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When can I drive? Breaking down Costa Rica’s updated vehicular restrictions

June 3, 2020

Costa Rica has announced new driving restrictions that will be enforced starting Saturday, May 16 until at least June 19.

The following restrictions will be enforced nationwide.

Daytime driving restrictions

The following weekday vehicular restrictions will be enforced between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.:

  • Mondays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Tuesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 3 and 4 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Wednesdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 5 and 6 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Thursdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 7 and 8 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.
  • Fridays: Vehicles with license plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in all other numbers can transit freely.

The following weekend vehicular restrictions will be enforced between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m.: 

  • Saturdays: Vehicles with license plates ending in even numbers cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number can drive to establishments that have been permitted to operate by the Health Ministry (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, gyms, health centers, hotels).
  • Sundays: Vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers cannot drive. Vehicles with license plates ending in an even number can drive to establishments that have been permitted to operate by the Health Ministry.

Drivers who violate these restrictions will be fined 110,000 colones (about $195).

Nighttime driving restrictions

A total vehicular restriction — with a few exceptions — will be enforced nationwide every night.

On weeknights (Monday-Friday), the nighttime restriction is from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning. On Saturday and Sunday, the nighttime restriction is from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning

The full list of valid exceptions for nighttime driving are enumerated here. They include people transiting to work or to a health center. (Proof must be provided.)

Drivers who violate these restrictions will be fined 110,000 colones (about $195).

Regional driving restrictions

On June 3, Costa Rica began enforcing additional nighttime driving restrictions near the country’s northern border with Nicaragua.

The measures are meant to help authorities prevent irregular immigration.

In the following cantons and districts, driving is not allowed from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice:

  • La Cruz: Restrictions apply to the entire canton.
  • Guatuso: Restrictions apply to the entire canton.
  • Upala: Restrictions apply to the entire canton.
  • Los Chiles: Restrictions apply to the entire canton.
  • Río Cuarto: Restrictions apply to the entire canton.
  • San Carlos: Restrictions apply to districts of Aguas Zarcas, Cutris, Pital and Pocosol only.
  • Guácimo: Restrictions apply to district of Duacarí only.
  • Pococí: Restrictions apply to districts of Colorado and La Colonia only.
  • Sarapiquí: Restrictions apply to districts of Llanuras del Gaspar and Curuña only.
  • Siquirres: Restrictions apply to districts of Pacuarito and Reventazón only.

Public transportation

Public transportation, including buses and trains, can operate with some capacity limits. Taxis can continue to operate at all hours of every day.

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