There is nothing that gets my heart racing more while driving in Costa Rica than then dreaded bright green traffic cones. These are the telltale sign of the Transito’s, Costa Rica’s Transit Police. While we have been pulled over a number of times by the Transito’s, this year marks the first time that we received a citation..
Let’s take a step backward… I am pretty aware of the rules and regulations in Costa Rica and there are a number of annual fee’s that have to be paid in order to keep your vehicle legal in Costa Rica. One of them in particular can be tricky to obtain, the Reteve. The Reteve is like the Emissions test in the USA, but it is much more in-depth, and it’s hard to pass. Especially the first time. Almost everyone I know down here fails the first time and has to go make some sort of repair to try again within 30 days. This year, we also needed to replace our license plates, and of course you can’t get Reteve until your plates are up to date.
When we arrived in September, our plates had not been updated, even though we were promised by our property manager that this would be taken care of for us, so I had to learn how the process works. It was actually very simple once I knew what paperwork I needed to have and where I needed to go. It was just a trip to the Post Office with the old plates and around $30. You wait a week and then your plates arrive back at the Post Office. It was pretty simple. After getting pulled over last year a number of times, we opted to not drive our car until the plates were legal and legit. Once the plates were back and installed on the van I felt a sense of relief as I could drive around knowing that I was not breaking any laws or rules.
About a week after getting our new plates, I came upon a massive Transito blockade on the way into Tamarindo. I felt very confident that it would be smooth, I had all of my paperwork, everything was up to date and I had a copy of my passport at the ready. When I was stopped, they checked all of my credentials and after quite a delay, they came over to inform me that my Reteve was expired and they were going to write me a ticket. WHAT?! Our property manager had dropped the ball a second time and not renewed the Reteve (as promised) and suddenly I was looking at a $120 ticket.. They were very nice about it, but in the end, gave me a ticket.
Not only did I end up with a large ticket, we also did not have a vehicle to use, and I was feeling super frustrated with our property manager.. Thankfully, he was very receptive to my frustration and gave us a loaner car to use while he and his team took the van to go through the Reteve process. It took almost two weeks, but we finally got Vino the Van back today. Now all that’s left is for me to go pay the ticket at the Bank, which I will be doing today. We have been collecting change (coins) for the past few years in a jar, so I counted all of those up and I’m paying for over half of the ticket with coins. Figure I might as well put them to good use!
Ah the adventures of owning a car in Costa Rica….