Mail Boxes Etc
Bocas Del Toro


After nine years, and over 70,000 packages brought into Bocas, unfortunately MBE Bocas Del Toro is going out of business. ...

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Frequently Asked Questions

MBE is going out of business. The cutoff date for things to arrive in Miami is October 7, 2020 Any mail arriving in Miami after October 7 will not be our responsibility.

Our office will be closing permenantly on November 6, 2020. Any mail not picked up from our office by November 6 will be destroyed.

All Clients

Regular Clients

Other General Questions that we get often

FAQS for All Clients

You are closing. What service in Bocas Del Toro should I use instead?

We cannot tell you what service you should use instead of MBE Bocas Del Toro, nor can we recommend any particular service in Bocas Del Toro.

We believe that several services, such as Island Express by the ferry dock, and HotExpress(?), near Richard's harware store, offer similar services for shipping things from Miami to Bocas Del Toro, but we cannot recommend either, or any, specific service to you.

You may be able to find out more, get some specific recommendations, by inquiring on the Bocas Business Blah facebook page, on facebook in general, or by asking folks around town.

Do I still have time to order some things online?

The best answer to this question is "NO". We are providing you with adequate time to find another service, register change of addresses with your bank or other institutions or services, in order to make this transition possible. That is the best we can offer in this difficult situation.

If you order something tomorrow from China it likely will not get to Miami before October 7th, and, once again, MBE Bocas Del Toro will not be responsible for items that arrive in Miami after that date.

Better to be safe, than sorry. Find another service to begin making online purchases or to have your friends and family ship items from the USA to you.

What will happen to items that arrive in Miami after October 7th?

They will remain there, in Miami, for 30-60 days until Ebox Logistics decides to destroy them.

You will need to contact Ebox Logisics, or MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Central America, or possibly another MBE Store (i.e. MBE David) to help you to find, and arrange for the transport of those items to another address in the USA, or possibly to Panama and/or Bocas.

We cannot provide you with contact information, or instructions for what you need to do with regards to items that arrive in Miami after the above date.

In all cases, MBE Bocas Del Toro will not be responsible for any items that arrive at Ebox Logistics in Miami after October 7th.

Will you get any items that arrive in Miami on or before October 7th safely to Bocas?

Generally speaking, yes, but there are still limitations on prohibited items and we still cannot be held responsible if a package for you arrives in Miami missing your PTY number, in damaged condition or missing items, doesn't make it to Miami in the first place, or if you do not respond in a timely manner to emails from us regarding items going through the Panama customs process.

All items must also sucessfully clear Panama customs in the 30 days we are allowing after we stop receiving items from Miami. That should generally not be a problem as packages rarely take more than a few days to clear customs if you respond in a timely manner to our emails, which most clients have done in the past.

We will continue to provide our best efforts to find your lost or mislabelled mail, and will continue to provide you with a method for dealing with prohibited/damaged items that arrive in Miami through October 7th, but we will NOT continue those efforts after that cutoff date. So it is more important than ever that you (a) do not ship prohibited items through our service, and (b) respond promptly and accurately to our email requests for valuation documentation, invoices, reship addresses, and so forth.

Should I notify my bank,, or other service or website about my new address?

Absolutely, YES. You will need to establish an account at another service in Bocas, or perhaps at a different MBE Store in Panama, but in all cases we recommend that you do this as soon as possible and notify your bank or other institution or service of your new mailing address.

Can I transfer my account to another MBE store in Panama?

Probably. If you would like to do this, please send us an email, including the name of the store you would like to transfer to.

However, please note that the other MBE Store will probably not have facilities to transport your mail to Bocas Del Toro, and it will be upto you to work out a payment method with them, you will likely need obtain an agent (a friend or acquaintance) in another city, or go there yourself, to pickup your mail, or to somehow else arrange for the transport of your mail to Bocas Del Toro.

FAQS for Regular Clients (with current "monthly" accounts)

Is this going to cost me more money?

No as a matter of fact. Beginning September 1, 2020, we are going to completely waive our regular client's monthly feels, and they will begin to receive ALL THEIR PACKAGES at their discounted rates. You will no longer have to pay $20 per kilogram for the first 1,2, or 4, kilograms like you currently are, so you are actually going to save a little money (and we are going to lose a little more money) starting September 1st.

Will you be refunding my deposit?

Yes. You can see, for the next week, between today, Aug24, and monday, Aug31, if you have a deposit with us by logging into the website and going to your "Account" Page.

When we do the final regular billing next week on August 31, we will apply all client deposits to their account balances. If there is an excess remaining, then you will have a CREDIT BALANCE (shown in green on your "Account" page) and that credit balance can be used against subsequent pickups during September and October.

On November 1, when we are sure that no more items for you are in transit from Miami or Panama City to Bocas Del Toro, we will settle all accounts, and contact you so that you can get your credit balance refund.

You will be able to either (a) pick up your credit balance refund as cash, from our office, (b) instruct us to transfer it to you via Paypal, or (c) if necessary, we can do an EFT to a bank in Panama.

