GPS in Costa Rica
Last Updated: Feb 29, 2012
Why Use a GPS?
If this is your first trip to Costa Rica and you're renting a car, a GPS will be invaluable for navigating both city and backcountry roads. Costa Rica is notorious for poorly signed streets, and a good GPS map will have more than 30,000 points of interest including hotels, banks, ATMs, gas stations, shops, hospitals, airports, car rental agencies, cities and the country's major attractions.
What Features are Included on the Map?
In addition to landmarks and points of interest, GPS maps include geographical features such as streams, rivers, lakes, beaches, wetlands, volcanoes and mountains.
Which GPS Units Work Best?
We recommend either Garmin or Nuvi devices, as they are compatible with Costa Rica's best GPS maps. Tomtom, Navtech and Magellan units may function with certain maps, but are the least compatible of the bunch.
Are All Costa Rica GPS Maps the Same?
While all maps offer countrywide coverage, based on tourist reviews, the NavSat EzFind and GPSTravelMaps offer the most reliable navigation for Costa Rica's roads, and both provide the most comprehensive points of interest. Additional features include alerts for tolls, roadside construction, hazards, and narrow bridges.
What Types of Maps are Available?
You can purchase 10-day, 30-day or full versions of the NavSat EzFind Costa Rica maps online for $50-$90. GPSTravelMaps offers digital downloads for $60-$90, including some free updates.
Can I Rent a GPS in Costa Rica?
Yes, most car rental agencies (and some hotels) rent GPS units for $7 to $10 a day. While convenient, keep in mind that a two-week vacation can run you nearly $130 in rental fees. If you already own a Garmin GPS unit, simply purchase and install a Costa Rica GPS map. If you buy a Costa Rica GPS map, verify that the company provides regular updates (once every 2 to 3 months), for the most reliable data.
Are There Maps Available for My iPhone?
Yes, you can download iGo's latest GPS Maps for around $60 and navigate the country using your iPhone, as long as it's unlocked or you have international roaming. The navigation application features more than 34,000 points of interest and is available in six languages. The iGO Costa Rica edition uses maps from NavSat.