More from Monteverde


I’ve been meaning to write you for some time now, but perhaps it is just as well I waited, as I’m even more pleased with how things have ultimately turned out with our car. We’ve now had the Galloper  for almost 4 months, and it continues to run beautifully. On trips it always averages over 25 miles per gallon of fuel, and just keeps rolling along comfortably on any road. We just returned from a trip to Panama City and drove over 2000 kilometers trouble free. The few small repairs I have made have largely been preventative maintenance, and, As you suggested, Gallopers are amazingly inexpensive to service, so nothing ever seems to cost more than $20. Thank you again for all your help with the PASS service! I would certainly recommend your service to anyone interested in buying a used car in Costa Rica!

Best Regards-


P.S. You are welcome to post my letter. The car has done very well on Monteverde’s roads. I have put a new set of shocks on it (they only cost $100, including labor!) and it really rides quite well, even over the roughest of pot-hole stretches. Thanks again for your help-

Fast & Furious PASS

Dear Russ & Kattia,

Thank you again for helping us arrange for getting the truck inspected on June 30th. Here is the testimonial you can put on your web site:

We decided to take advantage of the PASS service because my boyfriend OJ was arriving from Canada to San Jose on Friday and we wanted to buy the car on Saturday, since I had to be back in Montezuma on Monday. Kattia and Russ picked us up at our hotel in Alajuela at 9:00 am as promised and within 10 minutes we were looking at the first truck, which was really nice but at the higher end of our price range. Since time was of the essence, we decided to see all the trucks that Kattia had lined up first, then go back to test drive the best ones. Before lunch we were driving off to shop at Multiplaza in our 1996 Nissan King Cab, which has worked out perfectly. Herbert at Centro de Servicios has come through on everything he promised. He passed the truck through the technical inspection even after we had driven it for a month and fixed some minor mechanical issues we found.

Ashley Myles (and OJ Martin),
Mal País, Costa Rica

Another Satisfied Customer

Dear Russ-

As I noted in earlier conversations, I still wanted to write a letter thanking you and your wife Kattia for your patient and gracious assistance in purchasing my car using your PASS service. Even though there have been difficulties with some aspects of the car’s condition, I remain VERY happy with the service and assistance you have provided. Your knowledge of the used car business in Costa Rica helped me immensely in navigating the unfamiliar process of purchasing a car in a different language and with very different regulations and requirements for licensing, insurance, etc. In the United States, I have read that car buying ranks as one of a typical individual’s most dreaded experiences, ranking near the top of personal fears, equivalent with public speaking, going to the dentist, and other unpleasant, but often inevitable chores. A service like you offer in PASS provides some much needed support, both technical and emotional, in a situation where one already feels at an extreme disadvantage in negotiating a good deal and finding a car that will meet not only their needs, but their expectations. Thank you again for your time and continuing assistance,


Scott Shannon, Associate Professor
Faculty of Landscape Architecture
SUNY- College of Environmental Science & Forestry
Syracuse, NY & Monteverde

Update ***  May 30th

I got the car fine on Monday afternoon, and I spoke with the dealer, and it sounds like they did a complete engine overhaul (including installing all new pistons and rings). I’ve just returned from my trip to Nicaragua (+/-500 miles), and I wanted to let you know that the car performed flawlessly. My fuel efficiency DOUBLED! The car got 13 kilometers per liter (32 miles per gallon!), and only about 6.25 before the engine overhaul. The temperature gauge never went beyond the half-way point. It sounds like it may need a slight adjustment to something (there is a little whine at low RPM’s that is new, and the power steering belt slips a little in a slow sharp turn), but I think I can have these taken care of OK locally.

Thanks again for your help! I doubt the dealer would have been nearly so cooperative were it not for the fact they are interested in maintaining a long term business relationship with you and your wife, and the website has obviously facilitated several sales that may never have happened without your assistance. That said, they were very accommodating and cheerful, and very apologetic about not being able to have the vehicle done when they had promised it. If you think it would be useful, I will be happy to write an additional “testimonial letter” to vouch for the fantastic help you have provided though the PASS service. While my experience with buying a car in Costa Rica may not have been as perfect as I might have hoped, you have clearly made the difference in the reaching the ultimate outcome– a happy car buyer!

Take care- Scott

Positive Press

Dear A.M. Costa Rica: (published Wednesday, April 26th, 2006 letters)

Thank you for the recent articles on purchasing a used vehicle in Costa Rica.

After having all I could stand of George Bush, I decided last year to leave the U.S. for Costa Rica.

I bought a finca in Turrialba and moved in January. The farm included a well-used truck, so I wanted a better vehicle to see this beautiful country. I contacted my local mechanic who suggested several vehicles. After doing some research I decided to look for a Hyundai Galloper diesel.

I found a Web site which is operated by Russ Martin. Russ helps Gringos locate a car and guides them through the entire process, which can be very intimidating to most newcomers as indicated in the excellent Garland Baker article. I met Russ in San José, and he took me to three used car dealerships that specialize in importing Hyundais from Korea. I bought a 1994 model for $7,000.

Russ charged $250 for his service, which included negotiating and guiding me through the process for registration, test drive, translation, etc.

For an extra fee the car salesman (Miguel Fuentes) offered to have the Galloper inspected, licensed, and delivered to me in Turrialba, which I accepted.

The Galloper was delivered as promised. I took it to my local mechanic and asked him to do a complete inspection and repair everything he found wrong. He found several minor items and the total charge was $140 for parts and labor.

I have had the Galloper for six weeks and it is running great. Russ and Miguel did everything they said they would do, and I highly recommend their service.

Ted Douglas, Turrialba