QCOSTARICA – During this month the Policia de Transito (traffic police) will be intensifying their efforts on the roads, with controls against speeding and drunk driving on the highways, for a safe holiday travel period.

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One of the tools used to control speeding is the photo radar and system to query a driver’s driving record.

Driving in excess of 20 km/h over the posted speed limit is sanctioned with a ¢207.000 colones fine. Driving in excess of 150 km/h will land you in jail.

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Other traffic violations in Costa Rica include:

  • Not using seat belts (back seats too, though seldom checked!)
  • Ignoring a red traffic light (also when you are in the middle of nowhere, except between 10pm and 5am)
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving
  • Driving without your driver’s license. If you are visiting Costa Rica, a current driver’s license from your home country is required, and you can only drive with a foreign driver’s license for period of your tourist visit up to 90 days.
  • Child’s seats are required for children under 12 or smaller than 1.45 meters (4’9”)
  • Driving on the beach is not allowed.
  • Carrying excess passengers.
  • San José has a vehicular restriction during weekdays, except on holidays, from 6am to 7pm. Restrictions are based on the last digit of the license plate: 1 & 2 Mondays, 3 & 4 Tuesdays, 5 & 6 Wednesdays, 7 & 8 Thursdays, 9 & 0 Fridays. Car rental vehicles are exempt, just show the traffic cop your rental agreement.

If you are renting a car (both for those having a Costa Rica drivers license or visitor) report the ticket to the car rental agency, show them your proof of payment, and avoid any surcharges or fines.

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Related: How to Treat Traffic Police Officers in Costa Rica

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It is not recommended visitors to Costa Rica leaving the country without paying a traffic ticket.

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Photos from Policias de Costa Rica Facebook page.