Mexico & Central America Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Driving in Costa Rica

Jump to last reply

We just got back from CR today. We found driving in CR to be no big deal if you follow some simple guidelines:

1. You need to have a GPS, we bought a map download for Garmin from NavSat before we left, and it was great. CR has very few street names and numbers, you find places by POI names. We were able to find little hole-in-the-wall restaurants by typing in the names. A typical set of directions is “ drive 400 meters on Road, then turn left on Unpaved Road, in 300 meters, turn right on Road”. The only time we sort of got lost was trying to go to Playa Marbella which came up on the GPS but was not actually selectable. So we set the GPS to a neighboring beach and got there by asking locals for directions.

2. You really must purchase the full insurance when you are renting a car. Your credit card insurance is not acceptable (the whole deal is a government-run monopoly). We paid an extra $55/day for the insurance for a 4WD mini-SUV with Dollar-Rent-A-Car that covered 100% of anything that happens. We talked with another traveler who took the middle level insurance option that is $750 deductible, he had a little ding when he returned the car and they charged him the whole $750.

3. Gas stations are few and far in between, so don’t let your tank go below ¼ tank. Gas stations are all government owned, open 24 hours, and the price is about $7/gallon. The NavSat GPS will show you the nearest gas station most of the time.

4. Most roads are two lanes (barely-bridges go to one and you yield according to the sign) with no lines, many are dirt with potholes, we drove from San Jose Airport to Tamarindo, spent 5 days around the beach area, then drove to La Fortuna, spent 5 days around there, then back to San Jose to fly home. We drove a total about 1000km. I would say 95% of the roads are two lanes, only the main highways around San Jose have 3 to 4 lanes and nicely paved.

5. Local dogs pretty much think they own the road and just wander on them … be careful.

Pat and Rick

4 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

View all Mexico & Central America activity »
  1. 1 Spanish School in Tulum, Mexico
  2. 2 Ho, Ho, Oaxaca
  3. 3 OAXACA markets….question or two..guide?
  4. 4 think twice before using expedia
  5. 5 Meztli Spanish School in Tulum, Mexico
  6. 6 Bringing snacks into Mexico
  7. 7 best places in Baja
  8. 8 Beachfront in Tulum
  9. 9 Belize, first time
  10. 10 las palapas/mahekal???? Looking for quiet AI in Mexico???
  11. 11 How far a drive from Playa Grande to Riu Palace?
  12. 12 Catamaran Sailing in Costa Rica & Questions Answered
  13. 13 Costa Rica with young kids
  14. 14 10 Days in Central America. Where should I go?
  15. 15 Trip Report Lovin' Costa Rica with Kids
  16. 16 Security in Oaxaca
  17. 17 Panama for Chistmas - tips? ideas?
  18. 18 Mexico City and the butterfly migration....anyone been?
  19. 19 Guatemala for adventure, activity and relaxing?
  20. 20 MEX to Polanco hotel? Taxi?
  21. 21 Things to do in Papagayo in the rainy season?
  22. 22 Shoes for Costa Rica in Nov.
  23. 23 One week home-stay/ language school during hoilday
  24. 24 Trip Report Exploring “Greece” in Costa Rica
  25. 25 cancun
View next 25 » Back to the top