Driving in Costa Rica

The best solution to a cracked windshield in Costa Rica

The best solution to a cracked windshield in Costa Rica

Having a cracked windshield in Costa Rica is quite common. Lots of roads in and outside the Central Valley are unpaved. Especially if you are adventurous, you can find yourself driving on some pretty bad roads.  

Also, you will see dump trucks driving without or with a loose cover. No matter how much distance you stay away from one of those dump trucks on the freeway, you’ll see gravel jumping all over the road in front of you. For sure, your windshield will get hit by a couple. And you’ll be lucky if it doesn’t put a nick or chip in your windshield.

Our Ford Escape was hit last year by one of those small rocks and chipped the windshield. Nothing else happened then and we drove around with it for over a year as no more harm was done. Then, of course, bad things happen usually at the wrong time. I saw a small crack in the windshield on Monday morning. 

I called everyone else who uses the car, to find out if it happened recently or not.  Nobody had a clue about the new crack, it just cracked.

9 Weird ways to transport your belongings in Costa Rica

9 Ways to transport your belongings in Costa RicaPlanning on moving to another home in Costa Rica? Are you remodeling your home and need to purchase large building materials like cement, gypsum, steel beams and others? Need to take your cow to your sister house? Organizing a wedding and you need to take chairs and tables from one place to another?

Just like many other things in Costa Rica, everything is allowed, unless you are caught at it. Laws and rules exist to be broken. With the way people in Costa Rica transport their belongings, law enforcement in many other places would freak out.

Traffic in Costa Rica has its own peculiarities as I have shown in other articles before, so you can learn and stop worrying about any obstacles you might encounter when driving in Costa Rica:

2 Ways to not get hit by the train in Costa Rica

2 Ways to not get hit by a train in Costa RicaThe train was such a wonderful way of transport for a country like Costa Rica. Costa Rica does not have any heavy industries at all, but for a few agro-industries, so everything is important, which makes the two ports in Costa Rica very important.

Driving in Costa Rica is easy to learn without getting scared and by reading my blogs about what can happen at the traffic light, no passing zones, the road obstacles, the different sidewalks, what to do when you have an accident and how we drive over the dead, you will be aware of the dangers.

Coffee and bananas were the main export products and almost everything that is shipped in and out of Costa Rica went through to the ports of Limon (Atlantic) and the port of Caldera (Pacific). Before containers became fashionable, everything was transported by train, a situation that has now changed tremendously.

Before that happened, there was still space in the streets on San Jose, Cartago, Alajuela and Heredia. Now you can get hit by a train, if you are not aware there is one.

Motorcycles and you together on the roads of Costa Rica

IVO HENFLING | JULY 31, 2015

Motorcycles on the roads of Costa RicaIn Costa Rica, motorcycles come out of nowhere in traffic. Motorcycle riders in Costa Rica have no respect for traffic laws; double yellow lines and traffic lights are non-existent. They will get right in front of you at the traffic light, zigzag between cars and use the sidewalks for shortcuts.

Driving in Costa Rica can be a challenge, just like it is in other Latin countries. If you have driven in France, Spain, Italy, Nigeria, Morocco or South Africa or in South Florida, then driving in Costa Rica is a piece of cake. You just need to pay a little bit attention to what is going on around you, especially the motorcycles. Do before you drive off, adjust all your mirrors to avoid blind spots and you’ll be safe, if you use them.

A motorbike is for transport, right? Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean the transportation of people, who said it does? In Costa Rica, a motorbike could be used for transportation of about anything that comes to mind, as you can see in all the photos I’m posting in this blog, a picture is better than a thousand words.

13 Tips for the Costa Rica rainy season

IVO HENFLING | JUNE 19, 2015

13 Tips for the Costa Rica rainy seasonWould you like to break an arm or a leg when walking into a Costa Rica shopping mall when it rains? I bet you don’t. The rainy season, or the green season as we call it in Costa Rica, is starting soon. When it rains in Costa Rica, it pours, so we all have to learn how to handle this.

In most countries, when you walk into a building, they will have anti-slip tile or rubber mats at the entrance. Don’t expect the same to happen in Costa Rica. If you do, you might break something and you don’t want to sue the mall for the medical expenses. The legal expenses will be higher than the cost of getting your leg fixed. If you do want to sue the mall for medical expenses, you’re in for a long fight.

Last year, when Dany and I were in Miami, I parked my rental car in the parking garage of a building and at the entrance they had this sign as you can see in the photo below that said “Please HELP keep our lobby floors dry. Use our complimentary wet umbrella bags.”

What can happen at the traffic light in Costa Rica?

