Take care in driving around town and the country in the next couple of days and weeks. Besides the number of bad drivers out and about there are also a lot more traffic officials or transitos keeping an eye on traffic. This is a good thing, but, it can also be a “car-less” holiday if you get stopped for a road infraction or bad parking.


Depending on the situation, a transito may decide to impound your vehicle, though it is more likely they will seize the license plate instead.

In such an event, the law is clear, your vehicle should not be on the road. But, most likely you can drive it home if you close enough, where it then should remain parked.

One of the tools of every Transito is a screwdriver to remove license plates. The Cosevi offices this year will be closed from December 21, 2019 to January 5, 2020.

And at this time of the year, basically anytime starting today, it will be parked well into the new year, given that the Cosevi, the licensing arm of the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT) shuts down after close of business on Friday, December 20 and does not re-open until Monday, January 6, 2020.

During this period you cannot renew licenses, appeal a ticket, nor retrieve seized license plates or impounded vehicles.

And, before heading out to the licensing office on January 4, call ahead to make sure your plates (or impounded vehicle) is where it should be, at the nearest Cosevi office or impound lot where you were stopped.

That is, if you are in Guanacaste, that is where you will have to go to get your vehicle or plates. My understanding, concerning plates, you may ask to have them sent to a Cosevi office nearest you, but, that can take some time.

Don’t take risks, it’s just not worth it. Drive responsibly.

The way to avoid all of this, during the season and any other time of the time, drive responsibly:

  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Don’t be speeding
  • Don’t be driving crazy (I know it’s hard sometimes, but think of the days ahead and worse, the lines you will have to make at the Cosevi)
  • Don’t piss off a transito if you do get stopped
  • Don’t park where you shouldn’t
  • Always have your driver’s license with you
  • Make sure the vehicle registration, marchamo and Riteve (vehicle inspection) is current and at hand

In general, take it easy, get to your destination and back home in one piece and in your own car.

And, if you haven’t done so yet (like me), remember the marchamo is due on December 31. Now, unlike in the distant past, there are many options to pay and there is no grace period, on January 1 you will face a fine and may even have your vehicle impounded or license plate seized.

On that note, it is not just about paying the Marchamo by the due date, on January 1 you need to have the sticker and the corresponding paperwork,