Tuesday, June 18, 2024

10 Essential Ideas (Plus Errors To Keep away from)

Driving in Costa Rica
Ideas for Driving in Costa Rica
Costa Rica Driving Information

Prepared for an epic highway journey driving in Costa Rica? Renting a automobile is the easiest way to expertise this lovely nation. However there are some things it’s best to know earlier than you go.

So that you’ve been wanting to go to for years, and are lastly planning your individual epic highway journey to drive round Costa Rica!

For such a small nation, Costa Rica is surprisingly mountainous with winding dust roads and occasional river crossings, so my first time driving there was fairly an journey! Since then, I’ve visited the nation many instances, all the time preferring to hire a automobile.

Renting a automobile and self-driving Costa Rica by yourself is the easiest way to expertise this beautiful nation, because it really provides you the liberty to cease at each waterfall, volcano, seaside, and nationwide park alongside the best way.

Listed here are some necessary suggestions I realized about driving Costa Rica, so that you’re able to hit the highway and discover the Wealthy Coast on a trip you’ll always remember.

Driving In Costa Rica Information (2023)

1. Ought to You Drive In Costa Rica?

Renting a Car in Costa Rica
Get Off the Overwhelmed Path!

Hey, if you happen to love these large group bus excursions, by all means, go e book one. It’s an honest method to see Costa Rica if you happen to don’t have quite a lot of time.

No planning, no driving, simply sit again and let another person do all of the work!

However if you happen to’re like me, you like the journey of unbiased journey.

No set schedule or timetable — driving round Costa Rica with the liberty to cease anyplace cool you discover alongside the best way.

If that’s the form of traveler you might be, renting a automobile in Costa Rica is the best way to go!

Sure, there’s a public bus system in Costa Rica too, however it’s actually solely good for getting from one large city to a different, and sometimes the bus stops are situated simply exterior of city, so that you’ll additionally find yourself having to take a taxi. To not point out that touring by public bus is only a slower method to get across the nation.

Simply remember the fact that a few of the again roads in Costa Rica could be very tough & muddy, and a few native drivers don’t observe their very own legal guidelines. With some follow although, you’ll achieve confidence driving right here!

One other good factor we loved about having a automobile was the flexibility to retailer issues within the trunk, stopping off in Costa Rican cities with small journey backpacks moderately than hauling baggage all over the place.

2. The place To Hire Your Automobile In Costa Rica

Driving Tips for Costa Rica
Driving in Costa Rica

Some frequent automobile rental corporations in Costa Rica embody Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz, an area one known as Adobe Hire-a-Automobile, and lots of extra.

However the perfect website to e book your automobile is Uncover Automobiles. They search each native and worldwide automobile rental corporations that can assist you discover the absolute best value. That is the best method to hire a automobile in Costa Rica.

We rented our automobile from San Jose Airport in Alajuela, and started our Costa Rican highway journey from there.

San Jose Airport: Plan to choose up your automobile about 60 minutes after your flight arrives. When departing, attempt to be on the airport at the very least 3 1/2 hours earlier than your flight leaves. As a result of returning your rental automobile and catching a shuttle again to the airport can take as much as half-hour.

Liberia Airport: Plan to choose up your automobile about half-hour after your flight arrives. When departing, attempt to be on the airport at the very least 2 1/2 hours earlier than your flight leaves. Once more, due to the shuttle.

Rental Cars

Hire A Automobile In Costa Rica

Search each native and worldwide automobile rental corporations that can assist you discover a whole lot.

3. Automobile Rental Insurance coverage In Costa Rica

Among the rumors about driving in Costa Rica are true, and the roads are VERY tough in some areas. Particularly the again roads exterior Costa Rica’s smaller cities. Don’t fear, I’ll share some suggestions for coping with them under.

Because of this I extremely suggest getting full insurance coverage protection.

Usually, rental vehicles in Costa Rica include a fundamental Collision Harm Waiver (CDW), however this isn’t precisely insurance coverage, and solely covers the automobile for as much as $1000-3000 USD value of harm.

That is the quantity they maintain in your bank card till you come the automobile in a single piece. CDW usually doesn’t embody tire, cracked windshield, or undercarriage injury both.

When you can typically lower your expenses reserving your automobile with a good journey bank card that features automobile rental insurance coverage, you REALLY should learn the high-quality print, as a result of many individuals wrongly assume their card covers them in Costa Rica.

Should you get in a wreck driving in Costa Rica, declined full protection, and also you all of the sudden be taught your bank card doesn’t truly cowl the injury — you’re screwed. I can’t inform you what number of journey horror tales I’ve heard like this…

It’s why I often pre-book full protection on-line. It’s cheaper than on the counter — and then you definately received’t have to fret about accidents in any respect!

4. How A lot Does In Price To Hire A Automobile In Costa Rica?

Renting a automobile in Costa Rica goes to value you round $25-$40 USD a day, relying on the kind of automobile you get. Our 4-door sedan was about $25 per day. A four-wheel drive SUV will value you extra like $40-$70 USD per day.

A 4X4 campervan, or truck with a tent hooked up, goes to value over $100 USD per day (nonetheless you possibly can sleep in it too!)

I like to recommend renting a automobile with an precise trunk (no hatchbacks) to cover your baggage from prying eyes. It helps to forestall break-ins if thieves can’t see your stuff.

Fuel Costs

Presently, gasoline prices about $4.75 USD per gallon ($1.25 per liter) in Costa Rica. Diesel vehicles will typically prevent some cash on gasoline, and diesel gas prices about $4.20 per gallon. It’s way more costly than within the gasoline in america!

