I’m in the process of bringing down my father’s dental chairs to Nicaragua to donate to a clinic in the Chinandega area in northern Nicaragua. To move furniture to Nicaragua, you have to find a shipping agent wherever you are in the States. That shipping agent will then have an agent in Nicaragua that they can contact and that they’ve already worked with. They ship it down to Nicaragua and figure out what taxes you’re going to have to pay on anything you’re importing
Another option, which would avoid paying the import taxes is via Law 306, which covers tourism businesses. Nicaragua started a new law allowing people to run a tourism business tax-free for 10 years. There’s also a stipulation where you can bring in a container full of personal items tax-free as well. A car can be brought it to Nicaragua once every 5 or 10 years. What I’m finding is the government in Nicaragua lets people under this program reinstate the program again and do another 10 years. That’s a great program to boost tourism in Nicaragua.
You must be in the tourism business to be tax-free, and a lot of people moving down to Nicaragua are getting into tourism businesses- they’re starting a hotel or doing fishing charter businesses. If you have a home that you’re going to rent out, that could qualify. If you’re not in the tourism business, you must use the standard route of finding an agent in the States and shipping the container down to Nicaragua.
Shipping a 40-foot container to Nicaragua can cost about $4,000 door to door, excluding taxes. We’ve got about $1,000 in taxable items. That means you’ll spend $4,000 shipping, and $1,000 for the taxes. So $5,000 door-to-door, all included.
These containers are 40 x 8 x 10. If people are going to move all their stuff in one container, they jam all their stuff in it, and depending on where they start in the US, the rates for these containers getting shipped to Nicaragua would be around $4,000 door to door, without taxes.
(Maersk Line container ship, pictured.)