You can drive in Costa Rica on your US drivers license for the first 90 days that you are here. After that you are driving illegally. The solution to this problem is to get your Costa Rica drivers license within the first 90 days that you are here. This is a simple but timely process. You don’t have to take a test other than medical…you must pass a medical exam from one of the many doctors that are parked just outside the MOP.
The medical exam is very simplistic and they only check your blood pressure and eyesight and you pass. The exam costs 5,000 colones. Then you go across the street to the MOP and start standing in lines. This used to take several hours but they have opened up new windows and really worked out the process so you can be in and out within a couple of hours at most.
You will need to present a copy of your passport with the last entry stamp. (Please note, there are no copy machines there so you must bring the copies with you) Also you will need your drivers license from your home state. You present this to a woman of few words who logs you in by hand in a ledger book (no computers here either) then onto another line to give the copies and your license again, they will give you a paper to take to the bank (just around the corner in the same building) where you pay for your license. Then you have your picture taken and wait for them to call your name. Your done. As I said the whole process takes 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours now where it used to take a better part of the day. They have really worked hard to get the kinks out and make it a more streamline process.