One of many things we had to decide on before heading to Guatemala City was what we wanted to do about a car. We are going to sell our current car before leaving, as it has quite a few miles on it and it is much easier getting a Toyota, Honda, or a Hyundai serviced overseas than a GMC. Knowing we were going to sell meant we had to find something here before we left, or wait until we arrived to buy something locally. We are able to have a car shipped over which is great, but this process can take a while and the car is usually held for up for 6 weeks before it can be cleared.
Given this process, DiploMom did some digging around in the Guatemala City Embassy newsletter and found a listing for a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe, but unfortunately, it was a manual transmission and there was no way either of us was going to learn to drive a stick in a foreign country. We always used to joke that if we ever got on The Amazing Race, that a manual transmission would have been our Achilles’ heal. She asked the contact if she knew of anyone else at the embassy selling a car and we were pointed to another Santa Fe.
This one was a 2008 with just 47,000 miles and an excellent price – much less than what we were turning up on AutoTrader for similar year/mileage RAV 4s, CRVs, and Santa Fes. Long story short is that we decided to buy the car and I wired the payment on Monday. It was a weird feeling essentially buying the car site unseen, save for the pictures the seller emailed to us, but we are realizing this is pretty typical for State Department staff heading to and from posts.
The seller is leaving Guatemala City at the end of May, but her boyfriend is going to be able to keep the car for us until we arrive. In the meantime, local paperwork for the transfer will be handled so that the car will be ready for us as soon as we arrive. No waiting around for a month or more for the car to get cleared, which will be just great. We always assumed that whatever car we ended up with at post would be sold when our tour finished, but given the mileage and features on this Santa Fe, it may just leave the country with us when we come to the end of our time.