San Jose - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

SUV if you want to drive outside of the city. - Sep 2020

4x4, used, not beautiful because there are so many accidents here. Not a gorgeous new car, just don't do it. Break-ins seem frequent if you leave anything in the car, though it hasn't happened to us. Accidents are a bigger issue. - Jul 2018

Sedan is fine in the city but 4X4 is best if you want to get out and explore the country. - Dec 2016

In San Jose a sedan is usually OK, but outside San Jose a 4X4 with high clearance would be a big help to drive beyond the few highways and to tackle the potholes. Japanese makes are common, but U.S. makes are uncommon, so parts for U.S. makes are really expensive. Cars cost twice in Costa Rica what they do in the states, and gasoline is much more expensive. - Feb 2016

4x4/AWD is not strictly necessary but recommended. Roads have gotten better here over the past decade but potholes can still appear suddenly out of nowhere. Beach visits can mean long stretches on bumpy, gravel roads that are occasionally steep. We've been thankful for our 4WD many times. - Apr 2014

A 4x4 and a high-clearance vehicle is a must here as during rainy season. Roads will wash out in the countryside. Within the city you deal with potholes the size of a small compact car. USAA does not cover Costa Rica. You must purchase CR 3rd party insurance here. Expect to be involved in an accident during your tour here. The majority of dealerships are covered here: Land Rover, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Chevy, etc. Parts are expensive. - Jun 2013

Definatley bring a 4x4.The roads are terrible here and if you plan to travel around Costa Rica you will defiantley need a 4x4 to even get to some places. - Aug 2011

SUV. The roads are terrible in Costa Rica. The most popular cars are the Toyotas SUVs and also Nissan. - Feb 2010

All autos are fine. There's not really too much off-roading that one could do, so a 4x4 is not a necessity, though most expats have them. - Jan 2010

Extortionist import taxes prohibit anyone but the independently wealthy from bringing a vehicle. Amost all cars are standard, not automatic. Potholes are GIANT and plentiful, both in the city, on highways, and in rural areas alike. Worst roads in Central America, by all accounts. Most foreigners drive giant, gas-guzzling SUV's through the narrow streets of Escazu. Fuel in Costa Rica in Jan. 2008 was already at US$4 a liter. - Jul 2008

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