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International Drivers License/GPS??

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Winnipeg, Canada
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17 posts
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International Drivers License/GPS??

Is a International drivers license needed to drive in CR?? Would you suggest a GPS when renting a car.

Edmonton Canada
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1. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

You do not need an international driver's license in Costa Rica. I recommend that you rent a GPS as the signage on the roads is terrible.

Costa Rica
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2. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

No international license necessary - just your license from your home.

Whether you rent a GPS or not is really up to you. It depends on how good your directional sense is, how good at reading a map and if you are willing to stop and ask. If you don't have any of the skills mentioned, then a GPS would probably be your best bet.

If you have a GPS where you live, you could probably just buy the Costa Rica software and load it into your GPS and use it here.

There is signage here but it is not "in your face." Costa Ricans don't use highway numbers so you will see a lot of signs with town names on them rather than a highway number. You will need to know what towns you are passing through.

The signage is better in some parts of the country than others - obviously better in touristy areas since Costa Ricans typically just strike out for someplace and ask directions along the way.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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3. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

Using the GPS has two sides. One is the comfort one. You rely on the voice (or screen) and you are there. Complicated part is how to tell the GPS where "there" is, as there are almost no street names to input. And when the GPS goes wrong, then it goes in a big way. I have and will use a paper road map as a primary source for navigating Costa Rica, and GPS only as a support.

London, England...
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4. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

I'd actually say the opposite to xelas. GPS first and foremost with a map for backup. At the end of the day, maps don't have addresses on them either and most hotels/resorts and restaurants etc are pre-loaded on the sat navs. Our car hire company programmed every hotel we were staying at during our holiday before we even left San Jose.

Dearborn, Michigan
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591 posts
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5. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

I picked up an international DL a few years ago and Costa Rica isn't even listed as a country that accepts them. That said, they're perfectly happy to use your US license.

Outside the city signage there is AWFUL. Even in the city the signage is pretty awful sometimes see this photo :) http://GarySaid.com/evil-traffic-sign/

NavSatCR does sell/rent nice maps if you happen to already own a Garmin GPS. I used to just put the maps in my Garmin Hiking GPS and they worked great. You pretty much had to pick locations by hotel/business name since most streets don't have names/numbers. Go to http://www.navsatcr.com/ezfind.php?lang=en and click the GREEN basket ("You Don't Have EzFind? Buy") at the very bottom. You mail them the GPS serial number then they send you a link.

Gary

Canada
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6. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

Here are a couple of things I have learned about CR driving.... A flashing green light DOES NOT mean you can turn left...it means the light is about to turn red so you must STOP!. #2 if you come to an Intersetion that has both a stop sign and a street light, the street light rules. Do not stop at the stop sign if the light is green or you will upset any Tico drivers in the vacinity. The stop sign is only there in case the power goes out. Finally....and this is the most difficult to explain.. But often stop signs.have gone missing and you. Are just supposed to remember where they used to be. Usually (but not always) the busier street has the right of way.

Edited: 6:39 pm, January 27, 2013
Costa Rica
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7. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

Obviously, you are talking about San Jose, CanaTico, where no sane visitor would ever drive! Lol

I do like your "rules of the road," however. They remind me of some directions given by Costa Ricans such as "go 200 meters north and turn right at the purple house on the corner" and that purple house hasn't been there for about 5 years.

Sometimes you will encounter a speed bump going through some small town - typically close to a school - and I always laugh when someone passes me as I'm going across the speed bump.

Edited: 9:00 am, January 28, 2013
London, England...
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8. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

I drove in San Jose. Thought it was quite good fun actually :-) was very relieved to have the full whack insurance tho!

Canada
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9. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

Not just San Jose Hattie. These rules apply to any city in CR. Oh and a good tip for San Jose - driving through at night, on the wekends or any holiday is a breese compared to a work day.

Washington DC...
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10. Re: International Drivers License/GPS??

SuzanneGL,

I spent ten days in Costa Rica in December and found the GPS to be essential. As my girlfriend said: "How did people find these places before GPS!".

You can rent a GPS, but I would recommend you buy a Garmin at home and buy the Costa Rica GPS maps. The gold standard for GPS maps in Costa Rica is NavsatCR/EZfind, thought I had good experiences with Trackit (available through Amazon).

Note that the search function is often based on the name of your destination(points of interest), not the street address.

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