How can I buy a car in Costa Rica?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Costa Rica Service Providers, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Papagayo Region

How can I buy a car in Costa Rica?

Vehicles available to buy a car in costa rica

Cars are generally about 30% more in Costa Rica than the USA, yet still substantially less than many other countries in the world, as there is an import tax on vehicles. The older the vehicle, the higher the percentage, as Costa Rica does not want a bunch of broken down, Katrina flood cars, sitting on the side of the road like you see in Belize or Mexico. So unless it is your “baby”, and you have to have it with you, my advice is to sell your cars at home and buy them here. You can purchase every type of vehicle in Costa Rica that you can anywhere else, as there is every type of dealership imaginable. There are also fantastic used car dealers close by who have great reputations for selling very reliable cars and SUVs at reasonable prices. But some people just have to have their old Jeep CJ7 or classic convertible mustang, or their vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle and nothing is going to convince them otherwise.

In Liberia, just 30 minutes away, are some of the most popular brands of new cars.

Toyota; Nissan; Chevy; Ford; Kia; VW; Suzuki; Hyundai.

In San Jose, 3.5 hours away is every other dealership in the world, from Audi to BMW; Range Rover to Mercedes; off road vehicles and motorcycles; and all the super high end cars as well.

Most of my clients though, do not need a brand new car. They just need a reliable SUV to get them around town, and do not mind buying one a few years old, with a few thousand kilometers on the dash.

There is Craig’s List in Costa Rica and you can find some good deals. The concern is that you really have no idea what the car has gone through, how rough it was driven and if it is in reliable condition. Make sure you have the car checked out by a reliable mechanic before purchasing and always use a good attorney to check the title of the vehicle.

You can of course, hope to find one locally through our local mailing lists, or For Sale by Owner, but those tend to go quickly in private sales to friends.

There is a great used car lot, just north of the Liberia airport, at the Ford dealership. The owner is Gian Carlo and I have known him since the day I moved here, he is actually my neighbor now as well. I bought my first two cars from him and he has helped HUNDREDS of my clients over the years. He has even been known to meet my clients at the airport and deliver their car to them personally, as they arrived here for their big relocation.

The best way to reach him is by phone or email.


His email is

Another fantastic resource for buying a car is Mattia Cars.
They will personally search and find you the perfect car.


Insurance is very reasonable in Costa Rica as well. All the more reason to buy a car in Costa Rica.

May 2021
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