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Driving around costa ica

Old May 20th, 2013, 03:13 PM
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Driving around costa ica

Hi,

I plan to visit CR in June
I am thinking of renting a car from San Jose Airport

1) Is driving around the country easy?
2) How accurate are the GPS
3) How is the roads?
4) Do they have proper signs and lights to travel at night

Thanks
stan
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Old May 21st, 2013, 04:33 AM
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Depends on where you are going - some roads are in great shape, others (such as Monteverde, Rio Celeste, Carate) are not so good, particularly if you go in the rainy season.

GPS is recommended if you will be driving through San Jose or off the main roads to lesser known destinations. If you are just going to the main tourist destinations such as Arenal and Manuel Antonio, I would not bother. These are the two most visited places in the country.

Signs are hit or miss - you may see some for the main destinations.

Never try to drive at night. There are many people and animals on the roads, lighting is not good. It's never recommended to travel at night. Darkness falls around 5:30 - 5:45 pm, so always try to be at your destination by then.

Sometimes we rent a car, others times we are on shuttles. Having a car gives you the flexibility and freedom to do what you want, when you want to go versus relying on public or private transportation.

It's a beautiful country - enjoy!
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Old May 21st, 2013, 06:13 AM
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All good advice by Colibri. In terms of the signs, it sometimes helps to know a few of the prominent/major hotels, restaurants and attractions in your destination, so instead of looking for road signs for Manuel Antonio (most will actually be for Quepos), you can follow the signs for Kapi Kapi, Midworld and Kamuk...
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Old May 21st, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Driving in Costa Rica is very feasible, as distances aren't great, though it's perhaps not ideal for everyone. Roads are a mixture of good tarmac, compacted and dirt, so a 4WD is highly advisable. As Colibri said, GPS is well worth considering, they're pretty accurate, and can cut down on the uncertainty you will have to deal with - signage is not great in parts. Given the nature of the roads, lack of good signage, and sometimes poor lighting, we would advise people to avoid driving after dark if at all possible. 

My best recommendation would be to not try to cover too much ground, allow plenty of time, and be sure to pack a patient and flexible approach!

Cheers

Dave
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Old May 21st, 2013, 12:54 PM
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We had a car in CR and driving was pretty easy as long as you are careful. We were on the west side of the country - SJ, El Roble, Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo. The roads over there were pretty good, although potholes are a definite problem.

We were really glad that we had a GPS - it made navigation much easier. We had a map too, which was good, but the GPS was esspecially helpful getting through SJ and also in some places along the way where signage was really lacking. We would missed some of our turns otherwise, even with 5 people in the car watching for signs.

The advice not to drive after dark is good. We were on the road after dark due to delays beyond our control. It was ok, but with narrow roads, lack of lights, animals, etc. it was less than ideal. We are used to driving on narrow, rural roads but still, we would have definitely prefered to have completed the drive in the daylight.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 01:54 PM
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Thanks all for the directions
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 10:11 AM
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We really liked having the GPS too; it saved us from missing some turns, and ours even announced speed limit changes and things like that that we needed to be aware of.
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