Car rental

Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica


“My time’s restricted… how can I choose?”

Vehicle rental is often a hot topic for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Current investigation executed through the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) signifies that, right after accommodations, renting a vehicle is the largest price, averaging $702 for an eleven-day vacation.

The world wide web is buzzing with destructive evaluations speaking about overcharging, very poor customer support and mechanical breakdowns. You may have even created a single your self!

An average midsize (three – four adults) 4X4 rental operates involving $58 and $65 day-to-day with 3rd party insurance policy and charges could vary as much as 20 % between auto rental providers, so looking at A fast review will likely be time very well invested after you determine the cost savings.

Hence the concern is; which rental firm delivers the most effective balance of fair cost, able customer support and reliable motor vehicles? I’ve investigated everything for yourself, so Continue reading!

Disclosure: This investigation was carried out in May – July 2013. The following organizations had been picked mainly because they are definitely the most widely Employed in Costa Rica. Some are nearby firms; Other individuals are Intercontinental franchises of recognized model names. Comparisons incorporate: customer service, pricing along with the reservation procedure. The companies are mentioned alphabetically and never determined by private or online Choices.
Think about this details prior to renting:

Insurance plan

Certainly one of the greatest results in for problems is through the stack of unexpected rates introduced towards the renter after standing within the rental firm’s counter. Vacationers are usually drained following a extensive flight then are confronted by expenditures which were not anticipated, explained or budgeted.

Topping the list of grievances could be the non-disclosure of expenses related to the mandatory third-social gathering insurance plan at some time the reservation is manufactured.

In line with Costa Rican law, each individual driver is required to carry liability protection to insure towards injuries to 3rd get-togethers. Car rental organizations commonly refrain from disclosing the cost of this policy in the quoted rental price to appear much more aggressive. Obligatory third-get together insurance policies can often be up to double the motor vehicle’s rental Expense. The only warranty from insurance policies confusion is always to inquire In case your estimate features the 3rd party insurance policies and demand on the written quotation.

Price of Obligatory Insurance policy (also known as 3rd party or SLI)

Count on to pay between $12 and $15 each day for this insurance policy, depending on the make and model on the rented vehicle as well as rental auto company. This is the legal issue of your respective rental settlement and is mostly not protected by charge cards and cannot be waived. It’s a reality of renting a car in Costa Rica.

Collision Harm Waiver (CDW)

Because the identify indicates, this isn’t insurance policy, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for damage to the rental vehicle after the deductible is compensated (commonly from $750 to $1,five hundred). Some companies need renters to purchase their CDW coverage; thus negating any bank card plan. For yet another payment, numerous organizations do give you a zero legal responsibility selection where by the renter is going to be freed from purchasing any damage to the car. Some providers could place pressure upon renters to acquire the zero legal responsibility protection; nonetheless, it is actually completely optional, Except if it is inside the high-quality print in their rental settlement.

Credit card insurance policy courses might go over the CDW for the rental car or truck. Check together with your picked rental car or truck enterprise to uncover which proof of insurance policies is needed and after that ask for that out of your bank card corporation previous to arriving. When you use your credit card’s CDW coverage, assume to pay the next deposit on the vehicle; around $1,five hundred to $2000 is prevalent. The higher deposit makes sure that the credit card holder has enough money reserves to protect damages if necessary. It is necessary to take into consideration that if employing CDW protection provided by a bank card (in lieu of your rent a car or truck operator), all damages are going to be billed to the renter’s bank card. The bank card enterprise will then reimburse the cardboard holder for damages.

More Insurance policy

Tires and windshields are not often A part of insurance policy insurance policies, although added procedures might be taken out for masking these commonly damaged items. Neither the inside nor the beneath in the car or truck could possibly be lined. Often study the fine print.

Conventional Technique

Your credit card will probably be charged, or possibly a ‘hold’ put, to the rental automobile during the time with the rental settlement; i.e. from choosing up the rental until you return it. Debit cards are commonly not acceptable.

