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Other than potholes and nighttime, are there other warnings about driving in Costa Rica?

Other than potholes and nighttime, are there other warnings about driving in Costa Rica?

Old Dec 5th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Other than potholes and nighttime, are there other warnings about driving in Costa Rica?

We're headed to Costa Rica next week (YAY!) and will be renting a car, driving from San Jose to Sarapiqui, from Sarapiqui to Arenal, and then back down to San Jose.

I am prepared for the potholes the size of furniture, and was warned not to drive in the dark. Other than these 2 things, are there any other things that we should be forewarned of? Any other concerns?

Just double-checking!
Thanks!
BostonGal is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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Here are a few things to remember or be aware of:

Speed Bumps
School Zones
Curving, winding, 2 lane roads
Road Signs in Spanish
KM instead of MILEs
Traffic cops loving to write speeding tickets
People walking on the road
Animals walking too!
Occasional ox carts
Fog
Stay back from log trucks
And signage to different areas is not always well marked. Sometimes it is very helpful to look back over your shoulder to see what the sign said that was facing the opposing traffic. That just may have been your turnoff.

Common sense and safe driving - no matter what the other drivers are doing.

If you are not fluent in Spanish or do not have a phrase book or at least a section in your guidebook on road signage - do get one - as you would suspect it is very helpful to understand the signs.

Make sure you get very clear directions on how to get out of the city. And write them down.

You are going to have a GREAT time!

dfarmer is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Thanks dfarmer-
That's right, I meant to add in the winding road and trucks!

I will be sure to get detailed directions!

Thank you!
BostonGal is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 08:28 AM
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Don't forget the one way bridges and learn the rules of who goes first.

Sorry I've forgotten what the rule is but I'm sure someone here knows.
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Old Dec 5th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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The drive anywhere will take longer than you think. The roads are much narrower and have soft shoulders. The highway type roads stop shortly outside of San Jose. Some mountainous areas you drive in will be dirt track with potholes and boulders as high as 6" jutting up and the road has crumbled away on the cliffside in some spots. There are few guardrails. I'm not sure how close you will be driving to Monteverde but thats what the roads are like there.
We found alot of atm machines didn't take our cards. When we found one that did, we took out the maximum we were allowed. Take US Cash. And keep it on you at all times. A credit card too of course...
We were really suprised how few biting bugs we encountered but we were there during the dry season in Feb and March. We only got bitten at the aerodrome in Bahia Drake.
Meals eaten around town are really cheap and I had to look up a recipe for Arroz con Pollo when we got home. We ate it most days for lunch down there.
One of the local tour guides introduced me to "Rock Ice" beer. Its 100% Tico and nice and refreshing in the heat.
We used a hired driver and taxi's or flew between places. The tours that you sign up for will usually pick you up at your hotel. Taxi's are dirt cheap and the locals know all the potholes and pitfalls of the roads so we kicked back and enjoyed the ride. The towns are all small enough to get around in by foot.
Have a great time and don't forget your laundry will be washed in a commercial machine with some kind of soap that makes it stiff so don't pack your favorite summer blouse unless you're through with it!
As you can see Costa Rica brings out the "Yippee" in me too. It was the first time we did a trip together without it being a 5 star all-inclusive. My husband was suprised that I rode horses, body surfed, snorkled with sharks, sea kayaked,etc. Well.. Costa Rica just makes you feel so alive!


muddybunny is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 10:22 AM
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It is highly recomended to not leave anything in your vehicle when it is out of sight from you. Way too many car breakins. I have broken that rule when traveling between hotels wanting to stop and see a sight, ie topiary garden in Zarcero or a stop for lunch, and have gotten away with it, but many don't. The worst story I've read is about the people who left their vehicle on a lonely road at night to get help for a flat or other break down and upon return found it torched. Also the scam of theifs causing a leak in a tire and when you stop to change it they show up to help and then in the mean time someone runs off with your goods. Knowing about these I still enjoy driving a rental when we visit CR and have had no problems in our three trips there. I pray alot! Hope you have a wonderful journey and remember to praise God for His awesome creation!
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Old Dec 5th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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earthtraveler covered it-

when driving a rental car in CR keep in mind that you are a target for petty theft so beware of scams and leave NOTHING in your car.

If you get a flat tire drive on the rim until you can get to a safe place to change tires

beware of rental car scratches/scams- check your car very carefully before you leave the rental office

Keep in mind that CR has the highest rate of death by automobile in the world- may this knowledge keep you from passing logging trucks on blind curves, even if everyone is "doing it"
greenfieldhunter is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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I haven't driven in CR myself, but I did notice fom riding in taxi's etc that stop signs are kind of vague notions; so I wouldn't assume just cause someone else has a stop sign that they actually will.
tully is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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I have heard so many stories about not leaving anything in the car - thankfully, we are going straight to the hotels and then back to the airport so hopefully this won't be an issue!

thanks for all who responded.
BostonGal is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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When we were enjoying Tabacon hot springs we noticed our tire was almost flat and had it changed. The next day we went to get the tire repaired and were told there was nothing wrong with it just low on air. Someone must have let the air out of it while we were at the springs. Good thing we noticed it before we got on the road.
dilen is offline  
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