Getting Gas in Costa Rica (Gas Stations are Different Here)

In Costa Rica, driving means encountering regulated gas prices and convenient station locations. Whether you need regular, super, or diesel, you’ll pay an average of $4.24 per gallon for gas in Costa Rica. In this guide, we’ll navigate you through fuel prices, station locations, and local refueling practices to ensure a smooth ride through this tropical paradise.

Fuel Prices in Costa Rica

  • Gas prices in Costa Rica are higher and consistent across the country due to government regulation, costing roughly $4.24/gallon for regular and $4.39/gallon for super as of 2023.
  • Gas stations are widely accessible, located on main roads and towns, and offer full-service experiences with attendants providing extra services like oil checks and windshield cleaning.
  • Make payments securely and be mindful of scams; use credit cards over debit for better fraud protection, confirm receipt amounts, and be cautious at ATMs.

Understanding Gas Prices in Costa Rica

Gas station in Costa Rica with uniform fuel prices

In Costa Rica, the government’s regulation ensures that fuel prices are uniform across the nation, mirroring its consistent tropical weather. No matter if you’re in a lively urban area or a charming small town, you can expect to pay the same price at every gas station when topping up your tank. As of August 2021, regular gasoline was priced on average at around $4.24 per gallon. Meanwhile, super gasoline came with a slightly higher price tag of approximately $4.39 per gallon and diesel was priced about $3.23 per gallon.

It’s important to note that compared to what one might be accustomed to back home—especially in countries like the United States and Canada—the cost for gasoline tends to be relatively expensive in Costa Rica because of various factors which include global oil market trends, transportation expenses involved with delivery throughout regions within Costa Rica itself as well as taxes incurred upon purchase plus comprehensive governmental strategies aimed at curbing reliance on fossil fuels.

For those seeking an easy way to calculate these costs using their preferred currency based on prevailing exchange rates will find apps such as XE Currency Exchange particularly useful. They facilitate conversion from Costa Rican colones into US dollars or translate gallons into more familiar units accordingly while also keeping users abreast of changes concerning current exchange rates—all assisting travelers’ budgeting efforts without undue stress over financial tracking during their stay in this Central American country.

Locating Gas Stations in Costa Rica

Locating a gas station in Costa Rica is as simple as finding one of its many beaches. You can typically find these service stations along the main thoroughfares, and they are also prevalent in smaller communities close to areas frequented by tourists, such as the station on route to Huacas near Tamarindo.

Nevertheless, should you venture off into more secluded regions like Puerto Jimenez or Montezuma, your options may be limited to a single gas station ready to serve you. There’s no need for concern. Utilizing tools like Waze or Google Maps will swiftly direct you toward the nearest fueling point so that you can continue enjoying your journey without fretting over an empty tank in beautiful Costa Rica.

Airport Area Gas Stations

Upon arrival in Liberia city, you’ll be pleased to know that refueling your vehicle is a breeze. Conveniently situated within Santa Rosa Plaza is a gas station offering services close to the Liberia International Airport. Should you need alternatives, there’s another option for gas just around the corner from Do-It Hardware Center.

Should your journey take you through San Jose, rest assured that fueling needs are also easily met with Delta Gasolinera situated just over one mile from San Jose Airport in Alajuela city. These strategically located stations ensure an effortless beginning to your Costa Rican adventure immediately upon leaving the airport!

Fuel Types Available in Costa Rica

Different types of fuel available in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, you’ll find three main fuel options available at gas stations: Regular gasoline with a 91 octane level, Super gasoline boasting 95 octane levels, and Diesel. The regular option is the most ubiquitous across various stations due to its suitability for numerous types of vehicles.

For those whose vehicles are powered by diesel, identifying these pumps is simple thanks to their notable green signage. Regardless of your car’s specific requirements when it comes to gas, rest assured that in Costa Rica there’s a type of fuel for every engine.

Full-Service Gas Station Experience

Full-service gas station experience in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, gas stations are more than just places to get fuel. They offer a full service experience. The attendants will not only fill up your gas tank, but also check the oil levels, clean the windshield, and interact with you pleasantly – which sets them apart from ordinary public services.

Communication is key in these comprehensive service stations. A basic understanding of Spanish can help facilitate interactions with the station attendants seamlessly. When you want to refuel with regular gasoline, saying “Lleno con regular, por favor” should suffice. It’s wise to inquire about the gas price per liter to make sure you’re being charged fairly.

Although leaving a tip isn’t required at these stations in Costa Rica, it’s certainly appreciated for their attentive services—especially if they’ve checked your tires or cleaned your windshield beyond merely filling up your tank. Tipping between 500 and 1,000 colones is seen as an appropriate way to express gratitude for their exceptional service.

