Sending small packages from U.S. to Nica?

I've done several searches and can only seem to find info about sending cargo/books, heavy items.

Does anyone know of the best way to ship small packages (say, ~5lbs or so) to a friend living in Managua? Is USPS the best way to go?

Thanks very much in advance.

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Frequently sending stuff to Nica from US

Not sure if this will help you, but may help others...

If your friend plans on receiving many packages from the US to Nicaragua, they may want to check out NicaBox. The company, Transexpress.com.ni provides you with a Nicabox Miami address, so folks who are sending stuff only pay the postage to the Miami address. The receiver pays a monthly fee which I think is $15 and is based upon a certain amount of pounds allowed each month...I think 3 or 5.

MTOM

Go with MTOM

Thanks to everyone for your r

Thanks to everyone for your responses.

I guess if it's something important I will go DHL. I'd checked on their website previously, and the cost seemed to be outrageous, but maybe i was just looking at the wrong list of prices or for 2 day shipping or something. I will definitely look into DHL. Thanks again.

Contents?

First, Nicaragua does not quality for U.S. Global Priority Mail (like neighboring Honduras, and many other poor countries, there is simply too much theft of postal items), so the 3-5 day, flat-rate envelopes and 4lb GPM boxes are out. So, it often depends on the value of the contents. Exact weight also matters. Outgoing U.S. mail, destined for Central America, has two basic customs declaration options (small green tag, giant white ditto-copy tags). Depending on city, the larger tag (usually used for items over 2, or 4 lbs) is often used by Central American customs as a differential, meaning that the green tag is duty-free, and the white-tag duty bound. Our success rate on 2+lb packages is good in Nicaragua (at least 80-85%), but not as good as Honduras, where we have never lost a white-tag custom item (since these are held at the airport post office). Our sampling is not small. We have sent (actually received) more than 60 packages to Nicaragua, and nearly 100 to Honduras, all in the last 17 months. We do not have too much concern sending small items. If the item is irreplacable, it would not go U.S. mail, but few things cannot be replaced.

Sending bigger packages,

Shaw you have searched how to send bigger packages to Nicaragua? wich companies are those, that do those kind of shipping I need to send some bigger Ittems, do you mind to let us know wich companies are those so I can try to ship? Thanks.

Maybe even better than just works

My experience has been very positive. The US end is slow but the Nicaragua end seems fine. Packages that seem to be personal--that is, just a box with a personal return address seem to come thru without any customs interest. I did have one big order shipped from a computer vendor. It was two big boxes with about $800 of computer equipment in them. It arrived safe and sound and the customs invoice was waiting for 15% of the invoice which is what it should be. No problems.

DHL has been great for paperwork but if you have anything of value then DHL will contact you first and you have to tell them to go ahead and run it thru customs.

For the "big end" it looks like a 20' cargo container is $2000-$2500 plus all the usual add-ons.

Add-ons

Could you please elaborate a little on what the usual "add-ons" are & what they would total for a container. Does it matter what you ship as long as it's legal?

Transportation to and from th

Transportation to and from the port, dock charges, extra weight charges, customs clearing, high value cargo, ... I had a URL for a company that will quote you on-line but it is on a different computer--I am running a low-power one as we have been without electricity for five hours. I found them with a Google search. They have quotes for air, ship, whole containers, ...

Ends?

How do you know the U.S. end is "slow" (U.S. international mail usually reaches and exits the air mail debarkation station in less than 60 hours)? We routinely have packages which take 3-4 days to get to Central America from rural Michigan or Ohio, then 4-7 days more to end up, often just a few miles away, deposited in a post office box in Central America.

Tests with Miami postmarks

We tried a couple of tests. We sent stuff airmail from Seattle to me here in Estelí. The mail was meter dated in Seattle (our meter). They also had postmarks from Miami, Managua and Estelí. One (it was just a 9 x 12" envelope was postmarked in Miami seven days after the Seattle date and, as I remember, in Estelí three days later. Managua was somewhere in the middle.

The other one, a small box, had about the same story. I am pretty sure it was six days from Seattle to Miami. Yeah, makes no sense but I get the feeling there must be some "special handling" for mail that is headed this way.

So, if I am in a hurry, I use DHL or, if it is just within Central America, EMS who works thru the post office but is a courier service.

Hmm (surprised)

I am really surprised. All our tests were basically with the opposite result. But, and this might be the reason, I do not know anyone on the upper coast out there. Because of family relations and work history, all our packages initiate in Detroit, Toledo, Chicago, Milwaukee, etc., and sometimes New Orleans or Atlanta or Memphis, and they might all exit the same route(s). We have found several instances where mail sent from Chicago to Managua general (to a private party) got to Managua FASTER than mail from Chicago to the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua; I was told at that this is possible because Embassy mail uses a U.S.-derived zip code, is accumulated and batched out, and international mail just goes right through the system to the debarkationpoint. It is a very simplistic explanation, but our experience corresponded with this. I guess I can only praise Midwest U.S. to Central American capital delivery.