Added Rates

Most businesses have surcharges for additional drivers, vehicle seats/boosters, cellular phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The prices vary from corporation to company, but given that these extras are billed in a every day fee, it is well worth checking the overall Price tag — additional alternatives can incorporate up very quickly! A GPS is close to $8 to $10 daily; however, some operators might provide discounted units. Hope to pay for close to $5 every day for a kid seat and a few bucks each day for all the other ‘niceties’. Vamos is notable for offering Many of these options and, all through some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Funds, Hertz and Countrywide charge the most for such further solutions; Whilst the other organizations stated, charge additional affordable charges.


Most organizations incorporate modest incremental prices, such as license plate and environmental fees, into the total tally. Be cautious of operators who insert these extra costs into the modest print on the rental agreement. Autos rented immediate on the airport incur airport taxes, which can be a whopping twelve% of your respective rental cost!

The rental auto ought to be returned Using the same level of fuel, Except otherwise indicated. If not, companies may possibly demand previously mentioned fuel station prices for missing gas.


There exists a discussion over the motor vehicles provided by rental businesses: Older automobiles allow for the driving force to blend in in excess of a shiny, new car. Owning an more mature design may possess the indirect advantage of getting considerably less scrutinized by car or truck rental agencies for new nicks and scratches, contrary to a newer auto. Even so, a newer car may be more roadworthy. This discussion carries on into the various car can make and models. Frequently, Costa Rican companies are able to rent their motor vehicles to get a reduced amount since their cars are generally three to 5 years aged (compared to two to a few). On the internet reviews would propose the community corporations have no additional complaints regarding automobile good quality than transnational franchises; research on forums, for example, appears to be to point that shoppers commonly recognize driving a less-than-new car through the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are a great deal, from street problems towards the Idea of significantly less-then-new autos Mixing in superior — a newer auto could attract additional undesirable interest.

The possibilities of rental automobiles in Costa Rica are mostly limited to makes and styles that sustain a aggressive resale price, are a standard brand name during the nation, and so are affordable to keep up. As a result a lease-a-car operator’s fleet are likely not to be as assorted as The usa. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai represent the mainstay brands of most rental fleets.

Sometimes, drivers are billed for intended ‘damages’ on the auto upon return. The moment acquiring the auto, renters should really meticulously look for pre-existing flaws and compare it Using the automobile inspection doc employed by the rental car or truck representative. Some renters suggest photographing or videoing the vehicle from all angles, to stay away from any disagreement concerning pre-current and just lately ruined things.


Car rentals in Costa Rica are pricier as compared to other international locations. Duties on cars are higher (about 50% of their price!), components are costlier and unforgiving street disorders lead to bigger use and tear, generating increased routine maintenance fees.

The rule is you can get Everything you purchase — you can find other available choices than those rental organizations stated in this article, but they are not outlined for a great cause. They basically fall short to offer basic customer care and/or an acceptable car or truck issue essential for the (virtually) difficulties-free of charge trip.

When evaluating rental auto expenses, it’s best to go directly to the Costa Rican Web site with the rental vehicle enterprise, as opposed to attempting to use their Worldwide structure or an intermediary (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For the same vehicles and reservation dates, the charges made available from the respective Worldwide vs. Costa Rican Web-sites for Alamo, Funds, Hertz and Thrifty differed significantly.

To prevent confusion, print out all correspondence While using the automobile rental enterprise with whom you’ve got reserved a vehicle and bring this for the rental Office environment with the quotation given at the time of reservation.

The subsequent major 10 chart ranks the companies from highest priced to least expensive and it includes the required insurance demand. During the conditions of Alamo and Hertz, the determine incorporates their CDW rate since it is one of their rental requirements. This rate comparison relies on per week’s rental of the Daihatsu Bego, in which available (Greenback provides the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th – 21st, then again in December to perspective the two Green and Significant Season costs. The record swiftly demonstrates that the worth variation depends drastically on the company — for generally the same provider. These price ranges were acquired in June/July 2013.