Whether you are just exploring Costa Rica or planning to stay here for good, you will find a huge disparity on the driving habits, the local drivers’ mentality and the traffic rules here compared to what you are used to back at home. Driving around in a car rental in Costa Rica is the best way to explore and get around because you will be able to go anywhere you want and feel more comfortable. But before that, you need to know what to expect on the local roads.
Anyone can drive with their home country driver’s license as long as they have a valid tourist visa. Make sure you have with you a colored copy of your passport with a stamp all the time, or carry your original passport. Discussed below are guidelines and tips on what to expect as you move around Costa Rica in a rented car.
Car Rental in Costa Rica: The Difference between Urban and Rural Driving
You will find a population of more than 1.5 million citizens who live and work in San Jose alone. This represents almost half of the total population in the country. Therefore, should you drive a car here, you should expect packed main roads especially during rush hour, which is a terrible experience if you are not used to getting stuck in traffic. Thus, try to avoid driving in the cities during these hours at all costs unless extremely necessary. You can find a lot of useful information about car renal in Costa Rica if you visit Otoyoo. If you want to visit the cities, make sure you go between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM. Even though you might bump into traffic, it is not as terrible as it gets during rush hour.
On the other hand, traffic in rural areas and other touristy areas like Guanacaste, is more fluid and much easier to drive through. While driving in these places, you may encounter a large number of individuals riding on scooters without helmets and any other safety gear. It is therefore important to be extra careful when driving in these areas.
Important Driving Facts
You should avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law when in Costa Rica, as driving tickets can be quite expensive. For instance, you can pay more than USD500 or go to jail for exceeding 120 Km/h.
In Costa Rica, you will be expected to drive on the right side just like in the US or Canada. You are also not supposed to exceed the normal speed limit of 90 km/h on the highways. Be careful though because the traffic signs are in Spanish.
Be alert and drive defensively all the time, as you could encounter careless drivers as well as potholes and wandering dogs even around the main roads. Costa Rican drivers are not the kindest drivers as compared to other countries. If you are on the highway and intend to change lanes, make sure you check about three times before proceeding. This is because your blinker might not mean a lot to other drivers. This and other good advices can be found at http://www.otoyoo.com/, a car rental website with a lot to offer.
If you are involved in an accident, immediately call the company from which you booked your car rental in Costa Rica. Some people may approach you like they want to help but they will eventually rob you. Also remember that you can dial 911 for any emergency.
If a police officer stops you and you can’t speak in Spanish, speak clearly and in a slow manner. All police officers have access to an English line in case they encounter someone like you or for any other reason. Be respectful and if you get a ticket, call the company where you had your car rental in Costa Rica and start the payment process to avoid any problems in the future.