One way or the other, we will be ending up square with all of our clients, vendors, and employees before we close the business.

Can you continue to provide me with credit for pickups?

No. Although we are doing our best to provide a orderly shutdown of our business, the situation is too complicated to continue offering credit to our regular clients.

So, after we apply your deposit, if any, to your account, and do our final regular billing on August 31, you will either have a balance due, or a credit balance, going forward.

Starting September 1, you will need to pay any balance due before you can subsequently pickup any packages. Furthermore, we are going to require that all package pickups be paid for as they happen, so starting September 1st, you will need to either have established a credit balance with us, remember to bring cash to the office when you do a pickup, or to pay for your pickups individually online, via Paypal, on this website before you come to the office.

There will be no exceptions to this rule. Please do not come in the office expecting to pickup, but not pay for, your account balance or packages. Our employee(s) will have strict instructions not to hand out packages unless your account balance is up-to-date, and the packages are paid for at the time of pickup through the remaining duration of our service.

Can I establish a credit balance with you for the duration of operations?

Yes. You can always come to our office and make a payment in cash and establish a credit balance. If you would like to establish a credit balance via Paypal or EFT, please see the email we are sending/have sent you regarding this closure process for more detailed instructions on how to remotely establish a credit balance with us.

Can I pay for pickups online with paypal like I have done in the past with my account balance?

Yes, although it is in a different location on our website, and might not be immediately obvious to you. Some of you are already familiar with paying your monthly bill via Paypal on your "Accounts" page.

If you don't want to establish a credit balance with us, starting September 1st (for packages that arrive in our office on or after Septmber 1st), regular clients will be able to pay for their pickups online via Paypal, by going to your "Packages" page, pressing the "Calculate Cost" button (which connects directly to the office machine), and pressing the "Make Payment" button that comes up on the subsequent page.

If you do this, the payment will be immediately registered in our office system, (depending on paypal) and when you come in the office, our employee(s) will already automatically know that you have paid for the packages you are picking up.

Please note, however, that there have been times when Paypal itself did not clear transactions for several hours, or even days, after they were initiated. This is beyond our control. We will only accept a Paypal payment as valid if it, in fact, has been validated by Paypal and we have been correctly notified by them of the payment. Usually this takes less than 5 minutes, just a few seconds typically, but as I said, there have been cases where Paypal, for whatever reason, did not immediately validate a payment.

Can I pay for pickups via Bank Electronic Transfers?

No. Electronics funds transfers are not appropriate for package pickups. We will continue to accept EFT's to establish credit balances, from the one (or two) clients that make EFTs each month to pay the regular balances, but they require (a) you send us a separate email notification,(b) at least one day to clear, (c) are not automatically handled by our accounting system. EFTs are beyond the scope of our office employee(s) to process.

Other General Questions that we get often

How long does it take for items to get from Miami to Bocas?

It currently takes between two and three weeks, typically, from when an item for you arrives in Miami until it makes it's way to Panama, clears customs, and is brought to Bocas by two different trucking companies. It can take longer if an item undergoes a customs process.

MBE Bocas does not guarantee delivery times. All we can say is that if your package makes it to Miami by October 7th, 2020, is not prohibited in any way from coming to Bocas, and you respond promptly and accurately to our emails, we will make sure you get an opportunity to come to the office, pay for it, and pick it up.

How much does it cost to pick up my things in the office?

The cost for occasional clients to pickup packages is $20/kg, plus tax. You are also responsible for any customs fees, taxes, and duties needed to clear your package through Panama customs, as usual.

Do you accept credit cards?

No, we do not accept credit cards. We only accept cash, in or office or payments made by paypalon this website.

Can I pay for pickups online with paypal so I don't have to go to the bank?

Yes. Once you have received a notification from us that your items are IN_OFFICE (with status code "ARR"), you can login to this website, go to your Packages Page and press the "Calculate Cost" button you will find at the top of your list of packages that are in the office.

That will take you to another page where you can press the "Make Payment" button to make the payment via paypal. If you do this, you can then come into the office and pickup your packages without necessarily having to bring cash.

I got an email that my item was delivered to Miami but it does not show on your website. Can you help me?

We get this question very often. It can take upto 3 days for them to scan an item into Miami after your shipping service says it has been delivered to Miami. If it has been less than three full working days since you received your delivery notification, we ask that you please DO NOT send us an email asking about your package. 99% of the time they show up on the website with three days of the notification.

If it has been more than three full working days since you received a delivery notification email, and the package is still not showing up on this website, Please send us an email with the tracking number from the shipping courier and we will attempt to locate your pacakge.

I think my mail was lost. Can you find it?

MBE Bocas Del Toro's responsibility for a package BEGINS when it arrives in Miami and has been sucessfully scanned into the system, with your PTY number, by Ebox Logistics. But we will still try to help you ...

If you think your mail may have been sent to another physical address, and/or was improperly labelled, then we will try to help you find it, but we cannot guarantee that we will find it. In all cases, to find lost mail we need a tracking number.

If you think you have lost mail and would like us to try to find it, Please send us an email with the tracking number from the shipping courier. Without a tracking number, there is virtually nothing we can do.

