You Only Live Once!

Toyota Tercel, a global classic.
Toyota Tercel, a global classic.

My plan was to volunteer in Costa Rica this year and I found a need to have a car. Buying a car here is a challenge. My Spanish isn’t great, I don’t know the city of San Jose and there are plenty of terms I am unfamiliar with. Also, most everybody here says you need to have a lawyer in the process and then there may be insurance.

What I needed was cheap reliable transportation. My budget was $3,500 and most people told me that was too cheap to get a car. I did a little research and found that there are plenty of old Toyotas here and some have been well cared for and some haven’t.

I looked online and found a place called “WheelsCR” I spent the better part of 6 weeks asking Russell questions. He answered every question and all the info he gave matched with what other people told me. Still, almost all car deals are cash and what I was faced with was flying to Costa Rica with $4,000 cash in my pocket, hopping into the car of a stranger, traveling around a city I was unfamiliar with and meeting complete strangers.

I decided, “what the heck you only live once” and so I fly to Costa Rica with 40 one hundred dollar bills in my pocket. The flight was 1 hour late getting into the airport but there to meet me was Kattia , Russell’s wife. There was a 1992 Toyota Tercel at the airport. I drove it and then we went to look at other cars. We went all around the city and saw several other cars all in my price range. At last we came upon a 1992 Toyota Tercel in immaculate condition. There was an alarm and a stereo , the air conditioning worked and and the car looked like a jewel. All for $3,300!

The question became “how do you buy the car?” Kattia called a lawyer and we drove the car to his office at 6:00 p.m. That night. The transaction was completed and then Kattia had me follow her to the place I was staying. (I had no idea how to get there) She told me the insurance agent would be there the next day at 11:00 a.m. He was there at 10:45.

My friends in Costa Rica find all of this unbelievable because things simply don’t happen that fast down here.

I ended up with a car under budget and was navigated through a complex process with ease.

I have bought many cars in my life and this was the best experience I have ever had. If you are new to Costa Rica or have been here a while I can not recommend WheelsCR enough. The service was outstanding.

Pura Vida,


Published by Russ Martin

Helping expats locate reliable used vehicles since 2006. I have lived in Costa Rica since 1994.

Ask a question or comment here Cancel reply