Customs and Departure Taxes
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Travelers arriving in Costa Rica are allowed 500 cigarettes or 500 grams of tobacco, plus three liters of wine or spirits. You can also bring in two cameras, binoculars, a personal computer, electrical and video equipment, camping, scuba, and other sporting equipment duty-free.
Travelers exiting Costa Rica by air are charged $26 (or its equivalent in colones), including for residents (no tax is imposed for transit stays of less than 12 hours). You can pay in advance at certain hotels (a charge usually applies) or online (www.coimsa.com).
Costa Rica prohibits the export of pre- Columbian artifacts.
U.S. citizens can bring in $800 of purchases duty-free. You may also bring in one quart of spirits plus 200 cigarettes (one carton). Live animals, plants, and products made from endangered species will be confiscated by U.S. Customs. Tissue-cultured orchids and other plants in sealed vials are OK.
Canadian citizens are allowed an “exemption” of C$750 annually for goods purchased abroad, plus 1.14 liters of spirits and 200 cigarettes.
U.K. citizens are
permitted to import goods worth up to £390, plus 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and two liters of spirits.
Australian citizens may import A$400 of goods, plus 250 cigarettes or 50 cigars, and 1.125 liters of spirits. New Zealand citizens can import NZ$700 worth of goods, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, and 1.125 liters of spirits.
Trying to smuggle drugs through customs is not only illegal, it’s stupid. Trained dogs are employed to sniff out contraband at U.S. airports as well as at Juan Santamaría Airport.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition