Day 4: STILL Looking for a good used car in Costa Rica

Got up early to look for a car. Decided we liked the Hyundai Galloper diesel 4x4 so went looking for various ones to look at that might be cheaper than the one our friend-of-a-friend showed us. He wanted $8400 which seems high even for Tico car prices which tend to be almost double U.S. prices due to import taxes.

Anyway so we got up, had our coffee and Cocanas cookies (YUM! Our favorite snack with coffee!), then I went up to the neighbor's house to use her wifi and notify our banks that we're in Costa Rica, and cancel the gas and electricity and call my friend Brad about something, and then - most importantly - look for cars for sale here.

I found about 12 Gallopers to look at but they did not say where in Costa Rica they are, and there is no "search by region" option on the crautos website. They do give phone #'s though so created a text then copied and pasted it into texts for each of the Galloper owners.

Then we went to the bank to get money to pay for our current rented house and to pay for the rest of the 1st and last on our new rental house. Then we had breakfast and headed off to Grecia which is the local car-buying town where they have about 25 or more car dealers on one road.

We stopped at about half of them and asked for a car with the following features:

  • 4x4 (real 4x4, not a button on the dashboard)
  • manual stick shift
  • strong, not weak, for getting up a steep hill
  • under 4 million colones which is about $8,000

    Long story short, no one had what we want. It was hot as hell especially when  you sat inside a car that hasn't been open and is sitting in a sunny spot. And some were so poorly presented it was ridiculous.

    One Suzuki Sidekick was way in the back, in the dark, and when I asked them to let me drive it, it wouldn't start due to the dead battery.

    Finally we found a Galloper and it was in very good condition and I took it for a test drive up a steep hill. It was very strong and I was about ready to start negotiating a buying price...
    Then as I drove it back to the dealer, we heard a loud pop kind of like an explosion under the hood. I stopped the car and the car salesman got out and looked at it and found that a fan had busted.

    That kind of blew that deal! LOL!

    Then I looked closer at the engine and noticed even more very old parts that look like they could go at any minute. Thank goodness this one went blooey BEFORE I bought it!

    Then we went into town and had some coffee - we were both dead tired from looking at cars all day and me from driving - and we called a guy from the crautos web site who had a 2002 Galloper (3 years newer than the one we are considering buying) and he agreed to bring it to San Ramon for us to look at.

    Meanwhile we called the guy who originally showed us his Galloper - an old friend of a friend of ours - and he came so I could try to negotiate a better price. He wants $8400 and I negotiated him down to $7900 plus a free tire and a free cd/usb player. But I really wanted to get him down to at least $7000 or $7500 at the most.

    So we then waited for the guy to briing the 2002 to San Ramon for us but we called him and we all agreed to wait and look at it tomorrow (Tue) ... So, yet ANOTHER day of car rental at around $75-80 a day! OUCH! (It's the insurance on off road vehicles.)

    So we found out that this guy is leaving  Costa Rica to live in the USA and that's why he's selling it and he has only 9 more days to sell it. This explains why he is selling a 2002 at 1997 prices if it's true. IF it's true... That's the problem: we don't know THIS guy from Adam and he could be doing nothing but lying. Anyway we decided to look at it closely and then have a mechanic check it if we like it and IF we like it and it looks very good we'll take a chance on it - and IF the guy seems honest and genuine when he says he has to dump it only because he's leaving for the USofA.

    By this time it was near 8pm and Joanie and me went to the local "super store" - Maxi Pali' I think it's called - and bought a few things as we are moving into our 2-month rental tomorrow up near our land.

    We looked around there at household items and found that the prices for things like dishes and utensils and such are very reasonable, while electronics and electric appliances are up to double the price of the USA.

    Meanwhile I bought a big papaya for a dollar and some tomatoes and stuff and we went home and made nachos.

    By the time we got home I was dead tired and after we ate I REALLY got sleepy and then took a shower and wrote this.

    Now I'm barely able to stay awake.
    Good night, Irene!

Read about Day 5 Here

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