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10 Necessary Suggestions (Plus Errors To Keep away from)

Driving in Costa RicaDriving in Costa Rica
Suggestions for Driving in Costa Rica
Costa Rica Driving Information

Prepared for an epic street journey driving in Costa Rica? Renting a automobile is the easiest way to expertise this stunning nation. However there are some things you need to know earlier than you go.

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

For such a small nation, Costa Rica is surprisingly mountainous with winding grime roads and occasional river crossings, so my first time driving there was fairly an journey! Since then, I’ve visited the nation many instances, at all times 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 actually provides you the liberty to cease at each waterfall, volcano, seashore, and nationwide park alongside the best way.

Listed below are some vital ideas I discovered about driving Costa Rica, so that you’re able to hit the street 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 RicaRenting a Car in Costa Rica
Get Off the Overwhelmed Path!

Hey, should you love these large group bus excursions, by all means, go guide one. It’s an honest technique to see Costa Rica should you don’t have a number of time.

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

However should you’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 type of traveler you’re, renting a automobile in Costa Rica is the best way to go!

Sure, there’s a public bus system in Costa Rica too, nevertheless it’s actually solely good for getting from one large city to a different, and sometimes the bus stops are situated simply outdoors 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 technique to get across the nation.

Simply needless to say a number of the again roads in Costa Rica may be very tough & muddy, and a few native drivers don’t comply with their very own legal guidelines. With some observe although, you’ll acquire 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 in every single place.

2. The place To Lease Your Automotive In Costa Rica

Driving Tips for Costa RicaDriving Tips for Costa Rica
Driving in Costa Rica

Some widespread automobile rental corporations in Costa Rica embody Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz, an area one known as Adobe Lease-a-Automotive, and plenty of extra.

However the very best web site to guide your automobile is Uncover Vehicles. They search each native and worldwide automobile rental corporations that can assist you discover the very best value. That is the best technique to hire a automobile in Costa Rica.

We rented our automobile from San Jose Airport in Alajuela, and commenced our Costa Rican street 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 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 least 2 1/2 hours earlier than your flight leaves. Once more, due to the shuttle.

Rental CarsRental Cars

Lease A Automotive In Costa Rica

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

3. Automotive Rental Insurance coverage In Costa Rica

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

For this reason I extremely suggest getting full insurance coverage protection.

Usually, rental automobiles in Costa Rica include a primary 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 injury.

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.

Whilst you can usually get monetary savings 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.

In the event you get in a wreck driving in Costa Rica, declined full protection, and also you instantly be taught your bank card doesn’t really cowl the injury — you’re screwed. I can’t let you know 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 you then received’t have to fret about accidents in any respect!

4. How A lot Does In Price To Lease A Automotive In Costa Rica?

Renting a automobile in Costa Rica goes to price 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 price you extra like $40-$70 USD per day.

A 4X4 campervan, or truck with a tent connected, goes to price 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 stop 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 automobiles will usually prevent some cash on gasoline, and diesel gasoline prices about $4.20 per gallon. It’s way more costly than within the gasoline in america!

Computerized vs Guide

Computerized automobiles are dearer to hire than guide automobiles (however manuals are extra widespread in Costa Rica), and it’s essential to specify what kind you need when reserving. In the event you’ve by no means pushed a guide automobile earlier than, don’t begin in Costa Rica! It’s safer to get an automated.

One-Approach Leases

There’s an extra charge for one-way automobile leases in Costa Rica, which may fluctuate by firm. For instance, if you wish to drop off the automobile in a unique metropolis than the place you began from. However as a result of the nation is so small, you in all probability received’t want to do that.

5. Age Necessities For Renting A Automotive

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

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

Crossing a River in Costa RicaCrossing a River in Costa Rica
River Crossing

Driving legal guidelines in Costa Rica are much like driving legal guidelines in another nation. Nonetheless native drivers don’t at all times comply with them. For instance, drivers might not use flip alerts or will run crimson lights in the event that they assume they will get away with it.

Velocity Limits In Costa Rica

Velocity limits in Costa Rica are quoted in kilometers per hour. The utmost velocity 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).

In the event you occur to get a rushing ticket, please let your automobile rental firm know straight away, as you’ll should pay for it once you drop off the automobile on the finish of your journey.

Street Indicators In Costa Rica

The street indicators in Costa Rica ought to be fairly self-explanatory, as they appear much like US street indicators, simply in Spanish. You possibly can browse some widespread Costa Rican street indicators right here.

Street Situations

Costa Rica’s highways are paved and in good situation, nonetheless the nation can be coated in again roads. A lot of grime roads, and plenty of are usually not in nice form. Muddy, potholes, and many others. In the event 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 possibly can street journey round Costa Rica with out ever having to cross a river, however there are additionally some again roads that go via rivers. Particularly throughout the moist/wet season, and within the Nicoya Peninsula, Drake Bay and Osa Peninsula areas. In the event you’ve by no means crossed a river earlier than, please watch another person go first!

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

7. Worldwide Driver’s License

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

8. Additional Recommendation For Renting A Automotive & 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 should you politely cease within the street 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 elements of Central America.
  • Don’t guide a automobile with out studying the corporate evaluations. You’ll discover loads of unhealthy evaluations for each firm (folks like to complain on-line), however attempt to choose one with the LEAST unhealthy evaluations.
  • You might not at all times get the make/mannequin/kind of automobile you booked. If they provide you a smaller automobile, or a guide once you requested for an automated, be pushy and ask for an improve.
  • Examine your automobile completely and file video in your smartphone stating injury earlier than you allow. This can be a backup in the event that they try to cost you for injury that was already there. This can be a widespread automobile rental rip-off in Costa Rica….
  • Take note of in case your Costa Rica rental automobile takes common gasoline or diesel gasoline, so that you replenish with the right kind at gasoline stations.
  • Use Google Maps in your smartphone for instructions as an alternative of renting a GPS machine. Merely use your individual hands-free automobile mount and a good worldwide cellphone plan.

9. Accident & Breakdown Info

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

Nonetheless in case your automobile merely breaks down, and nobody is injured, its in all probability 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 undoubtedly the proper selection for us.

Self-drive street journeys mean you can get off the crushed observe to see issues most individuals miss! ★

Rental CarsRental Cars

Lease A Automotive 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 below are just a few extra wanderlust-inducing articles that I like to recommend you learn subsequent:

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

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