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  #1  
Old 7 Aug 2007
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Angry Shipping to Costa Rica - don't!

Hi
We have been driving our car around the world for the past 3 years and we had the pleasure to be invited to a Horizons Meeting in Argentina, hence the reason we are contacting you.

We are presently having a major battle with Costa Rican officials and customs to get our car out of the port. We asked our shippers to put it in storage which they didn't and we arrived a month later expecting to get our car out easily. The customs officers told us that it was considered abandoned as we had arrived after their 15 day leeway that they have to get your merchandise from the port. We were then told that our car is now the property of Costa Rica. We are driving a British Land Rover, so the steering wheel is on the right and they also changed the rules and regulations to not allow right hand drive cars to be imported into the country (I know this doesn't relate to bikers really but who knows where they will stop!) so we cannot officially import our car into the country and pay the tax.

We need help and ideas and if anyone can help us out that would be fantastic as we have been sitting here for nearly 3 weeks trying our hardest to bite our tongues and not explode!

My advice is don't import your car or bike into Costa Rica and expect it to be put in storage as the bribery and corruption will come into action and you will lose your vehicle

The Beastly Adventure - a drive around the world in a Land Rover FC 101
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  #2  
Old 7 Aug 2007
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Hi- sorry to hear your import troubles! Sounds like a nighmare.

Probably not but is there any chance you can get it sent to say Panama and then drive back through CR?
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  #3  
Old 7 Aug 2007
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We are hoping to hear something from the main customs office. But we have been hoping that for the past 2 weeks... soon to be 3! Also they won't release it for us to be released to go anywhere else as they now say it is Costa Rican customs property... even though we haven't entered Costa Rica as it hasn't officially cleared customs

We are chasing our tails and no getting anywhere. Need help!

Last edited by Beasts; 7 Aug 2007 at 22:36. Reason: forgot to answer the question
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  #4  
Old 7 Aug 2007
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One suggestion is to hire an attorney in CR and ask who needs to be bribed.
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  #5  
Old 8 Aug 2007
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Freight Forwarder

Sounds like a bad deal.

Here is a freight forwarder in Costa Rica that may be able to help.

Sr. Guillermo Gomez
Compania = Seramar
Tel = 506-283-8368

Good luck
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  #6  
Old 14 Aug 2007
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Just chatted online with Greg & the've still got problems so thought I'd bump this thread.

The FCO have decided in their 'infinite' (but apparently limited) wisdom NOT to help them unscrew this mess, but they might be able to get their vehicle back by fully importing it then shipping it straight back out again. An expensive solution to a shitty mess.

We've been trying to get the media in CR interested in their story - most of their hassles are a result of someone asking for a bribe & not getting it, so it would be nice to get the officials name in the newspaper :-)

Any pointers on Costa Rican newspaper contacts welcome.
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  #7  
Old 14 Aug 2007
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and it will be big money to play.

Good luck anyway...

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 05:38.
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  #8  
Old 14 Aug 2007
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some ideas

hello from bulgaria,

at mollydog. reporting it stolen is not a good idea, and even it would work - I am sure after three years on the road they dont want to just have another car.

yes, agree with you, it is too late for a little bribe.

so, now my idea. as I have ridden a bike around the world for more than six years I had time to think about different situations, but this one I never go thru.

go public, I hope you speak a bit of spanish, if not this is the time to study, go on TV and explain your story (in spanish), show pictures about your journey and tell the nation what has happend to you in their beautiful country. tell them that the car is no good for no one in CR (because RH drive) and that you wish to continue your dream of a lifetime .... blah, blah .... of course you have to explain that you made a mistake and that you did not know the laws in CR ...

dont waste anymore time, go to the biggest tv stations and tell them your story.

Suerte

Mika
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  #9  
Old 14 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Hacker View Post
...........
Any pointers on Costa Rican newspaper contacts welcome.

IIRC, the Tico Times is a large gringo/expat newspaper. Someone there should have contacts with the national paper and other media.
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  #10  
Old 22 Aug 2007
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The grand total!

Well the grand total of our month quest to get Costa Rican customs to release our car besides the hotels, food, hire car to drive backwards and forwards to San Jose to try and get customs to make a decision... after all that we have had to pay for port storage, a customs clearance guy, notarised documents AND IMPORT TAX

Port storage was $80 for 60 days
Customs Clearance was $100
Notarised documents was $70
IMPORT TAX was $1500 for a car that we want to temporarily import but they wouldn;t let us just pay a fine.....

That is why you shouldn't import your car/bike to Costa Rica as if you arrive over 15 days later they will use any excuse to impound your car and state that it is Costa Rican just so that they can sell it at their next auction....
Shipee beware!
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  #11  
Old 22 Aug 2007
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Get Colombia and never look back!

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 05:38.
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  #12  
Old 23 Aug 2007
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Dear Beasts

You look like very nice people, and this should not be happening to you. I have been a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica for two years many years ago and I lived in Costa Rica last year for 6 months.

Easiest first. Explain the situation to a Costa Rican doctor, who will immediately notice the numbness in your right hand and prescribe a right hand driven vehicle, this so you can shift gears more easily. Have the letter available for customs, if necessary.

The real power of the people in Costa Rica rests with the taxi drivers, who have a hugh union with all kinds politicians on board. Present yourself and your problem to the most important official of the taxi driver union and politely explain the situation. (Keep asking cab drivers where to go) If you are humble and respectful, this official may make a phone call to one of his political connections and that may resolve the problem immediately. You might still have to pay some fees, but you should be able to recover your landrover on the strenth of the politico...

The reason the taxi drivers have power is they can block all the streets of San Jose and bring the city to a halt, there is no subway....OK, this will take some courage, which I am sure you have pleanty. Newspaper, tV etc might be a good idea, but if there really are laws preventing import of right hand drive vehicles or if the impound law is real the officials may just dig in deeper.

I once assisted a couple from San Diego who had their sail boat impounded after 60 days... He broke his leg during a storm and put in at a Costa Rican harbour and the boat became property of Costa Rica after "60" (sixty) from the day they left the country... I believe it is 60 days for vehicles too. Don't worry, the paperwork to transfer the title etc to the government or to create a new title runs on for months, so I suspect you have some time and the vehicle is still in your name.

OK, go to a doctor for a medical permit to have right hand drive, and also talk to expats or locals about strength of the taxi driver union and the connections they have politically. Then, get the taxi drivers on your side.....best move anyone can make in Costa Rica, except finding a novia there.....Hope these ideas help. Please keep posting Expat community might be a another sourse of ideas...xfiltrate

When you get to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I would like to meet you.
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