Obtaining a Costa Rican driver's license will likely be a frustrating experience. After three months in the country, your U.S. license will expire. To get a Tico license, bring your passport, residence permit, driver's license, and a photocopy of the license to the MOPT licensing bureau in San José. In addition to these records, you will also need to get a doctor's confirmation that you are physically capable to drive. This can be done by your physician or by one of the questionable doctor's offices in the neighborhood around the licensing building for about US$10. Once inside the licensing office, the whole process will take US$9 and a few hours of your time.
If you haven't driven your car down from the States and you don't want to use the quite reliable and efficient public transportation system, you are limited to three options for your transportation needs: renting a car, buying a car, or importing a car from the United States. Renting a car for your permanent stay is a costly option considering the high rates and the loss of your deductible should there be damage to the car.
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