Driving in Costa Rica is NOT for the meek, it takes a Type A personality to navigate this country. (CHECK OUT VIDEO BELOW)
A few issues you should know:
Most ticos get around by walking, especially outside of the major cities. The problem with this is that they walk in the street, usually side by side, pretty much oblivious to the consequences of getting hit as they typically do not move and expect the driver to go around. To complicate matters, it doesn’t matter if it’s foggy, a downpour, late at night etc., they expect to be spotted and that the driver will act accordingly. So as you can imagine when the conditions are poor, they literally appear out of nowhere.
Potholes, and not your mother’s pothole; these have been known to swallow entire cars. The road conditions in Costa Rica are getting better, but you can bet when you see one pothole (called huecos) you’ll see a long stretch of them. WARNING: speeding up to skim across the top of a pothole does NOT work here.
Conditions in general. Extreme fog, torrential down pours, extreme twists and turns in the road, intensity of the sun, all contribute to difficulty while driving rural Costa Rica. NOTE: Weather changes can happen very quickly here.
Some of the bridges here just need to be experienced in order to appreciate the craftsmanship. There’s nothing quite like being able to look straight down between the bridge slats.
Right lanes end sometimes with little or no warning and if you don’t get over quickly you could be in serious danger i.e., a one lane bridge.
During the rainy season places like Malpais and Montezuma, as well as many others, can be very difficult to get to as the roads turn into mud and you WILL have to cross small streams and rivers which you may want to check before attempting to cross.
Another condition- Tico’s in general are NOT known for their driving skills. Often oblivious to their surroundings they will make sudden u-turns, sudden stops, dangerous passing with little or no regard to other drivers. You have been warned.Inside perspective of Tico Driving
Haha, that being said, if you want to explore the country on your own, driving is a great option.
'WARNING: We advise that you DON’T drive at night in unfamiliar territory.'