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Driving Directions

San Jose (20 maps)    ::   Alajuela (15 maps)    ::   Cartago (8 maps)    ::   Guanacaste (11 maps)
Heredia (10 maps)    ::   Limon (6 maps)    ::   Puntarenas (11 maps)

Getting directions to your Hotel when renting a car

Driving Directions in Costa Rica

Vacation travel and driving directions in Costa Rica can be confusing. Many foreigners are accustomed to road names and road signs, which are all but non-existent in Costa Rica.

If you have reservations at a hotel, get specific directions from them ahead of time. Better yet, have the hotel send you the driving directions in both English and Spanish. On road maps, the major paved highways have been numbered, but the locals do not actually call the highways by that.

First, realize that in Costa Rica, the Tico cultural tradition is to think of roads as a pathway to a DESTINATION. In one direction, the road leads to Town A. In the other direction, the road leads to Town B. Therefore:

Roads in Costa Rica do not have names

When you are in a town or city, directions are explained with reference to a distance from a landmark. For instance, someone's house might be 2 kilometers south of the Church.

If you are looking for the place to buy a bus ticket, you may be told to continue 200 meters on this road until you see the Post Office, turn left, then another 50 meters and the bus ticket agent is in a yellow building on the right side of the street.

When driving in Costa Rica, just remember that you are traveling from town to town, and connect the dots across the map.

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