Guideline to Auto Rental Providers in Costa Rica

"My time's limited... how can I select?"

Automobile rental is really a very hot subject matter for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. The latest analysis performed from the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) suggests that, immediately after lodging, leasing a car is the biggest expenditure, averaging $702 for an eleven-day holiday.

The online world is buzzing with negative critiques discussing overcharging, bad customer support and mechanical breakdowns. You could have even written 1 yourself!

A normal midsize (3 - 4 Grownups) 4X4 rental runs involving $fifty eight and $sixty five day by day with third party coverage and rates can vary up to twenty % between automobile rental corporations, so looking through A fast review are going to be time effectively put in when you finally compute the discounts.

And so the question is; which rental business presents the very best harmony of fair selling price, capable customer support and responsible automobiles? I've investigated all of it for you, so keep reading!

Disclosure: This investigation was executed in Could - July 2013. The following businesses were being selected given that they will be the most generally Utilized in Costa Rica. Some are local corporations; Some others are Global franchises of regarded model names. Comparisons include things like: customer support, pricing as well as reservation system. The businesses are shown alphabetically and not dependant on own or on the web preferences.
Contemplate this info just before renting:

Insurance policies

One among the most significant brings about for issues is from the stack of unforeseen rates introduced to your renter the moment standing within the rental firm's counter. Vacationers are typically weary after a long flight after which you can are confronted by charges that were not expected, explained or budgeted.

Topping the list of grievances is definitely the non-disclosure of service fees related to the necessary 3rd-get together insurance policy at some time the reservation is made.

In accordance with Costa Rican legislation, each and every driver is needed to hold legal responsibility protection to insure towards injuries to third events. Automobile rental firms generally chorus from disclosing the expense of this policy while in the quoted rental amount to appear far more competitive. Obligatory 3rd-celebration insurance policy can from time to time be approximately double the car's rental Charge. The one ensure in opposition to insurance policies confusion is usually to inquire In case your estimate involves the 3rd party insurance policy and insist on the penned quotation.

Expense of Mandatory Insurance plan (also known as 3rd party or SLI)

Assume to pay concerning $12 and $15 every day for this insurance policy, depending upon the make and product from the rented automobile plus the rental auto agency. This can be a lawful ailment of your respective rental settlement and is mostly not covered by charge cards and cannot be waived. It's a fact of leasing an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

Since the name suggests, this is not insurance coverage, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental car or truck after the deductible is paid (typically from $750 to $one,five hundred). Some companies need renters to acquire their CDW policy; therefore negating any bank card program. For an extra rate, numerous organizations do give you a zero legal responsibility solution where the renter might be freed from purchasing any harm to the vehicle. Some companies might put tension on renters to purchase the zero legal responsibility coverage; nonetheless, it truly is totally optional, Except if it really is inside the good print of their rental settlement.

Bank card coverage plans might address the CDW for the rental car or truck. Test with all your picked out rental automobile enterprise to locate which evidence of insurance coverage is necessary and after that request that from a bank card company ahead of arriving. In the event you use your charge card's CDW policy, hope to pay the next deposit to the motor vehicle; about $1,500 to $2000 is common. The upper deposit makes certain that the credit card holder has adequate economic reserves to address damages if necessary. It is vital to take into consideration that if using CDW coverage supplied by a charge card (in lieu on the hire a car operator), all damages are going to be billed towards the renter's charge card. The credit card corporation will then reimburse the cardboard holder for damages.

A lot more Coverage

Tires and windshields are almost never A part of insurance plan policies, Even though added policies could be taken out for masking these often weakened products. Neither the interior nor the beneath of the auto might be protected. Often go through the high-quality print.

Common Treatment

Your charge card might be billed, or simply a 'maintain' placed, to the rental car or truck during the time on the rental arrangement; i.e. from buying up the rental till you come back it. Debit playing cards are generally not suitable.

Further Prices

Most businesses have surcharges For added drivers, automobile seats/boosters, mobile phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The costs vary from organization to business, but considering that these extras are billed at a every day rate, it truly is worthy of checking the total Price tag -- further solutions can increase up very quickly! A GPS is all-around $8 to $ten a day; even so, some operators could supply discounted models. Count on to pay for close to $five every day for a child seat and some pounds a day for all another 'niceties'. Vamos is noteworthy for providing most of these possibilities and, through some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Finances, Hertz and Nationwide demand quite possibly the most for these types of supplemental choices; whereas the other providers detailed, cost additional affordable costs.


