If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, renting a car is one of the most convenient ways to explore the country. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before driving in Costa Rica.

While you do have to be slightly more alert when navigating the roads, you will quickly find that the upsides outweigh any potential downsides. Here is our handy guide to helping you drive without difficulty in Costa Rica.

Why driving in Costa Rica is worth it

Before getting into the specifics, we think it’s worth pointing exactly why driving in Costa Rica is totally worth it. For one thing, you are in complete control of your itinerary and can spontaneously adjust it to include new locations as you see fit.

Secondly, renting a vehicle in Costa Rica provides a much higher level of comfort and freedom, especially when travelling with a group of friends or family.

With that said, what kind of vehicle should you rent?

If you want to drive around Costa Rica as effortlessly as possible, you will definitely want a four-wheel drive vehicle. Fortunately, that is exactly what our car rental agency offers!

Driving conditions in Costa Rica

As you can no doubt imagine, driving in Costa is quite different than North America. The geography, which includes winding roads and dirt paths that aren’t exactly smooth, can be breathtaking yet overwhelming at the same time if unprepared.

Depending on the specific locations you decide to visit, the roads will be more or less easy to navigate. The further you are away from developed areas, the more likely you are to encounter roads that require special attention when driving.

The most effective way to avoid less-than-ideal roads in Costa Rica is by using a GPS system. You’ll be glad to know that Target Car Rental offers free GPS with all its rentals.

Dealing with pedestrians

As you’ll quickly notice, most local Costa Ricans don’t own a car and instead prefer to walk to get to various destinations. This can be intimidating at first and you will want to look out for bystanders in highly populated areas.

One important thing to remember is that pedestrians don’t have the right of way in Costa Rica. As such, they generally won’t expect you to stop for them when crossing the road and you can actually risk an accident if you suddenly stop out of fear that pedestrians are walking too close.

Of course, it’s always best to properly assess each situation on its own. Be aware of your surroundings, including the cars behind you, and you should be fine.

More tips for driving in Costa Rica

In addition to road conditions and pedestrians, there are some other things you will want to keep in mind during your trip:

  • Always check and double-check your mirrors before maneuvering or pulling out of a parking space.
  • There are gas stations all over, but they can sometimes be spaced quite far apart, so make sure your tank is full before an extended excursion.
  • Signage is very limited in Costa Rica so having a GPS and/or road map will come in handy.
  • In the case of an accident, first call the emergency number (911, the same as North America) and then notify your car rental agency once the help arrives.

In conclusion, while driving in Costa Rica can take some getting used to, if you proceed with caution and remember our tips, you will quickly become accustomed to the experience and it will become second nature.

If you have any questions about our car rental services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.