Driving in San José, Costa Rica
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Driving in San José: Make the Most of Your Visit Downtown

Costa Rica is a peaceful, wonderful and easy going place, yet driving at home is never the same as driving in some other country. This is why we wanted to share with you a few tips so you have a smooth experience driving in San José, Costa Rica.

Driving in San José

San Jose is a very cosmopolitan city and driving around requires a bit of skill. Pay very good attention to the roads as pot holes are not only common, but sometimes they may be the rule.

Traffic in San Jose is heavy, so you need to be careful, especially if you have not driven here before. You need to be patient and always be on top of your game as it is a new location.

Avoid driving during rush hour, 6-9 AM and 4–7 PM. This may not mean you will avoid traffic, it will only be less heavy. The traffic in San José is heavy because over one million cars are around at any time of the day, and most of them are downtown.

Driving in San José may seem like a skill you need to acquire and, though partly true, all you really need to do is pay attention and follow the road signs. The majority of main roads are signed and you should not encounter much trouble following them.

Costa Rican roads are not in the very best of conditions in many cases, be careful in the roads there should be nothing to worry about though.

Watch out for pedestrians and bikes

In Costa Rica, pedestrians could easily be found in the middle of the street trying to cross. Watch out for bike riders and move a bit to the side when you encounter them as law requires you to give them at least 1 meter and a half of space between your car and their bike.

Drive with caution – when you change lanes, make sure to check twice. This all may sound a bit scary, but don’t worry, most foreigners get a hold of Costa Ricans way of driving in a jiffy.

Addresses… the Costa Rican way

Costa Rica has no formal address system and signage is often absent from roads, people will provide you with landmarks instead. This can make finding places a bit challenging for foreigners. Worry not though, Adobe has GPS services available and these can make driving around a lot easier. If you wish to get a GPS, just make sure you request them at the moment of your reservation.


Just like in any other country, it’s better to play it safe. Keep your windows rolled up, lock the doors when driving and hide your belongings in the trunk of the car. Always lock your car doors when you leave the car, even if it’s just for a minute.

If you’re driving in front of a taxi or a bus, let them pass and give them plenty of space, since they usually have to meet schedules they may seem to be in a bit of a hurry.

Always carry your passport and a valid driver’s license from your home country to operate a vehicle. Your driver’s license is valid for 180 days since the date in the stamp of entry in your passport.

International driver’s license is not required, unless yours is in a different alphabet.

All children under the age of 12 are supposed to be restrained in car seats or booster seats. You can request these when you make your car reservation.

If a driver uses their hazard lights while driving, they are letting you know there is an obstruction ahead. Be on the lookout.

Gas stations are full-serve in Costa Rica. If you need your washer fluid topped off or air for your tires, just ask and they will help you. All prices are regulated by the government when it comes to gas, so, no need to shop around.

If you have more questions about driving in San José, call us at (855) 861-1250 or email us at info@adobecar.com. All the agents will happily assist with all your questions and doubts.

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