Payment Methods and Tips

Payment methods at gas stations in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, when you’re ready to pay at the gas station, there are a variety of payment methods available. Whether using cash or one of the major credit cards, settling your bill is convenient.

It’s important to check that the total displayed on the gas pump matches what you actually owe before paying with your card. Confirm that both amounts correspond – this step helps prevent any fraudulent transactions from taking place.

Should you take advantage of extra services like windshield cleaning while at the service station? It’s customary to offer a gratuity around 500 colones for such efforts. This modest sum acknowledges their hard work and can brighten someone’s day just by saying ‘thank you.’’

Additional Gas Station Amenities

In Costa Rica, gas stations provide more than just fuel. At establishments like Delta stations, visitors are greeted with immaculate restrooms and friendly staff that enhance the service experience. For those looking to satiate their hunger, convenience stores at most of these stations carry an array of snacks and drinks including candies, chips, sodas, and juices.

Gas station attendants in this country go a step beyond mere convenience. Many offer additional services such as cleaning your car’s windows or checking tire pressure. Some attendants might also perform minor vehicle maintenance tasks which contribute to making any stop at these convenient stores quite pleasant.

Costa Rican gas stations embody the essence of variety being essential for a vibrant life by offering numerous amenities. While it is not overly common across all locations, a few gas stations may even include a modest restaurant on site. The range of amenities can differ greatly from one location to another, providing varying levels of service and conveniences for drivers passing through.

Safety and Scams Awareness

It’s essential to stay vigilant when you’re on the move. Keeping track of the fluctuating exchange rates between US dollars and Costa Rican colones is key to ensure you get a fair deal whenever you use dollars, which could also lead to keeping more money in your pocket. Before finalizing any credit card transaction, double-check the currency displayed on the machine so as not to be charged extra due to differences in currency conversion.

Consider these safety tips while using ATMs:

  • Shield your PIN entry from prying eyes.
  • Be conscious of who’s around you.
  • Carry out transactions during daylight for added security.
  • Typically decline help from strangers as it may be a scam.

Although convenient at times, using debit cards in Costa Rica is not advised because they might not be widely accepted and there are concerns about fraud protection.

When at gas stations, exercise particular caution with your credit card. Insist that they bring the reader over to where you are and go through every receipt meticulously before signing off. Being cautious can prevent mishaps and contribute significantly towards ensuring your travels proceed without hiccups.

Driving in Costa Rica: Fuel Efficiency Tips

Driving tips for fuel efficiency in Costa Rica

Efficient driving in Costa Rica involves not just a quicker arrival at your destination, but also optimal fuel utilization. Careful trip planning is a key first step, as even a ten-minute extension can significantly increase fuel consumption.

Maintaining the correct tire pressure is another effective way to enhance both vehicle safety and fuel efficiency, while getting rid of excess weight from your vehicle can positively impact your fuel economy.

Efficient driving techniques, such as proper gear shifting, maintaining steady speeds, and using engine braking, can lead to notable improvements in fuel efficiency. Practices like turning off the engine during long stops and using air conditioning only when necessary also help reduce fuel consumption. With these tips, you can enjoy the scenic Costa Rican roads without worrying about your fuel gauge!


Understanding gas prices and finding gas stations are key components to mastering the landscape of Costa Rican fuel stops, transforming what can be an adventure into a smooth journey. Armed with this knowledge, you possess the power to traverse Costa Rica’s stunning scenery efficiently and confidently. Wishing you safe and memorable travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is gallon of gas in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, the cost of gasoline falls within $4.50 to $5.50 for every gallon, which translates to approximately $1 to $2 for each liter. For the precise current price of Costa Rican gasoline, be sure to verify the latest rates.

What kind of gas does Costa Rica take?

In Costa Rica, there are three varieties of fuel available for vehicles: Regular and Super forms of gasoline as well as Diesel. Typically, a rental car in this region will run adequately on Regular gasoline that possesses an octane rating of 91.

To ensure your vehicle operates efficiently, it’s important to fill it with the appropriate type of fuel.

Do you tip gas attendants in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, while it is not mandatory to tip gas service attendants, providing them with a gratuity for exceptional service is considered a kind act.

Is gas the same price everywhere in Costa Rica?

Indeed, in Costa Rica, the government regulates gas prices, ensuring uniformity of gas costs across all gas stations throughout the country.

What types of fuel are available in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, options for fuel include regular (91 octane), super (95 octane), and diesel. Select the type appropriate for your vehicle’s needs.

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Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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