For some visitors it is also part of the adventure, since driving in Costa Rica is so difficult some times!
Tips to drive safely in Costa Rica
If you are coming to spend your vacations in Costa Rica, and would like to rent a car to get to know other interesting places in the country, probably you may want to read this article about the best way to drive in Costa Rica and stay safe.
Each country has their own way of driving and respecting the traffic signs. Costa Rica is a small country with many roads that are not in the best condition. There are also gravel roads that lead to some of the most touristic places. Because of its geographical features with steep curvy roads, it is imperative to drive carefully. There are also a lot of big trucks on the main roads that may slow down traffic.
Most countries visa go from 30 to 90 days. While you are legal in the country, you may use the driving license of your country of origin. Past your visa time, it is illegal to drive in Costa Rica. You must carry your driver’s license and passport at all times while driving in the country.
As opposed to some countries, Costa Rica lacks enough street signs, street numbers or names, street lights and even a logical system for addresses. Some main roads begin with two lanes and a little after they become one, causing very often huge lines and traffic jams, so the advice is to be patient. The reason is that there are many cars and not enough roads, or the roads are not wide enough.
San Jose city is the place where you may find a lot of traffic, especially during rush hour, which is usually between 6:00 and 8:30 a.m., and from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Because of this situation, the Costa Rican government has implemented a system where certain days some cars cannot circulate. This is decided by the plate´s number (based on the last number on the license plate, you cannot circulate in San Jose on Mondays when it ends on 1 or 2; on Tuesdays when it ends on 3 or 4, and so on).
Depending on how you look at it, bridges can be very interesting or very scary. They are generally safe but most of them are old and only have on lane, so you have to wait for your turn to go through. Driving at night can be dangerous because of the conditions of the road and the lack of light on those curvy roads.
As for accidents, most of them happen because of high speed and some because of drunk driving, although the government is implementing very high fines for the people who break the law. When there is an accident on the road, the biggest line is on the other side of the accident, by people rubberneck to see what happened. So again, be patient, drive at a normal speed, don’t hurry and allow plenty of time to get to your destination.