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Costa Rica Self Drive Information

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Self-drive holidays are a satisfying way to travel around Costa Rica. Travel as you please, plan your own itinerary and explore as far as you want. Costa Rica has a good network of well-maintained roads and highways and, for the more intrepid, quite a few the beaten path to take you into the heart of the country.

Combine this with our choice of preferred hotels and top regional tours and you have a perfect, custom-designed Costa Rica vacation.

Costa Rica Self-Drive Road Trip Ideas



The speed limit varies and is posted by the side of the road. On highways and secondary roads the speed limit is 60 k.p.h. unless otherwise indicated. In urban areas, the speed limit is 40 k.p.h., unless otherwise indicated. Around school zones and in front of hospitals and clinics the speed limit is 25 k.p.h. Driving on beaches is strictly prohibited everywhere, except when there is no other path connecting the two towns. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is strictly prohibited. The law enables police officers to perform alcohol tests on drivers.

It is compulsory for drivers and passengers to wear seat belts at all times.


Most main roads in Costa Rica are paved and in good to fair condition. However, many side roads are in desperate need of repair and we suggest renting an all-wheel drive vehicle (4x4). This will give you the freedom to reach almost every region of Costa Rica, that would not be accessible otherwise. If you stay only in the Central Valley (San Jose, etc.), a sedan is a good option.


A bonafide tourist may drive in Costa Rica on a valid driver's license for the same class of vehicle. Licenses must be carried when driving, in addition to a valid passport. An International driver's Permit is not sufficient by itself and must be accompanied by a valid driver's permit.


Gas stations (called Bombas or Gasolineras) are widespread across Costa Rica. Fuel prices are regulated by the government and are the same at all gas stations. Service at gas stations is provided by attendants.


Please request prices for the dates you wish to travel. Prices quoted are based on automatic transmission vehicles and BASIC liability insurance. An additional coverage Loss Damage Waiver is mandatory and is based on the car category. Please allow an additional cost of $15 to $30 per day.



*We highly recommend a pre-night in San Jose before collecting your vehicle which will be delivered to your hotel of choice the following morning.

  • A minimum rental of 4 days is required.
  • The daily rental period is calculated based on 24 hours
  • Any return past 4 hours of due return time will incur another day's rental charge
  • Rentals include unlimited miles/km
  • Cars CAN NOT be taken out of Costa Rica


  • Arenal
  • Conchal & Tamarindo
  • Golfo de Papagayo
  • Jaco Beach
  • Liberia
  • Manuel Antonio
  • San José
  • Tortuguero (Guapiles at Rio Blanco gas station & Siquirres at Caribbean Dish restaurant)


  • San Jose Airport*
  • Guapiles/Siquirres
  • Dominical beach
  • Monteverde
  • Nosara
  • Osa Peninsula
  • Palmar Sur
  • Puerto Viejo Limon
  • Punta Islita
  • Sarapiqui
  • Tambor / Tango Mar
  • Uvita beach
  • Santa Teresa & FlorBlanca


  • Costa Rica's international departure tax is $26 USD
  • The local currency is Colons
  • Time Zone: GMT/UTC -6
  • Dialing Code: 506
  • Electricity: 120V, 60Hz
  • Weights & measures: Metric


Departs daily


  • Accident Damages Excess (ADE), Single Vehicle Accident (SVA) Excess, Optional Renter Protection Services, Insurance Options, Location Service Charge, Fuel, One Way Fees, Optional Extras (baby seats etc). All extras are subject to Government Stamp Duty and GST at a rate of 10%.
  • Visa fees (if required)
  • Passport & Visa Costs
  • Vaccination Costs
  • Personal Spending Money
  • Meals were not listed
  • Drinks
  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Border taxes or fees


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