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Your definition of a "bad road"

Eugene, Oregon
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Your definition of a "bad road"

I keep hearing discussions of bad roads in Costa Rica, which leads me to ask what defines the relative description of a bad road?

From my own experience, the worst roads I've ever been on were in Trelawny in Jamaica. When I first travelled in Jamaica I was amused at the custom of honking at every curve, but when I went to the interior I realised honking was deadly necessary: blind curves, gravel, crumbling edges, and a few seconds of reaction time from when you hear the honk to when you see the car racing at you were the norm.

That said, those roads weren't all that different from the forest service roads I travel when I go camping. It was just the Jamaicans taking those blind curves at 40+ kph that threw me into oh-so-slow-and-careful mode, with lots of horn action.

So what is your perception of a bad road in Costa Rica?

Punta Uva, Costa...
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for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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1. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

Most of the main highways are in good shape, but once off them, expect gravel roads, which can be in good shape or not. You can see some videos on youtube if you like.

Costa Rica
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2. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

Everyone's definition of a "bad road" will be different. I have driven on the roads in Costa Rica for a long time and I recently asked a friend - "Why do people think the roads in Costa Rica are so bad? I don't think they are so bad....." to which he replied - "Maybe it's just because you are used to them."

I burst out laughing last November when I was in New York visiting my son and after picking me up from the airport, we headed for West Point on one of the worst highways I have seen. (Worse than any paved road in Costa Rica.) "What's so funny, Mom?" Potholes, uneven pavement, grass growing up through the pavement, etc.

For me, a "bad road" is one that has very slick, deep, mud or huge gullies or huge rocks to avoid. Most tourists never encounter these kinds of roads because they are usually "the back way" to somewhere that I have decided to go.

Off the main, paved highways are many many gravel roads. As Cubanon said - some are in good shape --- some aren't.

Now, there is a difference between a "bad road" and a "crazy driver."

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

Agreed, the roads that we were on were in decent condition. It was the one-lane bridges, drivers coming down the middle of the road on a blind curve, and all the others (pedestrians, dogs, children, bikes, scooters, tractors, big trucks, a turkey, etc.) on the narrow road too. Everyone seemed to think they had the "right of way" and I wasn't about to play that game and risk my life! If I was driving alone on the road, it wouldn't have been so bad. Add all the other factors, and it was stressful!!

Berkeley, CA
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4. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

I got a kick out of this post because the whole time we were driving around CR in September, including MonteVerde, I thought that the roads were actually better than the Loop Road down by the Everglades (now closed for repairs). Like in CR, Loop Rd was a slow drive not only because of its condition but also because we constantly stopped to watch wildlife--alligators and birds. The only time I worried in CR was on the highway between SJ and Liberia, because I was sure we were lost. I couldn't believe that such a small road with so little traffic was the only road between the 2 largest cities in the country.

Destination Expert
for Bermuda
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5. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

Most tourists will never see the truly treacherous roads that Costa Rica had to offer. Most of the mountainside roads in Jamaica are paved allowing drivers to speed. The mountainside roads in rural Costa Rica are dirt and at frequently reduced to one lane because of landslides. These roads are not for the faint of heart but as I mentioned they are probably not going to be on your itinerary anyway. As far as lumpy roads go the worst I have been on is the last 30km to monteverde and the newish road from la fortuna to leaves and lizards. In my experience, the crappiest roads on Cr take you to the most beautiful parts of the country.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

AS today...most of our roads are in good shape...of course...out of the way totally out of the way roads...are in terrible condition...lovely for a nice ride!

Most of my clients said the same thing...Costa Rica roads are even better than many in USA or Canada!


San Francisco...
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7. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

The road from Arenal to Monteverde is very bumpy. So much so that our shuttle driver got a flat tire. We didn't notice the roads in the other parts of Costa Rica that we went to. Just be sure you have a spare tire if you are going to Monteverde.

8. Re: Your definition of a "bad road"

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