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Driving in Costa Rica, and Making Your Off-road Adventures Memorable
Whether your first off-road riding adventure is to a fishing spot on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, not far off the beaten track, or to a lake in the deep rainforest you and your transportation vehicle must be up to the task.
|Driving in Costa Rica|
These are tips for making your off-roading Costa Rica adventure memorable.
The type of off-road experience you pursue depends on the size (or toughness) of your 4X4 and the truth is many of today's sport vehicles are not designed for true off-road activities.
For serious off-road Costa Rica adventures, you'll want a 4x4 that is built to withstand the punishment of the kind of obstacles you are quite likely to encounter away from the suburban black top.
Taking your vehicle off-road should be one of the most enjoyable things you can do on four wheels, but it can turn nasty. So, before you venture forth, here are some important ways to prepare you and your vehicle for a fun, safe experience that you'll look forward to repeating:
Always be aware of the damage you and your vehicle can do to Costa Rica's environment. Do not make a new trail. Instead, stay on the established path. A heavy 4X4 can damage the ground and embankments by leaving ruts that will deepen and erode with each passing rain and may be damaging the surrounding plant and animal life, not to mention to your vehicle. If you do make your own tracks you may also get lost in an area where no one will be able to find you.
Try not to disturb the wildlife -- this includes plants and animals. We are treading on their turf. Slow down. Enjoy the scenery. Live the experience to the fullest. You do not want to spend time repairing damage you would not have caused had you driven a little slower. Do not litter, especially with the forest as dry as it can be in the dry season. If you pack it in, pack it out.
Leave your ego at home. Every vehicle (and driver, for that matter) has its limitations -- back off early and accept that a maneuver is impossible. Sometimes, choosing another approach may prevent vehicle damage and, more important, personal injury. Never try a maneuver with which you are uncomfortable.
Just as on the street, you should stay right to avoid oncoming traffic, if you can. If common sense tells you it is safer to move left instead of right, then do so. If there is only room for one vehicle to pass, (especially in the roads heading to Monteverde National Park) the rule is the more maneuverable vehicle should yield the right-of-way.
When two vehicles meet on a grade and there is not a safe place to pull over, the vehicle traveling uphill has the right of way. It is safer for the vehicle traveling downhill to back up, and it will be much easier for the downhill vehicle to get under way.
While traveling the roads in Costa Rica, enjoy the experience, and have a safe time!
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