Costa Rica is one my favorite places in the world. It is so green and lush and the tropical landscapes are simply marvelous. In addition, the Ticos (colloquial word for Costa Ricans) have an even temperament and are so cordial to the tourists. What a wonderful place to be!
The worst thing I can say about Costa Rica are the roads. I have driven a number of times in Costa Rica, and let me tell you thing – outside of the Pan American Highway and the scenic thoroughfare which passes through Braulio Carillo National Park to the Caribbean Coast, the roads are abysmal. There are potholes (in Spanish, huecas) of every size and shape imaginable – in general, they are somewhat circular in shape and range in size from 1 – 10 feet in diameter or more. I have heard of small cars been swallowed by huge crater size huecas.
Driving at night in a tropical downpour, while dodging huecas of every size and shape can be especially treacherous – all I can say, been there, done that! I remember very distinctly driving from Poas, in the mountains just outside of San Jose on a fogged-in evening to the lowlands of San Carlos Valley. The visibility factor was next to zero! Descending from 9000 feet or so to the lowlands, the heavy mist gradually morphed into a steady rainfall, and I remember dodging pothole after pothole in my 4WD drive car rental with the hi-beams on. What a harrowing adventure that was! Thank G_D, I didn’t have a backseat driver accompanying me or that would have definitely been my last ride! My recommendation is to refrain driving at night on secondary roads and in the countryside. Better be safe then sorry!