a $20,000 car, your import taxes may cost you an additional $15,000. If you own an older car or one that you bought for a low price, even with the additional taxes it may be wise to ship, especially if the car is mechanically sound as you will want a dependable car to drive.

How Car Shipping Works

When it comes to shipping a car to Costa Rica, you are going to have to have the help of a professional car shipping company. As an American, you may consider calling a U.S. based company to schedule everything, and that will be fine. You may want to think about contacting a Costa Rica based company first however so they can work with the American based company to arrange the shipment. A U.S. based car shipping company like A-1 AutoTransport who has been in the vehicle shipping industry for over 20 years,  will work with the Costa Rican companies to ensure that the shipment of the vehicle goes smoothly. You are going to want to start making shipment plans a few weeks ahead of the time you need to have the car and will need to provide customs with some vital information including:

  • Car Title
  • Car Registration
  • Import Tax payment
  • Passport for Identification

The more prepared you are, the quicker the car can ship over and be released by customs for you to drive.



You will want a car in Costa Rica and if you have an older car with low miles it might make sense to import it.  Do be aware however that many US car brands are not well supported in Costa Rica, they seem to like Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, etc more than US brands