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Few backwoods roads require you to cross small rivers !!

Have you ever noticed.... Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anybody going faster is a maniac? ~ George Carlin

Rugged Terrain - Unless you stick to the main tourism areas in the Central Valley, you’ll need to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle. A few backwoods roads require you to cross small rivers without the aid of a bridge. Keep in mind that car rental agencies do not want you to cross the rivers in your car, even if it’s a four-wheel-drive vehicle. We got out, rolled up our pants legs and checked the depth first. It’s also wise to follow the tire tracks of previous vehicles.

Be cautious too when driving in the mountains, where sudden fog or rain can envelope the road, reducing visibility to near zero. Another consideration is the lack of guardrails, even when there is a 1,000-meter drop on the side of serpentine, hairpin curves. What a vista! In beach areas to the west, count on a lot of dust, especially in the dry season, and plenty of heat. Get a car with air conditioning if you’re off for Guanacaste or Limón.

If you’re basing yourself out of San José for the first few days or last night of your stay, you don’t need a car in town. Some larger provincial cities offer car rentals, so you can always fly or take a bus to say, Liberia, and then rent a car. To get around the choking downtown traffic, San José built a Periférico, a bypass road to the south of the city that begins near the suburb of Escazú and ends just north of the San Pedro suburb. Along it are some hard-to-see traffic lights and absolutely insane traffic circles. Be brave. This road works best when it’s not rush hour. Speaking of rush hour, the Paseo Colon becomes one-way during that time.

You’ll soon see that Costa Rican drivers are mucho loco, and roads are in unpredictable condition. Our best advice is to slow down. Sooner or later, you’ll be stuck behind a stinky, slow-moving truck and anxious to get where you’re going – but don’t worry, be happy. This is your vacation, not a commute to work.

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