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Navigating Costa Rica

Female finger typing on gps.Costa Rica is easy to navigate, regardless if you’re using an app or good old fashioned back-of-a-napkin directions.

Navigating Costa Rica can be relatively easy with a few friendly tips to make sure that you are prepared and feel confident that you can make it to that remote beach spa or mountain retreat you worked so hard to find.

Costa Rica is a small country, relatively the same size as West Virginia or Denmark. Renting a vehicle while you are in Costa Rica is one of the best ways to explore it in a short amount of time and get the most of your trip.

The addresses in Costa Rica are really more of a conversation.

Addresses typically consist of someone telling you to drive 400 meters and take a left at the church, drive 50 meters to the convenience store, take a right and go straight past the large tree with the swing set. There are not really designated street names in most places and even when there are, most people don’t know them. Costa Rican’s are super friendly and will be eager to help you find your destination, but it is helpful to ask more than one person.

If the first direction does not pan out, pura vida, do not feel discouraged, as it sometimes takes a couple of people to steer you in the right direction. If your Spanish is limited, don’t worry, most Costa Rican’s know some English, and if not, they are great at pointing and gesturing.

Google has nearly taken over road navigation and it a reliable way to navigate Costa Rica.

Waze, which is owned by Google, is relied on more in Costa Rica as Google Maps can get a little turned around in some areas. For example, Google Maps might tell you to turn the wrong way on a street because it does not calculate that certain bi-directional streets are one way only during certain hours of the day.

Waze will not only give you a more accurate arrival time then Google Maps, but it will update with construction or special traffic conditions. Waze can be used for nearly any destination and you can always ask for someone to share their location in WhatsApp and then direct it to Waze so that you can skip the lengthy address conversation.

Most rental cars have auxiliary outlets for you to plug your phone into the speaker so you can hear directions clearly. Another bonus to Waze is that it will talk to you, so that you can be hands free while driving. Siri will also be able to help you find destinations without you taking your eyes of the road and can even find good road trip music.

If you need to plug in a different destination, ask your co-pilot to do it for you or pull over at a fruit stand and buy some fresh mangos while you are typing in that secluded beach you’re seeking. We want to make sure that you have the best car rental road trip of your life in Costa Rica, not a visit to the Emergency Room. 

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