Monday 17 May 2021

Vehicle Restrictions back to 10 pm starting today

Sanitary vehicle restriction by license plate will return this weekend

QCOSTARICA – The sanitary vehicle restrictions will return to 10:00 pm stating today, Monday, January 4, and 9:00 pm on weekends.

As announced last week, the total vehicular restrictions will be from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am from Monday to Friday and 9:00 pm to 5:00 am on Saturday and Sunday. Exemptions continue to apply.

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During the week, from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm, vehicles with license plates ending in 1 & 2 cannot circulate on Mondays, 3 & 4 on Tuesdays, 5 & 6 on Wednesday, 7 & 8 on Thursdays, and 9 & 0 on Fridays.

Starting on Saturday, January 9, there will be a return of the vehicular restrictions for the weekends: on Saturdays, vehicles with odd ending plates (1,3, 5, 7 & 9) and on Sundays, vehicles with even ending plates (0, 2, 4, 6 and 8), cannot this circulate.

The can and cannot on weekends has confused many, since the official government publication states what plates cannot circulate on weekdays and then those that can on weekends. For example, the official government line for the weekends is that even ending plates (0, 2, 4, 6 and 8) can circulate on Saturdays and odd ending plates (1,3, 5, 7 & 9) on Sundays.

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Either way of looking at it, the reality is that every vehicle has two days off the roads each week (one day in the week and one day of the weekend).

The above restrictions will remain in effect throughout the month of January.

Drivers who are detained for violating this provision will no longer have their license plates and/or vehicle seized, not points on their license, but are exposed to a fine of ¢108,000 colones (increased from ¢107,000 starting on January 1), plus costs.

Other restrictions in effect in January

  • Beaches can be open only between 5:00 am and 2:30 pm every day, throughout the entire country, between January 4 and 17.
  • Bars and casinos has a decreased capacity to 25%, between January 4 and 17.
  • National Parks, can operate with a 50% capacity,  between January 4 and 17.

Although these provisions have been severely questioned by deputies, mayors and other personalities, recently the Contentious Administrative Court postponed a precautionary measure that sought to suspend said measure.

The Government argues that by limiting the movement of people late at night and at dawn, the number of accidents and illicit acts decreases, allowing the authorities to respond more quickly to emergencies and avoid saturation of health centers due to injuries in accidents traffic, robberies, or assaults.

More: Police take almost 30 minutes to respond to a call

Transport apps

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Uber and DiDI, the two major transport apps in Costa Rica, indicated that they will respect the decision and the schedules established.

“At Uber we are respectful and we will abide by the measures imposed by the authorities to contribute to mitigating the impact of Covid-19. For each trip, the limitations of schedules and plates must be complied with, and it is mandatory that both users and the collaborating partner use a mask,” said company officials when consulted.

For her part, Carolina Murillo, in charge of Communications at DiDi Costa Rica, pointed out that they will also respect the hours and plates allowed to travel per day, and even turn off the platform when it cannot operate.


As mentioned earlier, exemptions to the vehicular restrictions apply. Following is a list of exemptions (translated from the official list of exemptions), as it affects tourists, picking up or dropping off people at the airport, going to and from a doctor’s appointment, driving to and from work, moving to and from a hotel and renting a car, during the restricted days and times:

  • Vehicles for the transport of merchandise or cargo. In the case of light load vehicles (CL), the nature of their activity must be demonstrated by means of the corresponding certificate or letter.
  • Public transport vehicles destined to the paid transport: bus, minibus, minibus, taxi, special stable taxi service, the special service for workers, tourism and students, which have a public service plate, as well as a cargo taxi.
  • An employer letter, duly accredited, establishing the need to travel during working hours or going to and from work, detailing the day(s) and time(s). The regulations for the employer letter can be found here.
  • Private vehicle that, due to an emergency related to life or health, requires a transfer to a health or pharmacy, scheduled medical appointment or to attend to donate blood to the National Blood Bank or the respective hospital, in both cases with the proper proof of the scheduled appointment.
  • Vehicles of people who require to move strictly on the occasion of a reservation to hotels, cabins, accommodation establishments authorized by the Ministry of Health or in the case of non-traditional accommodation and intermediation through digital platforms, ie AirBnB, either for entry or departure, duly demonstrated with the corresponding reservation voucher.
  • Rental vehicles – “rent a car” – with the proper proof, ie rental contract.
  • The vehicles of people who strictly require to move to the Juan Santamaría International Airport to leave the country or to pick up a person who enters the country under the flights enabled for that purpose, duly demonstrated with the personal flight ticket or the corresponding person to be picked up.
  • Vehicles of people who strictly require to go to public, private or mixed nurseries supervised by the Comprehensive Care Council or the Ministry of Public Education, in order to drop off or pick up a minor, with the proper letter.
  • Vehicles of the people who must travel strictly to attend the Vehicle Technical Review (Riteve) appointment, duly accredited with the proof of the scheduled appointment.

For the complete “official” list of exceptions (in Spanish) visit

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We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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