RATIONALE & DECISION
Buying a car
in Costa Rica can be a real crap shoot and "caveat emptor" (buyer
beware) is the operative word. Surprises are inevitable and should
How do you know the nice shiny car you
are looking at is NOT a recycled piece of trash imported from the US
and simply cleaned up to look good?
You need to know what you are looking
at and you need to have the ability to know if you are buying a good
vehicle or one that is destined to take a dump in the first 1000
Be ready to experience Costa
Rica's dual pricing model... Ticos pay one price, Gringos pay more!
I learned that if I want to be successful
in buying a car in country, I needed to speak the language, know the
laws and have the ability to navigate through a
quagmire of bureaucratic red tape. However there was only one
problem... my Spanish skills sucked, my knowledge of what constitutes a
"good car" sucks, and my knowledge of Costa Rican legal requirements was
As a business professional, I practiced
the art of "out-sourcing", engaging the services of others when it
best suits one's needs. Such was the situation regarding the
purchase of a car. Since Fran and I were busy closing out our US
based lives, we had no time to shop. On a recommendation from
Rob and Deb Klipper, I retained Jacqui Monacell from
Your Costa Rica Contact.
Jacqui's job was to locate, vet, and negotiate the purchase of my new
Costa Rican chariot. As part of our deal, we asked that the car be
delivered to us at the airport upon our arrival in country. Like
waving a $350 magic wand, all the paperwork, taxes, inspections,
insurance... EVERYTHING was taken care of. If this would have been
left up to me, I guarantee you I would have screwed it up in the most
royal of fashion.
We gave Jacqui our requirements, small 4x4 SUV
that gets exceptional gas mileage. Our
maximum budget was $10,000. That was not such an easy task...
especially in Costa Rica.
Over the period of several weeks, Jacqui
presented us with several potential vehicular candidates.
Unfortunately, the only cars we were seeing averaged 10
years old and had 150,000 + miles (not kms)! We needed to GET REAL
so we expanded our budget to $15,000.
Within days more
opportunities began to roll in. We finally agreed on a 2007
Daihatsu Terrio with only 33,000 km. We knew the mileage was
correct because the seller was the original owner and there were service
records to back up the claim. The original asking price was
CRC (around $17,500 USD). We finally agreed on $15,800.
Although it was a tad more than we budgeted, this was a very good deal.
Jacqui presented me with a detailed spreadsheet that included the price
of the car and all required taxes and certifications. The deal was
sealed when I wired her the money.
I have to admit this was a painless
process but still very scary. I've never paid so much money for an
item having never even had the opportunity to touch or see it!
Upon our arrival at SJO (San Jose Airport), Jacqui was
waiting for us with keys in hand. After loading 5 huge suitcases and
four carry-on's, the three of us drove to a nearby hotel where we met
with the lawyer (Abogado) to sign the necessary papers.
there, Jacqui went took a taxi back to her office and we began our new
lives in Costa Rican
home! PURA VIDA.