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Costa Rican Driving Laws: What Should I Keep in Mind?

We at Adobe Rent a Car want our customers to be as safe as possible. Here you will find tips, notes about laws, and stats you will find to be very helpful. It pays to keep the Costa Rican driving laws in mind. We at Adobe Rent a Car want our customers to be as safe as possible. Here you will find tips, notes about laws, and stats you will find to be very helpful. It pays to keep the Costa Rican driving laws in mind.

What are the Most Common Driving Mishaps?

When driving in Costa Rica, bear in mind the following info. It will be very helpful in preventing accidents or unwanted traffic fines/tickets.

Infractions: There are a few infractions which are very common among visiting foreign clients.  They customarily include seatbelt infractions, excess speed, and yellow-line parking.  The yellow lines on the roadside curb specifically mean ‘no parking’.

Collisions: One of the most frequent causes for accidents is failure to keep a safe distance. The other one is speeding. Keeping your speed below the maximum and keeping a safe distance should do the trick!

What are the Most Common Fines in Costa Rica?

In order to help you as a foreign customer, we will provide you with some recommendations. We will also mention the most common traffic fines and tickets for your benefit. We at Adobe Rent a Car are at your complete disposal to help and provide advice and support.

The fines and tickets you can get can vary each semester. They vary due to changes in Costa Rican driving laws, exchange rates, etc.  Some may even disappear altogether. You can get a fairly good idea of what to avoid using the convenient table below. Use it as a guide, but keep in mind that changes may occur.


A-Category Fines – Approximately $540

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding over 120km/h
  • Overtaking or passing on a curve, intersection, bridge, etc.
  • U-turns in a forbidden zone

B-Category Fines – Approximately $365

  • Carrying children under 12 without a booster seat or infant car seat
  • Rolling through or skipping a stop sign at an intersection
  • Rolling through or skipping a red light
  • Drive at more than 40km/h above the speed limit (except if there is a higher penalty)

C-Category Fines – Approximately $185

  • Driving without lights between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Passing a vehicle that has stopped at a pedestrian crosswalk
  • Drive while using a mobile phone or other communications device
  • When you are driving without a license
  • Driving at over 25km/h past schools, health centers, etc. that are duly marked
  • When you drive without your seatbelt on or allow passengers to do likewise
  • Driving at more than 30km/h above the maximum speed limit (except if there is a higher penalty)
  • Driving under the minimum speed limit for that particular road section

You can consult any infractions by plate number, driver’s license, or ticket number, whichever works best for you.

What should you do if you get a traffic fine or ticket?

If and when you get a traffic fine or ticket, it is recommended you pay the fine directly at the bank. If this is not possible, then payment must be made at our Adobe Rent a Car offices.

When you return the vehicle to Adobe and the ticket hasn’t been paid, you must present the fine. Adobe will then charge you and will later take care of paying the fine. In case the customer should fail to present the traffic ticket, the system will alert Adobe. Payment for the fine will then be deducted from the customer’s credit card.

What Should I Do If I Have a Problem While Driving?

The first thing you must do if you have a problem on the road is call Adobe at 2542-4888.

Whether it’s a mechanical problem, breakdown, collision, etc. you should call Adobe first. Even if there has been serious damage done to third party property, call Adobe first. Be it big or small, mechanical or otherwise, the first call should always be made to our offices.

Exception: If you have suffered any injuries that require medical assistance or an ambulance. In case you have suffered such injuries, you must call 911 first, and then later call Adobe. Your health is first and foremost!

Very Important: Customers must always carry their passports with them when driving. Any time an accident happens, the traffic police will ask to see their passport. This is to verify their entry dates to the country. If the person involved is a foreigner, they need to check how long they have been staying here. If the person has been in Costa Rica for more than three months, they must have a Costa Rican license to be allowed to drive.

INS Accident Report
INS Accident Report

When an accident occurs, you might get an event report from the insurance provider. This will usually be from the provider called INS, and the document will look like this:

Be sure to present it to Adobe when returning your car!
And remember: The best way to drive is safely! And knowing the Costa Rican driving laws is the first step!

Where Can I Get More Information?

If you need more information regarding Costa Rican Driving Laws or how to deal with road mishaps, call us. Our representatives will take care of any questions or doubts at (855) 861-1250. Or you can write us an email at info@adobecar.com for a quote or for more information. We at Adobe Rent a Car believe in prevention!

One Comment

  1. the licenses for foreigners are expiring on November 18th. Can you please tell me what happens if I continue to drive?

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