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Admissions: Pre-Arrival Guide: Travel Arrangements

International travel is sometimes complex. The following suggestions will help you as you travel from your country to Costa Rica. (We recommend that no one travel from the US to Costa Rica by land due to safety issues in some countries in Central America.)

  1. Your airline should be able to provide you with the latest information on the entrance requirements; however, you may wish to check with the nearest Costa Rican consulate. On the plane you will be given a customs declaration slip. You do not need to list personal possessions that you are bringing.

  2. If you use a domestic flight to connect with your international flight, allow plenty of time for transfer of baggage between flights; otherwise, they might not let you board your connecting flight if they feel there's not enough time to move your bags from one plane to the other. (Students usually come with excess baggage.)

  3. Although you can find most things here in Costa Rica, we strongly recommend that, if possible, you bring with you, as excess baggage, everything that you will need! It is cheaper and simpler to bring things this way. Sending them airfreight is very expensive. Yes, you will feel conspicuous arriving at the airport with ten or more pieces of luggage, but it really is best. If you feel more comfortable, check with the airline for any restrictions prior to showing up at the airport with any excess baggage.

  4. As airline policies are subject to change, we strongly recommend double-checking with a travel agent and/or the airline(s) concerning the following:

    1. size and weight limitation
    2. cost of excess baggage and airfreight
    3. restrictions on boxes (cardboard and Action Packers)
    4. embargo on excess baggage – often imposed throughout the year (CALL AHEAD to be sure)
    5. special privileges for missionaries moving overseas

  5. It is important to get the name and identification number of the airline agent that you speak with and have it with you at check-in.

  6. It is best not to pack items in their original containers (with the exception of sensitive items like computers and perishables like vitamins). These items may attract attention from Customs officials. Be sure to check with Customs officials in your country before you leave so you don't run into problems when you try to return home with these items.

If you must use airfreight remember the following points:

  1. The time-lapse between your arrival and the arrival of your airfreight may be as much as two months.

  2. Our students almost never have issues coming through airport customs, even families with a lot of luggage. The highest-taxed items are electronics and things that are new and expensive. Customs officials are mainly looking for items people bring into the country for resale purposes. Personal items are not an issue. Therefore, it is always better to bring as many of these things as possible in your luggage rather than shipping them airfreight, and be sure to use everything you intend to bring at least once before coming so that you can truthfully say it is used.

E-mail & Internet:

During intial contact and before you arrive, please keep the same e-mail address. Changing your e-mail causes communication problems and you could wind up getting stranded at the airport.

If you bring your own computer, there are several options for Internet service for your home. Connections can be made when you arrive.

The Institute has a small computer lab with WiFi availability.

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