Driving conditions in Costa Rica

Old Jun 16th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Driving conditions in Costa Rica

Hi, I am going to Costa Rica on July 25th to 2nd August. I will rent a van there as I will be driving with a small group. I have read that road conditions in this country are not the best, traffic can be caotic, roads are poorly signed, etc. Not many positive things!
Has anyone driven recently in Costa Rica? I will be going to from San Jose to Puntarenas to pick the group up and then to La Fortuna. We will be visiting Arenal, Cano Negro, Poas national park.
Thanks Alet
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 03:48 PM
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Just got back last sunday from first trip to CR, and had a renta-car. I'd do it again in a minute. Yes, the roads are not great, but not bad. The roads are not well marked, so be alert for your turn-offs. Traffic not bad, except around San Jose. We ended up right in downtown SJ by mistake, and that wasn't a lot of fun...but don't be worried about it.
You don't mention going to Monteverde, which is where we encountered the only "bad" roads, which meant rocky, potholed, 2nd gear, 15kph. They weren't bad, just slow.
I AM curious about your route from Puntarenas to LaFortuna. Will you be going around the northern end of Arenal Lake?? That takes you close to Monteverde and that is where the rough roads are. Email me if you have questions.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Driving is fine, just remember to take it slow! Esp. if you encounter torrential rains- some roads aren't as well equipped as their American equivalents. Also, distances on maps in CR look much shorter than they actually are- twisting through mountains and around protected forest areas can take more time than you might expect. It is gorgeous, though! Have a great trip.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Im here now and have been traveling around Costa Rica for the last month with my family (3 kids, mother, and sometimes husband). The road from Cannas (highway) north was riddled with potholes but nothing that caused any problems. Also, the road around Lake Arenal is not bad, but many unpaved sections. I would rent in a minute because of the freedom of movement. For us, the cost of 5 or 6 people on a bus and the headache of moving on public transport with the kids was far outweighted by the cost of rental. We are using Dollar and very happy. Be aware, if you lose your keys its $225. Thankfully after an extra night at Arenal (Volcano Lodge) we managed to find them. Whew.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Hi, thank you all for your reply. It did help!
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Current (JUNE) issue of Budget Travel Mag has article on some roads in CR.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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we went to CR in December and were thrilled that we did not drive. the signage was non-existant and the roads were rough. We were so please to have a capable, local driver.
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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 05:48 AM
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I found the sinage is be pretty good in throughout all of Costa Rica. Every highway intersection had a sign with arrows and distances to the next town. The cities are another thing as none of the streets seemed to have signs so you need to rely on landmarks for finding things.
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