You read the online comments on social media and hear it all the time. When someone asks about driving here in Costa Rica: “OMG, don’t drive! The roads are terrible and it takes forever to get somewhere. Just fly!” 


Yeah, they are mostly correct. But ….   


Maybe I am of a certain age, recalling how we kids were thrown in the back of the station wagon and off we went, using TripTiks from the AAA. Maybe I still relate to “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” And maybe my idea of traveling and visiting foreign places is to actually see them.


Some of my best memories in Costa Rica are the wonderful drives. You really do see the country when you drive. You experience the local tourist stops and restaurants, and you soak in the beauty that is this marvelous little country. If you really want to experience Costa Rica, drive it. Not the stuck-in-traffic drive in San José during rush hour, nor the landslides. Same goes for the feeling of being in “Death Race 2000” on Route 32 driving to or from Limón. 


But there are so many totally unforgettable drives to take in this country that are more than just getting somewhere. They become part of your memories of Costa Rica. 

See this article in the magazine

If you want to try these, first, some ground rules. 

  • Don’t drive at night. It is dangerous and you’ll miss the scenery anyway. 
  • Don’t speed. You’ll miss the view and you really don’t get there any faster. And besides, the drive is the journey. And lastly, 
  • Do stop along the way! There are miradors, little sodas and sights to take in along the way. 

All these trips can be driven without the necessity of 4-wheel drive: I can personally attest to successfully driving all of them. All of these trips can be driven in one day, and at their end, leave you at a beautiful destination to enjoy.


Based on my experience, Howler has put together a four-part series of featured road trips, hoping you’ll be inspired to plan your own.

These are my top four picks of driving adventures, in countdown order from #4 to #1.

  1. Granddad’s way to the beach: CLICK HERE

Central Valley to Puntarenas, then to Santa Teresa via the Puntarenas ferry

  1. Beauty and history: CLICK HERE

Cartago through the Orosi Valley

  1. A drive on the wild side: CLICK HERE

The Osa Peninsula from Charcarita to Carate

  1. The original and still the best: Coming Soon

La Fortuna to Monteverde around Lake Arenal 


Let’s drive!

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