- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Correos de Costa Rica Correos de Costa Rica(tel. 800/900-2000, www.correos.go.cr), the nation’s mail service, has been privatized and has improved markedly, although there is a long way to go. The situation is exacerbated by the lack of street addresses nationwide. There is a post office in every town and most villages.
Airmail (correo aereo) to/from North America averages two weeks. To/from Europe, anticipate a minimum of three weeks; sea mail (marítimo) takes anywhere from six weeks to three months. Letters and postcards cost 330 colones (about $0.70) to North America, and 340 colones to Europe. Priority mail costs about 50 colones more, and certified mail costs 500 colones. Operating hours vary; most post offices are open 7 A.M.–6 P.M. Monday–Friday and 7 A.M.–noon Saturday.
Mailing packages overseas is expensive. Don’t seal your package. You must first take any package that weighs more than two kilograms to the central post office for customs inspection. The correo courier service is most economical up to 20 kilograms (international service is said to now be efficient), after which it is best to use UPS or another private courier service.
Most people rent a post office box (apartado—abbreviated Apdo.—but increasingly written as “P.O. Box”). Costa Rican postal codes sometimes appear before the name of the town, or even after the apartado number (e.g., Apdo. 890-1000, San José, instead of Apdo. 890, San José 1000).
You can receive international mail c/o “Lista de Correos” at the central post office in San José (Lista de Correos, Correos Central, San José 1000), or any other large town. Each item costs 225 colones ($0.45). You must pick up your mail in person at window 17 in the hall at the southern end of the building on Calle 2. You need to show your passport. Mail is held for one month.
Incoming letters are filed alphabetically. Tell anyone you expect to write to you to print your surname legibly and to include the words “Central America.” Also tell them not to send money or anything else of monetary value, nor to mail parcels larger than a magazine-size envelope. For mail weighing more than two kilos, you’ll need to make two or more visits to the Aduana (Customs) in Zapote, on the outskirts of San José; one visit to declare the contents, the second to pay duty.
Private Courier Services
The incidence of mail theft has spawned many private mail services. FedEx and DHL have offices in San José and a few other towns.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition