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Exploring on your own in Costa Rica


By bluebiscuitboy
Joined: Jul 22, 2008
Posts: 2

Posted on: October 01, 2008 at 1:21PM

When exploring on your own in this exquisitely lush country, don't be afraid to rent a car. We were hesitant about trying to rent a car in South America, but we had no issues or problems and are so glad we did. We planned this trip months in advance and established an immediate rapport with the representatives at the hotels where we were staying who helped us in planning parts of the trip since we were traveling on our own and unfamiliar with the country and its standard tourist practices.They helped us make a car rental reservation in advance and helped determine what documentation was needed to obtain the rental. **Just be sure to have more than one type of map for reference as road signs are few and far between and you many need more than one map for road/route verification. They are available at the airport as well as the car rental agency.We sometimes drove 20 miles or more before getting roadside confirmation that we were still traveling in the right direction and having those extra maps will come in handy to ensure you're on the right track to your destination. **Also, be sure to fill up your gas tank before you leave as gas stations are just as sparse as the road signs, however we had no issues with driving from San Jose (the capital city)to the west coast on the tank of gas we had in our compact car. **Drive at a moderate rate of speed as the road is narrow in some areas and you may have to slow down to allow vehicles to pass one another as well as watch for the many residents who walk or ride bicycles. **All of the tourist areas are English-speaking except when in rural areas. In the city, restaurants have English-translated menus and most locals also speak English. The only difficulty we had was communicating with taxi drivers on directions or payment amounts. So, brush up on your Portuguese so you can at least recognize dollar amounts when it comes time to pay up. A travel-size Portuguese to English dictionary or Spanish to English dictionary may be helpful to bring along. **Finally, relax and have fun.. Costa Ricans love American tourists and are very friendly and helpful! report a problem

Posted on: October 08, 2008 at 11:24PM

BlueBiscuitBoy is right: renting a car is a great way to get around Costa Rica. They do require a big deposit hold on your credit card. We rented from Adobe in Quepos and received amazing service! To second BBB: Definitely fill the tank whenever you pass a gas station. I think there is only one in all of Quepos. Also, don't depend on road signs even in the major cities! But contrary to BBB, I'd recommend getting out of San Jose or Alajuela before renting. Take the bus to the part of the country you plan to explore and find a rental there. Shopping around helps too - the first place I called wanted more than twice the second place!

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