The life and times of the Godfrey ten.

Costa Quirks – Driving Guanacaste

Every once in a while I am going to do a blog on a major difference that I notice from AK to CR. I will tag them as Costa Quirks.

You want to know something a little scary? Driving in Costa Rica. First of all the roads are smaller than home, and they have no shoulders. Secondly, there are a bunch of critters all over them, iguanas, dogs,herds of cows, frogs, crabs,possums, skunks, chickens and much more. Even though most of them won’t hurt your car, they can cause an evasive action reaction, which on a road with no shoulders can be dangerous. Even scarier than the critters are the evenings. The roads are very dark after 7 pm. Imagine driving 100 on a small windy road ( yes I know it is kilometers, it just sound s cool to say 100) street lights non-existent, weak headlights barely illumaniting the road ahead, and then like a flash a dark skinned person appears in dark clothes about 1 foot inside the white line, oblivious to you and trusting that you will not hit them. This can lead to perennial tension on the steering wheel, causing excessive stress throughout the shoulders and arms, and flat wearing the driver out.

Filadelfia traveler

bikers are everywhere

this bus tried to get off the road.

Traffic laws are things in fables and fairytales, speed limits ignored. Nobody drives the velocidad maximum, they either drive way below it or way above, never at it. Stop signs are treated like green lights and the double yellow line means you need to pass twice as fast. But you want to know is even scarier? The other people on the road, and when I mean on the road I mean on the road. The pedestrians, bike riders, scooter riders,horses, truck and bus drivers, all of them are extremely frightening, especially in the dark. Remember there are no shoulders, so where do the pedestrians walk? On the road, with black shirts and no reflective clothing, nearly impossible to see. Where do the bike riders ride? On the road with the same clothes.It’s like they want to be ninjas, never seen and never heard until they are right on you. This goes for all of the ones mentioned above, they all share the road with the car drivers.

But even scarier than that, are other drivers. Remember the traffic laws are rarely obeyed, so they drive however they feel like driving, pass whenever they want, and my favorite, stop in the middle of the road to chat with pedestrians other drivers or just to stretch a little. NO JOKE. Buses, Trucks cars all of them will stop right in the middle of the road, granted a couple of them actually turn on their hazards so there is that. Then while they sit in the road tour buses, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, all of them zoom by in the opposite lane of traffic. It is common place to see a fully loaded tour bus pass on a double yellow, up a hill on a blind corner.

Typical Tamarindo scene

It is a conundrum to me. We are in a country where the motto is Pura Vida, and the laid back life style is not only marketed but encouraged. Yet driving feels incredibly dangerous and rushed, it is an intense adventure rivaling whitewater rafting and zip lining, but more dangerous. But you want to know what the scariest of all is?………………….

this is my "forced smile I'm not stressed" look.

……… I kind of like it!

Here is a three minute video of a 45 minute drive back from Liberia.

2 responses

  1. Becky Smith

    Oh my gosh, I would be scared to death to drive for sure, but especially at night!!! Do they have a lot of accidents-car or pedestrians/bikers?? Wow, sure enjoying reading your blogs….what an adventure!!!

    July 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

  2. Sadly they do have quite a few pedestrians vs. car accidents. In fact I have already met several people that refuse to drive at night for that very reason. To me it seems that you should drive as if you always expect someone to be on the road. Like I said, I kind of like it. thanks for the comments and compliments Becky, I really appreciate it. G

    July 15, 2011 at 4:06 am

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