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Thread: Computers in Costa Rica

  1. #1
    Moderator Speedy1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    San SebastiŠn, San Josť, Costa Rica

    Computers in Costa Rica

    Those of you who live in Costa Rica probably know what I know all too well... Finding the very latest, fastest, and most powerful computer hardware and software here is tough. The stores here simply don't sell it. If you try to order it online and get it shipped to Costa Rica, you'll often receive a message that the product is not available for export. I've had talks with Dell and the higher-end computer manufacturers. According to them, it's a combination of hardware restrictions, software licensing, taxes, and government restrictions that make it just not worth their while to sell it. The companies don't want their stuff in Central America, because some tech geek will backwards-engineer the product and start-selling counterfeits. That will happen anyway, of course, but the companies don't want to make it too easy and quick for them.

    Of course, the solution is pretty easy for a notebook computer... have a friend in the USA buy it for you and bring it down in his baggage. Make sure he takes it out of the box, so that Customs will think it's his personal computer. If it comes off of the baggage carousel in an unopened box, customs is going to have a nasty little surprise for you... something like a 30% (of the retail price) import duty.

    My problem is that when it comes time to replace my "Office Beast", about once every 2 years, there's no way to sneak that kind of firepower through customs. I'm talking about the real "top of the line" stuff... my brand-new 2-foot tall liquid-cooled box running 4 monitors and 3 operating systems at the same time. I also learned a new word this week... "Petabyte." I won't be running out of storage space anytime soon. I think I'm actually in love...

    Anyway... my point is... You can't buy it in Costa Rica, but you can build it. Over the past 3 months, I've had 5 different colleagues and friends bringing down computer parts in their bags. A few parts here and there won't set off any bells at Customs. Technically, since the computer is for my personal use, it's all perfectly legal. However, there's no way that Customs would ever believe me if I tried to import a $15,000 computer for my "personal use." I also bought a few parts here in Costa Rica... most notably the box and power supplies, which was just too big to try to bring down from the USA. Although I had a friend from the USA come down to Costa Rica to build my computer, there are a lot of guys here in Costa Rica who are very adept at building this kind of stuff. They have to be, because you sure can't buy it off the shelf here. They can even order the individual parts and have them shipped to Costa Rica, but it will be expensive.

    I've had good luck dealing with CoCoCo, which has at least a couple of locations in the San Josť. The salesman isn't always a tech genius, but he can put you in touch with guys in Costa Rica who are.

  2. #2
    Lifetime Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    I've had good luck sending down refurbished computers.

    Customs: "Es nuevo?"

    Me: "No nuevo. Usado." (which also can mean secondhand).

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