The 5 Best Map App for Traveling in Costa Rica

It can be very expensive to hire a guide to show you around Costa Rica when you visit. Therefore, having a map app becomes a necessity. You also won’t always have people around to ask for directions.

Every time I travel to Costa Rica, I always ensure I have downloaded a travel app. However, I have discovered that not all map apps work the same way. After comparing the kinds of map apps I have used and the ones my friends have used, I have come up with a list.

Key Takeaways From this Article

If you’re planning to do a lot of driving in Costa Rica, a travel map app might save you from getting lost. Trying to read a physical map while driving can be cumbersome and dangerous, too. Use a travel map when using public transport to know where to get off!

Here are my key takeaways.

  • Note that Costa Rica does not have street names or numerical addresses for most areas outside the city.
  • Most places in Costa Rica have the same names; hence, knowing the nearest landmarks is essential for confirmation.
  • Apple Maps doesn’t work well in Costa Rica, relying on updates such as business, roads, and landmarks for accurate data.
  • WAZE is the most popular and widely used map app in Costa Rica, as it can provide traffic updates and suggest alternative routes.

Costa Rica Travel Apps

Navigating in Costa Rica requires maps to ensure an easy time. Whether driving or using public transport, map apps will help you determine if you’re heading in the right direction.

There are a few travel map apps that you can use in Costa Rica.

WAZE Costa Rica

Wave Costa Rica

It is the most popular travel map app in Costa Rica. You can download it to your smartphone using Google Play or the App Store.

WAZE Map App
InterfaceCollects crowd-sourced information to calculate average speed and provide directions for turn-by-turn navigation.
Use a USB to connect the phone with your WAZE app to your vehicle.
Simple and easier to use.
Offline CapabilitiesDownload maps beforehand to use when offline.
Does not update if out of internet range.
Only stores one map at a time.
Accuracy/ReliabilityUses user data to provide accurate information.
Automatically updates route information based on traffic in real time.
Language SupportOnly available in English.

Google Maps Costa Rica

Google Maps Costa Rica

The Google Maps app is the best if you want information about the places around you as you travel.

Google Map App
InterfaceEasy to use.
You can use voice navigation.
Offline CapabilitiesThe map is available offline.
Download the maps to use without data. Use it to navigate, as it won’t populate without the internet.
You can use GPS if you’re out of internet coverage.
Accuracy/ReliabilityRelies on contact information, phone numbers, reviews, and other location-specific information in Costa Rica.
Roads are not clearly defined, and some roads are not on the map.
Does not update without the internet.
Language SupportSupports 70 languages.
Enter the country name (Costa Rica), and it will show the available local languages.

Apple Maps Costa Rica

 

Satellite and regular Apple Maps work in Costa Rica, but turn-by-turn navigation is unavailable. Apple Maps relies on crowd-sourced data to generate directions and maps. If a country has a few Apple users, the data may not be enough to produce reliable maps.

Apple Maps also relies on the local government to provide data about businesses, roads, and other landmarks. Costa Rica’s government does not update data fast enough for Apple Maps to provide reliable and accurate maps.

The Apple Map is inaccurate in foreign countries and may not be helpful in Costa Rica.

CRMaps

Another useful Costa Rican travel app is CRMaps. You can obtain physical CRMs from supermarkets or the hotel where you stay. These maps feature cartoon illustrations of business locations and include a directory.

CRMaps provides a comprehensive list of local tourist attractions and activities.

CRMaps App
InterfaceHas a PAN and zoom feature that helps identify various destinations.
The directory lists all the restaurants, accommodations, tours, and services.
Offline CapabilitiesDownload the map from their app beforehand.
Accuracy/ReliabilityAccurate and reliable.
Language SupportSpanish

Maps.Me App

It’s a local Costa Rican map detailing local roads and trails. Maps.me has extra details, such as the shortest route between two points. The map app will even tell you the different modes of transport available on that route.

Maps.Me App
InterfaceYou can download individual country/state maps to use offline.
Most detailed.
Offline CapabilitiesYou can use the app offline, without the internet.
Uses inbuilt.GPS, and you can use it while in airplane mode.
Accuracy/ReliabilityVery Accurate
Language Support27 languages are supported.

Which is the best map app in Costa Rica?

Waze is the best map app in Costa Rica. Mainly because it’s the most popular and widely used GPS app for traveling in Costa Rica. Waze uses a person’s user-generated content, such as traffic and accident updates, landmarks, and others.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does Waze work without the internet?

Waze uses traffic updates to provide the quickest routes. Therefore, it cannot function offline and thus requires data.

2. Is Google Maps accurate in Costa Rica?

While the directions on Google Maps in Costa Rica might be accurate, the distance might not be. Therefore, you might have to adjust your driving time in Costa Rica.

Conclusion

There are several map apps that you can use in Costa Rica. My favorite is WAZE, which uses real-time traffic updates to give you the quickest route. However, I prefer the maps when going to areas without an internet connection.Me app.

Which is your favorite map app in Costa Rica? Please share with us how you use the map app.

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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