To Mail or Mule, That Is The Question...

by Donna Anderton, San Ramon de Alajuela


Recently, a dear friend of mine back in the United States informed me that she wanted to send me a gift; a copy of her recently published book.  I gave her the address of a mail forwarding company we use that is located in Miami Florida.  This company, Aerocasillas, provides mail and courier services between the United States and foreign countries.

Along with her recently published book she asked if she could include a few toys and treats for my dogs and (of course) I said yes. 


Pet toys are quite expensive here, and they don't seem to hold up very well either.  This was the first time I had something shipped in from the States and was quite curious as to what kind of additional costs (if any) I might incur.  As it turned out, this "experiment" would be costly to all parties.

Stateside, the Postmistress explained to my friend that a Customs Declaration form needed to be completed and that certain rules and regulations required she be charged at a different rate than if the package were only shipped to Florida.  She measured the lightweight box and referred to an electronic chart to determine the fee.

The total cost to send the book and a few doggie toys were as follows:

  • $25.00 to mail book to Florida

  • $21.34 Aerocasillas handling fee

All in all, it cost a total of $46.34 and took a total of 20 days to get this package to Costa Rica.

Around the same time we received a second box ordered from Amazon. This order was for a few DVD's that qualified for free shipping from Amazon to our Florida address.  However, in order for us to pick up this single package at Aerocasillas we had to pay the following:

This time it took only 8 days to get here and cost me $19.83 (and that included free shipping to Florida).

In this age of internet shopping, I still intend to order certain things electronically.  However, this experience helped me to put a real value on what I was ordering.  Do I REALLY need that item?  Are all the additional costs really justifiable? 

Skip and I will keep researching better ways to mail our goodies, but for now it does say a lot for having friends that are visiting you in Costa Rica to "mule" a few things down in their carry on bag! Pura Vida!


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