Mail Boxes Etc. has an e-box service that permits you to receive mail and packages in Medellín from the United States inexpensively and reliably. I have been using the service for over two years now and haven’t had a problem.
One of the challenges of being an expat from the United States living in Medellín is receiving mail and packages reliably from the United States.
Mail Boxes Etc. solves this problem with its e-box service, which provides a mailbox in Medellín linked to a mailing service in Miami. With this service, you get a mailing address in Miami and any mail received at this address in Miami is forwarded to Medellín.
The e-box mailing address in Miami for letters is:
COLXXXXX CASILLERO XXX
P.O. Box 025720
Miami, FL 33102-5720
For packages and express mail packages the e-box mailing address in Miami is:
COLXXXXX CASILLERO XXX
2250 NW 115th Ave. Unit 1L
Miami, FL 33192-4177
Any mail or packages received in Miami are sent to Bogotá where they clear customs and are then sent to Medellín. My experience is this processtypically takes 5 to 10 business days.
Note that the re-mailing service in Miami used by the e-box service sends each item to Colombia as it is received, so there is no opportunity to consolidate items to reduce mailing costs.
What are the Mail Boxes Etc. e-box Costs?
The Mail Boxes Etc. e-box service costs $14 per month and includes a one-kilogram package for free each month.
I normally forward all my regular mail (letters and magazines) from the United States every six weeks or so. This usually weighs less than one-kilogram so it is sent free to Medellín from Miami.
The last two packages I received, I sent via Amazon Prime for free to Miami and the cost to send to Medellín was 14,288 pesos ($7.17) for one package and 19,484 pesos ($9.77) for the other. Both totals included charges for IVA (VAT) that appear to be based on the package invoice.
UPS mailbox in the United States
I also have a UPS mailbox in the United States, where I can call to ask what mail I have received and have them trash any junk mail and consolidate items into one large mailing envelope that is sent to Miami.
My UPS mailbox address is the address I use for credit cards and other bills plus some magazine subscriptions. My UPS mailbox costs $25 per month.
This mailbox is needed, as the Miami re-mailing service provided by the Mail Boxes Etc. e-box service won’t hold items to enable consolidating letters/magazines into one package to save on shipping. Unfortunately they send things as they are received.
Other Mailbox Services in the United States
UPS is a better mailbox service to use in the United States than a USPS mailbox. With a USPS mailbox you can’t call to check on your mail and have junk mail trashed. USPS does have a weekly Premium Forwarding Service that consolidates mail and forwards it weekly, but this is expensive at $17 per week.
UPS mailboxes are available in every state in the US and are available in most cities so you can have an address where you want. But there are other mail forwarding services available in the United States.
For example, US Global Mail is based in Houston and provides a physical mailing address and a virtual mailbox that costs $12.50 per month if you pay a year in advance.
With the US Global Mail service you can log into a website to see scans of items you have received and dimensions of packages. You can also discard junk mail and consolidate items to be forwarded. Another mailbox service based in Houston is USA2ME.
Mail Boxes Etc. in Other Colombian Cities
Mail Boxes Etc. is not just in Medellín, they have stores in several other cities in Colombia including Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga and Cartagena. Sorry no Mail Boxes Etc. is in Cali yet, per their website.
Mail Boxes Etc. is also located in several other countries in Latin America including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The Bottom Line
Between my Mail Boxes Etc. e-box service in Medellín and UPS mailbox in the United States I have solved the problem of receiving my normal mail reliably from the United States at a cost of $39 per month.
I also can buy items from websites like Amazon.com in the United States that is shipped to Miami and packages show up reliably in Medellín one to two weeks later and doesn’t cost that much to ship.
I could pay less if I used one of the mailbox services in Houston or one in Florida instead of using a UPS mailbox but I don’t want a physical mailing address in Houston or Florida at this time.