Guidebook to Auto Rental Providers in Costa Rica

"My time's constrained... how can I choose?"

Auto rental is often a warm matter for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Latest investigation carried out via the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) implies that, soon after accommodations, leasing a vehicle is the largest expenditure, averaging $702 for an eleven-working day holiday vacation.

The online market place is buzzing with adverse assessments speaking about overcharging, bad customer service and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even written one you!

An average midsize (three - four Grownups) 4X4 rental runs concerning $58 and $sixty five each day with third party insurance policy and prices will vary around twenty percent among auto rental providers, so looking through A fast overview are going to be time effectively invested when you work out the financial savings.

So the query is; which rental company provides the most beneficial equilibrium of honest value, capable customer service and reliable vehicles? I've investigated everything for you, so Continue reading!

Disclosure: This research was done in May perhaps - July 2013. The next companies have been chosen because they are classified as the most generally used in Costa Rica. Some are community companies; others are Worldwide franchises of acknowledged brand names. Comparisons contain: customer service, pricing and also the reservation procedure. The businesses are outlined alphabetically and not determined by personal or on the web Choices.
Contemplate this info right before leasing:

Insurance coverage

Considered one of the greatest triggers for complaints is from the stack of unexpected expenses presented to the renter after standing at the rental firm's counter. Vacationers are generally tired after a lengthy flight and afterwards are confronted by costs that were not predicted, stated or budgeted.

Topping the list of grievances is definitely the non-disclosure of expenses affiliated with the obligatory 3rd-bash coverage at enough time the reservation is manufactured.

As outlined by Costa Rican legislation, each individual driver is required to carry liability protection to insure against injuries to third get-togethers. Auto rental corporations frequently refrain from disclosing the cost of this coverage while in the quoted rental rate to appear additional aggressive. Necessary third-celebration insurance coverage can at times be just as much as double the motor vehicle's rental Price tag. The sole warranty towards insurance policy confusion is always to inquire Should your estimate involves the 3rd party insurance policies and insist over a penned quotation.

Cost of Mandatory Insurance coverage (also referred to as Third Party or SLI)

Count on to pay for concerning $12 and $15 day-to-day for this insurance policy, dependant upon the make and model with the rented car as well as rental car or truck company. That is a lawful issue within your rental settlement and is mostly not protected by credit cards and cannot be waived. It is a reality of leasing a car or truck in Costa Rica.

Collision Harm Waiver (CDW)

As the title implies, this is not coverage, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any liability for harm to the rental motor vehicle following the deductible is paid (commonly from $750 to $one,five hundred). Some organizations need renters to buy their CDW coverage; thus negating any bank card software. For yet another charge, many businesses do offer a zero liability possibility where by the renter will likely be freed from paying for any harm to the car. Some corporations may perhaps place force on renters to buy the zero legal responsibility protection; nonetheless, it is actually fully optional, Unless of course it's in the wonderful print of their rental settlement.

Bank card insurance policy systems may deal with the CDW for a rental car. Verify using your chosen rental automobile corporation to uncover which proof of insurance coverage is necessary and then request that from a charge card enterprise before arriving. When you make use of your bank card's CDW coverage, assume to pay the next deposit over the car; all-around $one,500 to $2000 is widespread. The higher deposit makes sure that the credit card holder has adequate monetary reserves to go over damages if needed. It is crucial to take into account that if employing CDW protection furnished by a charge card (in lieu with the rent a car or truck operator), all damages will be billed to your renter's credit card. The bank card firm will then reimburse the card holder for damages.

Much more Insurance plan

Tires and windshields are hardly ever A part of insurance policies guidelines, although further procedures can be taken out for masking these often weakened goods. Neither the interior nor the beneath from the vehicle can be protected. Generally read through the fantastic print.

Regular Technique

Your bank card will probably be billed, or simply a 'maintain' put, for the rental automobile throughout the time in the rental agreement; i.e. from selecting up the rental till you come back it. Debit cards are usually not appropriate.

Additional Rates

Most companies have surcharges For added motorists, car seats/boosters, cellular phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The costs vary from company to corporation, but considering that these extras are billed in a day by day charge, it truly is truly worth checking the whole cost -- more choices can include up in a short time! A GPS is all over $eight to $10 on a daily basis; on the other hand, some operators could offer you discounted units. Anticipate to pay all-around $5 everyday for a child seat and some bucks each day for all the other 'niceties'. Vamos is notable for featuring These types of possibilities and, in the course of some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Funds, Hertz and Nationwide demand one of the most for these types of additional options; While the other businesses stated, charge extra realistic rates.


