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compact 4x4 ok?

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Minerva518
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compact 4x4 ok?

Driving from Tamarindo to Malpais

Malpais to Montezuma

Arenal to Airport

Can I get away with a compact 4x4 or do I need a regular 4x4?

Thanks!

constantly moving
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1. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

You should be allright, but it also partially depends on when you will be traveling. During the rainy season the condition of the roads is a greater issue.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

Roads from Arenal to SJO are good. From Arenal to LIR so-so, but compact 4x4 okay. On the Nicoya Peninsula, so long as you stay on main roads you'll be okay, but many of the nice beaches are not on main roads, and several places have creeks/estuaries that you'll need to cross. I'd suggest that you be careful about your wheelbase so you can clear small streams.

Minerva518
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3. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

all helpful. as to timing, I'm going this month

constantly moving
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4. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

Since it will still be the dry season you should be fine even doing some off roading.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

rmaria alluded to it, but I'll ask specifically -- what route are you planning on taking from Tamarindo to Mal Pais?

If you try to take sections of the coastal jeep track, I'd opt for the beefier vehicle (ask locally about conditions regardless!) as nothing will spoil your trip like finding yourself stuck or with damage to a vehicle that the rental insurance doesn't cover because it was considered going off-road...*

On other roads, even particularly poor ones, I think the Terios or another compact will be fine as it's more about the added ground clearance than anything else.

* I'm yet to hear a definitive answer as to what constitutes "off road" in CR in terms of rental insurance invalidation. For example, if you trash your vehicle crossing the creek between Quepos and Dominical, is that considered off-road damage even though it's a main road? How about the road between Quepos and San Marcos? Or the monkey trail along the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula? Anyone reading this know for sure or find out the hard way?

New York City, New...
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6. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

Misterjosh,

Very interesting. We will be staying five nights at Playa Carrillo and plan to travel to Barra Honda and Punta (caving) and Cabo Blanco reserve. I was planning to drive to Cabo Blanco along the coast (make it a day trip). After reading your last post, I am not so sure... We have a 4 door Geo Tracker 4x4.

Never crossed creeks/rivers before... Here is what I am picturing right now: we get up to a creek. I get out of the car, I come to the creek's edge, I scratch my head, and I think - how on earth do I know if my car is going to make it? (And oh, I have two small kids in the back seats.)

What is the worst case scenario: the car is stalled in the middle? or the creek will carry the car downstream?

Humor aside, how do I determine if it is safe? Wait for another vehicle to pass? Wade myself and see what the depth is? What do the experience drivers say on this one?

Also, what is the unsafe water level with the car? When wate covers the wheels? When its gets to the grill in front? When is it too deep?

As always, I appreciate your responses very much. Thank you in advance.

Tim

constantly moving
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7. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

You should never say you were off roading to the rental company.

In fact the so called roads in much of Costa Rica would be considered "off-roading" in most developed places. I used "off roading" in this sense. Not tearing across areas with no tracks, etc.

I assumed in Nicoya you would want to take the coastal road. In my experience you will even be fine in a Terio during this time of the year! Use common sense. If you are not comfortable crossing somewhere, turn around and find another way. This is part of the adventure and fun of being in Costa Rica.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

Ask if the route you will be traveling on is through a creek or estuary. Misterjosh is right, these are on some "main" roads. If it is an estuary you'll be crossing, such as the one south of Playa Samara to Punta Islita, check the tidal charts before heading out, and go at low tide!! If it is a river or stream, just after a large localized storm is a good time to avoid.

In a recent Travel and Leisure, or maybe Conde Nast, which has the Ombudsman column? Anyway, apparently your credit card company's insurance is very unlikely to provide coverage if you are on an unpaved road. That's a good one!!

constantly moving
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9. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

ask who?

constantly moving
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10. Re: compact 4x4 ok?

In a recent Travel and Leisure, or maybe Conde Nast, which has the Ombudsman column? what

The likelyhood of storms on the Nicoya now are almost nill.

But yes check?