Is 4x4 needed?

Old Feb 9th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Is 4x4 needed?

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Costa Rica. For the first leg of our journey we are driving to Selva Verde, then to La Fortuna, then return to SJO for flight to Drake Bay. My question is whether you think a 4x4 is needed- it's significantly more expensive than a compact car. I expect we will drive to the entrance of La Selva station and I have no idea what the conditions are like. thanks for your help!
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Old Feb 9th, 2007, 09:40 PM
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No.
We have used a Corolla for years in Costa Rica eveywhere except Monteverde with no problems and we have been on some steep and rocky driveways and back roads. The main roads you will be on should be much better. Wath out for deep potholes. To me that has been the most difficult thing on some roads.
The clearance of a 4x4 is nice to have but as you say, costly.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 05:41 AM
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We've done those roads in a reg. car as well--you'll be fine.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Interesting question - can I add my own? We'll be driving from the Osa up to Dominical area. Would a Corolla do the trick? or are we safer to go with the 4X4 there?

Michele
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 11:01 AM
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Just me, I've gotten to the point where we nearly always rent a 4X4--just for the extra clearance (and higher vantage point on the road conditions) as Earthtraveler says. When we have the 4X4, we don't have to worry about whether we should go on this road or that one because it might be too rough for a regular car. I'd say you'd be okay with a regular car, but that is a fairly long stretch of road, frequent rains affect the condition of it continually, so you never know. If you are going on up to Quepos from Dominical, definitely need one. Dom-Que is horrendous!
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 02:21 PM
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Depends what time of year I'd say. Crossing the Osa streams which turn into rivers in the rainy season and sometimes even stop 4x4s is doable if they are low in the dry season.

Also I've driven (dry season) our Corolla along the Quepos - Dominical road three times with no problems except having to indure the bumpity bump bump for close to 2 hours. We did not have to cross any streams without bridges though crossing the bridges take courage!
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 11:16 PM
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thanks for your first hand experience and advice. We'll go with a 4X4. They're better designed to deal with the bumpity bump roads and I don't fancy a roadside stop to fix a tire with our two young kids in the vehicle.
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Old Feb 11th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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One of the bridges was out on the Dom-Que road last June. Hopefully it has been fixed, but we had to cross some fairly deep water. Deep enough that it was necessary to wade out and explore it a bit before crossing. I don't think this type of occurrence on that road is particularly rare. . .

Like you, Earthtraveler, my daughter and I used a Sentra for a trip over to the Caribbean side a couple of years ago. The entire road from Cahuita to Manzanillo was a mess and, while we managed, the higher vantage point would have been nice. Tricolor is low enough on their 4X4 prices to make it not so much of a $$ sting.

The nice thing about having a regular car is the trunk, where your stuff can be out of sight (not that it would matter much!). . .
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Funny you would mention the flat tires Michele.
We traveled the Quepos- Dominical road with some bald areas on our tires with no problem( prayed alot) but did see a 4x4 fixing a flat along that road.
All tires are vulnerable.
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