Whaaa, a few weeks ago we made a roadtrip through Costa Rica for twelve days with an AWESOME four wheel drive of Nomad America. We slept in a tent on top of the car and we saw the most beautiful spots of Costa Rica. We crossed on unpaved paths, through rivers and we conquered bumps. In the evenings we watched the most beautiful sunsets and we crawled into our tent. In other words: it was a dream and you really have to put this car on your Costa Rica bucket list, because it’s definitely a bucket list item. In this article I’ll tell you everything about this amazing adventure!
Awesome four wheel drives
Let’s start with the four wheel drives that Nomad America offers. Our four wheel drive was sooo awesome: a Toyota FJ Cruiser, which is also called ’the thank’ by Nomad America itself. The car is suspended with a huge exhaust, it has a sick bullbar and it even has a snorkel so you can cross through deep rivers. The ties are huge and thick and also the inside of the car is really sexy. When you’re driving, it feels like you’re the king of the road: your seat is pretty high, you see the bumper right in front of you and you can drive as fast as you like.
The rooftop tent was very comfortable and way more spacious than I thought, so you don’t lay against each other (and that’s a relieve because it can be so warm at night in the tent). But the most amazing part of the rooftop tent was how easy it is to set it up. You only have to unzip the zipper and pull the stairs down. The tent is attached to the stairs so when you pull this down, your tent goes up. Then you only have to take care of the windows and fold out the hatch, and it’s set. It takes about five – maybe ten – minutes to set it up and that’s really nice after a long drive. And the mattress will always be in the same spot, so you don’t have to take this out every time you put down the tent.
Nomad America also gives you some handy stuff: hammocks, a water tank so you can take a shower, headlights, a machete, cooking gear (like pans, gas stews, cutlery and more), a table, some chairs, a filter for the coffee and also a cooling box. But you also get an emergency kit and a phone. Do you like surfing or boogie boarding? You can rent this for a little extra, just like wifi, snorkel gear and fishing rods.
Campings Costa Rica
The campings in Costa Rica are fine in general. It’s not like you can compare them with countries as France, Spain or the United States, but the facilitates are fine. Don’t expect any luxury like pools, always a warm shower, a little supermarket and more, because most of the time it’s just someone’s garden or a lawn with a shower and a toilet.
It was a challenge to find a good camping every day and we did drive a lot to find a good spot. Roadtrippin through Costa Rica is really popular, but camping is still not that common. That’s why you can’t find the best camping spots everywhere. But that’s the advantage of driving with a rooftop tent: you don’t need more space than the car, because the tent is on top of it. And because of that you can go wildcamping wherever you want to.
From my experience you can go wildcamping everywhere in Costa Rica, but you really have to love it, because you’re a bit more vulnerable. I expected to go wildcamping everywhere during my roadtrip, but I only wildcamp for two nights out of eleven. Why? Because it was hard to find a spot that wasn’t close to the road or in the middle of a village and also because I like to have some facilities, like showers and toilets (you have to pee somewhere). The first night we wildcamped it was really awesome, because we parked the car right next to an awesome waterfall. There was no one around so we got the place to ourselves, how cool is that?! The second time I didn’t feel that safe and we drove the whole day, so that was not the best night. But hey, it’s part of the adventure!
So wildcamping is possible for sure, but most of the time you drive the main roads so that makes it a bit harder to find a good spot. And you just have to be comfortable with it. If you’re scared of camping at places where everyone can come, just don’t do it. Campings are always safe, they have facilities and it’s just five or ten dollars per person per night. So choose campings in that case!
Tip: use the iOverlander app
The iOverlander App focusses on campings around the world. But it’s also good for wildcamping spots and you can see how many facilities all the campings have. The best part about the app is that you can read all the reviews that other people wrote about a spot, so you can decide if you want to stay here. The only disadvantage of the app is that it also shows the worst spots, like parking lots (I really don’t like them), so you do have to search a lot. But in general we were happy with the app!
Tip: ask tips from Nomad America
Nomad America also has a document with a lot of campings in different areas of Costa Rica. Just ask for the document so you’ll always have a plan B. And if you’re smart, you’ll ask for the next camping spot while you’re staying at another camping. They know the best spots so don’t be scared and just ask!
The cars and prices
Nomad America offers three type of cars: big ones, medium ones and small ones. The big ones are the Toyota FJ Cruiser (the one that I had), a Land Rover Defender and the Jeep Wrangler. The medium ones are the Toyota 4Runner, the Nissan Xterra and the Toyota Hilux. The Toyota Prado and the Suzuki Jimny are part of the small ones. The last ones cost 65 dollars per day, the medium ones are 85 dollars per day and the big ones 110 dollars per day. The big ones do have more advantages of course: you can cross more roads, they’re stronger and they can handle everything + you have more space.
Are you excited to go on this crazy adventure? Just have a look at the website of Nomad America and make your dream come true! You can always send them a message, because they’re really nice and they want to help you as much as they can. JUST DO IT!