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 Post subject: Driving in CR
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:18 am 
CR Virgin - Newbie!
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:42 am
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I have been to CR 4-5 times and never rented a car. I've thought more about doing so and am interested in driving from San Jose to Tamarindo. Anyone with experience with this? Are cars expensive? Is driving/ navigation very difficult? Any suggestions for adventures or destinations via auto would be appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in CR
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:36 am 
Masters Degree in Mongering!
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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:36 pm
Posts: 674
norm2081 wrote:
I have been to CR 4-5 times and never rented a car. I've thought more about doing so and am interested in driving from San Jose to Tamarindo. Anyone with experience with this? Are cars expensive? Is driving/ navigation very difficult? Any suggestions for adventures or destinations via auto would be appreciated.


Initially cars look inexpensive but when you add in the damage waiver and other insurance they can get expensive. Rental car providers in CR are notorious for dinging you for minor / perceived damage at inflated prices when you return the car. The drive will be split between pretty good highway and more treacherous, narrow are curvy roads. The drive will probably take around 5 hours or so from the city depending on traffic. From what I understand, Waze is preferred over Google Maps in CR for navigation. Getting to Tamarindo by road is pretty straight forward.

Interbus runs a shared van service. Their price from San Jose to Tamarindo is $57 each way. Pre-Pandemic they used to offer door to door service. I don't know about now. The trip is about 5 1/2 hours.

You could fly from SJO on Sansa direct to Tamarindo for $118. Trip is under one hour. I made this flight a few years ago on Nature Air (now out of business) and it was enjoyable (and a little scary).

If you are traveling solo either of these options would make financial sense if the rental car would be sitting idle for any period of time in Tamarindo. If you are traveling with a group then the car would make more sense but then you might want to consider renting a private van. I saw one for just over $200 for the entire trip (one way).

Enjoy your trip


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in CR
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:39 am 
Not a Newbie I just don't post much!
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Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2003 3:49 pm
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Location: In the Wind
Another option is to rent a car in Tamarindo after you arrive on an as needed basis. Budget has a location at Hotel Mar Rey & I would think there would be other options. I prefer someone else to drive me there e.g. Interbus. You could also book a multi-city flight in to Liberia and out San Jose or vice versa.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in CR
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:27 pm 
Ticas ask me for advice!
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:37 pm
Posts: 378
If you rent a car, take a ton of pics in front of them and make a video even. They are less likely to argue when they know you have proof. Inspect the tires for nails. You will pay for tire repairs if you bring it back with nails. I recommend 4WD, you never know when you will need it.

Don’t drive drunk! Or high if that’s your thing. You are responsible for your passengers. Think about that before you let somebody you don’t know, go on a trip with you.

I have never had a problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in CR
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2021 2:53 am 
PHD From Del Rey University!
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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:34 pm
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Location: From behind pulling her hair
I used to rent cars every trip after about my 15th trip as I like being able to go when and where I want. People drive like shit in Costa Rica and probably close to 20% do not have a license. 80% of those that do have a license should not have one...... With that being said if you do not have a private party to rent from, you are going to have to go thru the rental agencies. Best thing is to walk in without a reservation and you will get the lowest cost. Trust me on this one, you want the full coverage insurance, Put your big boy pants on and get ready for a financial fight..... then you can go play Days of Thunder and not worry about a thing..... Seriously the lack of stress knowing the car could be totaled and you just walk away is worth it. (I used to pay 35-45 per day private party and the rental agencies if you do not get a luxury car will be around 60.00 per daywith full coverage.) If you do get into some sort of damage fight, the car rental place can prevent you from leaving the country while the $$$ get worked out. Fianlly, chances are if your car does get damaged, you will not be the one at fault, and more than likely it will happen when you are not even in it. Pay the ridiculous insurance fee and sleep well at night. You do not need to take pictures of the car when you pick it up and you will be on your way fast when you drop it off. Some other tips if you decided to rent.
Gas prices are standardized no matter where you fill up..
They pump your gas for you
Use Regular Gas
Make sure you have internet with your phone and use an app called Waze (works great in traffic and if lost)
Keep your passport (NOT A COPY) and your drivers license with you.
Traffic infractions are expensive so pay attention. (I speed, run red lights and do all sorts of bad things but I also know the games they play and am not afraid to offer a trade if need be. If you are going that route do not let them walk away with your license or passport. I keep 40.00 in my passport at all times so it can just be easily removed without any effort or being seen by other officers) (100.00 will fix most anything) not that I promote doing such things but my moral compass on those issues is a little out of sync.
Pay attention to ONE WAY streets. They are all over and vehicles park facing the wrong direction all the time so the signs and arrows painted on the roads are important.
Have change available if driving on Ruta 27 for tolls
If you do get in an accident do not move the vehicle unless instructed by the police. This is very important if using insurance.
BUY RAINX and put it on the windshield and back window. You can thank me later (Even if your wipers fail you will still be able to see easily with pouring rain


