Jan. 2015 Costa Rica Hilux Adventure

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

canadian bum

Sep 13, 2004
Red Deer, Alberta
Well I took a trip down to Costa Rica and made sure to rent a Toyota Hilux for the adventure ahead. A co-worker and I had planned a two week trip to do an entire loop of the country starting and finishing in Liberia. The vehicle we rented was a 2.5L Turbo Diesel rated just over the 100 HP mark. The truck itself was the most basic work truck but it did the trick. There is a nicer version available but I'm not 100% sure you can rent it. That would be the D4D version with a 3.0L Intercooled Turbo Diesel right around 170 HP.

Well we began our trip in Liberia and headed east. It is not hard to get into roads that are more like trails in this country. In fact what we call off-roading here is more like everyday life in Costa Rica.

So working our way across the North Western part of the country we toured around Lake Arenal and some rain forest. River crossings are an everyday regular event and it is not uncommon to see vehicles snorkeled for the conditions at hand. Some roads flood out in the rainy season and are completely cut off. So being prepared for the season is a must. Toyota is for sure the number one vehicle there. Police use the Hilux pickup and the odd 70 series troopy. Ambulances are almost all 70 series troopy land cruisers. All snorkeled and well equipped for the regular everyday conditions of life there.

Here are some just regular Land Cruisers that while going around the country are all over the place. So many awesome Cruisers to be seen.

In a short distance the terrain changes radically. From rocky high mountain passes to thick red jungle mud. There was a mix of everything with the exception of big rock crawling. On the North Eastern side there is thick rain forest red mud and a lot of thick red clay mud. One night we did decide to just pull off the road and sleep in the truck due to poor road conditions. And when the rain came early in the morning there was a little bit of worry. However the red clay mud does give a good amount of traction.

The Caribbean side was pretty laid back and not as touristy which was very nice and was my favorite place out of the two Oceans to be at.

Most of the roads on the South side of the country were paved as we made our way across to the Osa Peninsula on the Pacific side.

Further up the Pacific Coast the road is paved and fairly normal to drive on. This was actually the biggest challenge for the Hilux because its lack in power was very evident here when it came to passing. Both here and in the very steep hills where low range was a must because the engine did not have enough power to get the truck moving in high range were problems.

For the most part the truck held together amazingly considering the places I took it. No problems other than by the end of the 2000 km the tires were badly chunked and had some slices in them from the rocky terrain. Mind you the tires that were on the truck were just regular old all seasons that I was surprised got us around. We ended up turning around twice due to muddy conditions. It was a great trip and the truck didn't disappoint it handled almost everything with out an issue. I can't wait to go back and have some more adventures there.
Nice writeup buddy. Costa Rica is a riot. Tori and I were down there for our honeymoon and it is a place I cannot wait to get back to.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom