A Very Particular Vehicle

My wife and I contacted WheelsCR for help in sourcing a very particular vehicle in San Jose. We knew it would be difficult to find, but Russ, Chris, and Kattia made the process so smooth and easy.

One of the biggest challenges being a foreigner in Costa Rica is the car buying process. The way it works is a bit different than in North America as far as titling a vehicle/insurance/etc, and especially because I don’t speak Spanish well, having Russ and his team to guide us through the process was absolutely invaluable and worth every penny. Russ was so thorough with his responses to my endless questions and really helped in making everything understandable.

On the day of our appointment Chris met us at our hotel and we drove to several places around San José to test drive vehicles. That part of the experience would have been nearly impossible without Chris navigating us through the city and helping us to speak with the different car dealers and private parties we had appointments with.

Not only that, but Chris was just such a nice person and really went the extra mile to speak with us about all things Costa Rica, went and got us lunch from a great local empanada place while we were out test driving a vehicle, and was just a super friendly and interesting person to spend the day with.

When we found the vehicle we wanted to buy, the team at WheelsCR held our hand through the process until the money was transferred to the seller and we were on our way with our new (to us) 4×4 diesel Land Cruiser BJ70. I would HIGHLY recommend anyone to use WheelsCR with full confidence that you will find the vehicle you’re looking for.

Pura vida!

An Amazing Experience

We had an amazing experience working with Russ and Kattia from WheelsCR. We researched other similar services and were drawn to WheelsCR’s consistently commented upon integrity and professionalism.

Our primary interface was with Russ, but it’s clear that Kattia conducts thorough research and provides exemplary support, to create such a smooth process.

With such a daunting experience – jumping into the expat life for the first time, making available in-country a sizable sum of money, and navigating the legal and business processes of another country – it’s easily overwhelming.

My wife and I were stunned, thrilled, and relieved by how painless, efficient, and effective WheelsCR made this process for us. Russ was patient and thorough in answering our questions, months out; he helped us to work through options for making money available prior to our arrival; and he picked us up at our hotel and shepherded every aspect of the car selection and purchase process, to include finding a place to replace all tires and securing insurance.

When he turned us loose, we were the owners of a great used car, fully cleared of all processes and fees needed by CR. For what WheelsCR brought to the process, this is an undeniably reasonable cost. We can’t strongly enough recommend WheelsCR – they made a challenging process, on Day One in country, a pleasant and fear-free experience, and they are the reason we are driving our terrific-fit CR car.

Chris and Stephanie

A Family Effort

The experience we had with Russ, Chris and Kattia was excellent in all aspects; in 2 days we found the car we were interested in and only through them we were able to do all the required procedures.

Outfitted for Nosara, 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

We want to mark Russ’s great commitment and heart; with things done instead of leaving us, he wanted to wait until we ourselves left with the newly purchased car.

We highly recommend the service this family business offers!

Massimo and Christina

A True Family Business

This team was great.  From the moment I contacted them, Russ was knowledgeable, kind, communicative, and generous. He spent so much time with me via email, answering all my questions and he responded with care, and understanding. 

Nissan Pathfinder 2009

I was moving from the US to Costa Rica, am a woman who is NOT an expert in cars or 4x4s and Russ kindly educated me throughout the process in a respectful manner. He did all of that without any fees or charges.  The team only charges once the appointment day arrives.

On the day that we were to go see the cars, once I got to Costa Rica, his brother-in-law Chris picked me up from the hotel with destinations/used car dealers that they trust as our adventure for the day. They had already done the homework to find cars that matched my intended specifications.  

Chris was amazing. So easy to be with, super knowledgeable – felt like a friend or a family member who knows a lot about cars was driving you around town.  He is so helpful and patient, nothing pushy at all.  We initially were scouting for a newer car – which would have cost me more money, but along the journey I found an older car (2009) and Chris was as delighted as I about the good value.

The team’s payment is NOT based on the price of the car – its a flat rate fee and is very reasonable.  Chris then took me to get it registered with the lawyer and kept in excellent communication for the few days it took for the bank wire to clear.  Once the car was ready Chris delivered it to my new hometown a few hours away, for a reasonable fee.  

I can’t imagine having to do that on my own – and am so grateful to this team.  Apparently Russ is the online communicator, Russ’ wife (Chris’ sister) is the one who finds the cars and Chris does the in person scouting/deliveries.  A true family business – that I highly recommend.


Costa Ballena

Sweeping Them Off Their Feet

Buying a vehicle in a foreign country, in foreign currency, in a foreign language and with laws different from ours is not easy! Also when it comes to a used vehicle and you have to shop around, you can get lost very easily.

Nissan Xterra 2006 – a nice ride, for a nice couple

On the recommendation of a friend, we used the services of WheelsCR.com. Russ, Kattia and Chris have been great.

After an analysis of our needs one month before arrival, they started looking for the desired vehicle. They identified half a dozen vehicles. They took us from our hotel to several different dealerships to do as many road test.

Once our vehicle was chosen, they made an appointment with the lawyer (yes it takes a lawyer to write a sales contract!) and secure property rights. They made an appointment with an insurance broker. We received our contract by email within hours.

When we picked up our vehicle, Chris escorted us to our hotel in downtown San Jose during rush hour. Driving around San Jose can quickly become an “adventure” in itself.

Thank you very much for your dedication and your availability throughout these 2 days of shopping. Without you we would still be on foot.

Luc & Sylvie Labelle

Montreal, (QC) Canada

For Those In Need of a Clue

We were recommended to WheelsCR by a friend who has lived in CR for several years. We were only 3 days in CR and have no experience buying anything here before. Emailing with Russ over a few weeks before we left the the US was helpful in understanding finance, insurance, registering and delivery options.

I learned a wire transfer was going to be my best option for paying for a vehicle. I got this setup with Chase bank ahead of time. Consider paying the $35 a month fee to have a Private Client account so you can do free online international wire transfers with 24/7 world wide support.

Russ pointed us to a decent hotel in San Jose and we drove there in our rental car from Guanacaste. The next morning Chris picked us up on time. We had a quick chat about the cars he’d arranged for us to see and we started looking at vehicles. Several of the cars would have met our criteria, the first one we saw actually stood out as our favorite.

We made an offer over the phone which was accepted and we drove to the dealer’s home to pay a deposit. The offer we made was only slightly below the asking price, so far I get the impression the dealers here don’t vastly inflate the asking price expecting to haggle like crazy compared to sellers in the US.

We paid a deposit and exchanged banking details so I could arrange a wire transfer for the balance. We agreed for a fee to have the car delivered to us in Tamarindo. Chris arranged for an insurance broker to meet us at our hotel about an hour later to get a policy written.

Title transfer papers were also brought to our hotel for us to sign. All this meant when the car was delivered all the paperwork would already have been taken care of. Chris was with us through all of this answering our questions and making sure everything went smoothly.

By late afternoon Russ had sent me an email with all the details of the dealer’s name and bank so I could arrange the wire transfer. I was able to do this online through the Chase website. I initially had problems with some of the bank routing info but this was just me not editing spaces out of some of the numbers. Chase acknowledged the wire and I got a notification it would take about 8 calendar days. In reality the wire went through really fast and the funds were in the dealers account by the middle of the next morning!

Chris called us to see if wanted to take the car back with us. We’d just got back to Tamarindo so decided to continue with the plan to have the car delivered in a couple of days. The car was delivered on the day and time agreed, the driver sent us a couple of texts to let us know everything was on track.

So far we are very happy with the car. Everything has been as expected and so far no issues. We learned after the fact that dealers in Costa Rica have to provide a very limited 30 day warranty so they have some incentive not to sell a complete lemon. You’d have to take the car back to the dealer for any work but still it is something.

We plan on getting several routine maintenance items done in the next few weeks so we will know they are up to date. The car was more than it would have cost for the same thing in the US but I think that is basically irrelevant. As long as it was priced reasonably for the Costa Rica market that to me is more important.

I just wanted to get into a decent used car that will hopefully serve us well for a year or two as we find our feet here. Certainly better than renting cars with the associated costs and limitations on where you can drive and park them (read the small print).

I’m very happy with the experience of working with WheelsCR and recommend them to anyone like us who hasn’t got a clue where to start buying a vehicle here.

Regards – Paul

An Exceptionally Good Experience

Hi Russ:

I have to say I was a little nervous about engaging with your company initially from over 5000 km away.  However, after reading all of the excellent reviews on your website, I figured it was worth taking a chance on WHEELSCR.  I hope my review here helps others to get comfortable and use your excellent service to find and buy just the right vehicle in Costa Rica.  

My experience with your team throughout the entire process, start to finish, was exceptionally good.  Communications were excellent throughout.  You routinely provided rapid responses to my questions, and were accurate and forthright in the information provided.  That was invaluable in the lead up to my arrival in Costa Rica.

Just go past where the old bridge used to be, from there it’s 500 meters on the right! JAJA

Once on the ground in San Jose, Chris proved to be an exceptional facilitator for all other elements of the required process.  He has a VERY good command of the English language and extensive technical knowledge about all makes and models of vehicles. 

It’s clear that vehicles are a passion for him and not just a job to get done.  He was able to provide the “guided tour” with excellent safe driving throughout the city to all needed venues.  That included not only visiting several targeted dealerships that had vehicles for sale meeting my relatively stringent criteria and budget, but also to the lawyers office to “seal the deal” and a return to the dealer to  pick up the truck when it was read.  He was punctual from the start, at my hotel ahead of time and subsequently to meet me at the bus station. 

I received absolutely excellent service, at a very reasonable price, throughout.  In the simplest of terms, I cannot even imagine trying to do such a thorough search for a car, make all the required arrangements and understand the entire Costa Rican vehicle acquisition process on my own.  That would have been a nightmare I’m sure, despite my having a reasonable capability in the language. 

For anyone arriving into Costa Rica with similar requirements for finding a high-quality used vehicle, I would highly recommend WHEELSCR without a second of hesitation.

You, Chris and Roberto will all be happy to know that I’m a very satisfied customer so far.  I’ve already put the Mazda BT50 4WD pickup truck through its paces, just as I envisioned I would.  It has taken me everywhere I needed to go …down the highway from San Jose to Ojochal and already around some of the Costa Rican mountain back roads.  In all cases, the truck performed perfectly with power, grace and beauty (as shown in the attached pic).  Don’t worry,… I didn’t actually submerge the truck crossing that river, In fact I took the easy way across the bridge but having this truck in the jungle seems perfect and I can’t wait for many further adventures yet to come.

Muchas Gracias! a Usted, Chris and Katia for your excellent work and service…. y a Roberto tambien!!


They Were Amazing …

I am moving to Costa Rica in October and have been traveling back and forth from the US to prepare my house.

One of the most important things was to find a good car.

My friends, who moved to Costa Rica 3 years ago, recommended Russ at WheelsCR.com — they were absolutely AMAZING.

I gave them my criteria, and when we met Chris showed me only cars that met those criteria and within my price range. He never tried to upsell anything.

I found a great AWD SUV, and the buying process was actually smoother than in the US.

My friends in Costa Rica have picked my car up for me, and now it’s sitting in my driveway waiting for my return. Russ also hooked me up with an insurance broker, and my car is insured before I move in October.

Thank you Russ, Kattia and Chris for making this a great experience!

Sybille Ahlstrom