Driving Rules and Regulations

Information on the main rules and regulations when driving in Costa Rica...

In Costa Rica, the traffic drives on the right.

In 2010, the Costa Rican government imposed a new set of rules and fines for traffic offenses, some of which are:

Offenses carrying a prison sentence

  • Driving over 150 Km/h
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (over 0.75mg per liter of blood)
  • Causing bodily injury or death to others through reckless driving
  • Racing on public highways

Offenses carrying a maximum fine

  • Driving over 120 Km/h
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (over 0.50mg per liter of blood)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Overtaking on bends
  • Driving without a valid license
  • Not having appropriate child seating
  • Riding a motorcycle without a helmet
  • Offering public transportation services without authorisation

Other notable offenses include:

  • Using a mobile (cell) telephone while driving
  • Picking up or dropping off passengers at a designated bus stop
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt
  • Making an illegal U-turn
  • Failing to stop for pedestrians who are crossing at junctions
  • Undertaking (passing on the right)
  • Failing to signal
  • Driving on a beach
  • Throwing litter
  • Driving too close to the car in front
  • Driving with a foreign license for more than three months

A full list of traffic offenses and the relevant fines can be downloaded from the COSEVI website.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol over 0.05 percent Blood Alcohol Content is illegal in Costa Rica.


In addition, traffic violations can also incur points (puntos), which are added to the license (Costa Rican) of the offender. These vary from 5-50 points and a cumulative total of 50 will result in a driving ban for two years.

What to carry in the car

It is compulsory to carry in the car at all times:

  • Driving license
  • Car insurance and registration documents
  • Car rental contract (if applicable)

Failure to produce these documents on request results in a fine.

In addition to paperwork, it is also compulsory to carry:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Two warning triangles
  • Two reflective jackets
  • First aid kit
  • Tool kit
  • Jump leads
  • Torch