New Costa Rican License Plates, Take Two

As you may know, Costa Rica is requiring all vehicles to replace their old license plates with new ones containing various security features, such as a hologram, laser engraving, and a special window sticker that must match the plates. Per the usual modus operandus for any new government program, it almost always begins with a false start. During that false start a year ago, I already obtained new security plates for two of our cars.
Old style Costa Rica license plate

Since then, we obtained another vehicle, which I'm trying to sell, that has the old plates, but no worries. According to the replacement schedule below, I have until January 2016 to take care of that one, which should be long gone by then!

Believe it or not, I have one mixed feeling about this otherwise trivial change in my life. Right now, if you are observant, you can see how the Costa Rican license plate has evolved over the decades. It's fun to spot some of the really old ones that look almost handmade. The number fonts change over time. The colors are different. I guess the old ones will start to become collectors items on eBay now.
The old plates, too, were numbered sequentially, so finding ones with just a few digits is a minor thrill. It's like mentally stepping into a time machine when you imagine the country having had less than a thousand cars total, and not all that long ago, either.
Anyway, that feature of Costa Rican life is now set to expire.

For readers who live here, the details of the new exchange program are:
  • New car plates are ₡15,000 ($30)
  • New motorcycle plates are ₡8,000 ($16)
  • You do the actual exchange at your nearby Registro office. I imagine it still takes two trips, one for the application, one to later pick up the plates, and you have to hand in the old plates (or say you lost them?).
  • July 15th, they'll have the application form on-line at 
installing a new Costa Rican license plate

If it's the first time your car is getting CR plates, then you can pay an extra 10 bucks to get a plate with three letter and three numbers. There is sort of a quasi-vanity plate aspect to this as I think you can request the letters be initials or something like that. If anyone here knows the details of the latter, please leave them in the comments.

Here's the exchange schedule, according to the last digit in your current plate:
  1. July-October 2013
  2. November 2013-January 2014
  3. February-April 2014
  4. May-July 2014
  5. August-October 2014
  6. November 2014-January 2015
  7. February-April 2015
  8. May-July 2015
  9. August-October 2015
  10. November 2015-January 2016

1 comment:

  1. So amazing that I never thought of the sequential numbering! If anyone ever sees number one, please post where and what type of car on this blog if you remember. Maybe doesn't exist, but would be awesome to know what that car looks like!


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