You are currently viewing 10 Essential Suggestions (Plus Errors To Keep away from)

10 Essential Suggestions (Plus Errors To Keep away from)


Driving 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 one of the best ways to expertise this lovely 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 personal epic street journey to drive round Costa Rica!

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

Renting a automobile and self-driving Costa Rica by yourself is one of the best ways to expertise this gorgeous nation, because it actually provides you the liberty to cease at each waterfall, volcano, seashore, and nationwide park alongside the way in which.

Listed here are some essential suggestions I realized 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 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 solution 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 favor the journey of impartial journey.

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

If that’s the type of traveler you’re, renting a automobile in Costa Rica is the way in which to go!

Sure, there’s a public bus system in Costa Rica too, but it surely’s actually solely good for getting from one large city to a different, and sometimes the bus stops are positioned 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 solution to get across the nation.

Simply take into account that a number of the again roads in Costa Rica will be very tough & muddy, and a few native drivers don’t comply with their very own legal guidelines. With some apply although, you’ll achieve confidence driving right here!

One other good factor we loved about having a automobile was the power to retailer issues within the trunk, stopping off in Costa Rican cities with small journey backpacks somewhat 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 widespread automobile rental corporations in Costa Rica embrace Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz, an area one referred to as Adobe Hire-a-Automobile, and plenty of extra.

However one of the best website to e-book your automobile is Uncover Vehicles. They search each native and worldwide automobile rental corporations that can assist you discover the absolute best worth. That is the best solution to lease a automobile in Costa Rica.

We rented our automobile from San Jose Airport in Alajuela, and started 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 a minimum of 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 a minimum of 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 beneath.

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

Usually, rental automobiles 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 price of harm.

That is the quantity they maintain in your bank card till you come back the automobile in a single piece. CDW usually doesn’t embrace tire, cracked windshield, or undercarriage harm 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 advantageous print, as a result of many individuals wrongly assume their card covers them in Costa Rica.

In case 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 really cowl the harm — you’re screwed. I can’t inform you what number of journey horror tales I’ve heard like this…

It’s why I normally pre-book full protection on-line. It’s cheaper than on the counter — and then you definately gained’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 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 hooked up, goes to price over $100 USD per day (nevertheless you’ll be able to 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.

Gasoline Costs

Presently, gasoline prices about $4.75 USD per gallon ($1.25 per liter) in Costa Rica. Diesel automobiles 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 the USA!

Computerized vs Handbook

Computerized automobiles are costlier to lease than guide automobiles (however manuals are extra widespread in Costa Rica), and you need to specify what sort you need when reserving. In case 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-Manner Leases

There’s an extra payment for one-way automobile leases in Costa Rica, which might fluctuate 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 gained’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 previous, relying on the corporate you e-book a automobile with. In addition they may cost an extra payment (normally $10 a day) if you happen to’re underneath 25 years previous.

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

Crossing a River in Costa Rica
River Crossing

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

Velocity Limits In Costa Rica

Velocity 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 normally 60km/h (37 miles per hour), and round cities & cities it’s 40km/h (25 miles per hour).

In case you occur to get a dashing ticket, please let your automobile rental firm know instantly, as you’ll need to pay for it while you drop off the automobile on the finish of your journey.

Street Indicators In Costa Rica

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

Street Circumstances

Costa Rica’s highways are paved and in good situation, nevertheless the nation can be coated in again roads. Plenty of filth roads, and plenty of should not in nice form. Muddy, potholes, and so forth. In case you plan on driving off the overwhelmed 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 move by way of rivers. Particularly through the moist/wet season, and within the Nicoya Peninsula, Drake Bay and Osa Peninsula areas. In case 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 immediately, however require you to drive up or down stream earlier than exiting. This may be attributable to hidden obstacles, depth, or just one of the best entry/exit factors.

7. Worldwide Driver’s License

No, you do not want an worldwide driver’s license to drive in Costa Rica or lease a automobile there. Simply deliver your passport, bank card, and your driver’s license from your own home nation. So sure, you’ll be able to drive in Costa Rica with a US driver’s license.

8. Further 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 street to let somebody cross, they’ll be confused, and the automobile behind you gained’t anticipate it — which might trigger an accident! That is related in Mexico and different elements of Central America.
  • Don’t e-book a automobile with out studying the corporate critiques. You’ll discover loads of dangerous critiques for each firm (individuals like to complain on-line), however attempt to choose one with the LEAST dangerous critiques.
  • You might not at all times get the make/mannequin/sort of automobile you booked. If they offer you a smaller automobile, or a guide while you requested for an computerized, be pushy and ask for an improve.
  • Examine your automobile totally and report video in your smartphone stating harm earlier than you permit. It is a backup in the event that they try and cost you for harm that was already there. It is a widespread 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 refill with the proper sort at gasoline stations.
  • Use Google Maps in your smartphone for instructions as a substitute of renting a GPS machine. Merely use your personal hands-free automobile mount and a good worldwide cellphone plan.

9. Accident & Breakdown Data

In an emergency, you’ll be able to dial the Costa Rican Emergency Telephone Quantity which is 911, identical to in the USA. 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 positioned 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 precise selection for us.

Self-drive street journeys permit you to get off the overwhelmed monitor 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 just a few extra wanderlust-inducing articles that I like to recommend you learn subsequent:

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


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