If you’ve booked a luxury vacation rental home in Costa Rica and you’ve rented a car to get there, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with some of the twists and turns of the road. Driving in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially if all the road signs are in Spanish!
1 – Road Signs – Here’s a handy glossary of common road signs listed alphabetically for easy reference. Print them out and refer to them while you’re on the road.
- Alto – Stop
- Ceda el Paso – Yield
- Derrumbres en la Via – Watch for landslides in the road
- Despacio – Slow down
- Hombres Trabajando or Trabajos en la Carretera – Men at Work
- No Estacionar – No Parking
- No Hay Paso – No passage
- Peligro – Danger
- Salida – Exit
- Sin Salida – No Exit
- Una Via – One Way Traffic
- Velocidad Maxima – Maximum Speed
- Velocidad Minimo – Minimum Speed
2 – Toll Roads
Recently Costa Rica built a new highway and has improved many of its roads. All this needs to be paid for, so you’ll likely encounter some toll booths. The toll varies, so check for the signs as you approach. “Autos Livianos” refers to light vehicles like your rental car.
3 – Roundabouts – A Word of Caution
There are roundabouts throughout Costa Rica. There are most often 2 unmarked lanes of traffic – an inner and an outer. The trick is to go around them to the right and get on the outside when you want to turn. Be on the lookout because drivers on the inside lane will crossover in front of you to make a right turn.
4 – What Does it Mean When Someone Blinks Their Lights at You?
Ticos often warn each other by blinking their headlights if there’s a policeman with a radar gun, an accident or some other danger up ahead. If someone blinks their lights at you it’s a good rule of thumb to check the road signs for the speed limit, be sure you’re within it then proceed with caution. Keep in mind Costa Rica is on the metric system and distance is measured in kilometers.
5 – Kilometers vs. Miles A kilometer is 6/10ths of a mile. Using this formula 60 miles equals 100 kilometers. Don’t let the road signs in kilometers throw you, you’re always closer than you think.
Don’t let driving in Costa Rica throw you a curve. Just carry this article with you so you can translate the road signs, stay on the outside lane of a roundabout, watch for helpful Ticos with blinking headlights and remember Costa Rica is on the metric system. Follow these simple rules and your road experience will be a pleasant one.