Many XPats swear by private mail services. I use one myself and have since I’ve been here and love it. I have 2 mailboxes in Miami one PO Box and one Street address. Anytime I want to order a book from Amazon or a CD from Walmart I can have it shipped to the street address. (NONE OF THESE COMPANIES SHIP INTERNATIONALLY!) It is then sent to Costa Rica within a few days. It generally takes about a week to get anything that I order online. This mail service is not expensive unless you have lots of packages coming in. Our bill runs $12-$15 per month. At Christmas it has been as high as $60 for the month but never more than that.
With this particular mail service (Interlink) the mail is delivered right to our door twice a week. They also pick up any mail that I have for the states and apply the necessary postage once it gets to Miami.
You can also get a post office box from the national postal service but it is definately slower service. When you send regular mail via Costa Rica postal service, it takes 10-12 days for your mail to arrive at it’s destination in the US. It has taken the same amount of time for us to get letters here and we have to go to the postal box to pick it up, then if it’s a package onto the post office (mailboxes are not necessarily at the post office) to get it.
We have used the regular postal service for letters going out but honestly have not relied on it for mail coming into the country as we are so happy with Interlink.
By the way, a post office box in Costa Rica runs about $10.00 per year so it does have it’s advantages.