|Aerocasillas Office, Alajuela, Costa Rica, 30 miles from where I live|
There’s a Costa Rican saying used a lot here to mean that things are “so, so” or “more or less good” as we would say in the states. It is “más o menos” which could be literally translated “more or less.” That is my answer when asked about Aerocasillas mail and shipping through a Miami address.
There are two audiences I am writing this for:
First, If friend or family in the states, I have now determined that my two Miami addresses should be used if sending important paper mail or a package. A friend in Nashville sent me an important letter a month ago to my local Atenas Post Office Box – it still has not arrived as of today. Sent to the Miami address, I would have received it in a week to 10 business days (so far that has been been my experience with business mail and internet order packages). Now do be aware that the time is to the Aerocasillas office in Alajuela and I may not go get it the day it arrives. Depending on my schedule, it could be a few days or week later before I go pick it up 30 miles away by bus. I have been going 2 or 3 times a month. If you don’t have my Miami addresses (one for mail and one for packages), please email me or check my website or in the future it will be included on my email signature. And I will include it at the bottom of this article. At first I suggested you use my Costa Rica mailing address because there is a cost to me for the Aerocasillas service, but I have decided it is worth the cost for real mail. No advertisements or junk mail please! And I can do just fine without Christmas Cards from my friends in the states, since each day’s arrival of letters in Miami costs me $1.50. They seal one day’s letters in a plastic bag and send it by air to Costa Rica.
Second, If you are a reader considering a move here, then you will want to at least consider the services of Aerocasillas (called Aeropost in the U.S.), the only company I know that delivers internet orders to people all over Latin America within about a week to 10 days (depending on how you have it shipped to Miami). You will quickly see that they promote internet ordering because that is how they make money! I learned about it through the ARCR seminar and from their website. They have an arrangement where packages and mail can be delivered to the ARCR office for you to pick up, but for me the Aerocasillas office in Alajuela is closer and easier for my pick-ups. And there are other locations in Costa Rica you can choose for delivery of your packages/mail that might be closer to where you live.
WHY WOULD I WANT SUCH A SERVICE?
- Postal mail is extremely slow, weeks to months for delivery (see friends’ note above)
- Some U.S. Internet Companies won’t ship to a foreign address
- It could cost you as much or more to send it the slow way
- Speed and convenience are the two main reasons
- At no charge they gave me two Miami addresses, a PO Box for mail and magazines, and a street address for packages (many carriers won’t deliver packages to PO Box).
- As a real life example, I just ordered a pair or really nice leather sandals (what I live in here) that cost $71 through Amazon.com. I used my Miami street address for the “delivery address” on Monday 6 April.
- By Friday 10 April they arrive at my Miami address (Aerocasillas facility).
- Usually the next work day it is on a plane to Costa Rica. In this case it arrived in the San Jose Airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica Monday (next work day) night, 13 April. They get it through Customs quickly and pay the tax & fees for me (on my credit card).
- Tuesday, 14 April I receive an email informing me my package is ready to pick up at the Alajuela Aerocasillas Office. That’s 8 days from order date!
- Wednesday, 15 April, I ride a bus to Alajuela ($1.40 each way), walk to the office and pick up my package and I happen to have another package and two letters.
- I could pay when I pick it up, but it is quicker and easier to let them charge the cost of the package on my credit card on file with them. For a breakdown of the cost for the sandals, see the next section.
- Aerocasillas freight charge: $15.50 (Above the $5.48 Amazon.com charged to Miami)
- Aerocasillas Combustible 19% (?): $2.94
- Aerocasillas “AeroProtect” (Insurance?): $1.00
- Aerocasillas Customs Service: $5.00
- CR Customs Duties: $11.44
- CR Import Sales Tax: $11.40
- CR Sales Tax: $0.65
- That’s $24.44 to Aerocasillas & $23.50 to Costa Rica Government
- TOTAL: $47.94 (It cost 67% of the cost of sandals shipped to Miami to get them to me in Costa Rica! And that is why cars cost nearly twice as much here! Retailers pay import taxes and shipping too.)
MY MIAMI ADDRESS FOR MAIL & MAGAZINES:
PO Box 025-331
Miami, FL 33102-5331
Phone (305) 592-7754
MY MIAMI ADDRESS FOR PACKAGES:
6703 NW 7th St.
Miami, FL 33126-6007
Phone (305) 592-7754
By the way, today I went to Aerocasillas to pick up my newest photo book Where the Yigüirro Lives, then did some shopping at Walmart, which I do occasionally whether picking up a package or not! Same for PriceSmart (Costco) shopping some. Both are in Alajuela and easier for me to get to than the same stores in San Jose.