Expect to Get Lost…. It is easy to do.
In Costa Rica not all roads are marked and not all locations have street addresses. There may not be street signs on intersections or numbers on houses. Costa Ricans (Ticos) will not necessarily be able to locate an exact destination on a map (or even tell you where you are). Directions may be given by referring to a number of meters north and a number of meters east of some “landmark” (churches, parks, schools, tall buildings; or basically anything that can be easily identified).
The landmark may a be big tree even if that tree had been cut down ten years earlier. The locals may still use the location as the starting point for all directions in the area. A “mark” (address/sign, etc.) may be on the side of one of the buildings near the corner.
Ticos may not use the Spanish words for right (derecha ) or left (izquierda), they use north (norte), south (sur), east (este) and west (oeste). It is very easy for those unfamiliar with Costa Rica to get lost. Typically, cities are a one way system. Signs are not always visible (or even existing). The best thing is to plan your route ahead of your journey. If you are driving and you miss your turn, it can be difficult to find your destination as there may be few places to turn around.
Some roads are poorly lit at night and it is common for pedestrians to walk along the roadside. Cars may be parked along the side of the road (partially on the road itself). You may encounter animals, potholes and unmarked roadwork and other obstacles.
EcoCostaRicaTravel.com recommends utilizing a GPS Navigation System available from many rental car companies. In addition, many also offer roadside assistance. In case of any emergency, you can dial tel. 911 (which should have an English-speaking operator)
Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in all of Spanish speaking North America and Central America for travellers from the US, Europe and from around the world.