skip to Main Content

What it takes to import shipping containers into Costa Rica?

Wondering what it takes to import containers into Costa Rica successfully? 

Importing containers into Costa Rica can be complex and challenging, requiring careful planning, attention to detail, and compliance with local regulations. Whether you’re importing goods for personal or business purposes, clearly understanding the requirements, costs, and logistics involved is essential.

This comprehensive guide will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about importing containers into Costa Rica. From documentation requirements to customs clearance and beyond, we’ll cover everything you need to know to navigate the process confidently. We’ll also share expert tips and advice to help you save time, avoid costly mistakes, and ensure a smooth experience from start to finish. So whether you’re a seasoned importer or new to the process, let’s dive in and explore the reality behind importing containers into Costa Rica.

Overview of Container Importing in Costa Rica

Before we dive into the details, let’s provide an overview of container importing in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a country that heavily relies on imports, and therefore, importing containers is a crucial aspect of its economy. However, importing containers into Costa Rica can be complex, requiring proper planning and preparation.

Documentation Required for Importing Containers

One of the most critical aspects of importing containers into Costa Rica is ensuring you have all the necessary documentation. The documentation required for importing containers into Costa Rica includes the following:

  1. Bill of Lading: A document that provides evidence of the carriage contract and cargo receipt.
  2. Commercial Invoice: A document that details the goods being shipped, their value, and the terms of sale.
  3. Packing List: A document that lists the contents of each package or container.
  4. Certificate of Origin: A document that certifies the origin of the goods being shipped.
  5. Import License: A document that authorizes the importation of goods into Costa Rica.
  6. Insurance Certificate: A document that provides evidence of the cargo’s insurance coverage.

Customs Procedures for Importing Containers

Once all the necessary documentation is in place, the next step is to clear the cargo through customs. In Costa Rica, the customs procedures for importing containers involve the following steps:

  1. Preparing the customs declaration: This involves providing detailed information about the cargo, including its value, quantity, and origin.
  2. Paying customs fees: This includes paying duties, taxes, and other fees.
  3. Inspection of the cargo: The customs officials will inspect the shipment to ensure it complies with the regulations and restrictions.
  4. Release of the cargo: Once the shipment has been inspected and cleared, it will be released to the importer.

Challenges of Importing Containers into Costa Rica

Importing containers into Costa Rica can be challenging due to various factors, such as:

  1. Language barriers: Many documents required for importing containers are in Spanish, which can be difficult for those who are not fluent.
  2. Complex regulations: Costa Rica has complex regulations governing the importation of goods, and failure to comply with these regulations can result in delays and additional costs.
  3. Limited port infrastructure: Costa Rica has limited port infrastructure, which can result in congestion and delays in cargo clearance.


In conclusion, importing containers into Costa Rica can be a complex process that requires proper planning, preparation, and knowledge of the country’s regulations and procedures. At [Our Company], we have the expertise and experience to assist you with importing containers into Costa Rica seamlessly. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your container importing needs.

-Co-written by Johanna Alvarez (Immigration expert) and Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for importing containers into Costa Rica?

Importing containers into Costa Rica requires compliance with local customs regulations, documentation, and licensing requirements. Additionally, you will need to pay customs fees and taxes.

How long does it take to import containers into Costa Rica?

The timeline for container import into Costa Rica can vary depending on customs clearance, shipping delays, and documentation processing. It’s best to plan for several weeks to a few months.

What documents do I need to import containers into Costa Rica?

Required documents may include a bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, import license, and other customs-related documents. Check with local authorities and your shipping provider for specific requirements.

Can I import any goods into Costa Rica?

Some goods may be restricted or prohibited from being imported into Costa Rica. Examples may include certain hazardous materials, counterfeit goods, and endangered species. Check with local authorities and your shipping provider for specific restrictions.

How much does it cost to import containers into Costa Rica?

The cost of container import into Costa Rica can vary depending on customs fees, taxes, shipping costs, and insurance. Ensure quotes from multiple providers and factor in all associated costs.

What should I consider when choosing a shipping provider for importing containers into Costa Rica?

When choosing a shipping provider, factors may include experience importing into Costa Rica, reputation, pricing, and customer service. Be sure to research and compare multiple providers before making a decision.

Do I need a customs broker to import containers into Costa Rica?

While hiring a customs broker is not required, it can be beneficial for navigating the complexities of importing into Costa Rica. A customs broker can help with documentation, compliance, and communication with local authorities.

What are some common challenges I may face when importing containers into Costa Rica?

Common challenges may include language barriers, customs delays, compliance with regulations, and unexpected costs. It’s essential to be prepared and work with experienced professionals to overcome these challenges.


Fill out the form below to determine your residency category. Or click here!

  • First Step
  • Final Step

Select all options that apply to you

Pensionado (Pension/Disability) Category

Rentista (Fixed Income) Category

Inversionista (Investor) Category

Family ties with a Costa Rican Resident/Citizen Category

My residency company let me down

Personal Information

Full Name

Your Email

Country Of Birth

Country of Residence

How many people under your application (spouse, children under 25)

Phone Number with Country Code (optional)


Looking for a Loan? – Click HERE.
Looking for Real Estate? – Click HERE.
Looking for Profitable Investments? – Click HERE.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back To Top