Most businesses incorporate smaller incremental expenditures, for instance license plate and environmental expenses, into the overall tally. Be cautious of operators who insert these further charges into the small print of the rental contract. Motor vehicles rented direct within the airport incur airport taxes, which are a whopping twelve% within your rental Expense!

The rental auto really should be returned Together with the very same level of gas, Unless of course in any other case indicated. If not, companies may perhaps cost earlier mentioned gasoline station costs for missing gas.


You will find there's discussion more than the autos equipped by rental providers: More mature vehicles let the driving force to blend in greater than a shiny, new auto. Acquiring an older design might have the indirect advantage of remaining considerably less scrutinized by vehicle rental businesses for latest nicks and scratches, compared with a more recent automobile. However, a more moderen car could possibly be additional roadworthy. This discussion carries on into the different car helps make and designs. Frequently, Costa Rican firms are able to hire their autos for your decreased charge simply because their automobiles are usually 3 to 5 years previous (compared to two to 3). On line testimonials would advise which the community companies haven't any a lot more problems regarding automobile high-quality than transnational franchises; analysis on forums, like, seems to indicate that buyers commonly appreciate driving a less-than-new car or truck from the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are a good deal, from street ailments for the Idea of significantly less-then-new autos blending in superior -- a newer auto may well draw far more undesirable focus.

The choices of rental cars and trucks in Costa Rica are mostly limited to can make and products that keep a aggressive resale worth, are a standard brand name during the place, and so are affordable to keep up. As a result a hire-a-car operator's fleet tend not to be as diverse as America. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai represent the mainstay makes of most rental fleets.

From time to time, drivers are billed for intended 'damages' to the motor vehicle upon return. After obtaining the auto, renters should meticulously check for pre-existing flaws and Look at it While using the car inspection document utilized by the rental vehicle agent. Some renters recommend photographing or videoing the auto from all angles, in order to avoid any disagreement concerning pre-current and recently weakened products.


Car or truck rentals in Costa Rica are pricier when compared with other nations around the world. Obligations on motor vehicles are substantial (approximately fifty% in their worth!), sections are costlier and unforgiving highway ailments contribute to larger don and tear, making better maintenance prices.

The rule is you receive what you pay for -- you'll find other choices than Those people rental companies shown in this article, but they don't seem to be stated for a good rationale. They basically fall short to provide simple customer care and/or an acceptable car problem essential for a (just about) difficulty-no cost holiday.

When comparing rental car or truck charges, it's best to go on to the Costa Rican Web page with the rental vehicle enterprise, rather then seeking to use their Intercontinental structure or an intermediary (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For a similar autos and reservation dates, the rates offered by the respective Worldwide vs. Costa Rican Web sites for Alamo, Price range, Hertz and Thrifty differed substantially.

To stay away from confusion, print out all correspondence Using the vehicle rental business with whom you've reserved a car or truck and produce this to the rental Place of work With all the estimate specified at time of reservation.

The following best 10 chart ranks the businesses from best priced to least expensive and it involves the required insurance coverage demand. During the conditions of Alamo and Hertz, the determine incorporates their CDW price because it is one of their rental needs. This rate comparison is based on every week's rental of a Daihatsu Bego, where readily available (Greenback delivers the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - twenty first, however in December to look at both Inexperienced and Significant Year fees. The checklist speedily demonstrates that the cost variation depends considerably on the corporate -- for fundamentally a similar company. These selling prices were being obtained in June/July 2013.

Rental Vehicle Providers Ranked As outlined by Selling price


10. Alamo $650.ninety six
9. Hertz $514.27
eight. Adobe $449
seven. Finances $455
6. Countrywide $428.01
5. Thrifty $421.05
4. Services $374.43
three. Vamos $370.thirty
2. Dollar $364
one. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.ninety six
9. Nationwide $597.51
eight. Hertz $566.fifty two
7. Price range $555
six. Greenback $532
5. Thrifty $506.58
4. Company $494.forty three
3. Vamos $461.30
2. Adobe $459
1. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks number 10 for both equally seasons, rendering it the most costly business. Price range, Hertz and National also rate minimal on the size for affordable rental solutions.