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in CR
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:06 am 
Ticas ask me for advice!
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:37 pm
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I would be curious to hear if anybody has a personal experience of “just walking away” after they damaged a rental car. It would be ohhhh so easy to make the tourists’ life complicated by saying they cannot leave the country unless they “work this out.” They will say whatever you did was the one exception to the insurance policy. I am not saying don’t buy the insurance, I am saying don’t let that insurance policy give you a false sense of security.

Here is my true story: cars had boxed me in and I was trying to get out of a parallel parking place. A Nissan SUV was trying to drive front in, into the parking space as I was exiting. I have to go forwards and backwards to get out. I didn’t see this Nissan coming in. Now I don’t know if I backed into him, or he drove into me trying to get the parking space thinking I was driving forward. Either way, the tire mounted on the back of my rental car touched the grill of this Nissan SUV.

I get out and go back there. A woman gets out with a few teenage daughters and one man (Tico). Mr. Tico speaks English. He tells me that it is the woman’s SUV. I look at the grill and noticed it is just popped out. I put my arm between the radiator and the grill and push it back. There is no damage, nothing bent, nothing broken. I am speaking Spanish to the woman who seems to agree with me. Mr. Tico, not wanting to lose a good extortion opportunity, starts going on about how it still isn’t right, she was selling the vehicle and now she can’t, the parts are hard to get because they have to order them from Spain.

At this point the woman and her daughters point in horror at my arm, blood is streaming down my arm. It’s a minor cut from my repair job. I ignore it and continue to argue with Mr. Tico who speaks to me in English as I speak to the woman in Spanish. Blood is now dropping on the ground and making a small puddle. The daughters think I need to go to the hospital, the woman is worried and wants to let me go thinking I have injured myself, horribly, fixing her SUV. Mr. Tico wants to make out this has financially devastated this family. I don’t know what his relationship is to this family. He wants me to pay something, not to him, but to the woman. It isn’t a heated argument, but we are all speaking about separate topics in two languages.

My friend (American) gets out and comes back. He doesn’t know what happened, he just sees I have a bloody arm, he doesn’t know how it got that way. He wants to settle with somebody so I translate to the woman, Mr. Tico translates to the woman that she can make some money off these gringos. The woman now looks very sympathetic to my bloody arm. Mr. Tico says, “whatever you all want to do” to us and says the same thing to her in Spanish. My friend pulls out a $100 bill and the women looked very impressed. “Esta bien” “está bien” “está bien” everyone is suddenly happy. He gives it to the woman, the girls look giddy. We part ways with the woman giving me some paper towels for my arm she retrieved from her car.

My friend and I get back into the vehicle and I wipe the blood off. It’s a small wound that scraped the skin cutting a lot of capillaries, hence the bleeding. He was a bit disappointed that I had such a small wound. He says, “man, I didn’t know what to think when I came back there. Your arm is bleeding on the ground, the women are hysterical and you’re arguing with that man. I thought you all were fighting.” But, he seemed to be very pleased that we got off with just paying $100. He said that would never happen in the USA - to settle the whole situation with a $100 bill. I offer him 1/2 and he wouldn’t accept it. He appeared proud that he resolved the situation and pleased the women for $100.

Ticos love cien.


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