It depends. Driving in Costa Rica compared to other countries can be a very scary proposition for most. Costa Rica has one of the highest vehicle accident rates in the world. The fatality rate for pedestrians and those riding bicycles and motorcycles is disproportionately high. Traffic laws and speed limits are often ignored, turns across one or two lanes of traffic are common, turn signals are rarely used, passing on dangerous stretches of highway is common, and pedestrians are not given the right of way. Roads are often in poor condition, and large potholes with the potential to cause significant damage to vehicles are common. Pedestrians, cyclists, and farm animals may use the main roads. Traffic signs, even on major highways, are inadequate and few roads are lined. Shoulders are narrow or consist of drainage ditches.
Driving to the beaches in the Pan American highway can be frightening with cars passing when they shouldn’t and enormous drop offs into the mountain side with no shoulder and only a thin guard rail between you and the large drop to the bottom of the mountain.
If you have driven in other developing countries like in Asia or other Latin American countries you will be fine in Costa Rica. If you have never driven in a developing country before and you’re coming down as a tourist our recommendation is that you do not drive in San Jose. Once you’re out in the coast by the beaches driving isn’t as bad however the road conditions are even worse so beware the pot holes.