It is hard to imagine
that just two years ago, on our first Due Diligence trip to Costa
Rica, Fran and I applied for and received our first Costa Rican
It was critical that we not miss our
renewal date for if we did it we would have been required to take a
written test (in Spanish) as well as a driving proficiency test with
a non-English speaking examiner. I sort of found this to be a
bit amusing and somewhat ironic because based on the driving
practices of most Costa Ricans, one would naturally assume that road
rules didn't exist and driving proficiency was just an urban legend.
All in all it was a
Step 1 - Physical exam consisting of someone
taking our height and weight, followed by the
traditional eye chart. I passed with flying
colors, even read the letters in Spanish! Fran was
really concerned because her vision sucks. With
her good eye she barely made it through line 5.
With her bad eye the only letter she got right was on
line 1... the "E." And between us, I think she had
that one memorized. The good news is, we both
passed and on to the next station. Total cost:
15,000 colones or $30.00 each.
Step 2 - Go to any branch of Banco de Costa
Rica (BCR) and pay the requisite fee for the actual
license renewal. This is necessary because the
drivers license office does not accept any payment.
Total cost: 10,000 colones or $20.00 each.
Step 3 - Go to the Liberia office of the MOPT
(Costa Rica's answer to the DMV). There we
presented our paperwork (Medical form, Bank receipt,
current license and our Cedula/Residency card) to the
armed guard outside the MOPT office.
Step 4 - Wait in line for a few minutes until
we were waived in to the office of a man with a
computer. After a couple Buenas dias and como
estas, we handed him the same paperwork we just
showed the armed guard outside the office. The man
proceeds to enter all our data into the computer.
Inside 10 minutes, both Fran and I were ready for the
Step 5 - We were instructed to go to the
office directly next to the one we were just in.
There, another man with a fancy camera and printer took
our pictures, digital signatures and scanned our right
index fingers. Five minutes later we were given
our renewed Costa Rican drivers licenses... good for six
As processes go, this one wasn't so
bad. Yes, we had to drive to three different facilities and
interface with five different people but in the end we accomplished
what we set out to do... renew our Costa Rican drivers licenses.