Most businesses include smaller incremental fees, for instance license plate and environmental charges, into the full tally. Be wary of operators who insert these more charges into the small print of the rental agreement. Autos rented direct in the airport incur airport taxes, which are a whopping twelve% within your rental cost!

The rental vehicle need to be returned With all the exact level of gas, Except if normally indicated. Otherwise, organizations may possibly cost above gas station fees for lacking gas.


You will find there's discussion about the automobiles equipped by rental organizations: More mature cars enable the driver to Mix in greater than a shiny, new car or truck. Having an older design may possess the indirect benefit of becoming much less scrutinized by motor vehicle rental agencies for recent nicks and scratches, as opposed to a more recent motor vehicle. However, a more recent car or truck may very well be far more roadworthy. This debate carries on into different automobile helps make and styles. Commonly, Costa Rican firms are able to rent their autos for any lessen amount since their automobiles are usually three to five years old (as opposed to two to a few). Online evaluations would propose which the local companies have no far more grievances about automobile quality than transnational franchises; study on boards, which include, seems to indicate that consumers commonly recognize driving a considerably less-than-new automobile throughout the wilds of Costa Rica. The reasons are loads, from street disorders to the notion of a lot less-then-new motor vehicles blending in greater -- a more recent car or truck may possibly draw extra undesirable notice.

The options of rental autos in Costa Rica are mainly restricted to tends to make and products that manage a competitive resale value, are a standard manufacturer during the nation, and are economical to take care of. As a result a hire-a-car operator's fleet are inclined to not be as various as The us. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai constitute the mainstay brands of most rental fleets.

In some cases, motorists are billed for meant 'damages' into the automobile on return. After getting the automobile, renters must meticulously check for pre-present flaws and Look at it Using the automobile inspection document utilized by the rental vehicle agent. Some renters counsel photographing or videoing the motor vehicle from all angles, to stop any disagreement concerning pre-existing and not long ago damaged objects.


Vehicle rentals in Costa Rica are pricier in comparison to other nations around the world. Responsibilities on cars are superior (up to fifty% of their worth!), pieces are costlier and unforgiving street conditions add to better wear and tear, building larger routine maintenance expenditures.

The rule is you get That which you purchase -- you can find other choices than All those rental firms listed here, but they aren't listed for a very good explanation. They only fall short to supply primary customer care and/or an acceptable motor vehicle condition expected for a (approximately) difficulties-free getaway.

When evaluating rental auto rates, it is best to go directly to the Costa Rican website of the rental vehicle enterprise, instead of trying to use their Worldwide structure or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For the same vehicles and reservation dates, the premiums made available from the respective Worldwide vs. Costa Rican Sites for Alamo, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty differed considerably.

To prevent confusion, print out all correspondence With all the car or truck rental corporation with whom you've got reserved a car and convey this into the rental office with the quotation offered at the time of reservation.

The next prime ten chart ranks the companies from maximum priced to lowest and it incorporates the necessary insurance plan cost. From the circumstances of Alamo and Hertz, the determine has their CDW fee as it is among their rental specifications. This rate comparison is based on per week's rental of a Daihatsu Bego, where readily available (Greenback gives the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - 21st, nonetheless in December to check out both of those Inexperienced and Higher Period fees. The listing quickly demonstrates that the price variation is dependent significantly on the organization -- for in essence precisely the same provider. These price ranges were being obtained in June/July 2013.

Rental Motor vehicle Businesses Ranked According to Price


ten. Alamo $650.96
nine. Hertz $514.27
eight. Adobe $449
7. Funds $455
six. National $428.01
five. Thrifty $421.05
four. Provider $374.forty three
three. Vamos $370.thirty
two. Dollar $364
one. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.ninety six
nine. Countrywide $597.fifty one
eight. Hertz $566.52
7. Spending budget $555
6. Dollar $532
5. Thrifty $506.fifty eight
four. Support $494.43
3. Vamos Illinois to New York Car Transporters $461.30
2. Adobe $459
one. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks selection 10 for both equally seasons, which makes it the costliest company. Spending plan, Hertz and National also rate reduced on the size for affordable rental selections.