Computerized vs Handbook

Computerized vehicles are costlier to hire than guide vehicles (however manuals are extra frequent in Costa Rica), and it’s essential to specify what kind you need when reserving. Should you’ve by no means pushed a guide automobile earlier than, don’t begin in Costa Rica! It’s safer to get an computerized.

One-Approach Leases

There’s an extra price for one-way automobile leases in Costa Rica, which might differ by firm. For instance, if you wish to drop off the automobile in a special metropolis than the place you began from. However as a result of the nation is so small, you most likely received’t want to do that.

5. Age Necessities For Renting A Automobile

The minimal age for driving in Costa Rica is between 21-25 years outdated, relying on the corporate you e book a automobile with. In addition they would possibly cost an extra price (often $10 a day) if you happen to’re underneath 25 years outdated.

6. Issues To Bear in mind Whereas Driving In Costa Rica

Crossing a River in Costa Rica
River Crossing

Driving legal guidelines in Costa Rica are much like driving legal guidelines in another nation. Nevertheless native drivers don’t all the time observe them. For instance, drivers could not use flip alerts or will run pink lights in the event that they assume they’ll get away with it.

Pace Limits In Costa Rica

Pace limits in Costa Rica are quoted in kilometers per hour. The utmost pace on most highways is 120 km/h (about 74 miles per hour). On secondary roads, the restrict is often 60km/h (37 miles per hour), and round cities & cities it’s 40km/h (25 miles per hour).

Should you occur to get a rushing ticket, please let your automobile rental firm know instantly, as you’ll should pay for it if you drop off the automobile on the finish of your journey.

Street Indicators In Costa Rica

The highway indicators in Costa Rica ought to be fairly self-explanatory, as they give the impression of being much like US highway indicators, simply in Spanish. You may browse some frequent Costa Rican highway indicators right here.

Street Situations

Costa Rica’s highways are paved and in good situation, nonetheless the nation can also be coated in again roads. A number of dust roads, and lots of usually are not in nice form. Muddy, potholes, and so forth. Should you plan on driving off the crushed path in Costa Rica, I extremely suggest renting a four-wheel drive SUV. Some bridges are solely single lane, requiring one automobile to attend for the opposite to cross earlier than continuing.

River Crossings

You may highway journey round Costa Rica with out ever having to cross a river, however there are additionally some again roads that cross by means of rivers. Particularly throughout the moist/wet season, and within the Nicoya Peninsula, Drake Bay and Osa Peninsula areas. Should you’ve by no means crossed a river earlier than, please watch another person go first!

Put your car into 4X4 mode, go sluggish, and take note of the route. Some rivers aren’t crossed instantly, however require you to drive up or down stream earlier than exiting. This may be as a consequence of hidden obstacles, depth, or just the perfect entry/exit factors.

7. Worldwide Driver’s License

No, you do not want an worldwide driver’s license to drive in Costa Rica or hire a automobile there. Simply deliver your passport, bank card, and your driver’s license from your house nation. So sure, you possibly can drive in Costa Rica with a US driver’s license.

8. Additional Recommendation For Renting A Automobile & Driving In Costa Rica

  • Lock your doorways whereas driving in Costa Rica, and by no means depart valuables seen in your automobile.
  • Pedestrians don’t actually have right-of-way in Costa Rica. Which means if you happen to politely cease within the highway to let somebody cross, they’ll be confused, and the automobile behind you received’t count on it — which might trigger an accident! That is comparable in Mexico and different components of Central America.
  • Don’t e book a automobile with out studying the corporate critiques. You’ll discover loads of unhealthy critiques for each firm (individuals like to complain on-line), however attempt to decide one with the LEAST unhealthy critiques.
  • You could not all the time get the make/mannequin/kind of automobile you booked. If they offer you a smaller automobile, or a guide if you requested for an computerized, be pushy and ask for an improve.
  • Examine your automobile totally and file video in your smartphone stating injury earlier than you permit. This can be a backup in the event that they try and cost you for injury that was already there. This can be a frequent automobile rental rip-off in Costa Rica….
  • Take note of in case your Costa Rica rental automobile takes common gasoline or diesel gas, so that you replenish with the right kind at gasoline stations.
  • Use Google Maps in your smartphone for instructions as a substitute of renting a GPS gadget. Merely use your individual hands-free automobile mount and a good worldwide cellular phone plan.

9. Accident & Breakdown Data

In an emergency, you possibly can dial the Costa Rican Emergency Cellphone Quantity which is 911, identical to in america. They’ve an English talking line too.

Nevertheless in case your automobile merely breaks down, and nobody is injured, its most likely higher to name your Costa Rican automobile rental firm’s personal emergency roadside help quantity situated on the rental settlement.

Take pleasure in Your Costa Rica Street Journey!

Exploring the small villages, pristine seashores, jungle mountains, and nationwide parks of Costa Rica in a rental automobile was positively the correct alternative for us.

Self-drive highway journeys let you get off the crushed observe to see issues most individuals miss! ★

Rental Cars

Hire A Automobile In Costa Rica

Search each native and worldwide automobile rental corporations that can assist you discover a whole lot.


I hope you loved my information for driving in Costa Rica! Hopefully you discovered it helpful. Listed here are a couple of extra wanderlust-inducing articles that I like to recommend you learn subsequent:

Have any questions on driving by means of Costa Rica? What about different ideas? Be a part of the dialog on Fb, Instagram, or Twitter to share!

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