Driving Tips in Costa Rica - Sixt rent a car


Driving in Costa Rica can be very different from driving in the UK so it’s important to know some road rules before you start your journey. Sixt has provided a guide with some useful driving tips for all of our customers to read through.

Driving Tips Costa Rica
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Rules & Regulations

Make sure you read through the following information before you start your road trip in Costa Rica.

  • Drive on the right and over take on the left.
  • Passing on the right is not allowed
  • All occupants of the vehicle should wear seat belts.
  • Child’s seats are required for children under 12 or smaller than 1.45m
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is taken seriously. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.50 is considered under the influence.
  • The use of mobile phones whilst driving is prohibited.
  • Yellow lines denote areas where you are not allowed to pass
  • Driving on beaches is strictly prohibited everywhere, except when there is no other path connecting two towns.

Please make sure that you are aware of all the road regulations before you start driving in Costa Rica.

Sixt rent a car Speed Limits Advice

Speed Limits

Standard legal limits when driving in Costa Rica, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers are:

  • Unless otherwise indicated, minimum speed on highways is 40 k.p.h. The speed limit varies and is posted by the road.
  • On highways 120 km/h
  • On 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.
Papers Bring Along - Sixt Driving Tips

Things to Bring Along

  • Carry your driver's license and passport with you at all times.
Driving Tips from Sixt rent a car

Additional Information

If you are involved in an accident, always wait until a police officer arrives. Do not move your vehicle. The officer will prepare a report. You may also report the accident by calling 911 or 800-0123456.

Do not drive through or park your car in poorly lit areas. Never leave your car on the street; always park it in a safe parking lot. Do not leave any belongings in the car where they might be spotted by a someone.

Keep your car doors locked at all times. If you are driving in downtown San José, keep the windows shut.

When driving in Costa Rica you will notice that often there are no street signs, often no street lights, no addresses and no numbering systems. Addresses in Costa Rica are in terms of location from a known landmark i.e. a church, cemetery, major company. Make sure you have a GPS.

Due to the lack of street lights you should drive with extra care and caution when driving at night and only drive at night if necessary.

Roads can be in bad condition so be aware when driving especially as some roads contain large pot holes. The rainy season wreaks havoc on Costa Rica’s roads—landslides, flooding, and erosion are not uncommon. In many rural areas, gravel or dirt roads are common.

If you are driving in San Jose or in slow traffic, do not leave anything valuable on the seat next to you if the windows are open.

Petrol stations (bombas) in Costa Rica can be difficult to find although there are many, so if you are running low on fuel make sure you know where the nearest petrol station is before you start your journey.

Watch out when driving on the highways as pedestrians and animals use or cross the highways everywhere, even where the speed limit is 80 kph. The highways around San Jose are notorious for people crossing the road anywhere.

Take extra care when driving in the mountains as domestic and wild animals often choose to sleep on the paved highway. This condition is not prevalent along the coast highway, but always use caution especially when your vision is limited.

Many large trucks and busses, along with an assortment of older vehicles (usually pickup trucks) travel the highways at speeds well below the posted limit, especially in the mountains.

Sixt has branches in the city of Liberia and two in the capital city San Jose including one at San Jose Airport.

Sixt wishes you a pleasant a safe trip when using our car rental service in Costa Rica.

Now you have read our tips for driving in Costa Rica why not check out some of the other great destination we have covered including Albania, Chile and Bahrain.


* Please note: All information was correct at the time of publication.