Question about importing alcohol

I know, we're doing it wrong! I want to know if anyone has experience importing alcohol from the US to Nicaragua. We will be looking to transport about a case of wine in for a celebration. Certainly, we know the local flavors would be easier and we will have FdC as well, but for our own reasons we'd like to import some wine that's not presently available in Nicaragua.

Unfortunately, the internet seems to have failed us in our search for information on this topic, but I know someone amongst the clever bunch at NicaLiving has surely done this! :)

Any help or advice is much appreciated!!

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import\export friend

I was talking to a friend who has an import and export business. He said the best way is to being it in on a plane with a friend. he also said, that if you are a resident, you might be able to bring it in as a personal goods item. Your passport would then be stamped to show the transaction.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

I've Driven In

with large quantities of wine and they just glance at it and move on .. .. I have it in with the bins of foods I bring.

I've found that I can get what I need at La Colonia and PriceSmart, so it's less of an issue. The wine starts amounting to serious weight.. . Both stores have a decent selection of wines; PriceSmart's prices are better.

Lays potato chips, Doritos, but their mixed nuts (and some other items) are not as fresh. Member's Choice and Kirkland are Costco brands, usually a guarantee of quality.

I've brought a bottle of whiskey in checked luggage

There's a maximum that can be shipped in like this --

It's three liters of liquor -- don't know if wine would be considered liquor for the purposes of duty. Shipping liquor in is no problem since distilled alcohol in glass is stable. Wine shipped longer distances than across the English Channel earlier than the 19th Century tended to be fortified which also stablized wines for sea shipments. I'd use the same rule for bringing anything in here that wasn't traveling in your luggage.

Rebecca Brown


I remember years ago checking in a case of wine on a flight from Houston to San Antonio. It arrived in San Antonio in a container to contain the leakage. Every bottle was broken. I just left it at baggage claim. Do you have a friend or acquaintance that works for an airline? Perhaps a pilot or stewardess could help out. A case of wine should be small enough to travel in the cabin and you could probably pay the tax on it at customs at the airport.

Charles Slane

I had the bottle of whisky packed wrapped.

Stuff gets tossed around when being off loaded and on loaded. You can't bring liquids at that volume into the cabin. A Peace Corp worker told me how to ship in a LDC monitor screen -- in a hard sided suitcase. I couldn't find a big enough hard sided suit case, so used a plastic under the bed box inside a soft sided roller bag. Something like that with lots of padding inside and outside would probably work. Get a roller bag from Salvation Army or Goodwill, get an under the bed plastic storage bag that would fit in that, wrap each bottle in bubble wrap, and then pad the box with towels. That gives some insulation as well as the padding.

Get all cotton towels and if you don't need them when you get here, send me a message.

Rebecca Brown


I was once sitting on a plane when I watched the man unloading the conveyor drop my suitcase that had wine in it. Nothing broke. :-)

Driving it down is about

Driving it down is about your only option unless you want to deal with aduanas in MGA.


I was just researching this on the internet, for about 5 minutes. It seems it can be very complicated, and therefore I assume expensive to ship wine from the US. It seems like people who have done this claim that the wine is another liquid, such as olive oil.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)


Nobody said anything about lying. The issue with wine is do you want it to cook in a 100*F warehouse in MGA for three weeks while you deal with Aduanas?


If your box of wine sat in 100* storage you wouldn't be lying if you claimed to be importing vinegar.

Charles Slane

the lie

would be claiming wine is olive oil or possible vinegar

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)


Nobody said anything about lying. The issue with wine is do you want it to cook in a 100*F warehouse in MGA for three weeks while you deal with Aduanas?


I'm not a wine drinker, but there is a wine store in Managua, right on Masaya highway, fairly close to Galerais. PriceSmart has a decent selection at ok prices. And of course the grocery stores carry some

Did you notice where it was from?

Friends of mine in Panama said it gets quite a few Chilean wines.

All over the place!

The wine store is rather large--for a store just selling wine. I really haven't paid attention to where they all come from, but have seen Ausralia, Chile, Argentine, France, Italy..........Not knowing wine, can't tell you much else,lol Awhile back I tried taking pics at PriceSmart---they were not to happy with that,lol

You are not importing it....

You are bringing in an amount over your personal allowance and as you say, you will be declaring it and asking how much is the tax on that with your wallet out as you ask them.

It's that simple. If its a wedding for instance have the invitation to show them its a gift for the fiesta or whatever back up you can think of for your reason.

You may get a smile and a welcome and that's all.

You are allowed 3 litres of alcohol each as a personal allowance so 12x750ml bottles is hardly over at all.

TIP; don't have the 200 cigarettes or 500 grams of tobacco or 3 bottles of perfume each (allowed) and suggest that you are in fact bringing in a total cash value of less than you are allowed.

Duty on wine should be 37% on amount over personal allowance.

litres vs. 750ml

A litre is a little over 33 ounces. A 750ml bottle is a little over 26 ounces. There should be no duty.

Charles Slane

Thank you

Juanno is our man with the facts.