Buying Our First Car

February 26, 2013  •  7 Comments

Cars are expensive in Costa Rica, but it seems that everyone has one. just like iphones.

Day 1....We had budgeted about $15,000 to $20,000 for a used car. Ceasar and i had never owned a car before. Living in the city of New York didn't really allow us to. We used our bicycles and the subway to get around and rented a car when we wantd to venture outside the city.  Today was going to be that day. We would first have to make the drive to San Jose which is about 3 hours away. Our seller Rick knows a taxi driver, Sergio, in San Jose who could drive us around to dealerships and used car lots for $15 per hour. We were hoping to do it in half a day. Sergio had called around and had a plan. We had done research and were hoping to buy either a Toyota Rav 4 or a Dhaiatsu BeGo Terios which are SUV 4x4's-very necessary for the area that we are living in. However it had to have ABS brakes and have automatic transmission. Es el problema. The lack of automatic transmission Rav 4's led Us to consider a Honda CRV EX-L. He showed us that it has GPS and is a 2008. It had all of the accessories like sunroof, leather seats, rear view camera. Just before we were ready to buy it we found out it was really a 2006 model and the GPS was configured for the US. No Deal!  We were very disappointed with our visit to the Toyota dealership in San Jose. They tried selling us a car that had been used as a rental and was dirty. They did not even try to make the car presentable. Bad way to end day 1.

Day 2....the morning was more of the same with no automatic SUV's to be found, unless you count the 2000 Honda with only 40,000 miles on it in great condition with the word Jesus on the back door. Yes, Ceassar's middle name is Jesus, but even that coincidence (see blog #2) wasn't enough to convince us to purchase a car that was over 12 years old. It could have been ours for $8,000.

Sergio then suggested that we drive to the town of Grecia which is known for it's many small car dealerships...... 1 hour away!

We arrived and found at least 12 used car lots on a winding road that was Grecia. We found our Rav 4! It's a 2006 model, in immaculate condition, 74,000 miles and was within the upper part of our budget. It came with a 2 month guarantee and the price included any taxes and legal fees for the transfer of ownership. The salesperson and agreed on the price and shook our hands. The owner of the dealership came down the road, took us to the lawyer's office back up the road, the transfer of funds was made, we signed some papers, and got our first ever car. The entire process took about 1 hour. We then followed Sergio back to San Jose and the next day we drove back to our new home......cautiously and without insurance and avoiding "the Highway of Death". Note: there really is a famous Highway of Death which runs down the middle of the country through winding mountain roads that often are covered in low clouds and mist causing low visibility. No gracias. We do intend to have the car looked at by a reputable mechanic before the 2 month guarantee period expires.

We look forward to discovering our new home country. Note: gasoline costs about $5.30 a gallon.

Shipping update......we are about 4 days away from receiving our shipment from the US.

Coming next..............Our Cost of Living




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