Living in Tamarindo

Renewing a License in Costa Rica: A Practice in Futility

I got to experience the first ring of hell today. The Liberia DMV (MOPT), My day may have started off better if I had I followed my cardinal rule, “START EVERY DAY IN COSTA RICA WITH ZERO EXPECTATIONS ANYTHING WILL GO RIGHT”

My license is up for renewal Jan 26, 2011. Seeing that I’ve let my US license expire it’s extremely important I re-up my license in Costa Rica.

I was told I could do it fairly easy at 2 places, either in Banco Costa Rica in Santa Cruz or Liberia. Of the 2 Santa Cruz is by far closer. So I drove 45 minutes to Banco Costa Rica to get my new license. I was greeted by a very nice security guard at the bank, Alvaro. Alvaro, informed me that because I’m a foreigner (Extranjero) I must drive to Liberia and go to MOPT. I’m thinking ok no sweat, that’s another hour on a paved road thankfully.

So I got in my car and drove to Liberia. After driving another hour directly into Liberia, I started asking around for MOPT, Only to find out that MOPT was 10 miles back the way I came. Note to you readers: If you are looking for Liberia MOPT it’s not in Liberia, IT’S OUTSIDE OF LIBERIA.

View Libria, Costa Rica MOPT in a larger map

Anyways so after searching the countryside far and wide I had arrived at Dante’s first chapter of hell. You guys should have seen this place. It made any DMV in the states look like the 4 Seasons.

Liberia, Costa Rica MOPT

Liberia, Costa Rica MOPT

Liberia, Costa Rica DMV

Liberia, Costa Rica DMV

After 3 hours of driving, literally in a circle, I was greeted by a surly security guard that informed me that if I wanted to renew my license I had to drive 5 hours to San Jose to do it.


He informed me that because my license is associated with my old passport I need to go to San Jose and have them reissue me a new license with my new passport.

I thought to myself “Wait a minute isn’t this a MOPT office? Don’t I already have a license? Don’t I have my new Passport with me?” . Really the questions are endless.

Needless to say I still don’t have a new license and the clock is counting down until my old one is useless. Stay tuned for an update.

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2 Responses to “Renewing a License in Costa Rica: A Practice in Futility”

  1. Laura says:

    I´m sorry that it went that bad, Mopt is one of the long list of institutions that plain s*ck. Thank you for adding the google map with the location, I´m tica and I lived in Liberia a decade ago, but I was looking for the location for a friend and couldn´t fin it. I hope you got to renew your license at the end.

  2. admin says:

    I did. I had to go back up to San Jose. Took the whole day of course. Glad I could be of help.

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