Sending and receiving mail in Guatemala might not seem an interesting topic at first thought, but bear with me for a while. We have been living now for more than a month in a small village, called San Pedro La Laguna. It is located somewhere in the North of Guatemala close to lake Atitlan. Before we arrived here, we had some bad luck with some of our stuff; our tent wasn’t waterproof anymore, the charger of our macbook air stopped working and I had ran out of contact lenses. On the positive side we had found a few extra sponsors who wanted to ship some goodies to us. Since we immediately felt at home in this authentic little town we decided to let the different packages be shipped to the local post office. Many people warned us about receiving mail in Guatemala, they said that more than half of the packages don’t arrive or even get stolen by post employees. The local post office of San Pedro is very tiny and has only one employee, a young girl that also sells chocolate. The mail is scattered around in small piles and the packages lay on the ground. This is not what we are used to in Europe and it makes it easy to start doubting the credibility of the Guatemalan post. But, despite the negativity surrounding the mail service we felt that it couldn’t be that bad and we decided to have faith in a positive outcome. Even if we would receive only one out of the three packages, it would be better than getting nothing at all.
Here is what happened:
- Package number 1 (containing an expensive Hilleberg tent): Shipped from the US using a priority USPS shipment, price: 60 USD, arrived 10 days later at the local post office in San Pedro. No import tax, the value of the package was marked as 35USD.
- Package number 2 (containing goodies from Woodzee, GSIoutdoors, Ruffwear): Shipped from the US using a regular USPS shipment, price: 47 USD, arrived 14 days later at the local post office. No import tax, even though the value was marked as 170USD.
- Package number 3 (containing goodies from Val’s mom): Shipped from Belgium, Europe. Price: 18 EUR. Arrived three weeks later at the local post office. No import tax, no value marked.
I hope you have noticed a trend here… All packages arrived safe and well!! And as a bonus we even didn’t have to pay any import tax at all. Officially you need to pay tax on any imported item according to the duty calculator, but the local post office employee here in San Pedro told us that if the package weighs under 20kg you don’t need to pay anything and that’s exactly what happened when we received our packages.
I feel, like with many things, we get scared too easily and we could do with a bit more faith in our fellow humans.
Ps: The one we send to Belgium still hasn’t arrived yet, we’ll keep you updated when it does.