Are there restrictions on what I receive at MBE Bocas?

Yes, there are restictions on what you can ship via the MBE Ebox Logistics system. Some things are obvious, like the prohibition on shipping flamable liquids, guns, explosives, etc, but others may not be quite as obvious. As all items are shipped by air, Ebox adheres to the TSA prohibited items list that you would find on any normal domestic or international plane flight. Plus other things are restricted specifically by Panama customs.

Please see our list of prohibited items for more details.

Can there be any other cost or charges involved?

Yes. Items sent to the Miami address can incur extra charges, especially if they are heavy (over 60lbs), or large (over 48 inches in any single dimension, or the sum of their sides is greater than 92 inches).

Items shipped via our service may be charged a dimensional or volumetric weight which is calculated by multiplying the three dimensions, in inches, and then dividing them by a factor, 366, to come up with the weight in kilograms. So a package, for example, that has a TV antenna, that is 4x4x48 inches might only weigh 1kg, but would be assessed a dimensional weight of:

    (4 * 4 * 48) / 366 = 2.09 kilograms

In addition, if an item arrives in Miami in damaged packaging, or in damaged condition, then it may need to be repackaged for shipment. In this case you will be notified and asked to approve the costs of repackaging.

Am I responsible for prohibited or damaged items that arrive in Miami?

Yes. We cannot accept responsibility if a prohibited or damaged package arrives in Miami.

If a prohibited item cannot be shipped to Panama, you may have the option of having it reshipped at your cost to another address in the USA. In all cases, there is a charge for this service, including if you request that we have it returned to the vendor. The re-shipping is pricy, via Fedex, and we recommend strongly that you avoid sending prohibited items to Miami.

If an item arrives in Miami in damaged packaging, or the item itself is damaged, we will notify you and work with you to resolve the problem. If the item can be re-packaged in Miami, then, with your confirmation, for a service charge, we will have it repackaged for shipment. For example, if there is a shipment of 4 bottles of olive oil, and it arrives in Miami with damaged packaging, leaking olive oil, but three of the bottles are still good, you may elect to have it repacked and the three bottles sent on to Panama, at your cost.

Note that Miami accepts, and signs for, everything that arrives at the door, and packages cannot be automatically (or inexpensively) returned to the vendor, even if they are damaged. Any packages that need re-shipping from Miami to an address within the USA require special handling and extra costs will be incurred.

What are the typical customs fees for things?

The typical customs duties and taxes run between 7 and 22 percent, depending on the classification, by Panamanian customs, of value of the items in the packages. We make no profit on customs fees and merely pay them for you ahead of time so that you can pay us back when you pick up your package(s).

There are no customs charges on packages containing items with a total value well under $100.

For packages close to or over $100 in value, Panama Customs always charges a 7% ITBM tax and a duty amount between 0 and 15% of the value, depending on the classification of the item.

Currently, high tech items like computer are coming in with 0% duties, but are still required to pay the 7% ITBM Tax. Clothing, on the other hand is currently being assessed a 15% duty, in addition to the 7% ITBM tax. It's very complicated and apart from the above two classifications, we really never know what will be charged until the item arrives in Panama and is inspected by Aduana at Tocumen airport.

There can also be additional levies for things over $2000 in value, luxury items and so on, but we don't see those very often.

We also charge a $3 service fee for filing the forms necessary for your items to clear customs. Therefore the total customs charge, duties, taxes, and fees, are about $3 plus between 7 and 22 percent of the value of the items for items over $100 in value.

Can you give me an exact quote of what it will cost to receive my package?

No. We can tell you precisely how much you will pay for the weight (the shipping) of the item, but when it comes to customs fees, we never know until the package gets to Panama what it will cost.

The only other thing to note is that we, MBE Bocas Del Toro, do not make any profits on customs fees, taxes, or duties. We pay these costs as they arise, and you pay us back for them when you pick up your package (or pay your bill as a "regular client").

You have our word on that we will not profit from customs fees, taxes, or duties. This makes sure that it is in our interest to eliminate or minimize those costs for you ... so you'll use the service more!

What documentation might I be required to provide?

At a minimum, we may ask you to provide an original invoice or packing slip from the vendor you purchased the items from, or that you create yourself, as an official declaration of the value for Aduana.

This is not only true for any items you purchased new from an internet vendor on ebay, but is also true for any used items you may be personally shipping, or someone may be shipping to you on your behalf, or any gifts you receive at this address.

Regardless of the nature of the package, it is viewed as an import to Panama, and will be scrutinized by Aduana at Tocumen airport, and may require an invoice or packing list.

If you purchased your item from we will require a document that looks like this:

If you are shipping used items to Panama, be sure to include (or have your mom, friend, or agent include) a packing list (in the package) with a reasonable declaration of the value of the items in the package. The value does not have to be the retail value of the item, but it must be reasonable. And be sure to indicate clearly on your packing list that the items are used if they are so.

If such an invoice or packing list is not in the package when it arrives at Tocumen airport, then it is very likely we will be contacting you, asking you to provide one, via email.

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