is it worth the hassle?

with the possibility of residency being considered, comes the option of doing a container. i am in the process of packing and deciding if i should attempt to bring my "stuff" to nicaragua. i look all around me at what i have acquired and am overwhelmed. do i sell it at far below value to be done with it, or have the expense, red tape and bother? most of my furniture is antique and overstuffed leather. hmmmm, think i just answered my own post. maybe the weather would affect the wood. the advantage to shipping might be i can bring a vehicle, appliances and personal belongings. is it really worth it folks? i would buy a toyota pick up, but wouldn't parts be diff? nica has different models than canada. i have become somewhat of a minimalist living down here and am starting to realize that maybe george carlin was right about the need to have more "stuff..............gotta have more stuff". any of you have container regret?

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you also need to consider if you have a big enough house here for all this stuff and a guard to protect it. I opted to not send a container, but the result was to slowly buy second class stuff here as we had room to use it.

``Vote for me—I`ll set you free`` Anon.

you are right

i will bring art to reframe, and probably 10 suitcases of sentiment and personal touches and tools. between my kids and a few trips myself, we will set me up without need for a container. i will buy furniture and have some fun doing so. heard from a few members today and they voiced much the same thoughts as you. a logical decision made. thanks.

How Long Do

you have to ship your container after your residency is approved?

That's my concern as well, someplace safe to stash my goods. Does it make more sense to build your house first, then apply for the residency in order to have a safe place to put your stuff?

Intur said that this can be put off

I got rid of most of my stuff and bought new furniture down here. What you have had to be worth more than the cost of shipping a container, which is anywhere from a bit over $2K to $4K depending (some information on this site mentions sub $2K shipping from Miami). I was looking at $3K to $4K from Baltimore, with pick-up at my house in Virginia and deliver to Jinotega. For me, it wasn't worth it.

Intur also let you get the car later, if what I was told was accurate. Check with Intur on this for details. I didn't get the impression there was a deadline, just that the container was a one off. Beyond that, you can bring in up to US $500 worth of stuff duty free every six months on the same cedula. Books are duty free -- have no idea about art.

Rebecca Brown

Some Great Specifics

in this post and "pros and cons"

Someone with more time than me needs to put this info into book form. On-demand publishing would allow you to keep it up to date as things change.

A couple more questions: Would a diesel generator be consider part of the duty free exemption with residency? Can you bring in duty free items in your container and not count them against your exemption? I understood for example that solar panels enter duty free into Nicaragua? How about adding dutiable items to the container and paying the extra duty (like 2x4's and plywood)? It seems a shame to waste the potential and the cost of the container.

Can two unrelated people with separate residency exemptions share the same container or does it have to be YOUR container? You can get a LOT into a container. And, finally, can you ship your duty free vehicle in the same container along with your household goods?

The majority of the containers seem to go from Miami. Is there any reason why the container cannot ship from California west coast to Corinto?


I shipped my car and household goods in a container from California house to my condo at the beach under the Pensionado Rentista program ...$5000

If you are particular about mattresses this is the way to go. I brought three really top of the line Tempupedic which you cannot find here ... and a really nice sofa bed. Then I filled it with good quality, dependable appliances, art work, generator, tools, linens, and hard to find stuff, etc. Had to work hard to make it look like all the stuff was worth less than $10,000 which was (is?) the duty free limit. With car in it I only filled it 2/3. Car is tricky. I paid only $7,000 but they said Black Book value was $15,000 and then added on the price of the conatiner. It looked like I was going to get socked for taxes on $15,000. "Negotiated" tax down to $400 or so.

MN Hacienda Iguana, Tola, Rivas SKYPE: QWLCrew

Frankly, ebooks rule for things like this, or a web site

Basically, I'd talk to Intur (my stock answer to any of these questions is "here's how it went for me in Fall 2010, but...."). The car can be in the same container if I understand correctly, but the application for the car exemption is separate from the household goods exemption.

As for whether two households could bring them goods in one shipping container -- again, I would check with Aduano and Intur. I found Intur to be completely helpful and Aduano not as scary as I thought it would be. People who speak Spanish should be talking to them about these questions. My impression is that things can be moving targets (getting documents apostiled by the Nicaraguan consulates has gone up from when I did it). Aduano and Intur are getting paid to know what the current regulations are.

My guess is that the building supply tax exemption is supposed to get you to buy building supplies in Nicaragua.

Anytime you bring anything (even books) into Nicaragua, you need to list the kind and numbers (I didn't list a couple of things I threw in the Medrano Express box and they didn't show up here). Be meticulous -- 17 silver forks, 1 generator (with brand, model, and serial #), five USB cables and so forth. You'll need to make a CD of the list for Customs (what I was told by Intur). Customs counted and categorized everything in my mailed book box and charged me 4 cordobas for something in the box (paid at the Post Office). No duties on the Medrano Express box or on any of my checked or carry-on luggage, or the recent Amazon shipment.

The inventory is the biggest pain of any shipping of anything to Nicaragua and really needs to be done meticulously, down to serial numbers of things that have serial numbers. A woman standing in the PO line with me in Virginia said that Customs would never open the box (she was sending medicine to her family in Cuba). She was wrong. They will open it and if anything is in the container that's not on the list, it may disappear (usb hub and a rain parka -- I don't know what it is about rain coats that makes them so stealable -- I've now lost two of them).

If I understand correctly, everything comes in to Corinto, then is trucked to Managua (since there are no roads suitable for tractor trailers from the Atlantic coast to Managua). Dealing with Aduano on small scale imports seems to be painless; dealing with Aduano on container sized imports seems to be less than pain-free (folks here run an American used goods store and talk about the problems they have with Aduano from time to time and the recent one was incorrect paperwork). Either you go to the Customs House (which is fascinating and actually worth a visit just to see it) or you have a customs broker deal with Aduano and the shipper delivers to your door.

The list of things in the container/shipping box must be meticulous and to Aduano's specifications (brand and model numbers of electronics, serial numbers on things that have them, a count on bulk items). Can't overemphasize this.

Household exemptions -- my understanding is that these would be things used to set up a household but not a business (I may not have been able to have excluded all my cameras from this and Suzanne had Aduano try to tax a desktop computer. I brought in a Mac Mini and had absolutely no problems.

I think bringing in furniture is pointless unless people have furniture that is worth more than $8K and less than $20K minus whatever else they're bringing down. You drag it down here; you or your family will have to dispose of it or drag it back later. Better to have Nica furniture that you leave to your Nica friends that your family has no ties to. The containers will be circa $4K to $8K round trip, probably no less than $6K. I'd sell or give away US furniture and buy again here. If it's an heirloom, give it to your heirs-to-be.

Building supplies -- buy here unless you absolutely know that what you want isn't available here (and a friend who built his own house here didn't think anyone needed to import building supply if they were building in local Nicaraguan style, which he and I would advise since your house then wouldn't scream "Yankee money"). If you buy here, you get the IVA discount.

Paying duty when you could be getting a tax-break buying locally produced timbers and bricks seems less than optimal to me.

Only the very poorest in on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua live in wood houses -- the average house out in the country is masonry with a dirt floor. Adobe -- one of the neighbors is tearing out an adobe wall and replacing it with cinderblock (I'll post a photograph of details). Other possibility is dirt bag construction but it has the same problems as adobe for things getting in it if you don't keep it patched.

Rebecca Brown