Organization Summaries


Site is obvious and user friendly, but pricing and also the vehicles shown usually are not the same as People given by an Business representative about the mobile phone. Mandatory insurance coverage expenses usually are not proven Together with the list of vehicles and rental costs, but They're clearly shown on the subsequent page as a consumer moves in the direction of scheduling a reservation. Mixed shopper reviews on the net. E-mail reaction is lower than 24 hours, but may well not supply all requested information and facts.

Toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Reside Chat.
10 offices nationwide
Necessary insurance coverage: $19 everyday
Additional rates: GPS $9/working day, little one seat $5/day


Site is evident and simple to use, but price ranges vary from quotes gained above the phone. Obligatory insurance coverage charges will not be provided Together with the list of cars and rental prices, but They can be clearly displayed on the subsequent site as the customer moves in direction of earning a reservation. Blended shopper opinions on line. E mail response is lower than 24 several hours.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone number or Reside chat
fourteen offices nationwide
Necessary insurance: $11.95 each day, but need to also choose their CDW at $twelve.ninety five every day
Added expenses: GPS $12/day, baby seat $six/day


Web site is fundamental, but user friendly. Charges online differ towards the quotations given by a agent more than the phone and based upon whether the Global or Costa Rican Web site is applied. Necessary insurance prices are presented along with the listing of vehicles; nonetheless, another charges are usually not stated. Mixed client testimonials on the internet. Electronic mail response is much more than 24 several hours.

No toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. No Are living Chat on Costa Rican website.
ten workplaces nationwide
Mandatory coverage: included in the shown cost
Further costs: GPS $10.95/working day, youngster seat $12/working day (the costliest of the very best ten)


Web-site is clear and simple to use. Costs quoted differ if contacting through the U.S. or in Costa Rica. Mandatory insurance policy expenditures aren't specified Along with the list of motor vehicles and rental fees, but They are really Plainly displayed on the next web site as being a buyer moves in direction of a building a reservation. Mixed assessments online, but typically receives optimistic opinions. Electronic mail inquiries answered inside of 24 several hours.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Reside Chat.
3 offices nationwide
Required coverage: $sixteen day by day
Supplemental fees: GPS $nine/working day, youngster seat $5/day


Web page is clear and simple to use. Required coverage fees are not supplied Other than the list of cars and rental fees, but They can be Obviously shown on the subsequent web site as The shopper moves in the direction of a reserving a reservation. Combined purchaser testimonials on line. Email reaction less than 24 hours.

Toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada phone number and Live Chat (although it seems to be forever offline)
7 offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance policies: $seventeen.forty three each day, but their CDW is usually a necessity
Extra costs: GPS $12/day, baby seat $two/day


Web page is obvious and convenient to use. Required insurance fees aren't provided together with the list of automobiles and rental expenses, but They can be Plainly displayed on the subsequent site like a consumer moves to building a reservation. Blended shopper assessments on the net, but much more beneficial than negative. E-mail response less than 24 several hours.

Toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. Dwell Chat.
22 offices nationwide
Obligatory insurance policy: $twenty five every day (the most costly of the highest ten)
Further expenses: GPS $twelve/working day, little one seat $6/day


Web page is obvious and person helpful with just a slight confusion in that an internet based estimate is acquired by clicking on 'Reserve Now' and never the 'Receive a Quotation' alternative. The reaction into a mobile phone inquiry was to utilize the website. Mandatory insurance policies fees are specified combined with the listing of autos and rental costs to the lower time expenses and on the next webpage of the other quotation website page. Try to remember is often a highly advisable income representative that's talked about in many on the web testimonials to the large standard of his customer support. Usually on the internet evaluations are good for Company. E mail reaction is lower than 24 hrs, Despite the fact that all information and facts requested might not be acquired.

U.S.A phone number, although not toll-free of charge. No Reside Chat.
5 offices nationwide
Obligatory insurance policies: $15 daily
Supplemental charges: GPS $five.99/working day, child seat $2.99/working day


Costa Rican version of the web site is not possible to work with and you simply are questioned to register for your person identify and password. Obligatory coverage charges are usually not supplied along with the list of cars and rental fees. A purchaser has to click on "Defense Solutions" about the U.S. Web site and select the necessary insurance coverage by clicking on it -- implying that it's optional rather than a essential Charge. Thrifty often acquire combined reviews on the net. Electronic mail reaction is greater than 24 hrs.

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