Posted Feb 2018
1.) Know what they are looking for and make necessary repairs before you go. You can check out their website. There is even an English version! (Click on the US flag in the top right corner, or follow this link: https://www.rtv.co.cr/en/ )
They will do a visual inspection first and this is the part you can most prepare for. Check your seat belts, lights, blinkers, bright lights and brake lights to ensure all are working. Also, test your windshield wipers and water spray feature as they will ask you to demonstrate.
They will then do an emissions test, brake test, suspension test and pit inspection. Some of the tests feel a bit like a fair ride, so don’t be alarmed. You will be asked to put the car in neutral and apply the emergency/hand brake at times.
2.) Go to a mechanic before your appointment.
It will save you time and the hassle of going back again, if you make any repairs before you go. Find a car repair place that you trust, relatively. I know, it sounds like I’m telling you to find a unicorn, but I’ve actually found most of the mechanics in Costa Rica to be pretty honest and reasonable. I always get my oil changed before and ask them to check my lights and everything for Riteve. (If your Spanish is bad, just say, “Tengo que ir a Riteve. Puede probrar todos?”)
3.) Find your nearest location.
On the Riteve website, you can see all their locations to find the one most convenient for you.
4.) Make an appointment online: https://www.rtv.co.cr/en/schedule-appointment/
Its super easy. Just have your plate number and license handy.
5.) Bring your driver’s license, ID card and title of the vehicle. Do not bring weapons or pets. If you bring small children, make sure they are in an appropriate car seat and that you have some snacks and entertainment, as it usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour or more depending on the lines.
When you arrive, you have to park and go inside to register and pay. You can pay with cash or card. Most vehicles cost a little over 12,000 colones. You will receive a receipt or “factura” from the windows inside after you pay. Take that and all your paperwork and drive around to the entry of the warehouse. You will see painted lanes, lines and guys directing you where to go.