When we bought our truck back in October we didn’t have a mailing address. That complicated things a little when we went to Aguadilla to register the car and change over the title. And while we now have a mailing address we never got around to updating it in the system, so we never received the paperwork to get our marbete (pronounced Mar-Bet-Tay) sticker.
Marbete is registration and compulsory insurance (government liability). It is required on all vehicles. We have heard that the police check more heavily for marbete than they do for drunk driving and definitely more than they do for running red lights, bad U-turns, driving in non-existent lanes, etc, so we knew this was not something to procrastinate too much on.
We stopped into one of the inspection shops near the agro we frequent in Rincón around late May early June because our sticker said it was good until July and we didn’t know if that meant the whole month of July or just until July 1.
An inspection place in Rincón
The place was empty except for one helpful man who said (in Spanish) to me that we shouldn’t worry about the marbete until July because it would last through the month. He said we could come back in July before it was due and they could do the inspection that is required to get the sticker and then we could go to their offices in Aguadilla. He also gave us some helpful advice: go during the middle of the week, in the middle of the month, in the middle of the day. We stored that info away and waited.
Well, yesterday was the day. It was the perfect time to go according to the man from the inspection office in Rincón. We drove in to a different inspection office in Aguada (they are all over the island) and were helped right away. They just ask you to turn on the vehicle, they place an emissions probe into the tail pipe, charge you (we paid $11) and print out a certificate with emissions numbers. Beforehand we had to give them our paperwork from when we registered the car even though it wasn’t the current one so that they could put our info on the certificate.
Next we headed to the Obras Públicas (Public Works) area of Aguadilla where CESCO (Centro de Servicios Al Conductor or in English, the Driver Services Center) and the Colecturía (Collection area) are. This is also where you can get your driver’s license. We knew where to go because this is where the seller of our truck took us when we first registered it.
The all-important marbete!
We waited in a short line (about 15 minutes) to get the registration paper in CESCO and to update/change our address so that in future years it will come to us in the mail (we brought a water bill to prove our new address, but I am not sure it was necessary this time). Then we took that paperwork to the other office (the Colecturia) that is about 100 paces away. There was virtually no line at all there and we paid the $169 with a card. 20 minutes after parking at Obras Públicas we were out with our marbete in hand and updated info. We had heard horror stories so we weren’t sure how it would go. Overall, I would say I have had longer waits with lousier service in the Colorado DMV than we did yesterday. I would even say that everyone was quite friendly and helpful to us! Perhaps it was all in timing, but we were pleasantly surprised.