Upon arriving in Nicaragua, we needed to get some wheels! With two children, two suitcases, an inflatable SUP board and a 9ft longboard it was essential and we wanted to have a good look around Nicaragua and this would be the best option. We knew we planned to camp for the most part and unbelievably to us, before we found a vehichle we had located a roof top tent, not only were we surprised to find one in Nicaragua but it was also on the same beach we were currently staying at….now that´s synchronicity eh!
Lack of communication and information
We had a budget that was on the minimal recommendation for what you should spend on a car in Nicaragua, with import export issues anything less than$3,500 would be fit for the scrap yard in first world countries! We had been recommended a local guy who helps expats find cars, he was great until we found the car we ultimately bought and due to complication with the banks and prior commitments on his part, the car was not as thoroughly checked, as in hindsight, it should have been. We had travelled to Granada with him on a Saturday to view the vehicle, after an initial test drive, he and us felt it was a good car for it´s age. Banks in Nicaragua close at noon on Saturdays and he didn´t realise that we hadn´t already withdrawn the money; who in their right mind would walk around a city or anywhere for that matter with $5000+ on their person???
He needed to leave and so we stayed in Granada, despite only having the clothes on our backs, as we had travelled a long way from where we were currently staying to view the car and didn´t want to spend out again to get back there on the Monday. Besides we hadn´t been to Granada yet and thought we could check this lovely city out. We spent the afternoon and following day discovering the city, we visited the chocolate museum, took a boat ride on lake Nicaragua and took in the sights and sounds of this historic city.
On the Monday we went straight to the bank, withdrew the money and purhased the car. Be aware that in Nicaragaua, as a foreigner you can purchase a car, but the paperwork stays in the previous owners name until you become a resident. You have paperwork drawn up with a lawyer that states you have bought it. Secondly, because of this you can not leave the country with the car either, unless you get written permission from the previous owner. We were unaware of this till after we bought the car and we bought our car through a 3rd party and the car was registered in Leon, trying to locate said owner is difficult and this can still be risky when leaving the country, it could just be confiscated. So we never bothered to pursue this.
So now we have transport…Yay! We made our way back to Guanacaste to where we were staying, we had to get the roof rack altered so we could fit the roof tent on and have the surfboard fit underneath. Once this was done we collected the roof tent, gathered our belongings, and we were free!!!!