Is a GPS Really Necessary?
Sure you may be used to navigating without the use of a GPS. However you could find Costa Rica to be very different. Most places do not use a typical physical address in Costa Rica. So without a GPS, stopping to ask for directions may be necessary. If you speak Spanish well enough, you will have the best chances of finding your destination without problems. If your Spanish isn’t quite up to the task, you will be better off using some form of GPS. Not all GPS systems are made equal though, and while a system may work well where you are from, traveling in Costa Rica can present unique challenges.
There are several options for GPS as well. There is Google Maps, Waze and more expensive models such as Garmin. They are all very good options but Garmin tends to be the most accurate. If your Spanish speaking skills are not the best it is probably in your best interest to use a more accurate GPS as well as a physical, paper map to avoid roads that are unpassable, in construction or experiencing frequent traffic jams.
How Well Does GPS Really Work?
GPS systems generally try to send you on the shortest path between you and your destination. Which is usually the best option. However if you are traveling by sedan and it directs you through a muddy, rutted path or down a recently closed road (which is somewhat frequent in more rural areas of Costa Rica, especially during the rainy season) it could add some frustration to your trip. Having to backtrack several miles or find an alternate route could cause problems for you during your trip as well.
Then again this could prove to be a happy accident. Going a little off the beaten path could take you to a location you otherwise would not have known about. Such as a nice small restaurant, a secluded beach, or through a small community where you can develop a relationship with some of the locals or perhaps watch a local soccer game.
It is probably best to have a physical paper map and also a GPS. This will make sure you are traveling the best path. Also if your Spanish is well enough and you can confirm with locals that the road you are traveling will be the best option. Using all the tools you have available at your disposal will make sure you have a better time navigating Costa Rica.
With Target Car Rental you will always receive a free GPS with your rental. https://www.targetcarrental.com