Part of my research for our trip was to find me and my two amigas a safe and savvy ride. I used trip advisor forums, lots of google searches and lastly a blog to pick which car and car company we should use. Now as everyone knows from my previous blog, I didn’t end up using the first rental company I choose, but we still got our own Bego! The blog that I read was about a small group of young people touring around Costa Rica in their little Bego. They said she worked great, and I decided we needed a Bego. I also decided I wanted to write my own blog about the Bego, so future Costa Rica car renters can see what an awesome car she is. Driving in Costa Rica is insane—bottom line. Traffic in San Jose is horrendous, and you have to be very aggressive if you plan on going anywhere. On the way back to our hostel it was a smooth, long, bumper to bumper ride. Pedestrians do not have the right away. On a two lane road cars will stop in the middle of the road sometimes just to park, or to unload something, run in the store, you name it. Sidewalks are used as passing lanes. Everyone out there will cut you off, and there is no such thing and letting someone in or merging. I would describe their merging as more of a push and shove. This was driving in San Jose. I thought the Bay Area was bad. We didn’t stay in the city for long (thank god) and headed out for the beautiful scenery of La Fortuna. The drive started out okay, two lanes for most of the time, little traffic and lots of coffee farms and fruit stands. We took the turn off for Arenal and the road narrowed and the rain fell…hard. In Costa Rica when it rains it pours. But that’s why it’s a Rainforest right? We hit our first small little town. Because the road had narrowed and we were now on the only road to the Volcano traffic was picking up. While driving through this little town, we ended up a part of their parade. It was quite bizarre. We heard a band playing but continued to follow the traffic. And when we went through the intersection to my right was the marching band, and to my left was the flag team. The whole town was lined up along the streets to watch the parade. The further we drove the narrower and windier the road got. Things were going pretty smooth till we started hitting all the farm and logging trucks that don’t go over 25 mph (sorry about 40 km). I was nervous to pass because I don’t like passing on curves or hills which consumed this entire drive. Like I said, people in Costa Rica drive crazy. They will whip out from behind a slow truck on a curve and whiz around him. As I watched this, I kept waiting for a head on collision. I decided I couldn’t keep going 25 mph, so I decided to make my first blind pass. I became quite the passing expert because there were a lot of slow trucks. My method was usually to follow the guy in front of me, and when he passed I would just ride his butt. The Bego doesn’t have a lot of guts but she was a trooper. Finally I caught a break from traffic when I saw a boy in the middle of the road waving me down. He wanted me to go to the other side of the road and slow down. I was very confused. I went into the other lane (on a blind corner) and as I went around that corner I saw tons of cones, a police officer and an upside down vehicle. Crazy Tican drivers. We made it to La Fortuna safely thank god. But everywhere we drove was an adventure. On our way to Puerto Viejo we came across numerous one way bridges. We would have the yield sign, and once you crossed the bridge you immediately took a 90 degree turn. Needless to say you crossed that bridge thinking it was clear and praying that no one came whizzing around that corner. Also, in Puerto Viejo we took extra precaution to make sure out vehicle didn’t get hijacked. No one down there was cruising for a Bego J At this point I thought our experiences in San Jose and the drive to La Fortuna was the worst we were going to see, and I was thankful. I can’t say it enough that driving in Costa Rica is crazy. There are no street signs. Well in San Jose we saw some, but they were stickers on buildings. I had no idea how to convert kilometers to miles. But now that I think about I should have compared everything to a 5k run, but too late now. And everyone either drives 100 mph or 20. On our way back from Puerto Viejo to San Jose we were all exhausted. I took the first shift driving while everyone napped. When Wilma woke up, I told her I needed to switch. Wilma is a trooper. We started on a mountainous windy road, but this time much wider lanes and we even got some passing lanes. While driving on this it started pouring rain. The Bego has no guts, and it is very difficult to pass on a hill. Cars from the oncoming traffic would use our passing lane as their own, and will play chicken with you to see who gets to use it. Even though by law it’s ours! Randomly a truck throws a machete from their truck and we watch it fly in front of us. Soon after the same truck has a man just hanging outside the passenger door, and about 10 mins later the truck has pulled over completely (blocking a lane of course). We think they went to go get their machete? The rain is still coming down pretty hard, and we see a small white sedan come speeding past us. It speeds up the hill while we’re approaching a curve and pulls a fast and furious on us. And by this I mean he pulls a 360 right in front of us and goes off into the shoulder. Thank heavens there was a large shoulder right there because a majority of the drive had been cliff. O and I forgot to mention we went through two police checkpoints. One they checked our passports and the other they waved us through with their Ak-47s. Pretty sure they are looking for drugs. We made it to San Jose and got lost which is annoying because San Jose sucks. We returned our Bego, and I was sad to see her go. She was a beast. The Bego was our reliable companion. And if you are traveling to Costa Rica anytime soon and looking for an affordable 4×4 I recommend the Bego!
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