IVO HENFLING | FEBRUARY 6, 2015

What can happen at the traffic light in Costa Rica?Driving in Costa Rica is different. Stopping at a traffic light in Costa Rica can bring a lot of surprises. A traffic light in Costa Rica creates a surprising business center. A traffic light is a great place to try to sell you something or beg for money because there is nowhere to go but wait for the light to go green. 

And once it does turn green, there might be someone blocking the intersection. It takes me up to 15 minutes to get past the traffic light down on my street.  I’m convinced the Costarican government doesn’t allow much time for the green light on purpose so you can be visited by all those people trying to make a living or raise funds for some charity. 

Most traffic light workers are nice when rejected and you might even get a blessing or two. Here and there, you might hit on a nasty one, though that hardly ever happens. 

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

IVO HENFLING | JANUARY 16, 2015

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVEThose who own a vehicle in Costa Rica should know about RITEVE or the Vehicle Inspection in Costa Rica. Why?

If you don’t carry a valid RITEVE sticker on the right side of your windshield, you are bound to receive a ticket and a traffic inspector can confiscate your license plates.

The Riteve sticker, the Marchamo sticker and the 3rd license plate are the three stickers you should worry about having it always up to date in Costa Rica if you don’t want to run into trouble with the law.

Why RITEVE?

Costarican traffic law obliges every vehicle owner in Costa Rica to have the vehicle inspected once a year by Riteve, to ensure that the vehicle complies with the safety standards and traffic regulations of Costa Rica and those established by the manufacturer to be able to circulate. 

No passing zones in Costa Rica are more dangerous than you think

IVO HENFLING | JANUARY 9, 2015

No passing zones in Costa Rica are more dangerous than you think

I have written quite a few blogs about driving in Costa Rica and strange and funny things you might find on the roads of Costa Rica and show you that driving in Costa Rica can be a challenge. Today’s turn is for the no-passing zone and the lack of it.

Como, qué dice? A no-passing zone? What’s that?

Ticos don’t think that pavement markings are important, or what they are there for. They just don’t exist, even if they do. Or nobody pays any attention to them.

In Escazu, they have re-paved quite a few roads about a year ago and they are still without markings, I imagine because they ran out of money. Or maybe they don’t know we need them. Today, I was waiting in front of a traffic light and when I pulled up when it turned green, it turned out we were 4 lines of cars waiting in what normally are 2 lanes. Since there are no pavement markings, drivers just keep making new lines until they’re covering even the sidewalk.

Sidewalks in Costa Rica are different

IVO HENFLING | NOVEMBER 14, 2014

Sidewalks in Costa Rica are differentA sidewalk in Costa Rica? What’s that, a sidewalk? Who needs a sidewalk anyway? Costaricans don’t use sidewalks, even if they have one. 

Costaricans walk on the road, mostly for lack of sidewalks or sidewalks with too many obstacles. A few weeks ago, I wrote about obstacles on the roads of Costa Rica and this blog is all about obstacles you might find when walking on a sidewalk. You will find lamp posts, trees, power posts, advertising signs, billboards, fences, garages and the most incredible objects cross your path on a side walk in Costa Rica.  I have been in many cities in the US where they don’t have sidewalks either, because people don’t walk, they drive. But in Costa Rica, many people walk and jog and walk the dog. If you are in a wheelchair or you want to the baby in the stroller, you're in for a treat.

Walking in Costa Rica is not an easy task and if you plan to practice jogging, think twice. Escazu, where I live for example as well as many other communities in Costa Rica, has no sidewalks on more than half the streets. To have space for a sidewalk, you need planning. And planning is not what they do well in Costa Rica

Road Obstacles when driving in Costa Rica

Road obstacles when driving in Costa RicaDriving in Costa Rica can be overwhelming when you first arrive. I compare it to driving in Paris, Rome or Madrid, any Latin American city in Europe. It’s mainly the lack of discipline that turns roads into a madhouse, especial at peak hours.

We all want to get to our destination as soon as possible, even if we have to break all the rules simultaneously if we have to. We don’t pay any attention to road signs and road markings; this is the wild, wild west for anyone not used to drive in Costa Rica. 

Costaricans are very nice and easy going people, but once they hold a steering wheel in their hands, they’ll go nuts. Since they are always running late, which we call Tico Time, they try to recover lost time on the road. Doing so, they will do anything that is not allowed, no matter how crazy it sounds.

Now, don’t run scared now, if you follow my articles, you will be aware of many of the obstacles you will find, the weird actions that some drivers take and the mistakes made by road planners. In no time, you will be either a careful driver or as crazy as the locals are when driving a car.

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