The lowdown on sending parcels to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is situated between Nicaragua and Panama, in the middle of Central America. The country is home to some 4.5 million people, with nearly a quarter of these residing in the largest and capital city, San José.
While much of Central America continues to struggle with political uncertainty and high crime rates, Costa Rica remains a relatively democratic and peaceful place. As such, it's the region's biggest tourist draw, and overseas visitors play a big part in the country's economy.
Approximately 54,000 Brits make the 11-hour journey each year to take in Costa Rica's bustling cities and beautiful beaches. In fact, some don't even come back. According to Institute for Public Policy Research (IPRR) estimates, there are currently around 4,800 British citizens living in Costa Rica permanently. This is part of the reason why such demand exists for parcel delivery services between our two nations.
Before you grab the boxes and tape, though, there are a few things you should consider.


Seeing as Costa Rica is outside of the Europe, and not a member of the European Union (EU), you'll need to attach the appropriate customs documentation to anything you wish to send. The label you pick will depend on how much the contents of your package are worth.
If the contained items are worth £270 or less, you'll need to pick up, complete and attach form CN22. Anything else must instead be sent with form CN23. Whichever form you go for, it's a good idea to protect it in a clear plastic wallet, as this should prevent moisture damage.

Prohibitions and restrictions

The Costa Rican government, like most others, has a strict list of things it doesn't want entering the country through its mailing system. Most of the items here are to be expected. The list includes:
- Firearms, weapon parts and ammunition
- Explosives
- Illegal narcotics
- Live animals and other animal products
- Hazardous materials (including asbestos)
- Precious metals and stones
- Poisons and radioactive substances
- Currency and bullion
Beyond this, the Costa Rican government doesn't provide too much additional guidance. You should, however, also refrain from sending lottery tickets and gambling materials, pornographic/obscene materials, human remains (including ashes) and counterfeit products (including media and clothing).

Safe packing

We recommend preparing all of your packages carefully with strong materials, but seeing as London and San José are separated by more than 5,400 miles of North Atlantic Ocean, this one has a particularly lengthy journey to endure.
Start by finding a thick cardboard box just bigger than the products you want to send; the items should have a bit of breathing room to allow for some protective padding. This could be bubble wrap, or something less conventional, like sponge or light fabric.
Then, use a couple of layers of strong tape to seal all openings, and maybe even the edges if you're re-using an old box; the reinforcement can't hurt.
Finish up by writing the address clearly on the front of the parcel, with 'COSTA RICA' clearly on the last line.
You're now ready to send!

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Please note if you do not select the “signature required” delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 11.7 of the Terms & Conditions). *We define a “Parcel” as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm and a weight of up to 25kg.

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