Old Volkswagon Beetle

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    Would it be practical to bring in sucha a car? Can you estimate what the duty would be? Thanks Bob


    Customs duties go up very significantly on older vehicles. After a few years, it closes in on 100% of the “Black Book” value of the car. And they assess duty on the shipping and insurance costs as well. And then there would be all the fun, expense and delay of getting the car through Customs, the mandatory safety and emissions inspections, the titling process, etc.

    Inasmuch as those cars were never very fuel efficient, and since parts would probably be a problem, one wonders what the rationale would be. You don’t see none of them around for no reason.

    A better approach would be to either buy a used car already here in Costa Rica or to bring one from the U.S. that’s a commonly-imported model. That way, at least parts and service wouldn’t be a total nightmare.

    Or you could opt to buy a new car here.


    Thank You Good advice



    Don’t know much about price of duty, but Ihave a friend in CR who has an old Beetle and he is crazy about it. He says he can go wherever a 4 wheels can go. He lives in Central Pacific and I know he has to go to San José (2 Hours)to fix major problems, but he never had trouble to find parts…so far…

    Don’t know either if he bought it in CR or brought it from Canada, I have seen him with this car for the last 8 years…so I guess it must be a good car
    Hasta Luego


    I have had many of these older vw’s including the buses and love them. The air-cooled engines are suited for hot weather as well. That said the suspension on these things is not great and they are very very low to the ground. One good pot hole and you would snap an axle! Maybe if you convert one into a Baja bug they could handle it otherwise just buy a nice diesel Galloper in CR. I can not imagine a little bug going anywhere a 4×4 goes in Costa Rica these things would never make it around Mal pais or Nosara…lol..


    Actually there are quite a few of them around, if you start looking. I am actually on the hunt for one to buy for myself. The rear engine gives them a lot of weight in the back, so while not quite four wheel drive, they do tend to have superior traction and to go places other cars can’t.

    They are one of the easiest cars around to work on – I have had three and done a lot of work myself, which I never did on my other vehicles. Not sure about parts, but can probably “create” just about any part you would need for it, they are pretty standard. And there is at least one VW dealer here, if you needed anything too specific.

    Depending on the age, the BB value may not be that high anyway, if it were me, I would at least pursue it and not discount the idea totally. And if you DO bring it and decide later to sell it, let me know!


    PS And they float!! : )


    Oh, I dont know about that.

    Unless it’s due to rust, VWs have some seriously good suspension for offroading.
    I’ve owned a ’69, ’70, ’71 and ’76 Bug. 2 were Baja bugs.
    All you need to make them off-road ready is some coil-over shocks and big tires. Thats it.

    I remember my VW being able to go places (in winter) that my buddy couldnt do in his 4WD Jeep.

    I wouldnt hesitate to take a bug to CR.
    Although, I’d probably look for a VW Thing to take instead. More ground clearance, and beefier suspension parts.


    I’m sure that David means well, but his information is misleading if not inaccurate. While it is true that the import duties for vehicles over 5 years old are now 78% of the value, those vehicles have lower values. As a result, your duty expense is still less on an older vehicle than on a newer model.

    Further, the Costa Rica value is not based on Black Book values. The Black Book is a wholesale guide used by auto dealers in the USA and is published with regional values which vary across the states. The Costa Rica government may reference the Black Book when setting the value of a vehicle, I don’t know. I do know, however, that they have their own list of values which has nothing to do with mileage, condition, damage, etc. A 2004 Toyota Camry LE has ONE value in the eyes of the CR government – whether it has 10,000 miles or 500,000 kilometers – whether it is in mint condition or is totaled. The equipment level will impact the value, but that’s it.

    I was a salesman, used car department manager and independent car dealer in the USA for 29 years. I used the Black Book on a daily basis, and it is very subjective in its approach. With four values per model (Xtra Clean, Clean, Average and Rough), it simply does not fit the CR one value approach.


    I want want to take my 1974 Amc Gremlin, which I believe was NEVER sold in central america.Im fully aware that I wouldnt be able to find parts.
    This is a rare, inexpensive collectible car That I would want to hold onto should I decide to move outside of the US. It currently has collectors insurance and registration, meaning it cannot be driven daily.

    Also, what are the most common 70’s autos? Thats my particular era of interest.

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