I am a non Spanish speaking Gringo who decided to take a year out from life in England and move to Costa Rica with my family. One of my biggest concerns before moving out here was what shall I do about a car? The cost of hiring one was going to be prohibitive so my only option was to buy one but I had no idea about how to go about sourcing one, ensuring it was in good order mechanically, negotiating a price, how to pay for it, how to insure it and what to do if things go wrong. In hindsight I need not have worried at all as thankfully I came across Kattia’s website on Google and once she was on the case everything was sorted for me!!
In the run up to flying to San Jose I had a few email conversations with Kattia & Russell about what car I was looking for and how to pay for it. In Costa Rica you can buy a car with CASH or BANKERS DRAFT only, nothing else. I decided upon a Caxton Card that you load with Dollars and is in theory accepted in Costa Rica as it is associated to MasterCard. As it turned out it did work, much to Kattia’s surprise, but I will come to that in a moment. It was agreed Kattia would meet me at my Hotel at 8:30 am the day after I arrived to get the ball rolling. Being honest I was a little nervous as I did not know her and was potentially going to be drawing out large sums of cash and being driven around a city I didn’t know without speaking the language.
Well I need not have worried as Kattia turned up prompt, she was professional, friendly and put me at ease straight away. She took me in her car for a tour of dealerships in San Jose which took most of the morning and allowed me to drive a number of different cars before deciding which I wanted. I was terrified of driving in San Jose as they drive on the wrong side – but with Kattia and the garage owner in the car and me behind the wheel I did pretty well.
Once I had decided upon a Hyundai Galloper the next issue to resolve was how to raise the cash for it. I didn’t want to carry thousands of dollars with me from the UK so was relying on the Caxton Card to be accepted by the local banks in exchange for cash or bankers draft. As I said it did work, much to Kattia’s surprise, but it had a withdrawal limit on it so as part of the service Kattia took me to the bank twice, she arranged with the bank clerk to produce a bankers draft in the name of the garage owner, again I was a bit concerned but I shouldn’t have been as Kattia had my best interests in mind at all times and is totally trustworthy. Once we had the 2 cheques we went to pay for the car, initially I put down a 10% deposit and the remainder the next day.
The car was yet to be registered in Costa Rica which would you believe was another little worry for me but as always Kattia had it covered and she along with a lawyer that she had arrange all the necessary papers were signed and I was to return to the garage in 4 days time to pick up the car. At the same time Kattia had arranged for Mario the insurance man to be at the garage so I was able to get fully comprehensive cover for me and any driver.
Before I actually drove the car off the forecourt Kattia checked that it had all the necessary safety equipment and tyre changing kit which was very helpful as it turned out it wasn’t all there so they quickly replaced them. I then followed Kattia to a local petrol station to fill up and check the oil and tyres and just to top off Kattia’s amazing service we followed her across San Jose to the Pan American Highway so we got onto the right road for our trip to Tamarindo, which was well out of her way.
As I said at the beginning buying a car in Costa Rica was one of my biggest concerns but with Kattia’s help it was really very easy and I can’t recommend her services enough. Kattia is professional, friendly, efficient, patient and goes out of her way to help. Thanks Kattia, I will keep in touch.
Matt, Lu & Moxy Kalupka
Currently of Tamarindo