Firm Summaries


Website is clear and easy to use, but pricing as well as the motor vehicles outlined are usually not similar to These presented by an Office environment agent above the telephone. Necessary insurance expenses usually are not revealed While using the listing of autos and rental fees, but They can be Evidently shown on the following web page as a shopper moves toward scheduling a reservation. Mixed consumer reviews online. E-mail reaction is fewer than 24 hrs, but might not provide all asked for info.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Dwell Chat.
10 places of work nationwide
Obligatory insurance plan: $19 each day
Further fees: GPS $9/working day, youngster seat $5/day


Web-site is evident and user friendly, but charges differ from estimates obtained around the cell phone. Mandatory coverage costs will not be presented With all the listing of vehicles and rental charges, but they are Obviously displayed on the next website page as The shopper moves in direction of producing a reservation. Blended client assessments online. E mail response is under 24 hours.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada phone number or Dwell chat
fourteen places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance: $11.ninety five day by day, but ought to also acquire their CDW at $12.ninety five daily
Extra charges: GPS $12/day, youngster seat $six/working day

Price range

Web-site is fundamental, but user friendly. Selling prices on the internet differ for the quotations presented by a consultant above the telephone and according to whether or not the Worldwide or Costa Rican Site is used. Obligatory insurance policies costs are given combined with the listing of automobiles; even so, another charges will not be detailed. Mixed buyer reviews on the internet. Electronic mail response is much more than 24 several hours.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Are living Chat on Costa Rican Web site.
ten workplaces nationwide
Mandatory insurance coverage: A part of the mentioned selling price
Extra fees: GPS $10.95/working day, little one seat $twelve/working day (the costliest of the highest 10)


Website is obvious and simple to operate. Charges quoted vary if contacting through the U.S. or in Costa Rica. Obligatory insurance policies expenditures are certainly not supplied With all the listing of motor vehicles and rental expenses, but They're Evidently shown on the following site like a purchaser moves towards a creating a reservation. Mixed testimonials on the internet, but generally receives favourable suggestions. Email inquiries answered within 24 several hours.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Stay Chat.
3 offices nationwide
Obligatory insurance plan: $16 every day
Supplemental costs: GPS $nine/day, youngster seat $five/working day


Web site is evident and convenient to use. Necessary insurance fees are not specified Apart from the listing of cars and rental rates, but They're Obviously exhibited on the next web page as The shopper moves in the direction of a scheduling a reservation. Blended customer assessments online. E mail response lower than 24 hours.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada cell phone number and Live Chat (although it is apparently permanently offline)
seven places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance plan: $seventeen.forty three day by day, but their CDW is also a prerequisite
Supplemental costs: GPS $twelve/day, baby seat $2/working day


Web site is evident and simple to Illinois to New York Car Transporters use. Required insurance policies charges aren't supplied combined with the list of automobiles and rental fees, but They may be Obviously exhibited on the following site as being a customer moves in the direction of making a reservation. Combined purchaser critiques on the net, but additional favourable than negative. E mail response a lot less than 24 hours.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada phone number. Reside Chat.
22 workplaces nationwide
Mandatory insurance coverage: $twenty five each day (the most expensive of the top ten)
More costs: GPS $twelve/working day, little one seat $6/working day


Site is clear and consumer friendly with merely a slight confusion in that an internet based quotation is obtained by clicking on 'Reserve Now' rather than the 'Get a Estimate' selection. The response to your cell phone inquiry was to make use of the website. Mandatory insurance policy expenses are supplied together with the listing of cars and rental fees for the low time rates and on the next webpage of the other quotation site. Keep in mind is really a really advised profits consultant who is stated in several on the web reviews with the superior standard of his customer care. Typically on the net opinions are constructive for Provider. E mail reaction is less than 24 hours, Whilst all details asked for may not be acquired.

U.S.A contact number, but not toll-absolutely free. No Reside Chat.
five workplaces nationwide
Required insurance: $fifteen day by day
Extra charges: GPS $5.99/day, child seat $2.ninety nine/working day


Costa Rican Edition of the website is impossible to utilize and you simply are requested to sign up to get a consumer title and password. Required insurance policy charges are not presented along with the listing of autos and rental expenses. A client needs to click "Safety Choices" to the U.S. Internet site and choose the mandatory coverage by clicking on it -- implying that it is optional and not a demanded Price. Thrifty tend to obtain blended reviews on-line. Electronic mail reaction is in excess of 24 hours.

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