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Driving in Cartago

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Cartago.

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Cartago, like many other parts of the country, can be a bit chaotic for those not used to it. The traffic rules are not always strictly adhered to, and drivers can be aggressive. It’s important to be alert and cautious at all times. Also, be prepared for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers.

2. Type of Car to Use

Given the varying road conditions in Cartago, it’s advisable to have a car with good ground clearance. A compact SUV or a crossover would be a good choice. However, smaller cars are also common and can be more convenient for navigating through narrow city streets.

3. Parking Situation

Finding parking in Cartago can be challenging, especially in the city center during peak hours. However, there are paid parking lots available. The cost of parking is not typically expensive, but it can add up if you’re parking daily. Always ensure to park in designated areas to avoid fines.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Colombia with an international driving permit for up to 180 days. After this period, you will need to obtain a Colombian driver’s license. It’s important to always have your passport or a copy of it, along with your international license when driving.

5. Obtaining a Colombian Driver’s License

To get a Colombian driver’s license, you will need to go through a driving school. The process involves a medical exam, theoretical classes, and practical driving lessons. Once you pass the final tests, you can apply for your license at the Ministry of Transport. Note that the entire process is conducted in Spanish, so a certain level of Spanish proficiency is required.

6. Road Conditions

Road conditions in Cartago can vary. While main roads are generally in good condition, some side streets can be poorly maintained. Also, be prepared for heavy rain during the rainy season, which can affect road conditions.

7. Safety Precautions

While Cartago is generally safe, it’s advisable to keep doors locked and windows up when driving, especially at night. Avoid leaving valuables in plain sight in your car to prevent break-ins.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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