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Getting Around Costa Rica

Posted by admin on February 14, 2014
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costa-rica-roadsIf you’re planning a vacation to Costa Rica or even a permanent or long-term move, you probably have a lot of questions about what your life will be like in your new home and about how things work in Costa Rica. One of the most common questions people ask–and one that you’re probably wondering about yourself–is how they will get around in Costa Rica. Rest assured that, while Costa Rica might not be as advanced as the United States when it comes to transportation, there are plenty of options for getting from Point A to Point B as needed.

Getting to Costa Rica
Of course, before you can worry about getting around Costa Rica, you have to worry about getting into it! While you can’t just pack up your bags and take a quick, effortless drive into the country, gaining entry to Costa Rica is relatively easy if you follow all of the necessary steps. What steps you will need to follow to gain entry into Costa Rica depends on several different factors. First of all, for example, you have to consider how long you plan to stay in Costa Rica. If your stay won’t be longer than ninety days, you generally don’t need any documentation other than a passport to gain entry to the country. For non-permanent stays longer than ninety days, you will likely need a visa; bear in mind, however, that those who hold any current visa to the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, or select other countries will not need to apply for a new visa. The rules for entering Costa Rica are more complex for those who plan to stay there very long-term or permanently, but, in general, as long as you know and follow the regulations for your situation, you should be able to get into Costa Rica without a hitch, and there are many options for doing so. The majority of people fly into Costa Rica, but it’s also possible to drive from certain other countries, to take buses, and to arrive in Costa Rica by boat.

Take the Bus!
One you’re safe and sound in Costa Rica, it’s time to start exploring! You have many excellent options for traveling through Costa Rica’s towns and cities, and one of the cheapest options is to take the public bus in your area. While not all areas of Costa Rica will have a public bus system in place, most do have at least one or two buses running, and all of the major tourist cities will offer plenty of public buses. As mentioned, getting around by bus tends to be incredibly affordable, with bus tickets rarely costing more than 7 American dollars per person. Almost any bus that you take in Costa Rica will utilize San Jose as a central point, causing some trips to take a little longer than they would with other transportation options, so be prepared to do some waiting/long traveling if you choose the public bus system for your travels. Also bear in mind that buses can and do fill up rather quickly, especially during peak tourism seasons, so it’s always wise to show up for your bus well ahead of time.

Drive Yourself!
If you’re up for a challenge and/or if you like to be the only one in control of your traveling schedule, you’re always welcome to rent a car and drive yourself once you arrive in Costa Rica. As long as you have a valid United States driver’s license, you will not need any special permit or even an international driver’s license in order to drive. Visitors in Costa Rica can drive on their American or other foreign licenses for up to ninety days. The costs of renting a vehicle vary greatly from one location to another and from one rental company to another; the type of vehicle you rent will have an affect on the price too. In general, though, the average economy car will cost you anywhere from around $300 to $700 for a full week. A large part of what you are paying for is insurance, and though you may not want to, it’s always in your best interest to opt for the maximum amount of insurance possible. Driving in Costa Rica can be dangerous–more dangerous and unpredictable than in the states–so it’s wise to protect yourself as much as you can. Also take the time to familiarize yourself with Costa Rica’s driving laws and regulations, which, for the most part, are similar to United States driving laws, so that you can make sure you’re obeying the rules of the road.

Driving and taking advantage of the public bus system are just two options for getting around in Costa Rica. You can also take taxis, walk, take boats, hire drivers, and even rent motorcycles and bikes. Whatever transportation option or options you choose, just obey the rules and proceed with caution, and you should be just fine!