Guideline to Car or truck Rental Companies in Costa Rica

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

Automobile rental can be a incredibly hot matter for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. The latest investigate done by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) suggests that, just after lodging, leasing a car or truck is the largest expenditure, averaging $702 for an eleven-working day holiday.

The web is buzzing with damaging assessments speaking about overcharging, bad customer service and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even prepared a single yourself!

A standard midsize (3 - four adults) 4X4 rental runs among $58 and $65 day-to-day with 3rd party coverage and premiums could vary up to twenty p.c among car rental organizations, so reading A fast evaluation will probably be time nicely invested as soon as you estimate the discounts.

Therefore the problem is; which rental organization offers the most beneficial equilibrium of good rate, capable customer support and trusted motor vehicles? I've researched all of it in your case, so keep reading!

Disclosure: This investigate was executed in May possibly - July 2013. The subsequent providers were selected as they are definitely the most widely Employed in Costa Rica. Some are nearby corporations; Other folks are international franchises of recognized brand names. Comparisons include: customer support, pricing plus the reservation process. The companies are detailed alphabetically and not based upon individual or on the web Tastes.
Contemplate this information prior to renting:

Insurance plan

Among the greatest brings about for grievances is from your stack of unexpected expenses introduced for the renter once standing for the rental company's counter. Vacationers are usually weary following a lengthy flight and after that are confronted by costs that were not predicted, described or budgeted.

Topping the listing of grievances is the non-disclosure of service fees associated with the mandatory 3rd-get together coverage at some time the reservation is created.

In line with Costa Rican regulation, each individual driver is required to hold legal responsibility coverage to insure in opposition to injuries to 3rd get-togethers. Vehicle rental providers normally chorus from disclosing the cost of this plan inside the quoted rental charge to look much more competitive. Required third-celebration coverage can sometimes be just as much as double the car's rental Charge. The sole warranty from insurance policies confusion will be to inquire If the estimate contains the third party coverage and insist with a created quotation.

Price of Required Insurance coverage (also referred to as 3rd party or SLI)

Be expecting to pay between $12 and $15 everyday for this insurance policies, depending upon the make and model of the rented car or truck and also the rental car agency. That is a legal problem of your respective rental arrangement and is generally not protected by credit cards and cannot be waived. It's a actuality of leasing an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Harm Waiver (CDW)

Because the title indicates, this is not insurance coverage, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any liability for harm to the rental automobile after the deductible is paid out (commonly from $750 to $one,five hundred). Some businesses have to have renters to buy their CDW plan; thereby negating any charge card system. For yet another fee, several organizations do give a zero legal responsibility option the place the renter will probably be freed from paying for any harm to the vehicle. Some organizations may possibly put tension on renters to acquire the zero legal responsibility protection; on the other hand, it really is solely optional, unless it is actually from the fantastic print in their rental arrangement.

Charge card insurance plan systems may well deal with the CDW for the rental motor vehicle. Verify with the preferred rental vehicle organization to seek out which evidence of coverage is needed and then request that from your charge card company ahead of arriving. Should you make use of your credit card's CDW plan, expect to pay the next deposit about the automobile; all over $one,five hundred to $2000 is typical. The upper deposit makes sure that the bank card holder has adequate financial reserves to go over damages if wanted. It is necessary to take into account that if utilizing CDW coverage provided by a bank card (in lieu of the rent a car or truck operator), all damages will probably be billed for the renter's charge card. The credit card company will then reimburse the card holder for damages.

Additional Insurance coverage

Tires and windshields are not often A part of insurance policies, While more insurance policies may very well be taken out for covering these routinely ruined objects. Neither the inside nor the underneath from the car might be lined. Usually go through the fantastic print.

Normal Course of action

Your bank card might be billed, or a 'maintain' placed, for your rental automobile in the time from the rental arrangement; i.e. from choosing up the rental until eventually you come it. Debit cards are commonly not acceptable.

Additional Charges

Most companies have surcharges For extra drivers, auto seats/boosters, cellular phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The costs vary from firm to firm, but considering that these extras are billed in a day by day rate, it really is really worth checking the entire cost -- supplemental solutions can include up in a short time! A GPS is all over $8 to $ten on a daily basis; nonetheless, some operators may possibly present discounted models. Count on to pay for about $five day-to-day for a child seat and a few dollars daily for all the other 'niceties'. Vamos is notable for offering These types of choices and, through some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Funds, Hertz and National charge quite possibly the most for this sort of more solutions; Whilst the other companies mentioned, cost a lot more realistic costs.


Most companies include small incremental fees, for instance license plate and environmental service fees, into the whole tally. Be wary of operators who insert these added fees into the smaller print with the rental contract. Vehicles rented immediate for the airport incur airport taxes, which are a whopping twelve% of the rental Charge!

The rental automobile really should be returned Along with the exact same quantity of gasoline, unless if not indicated. If not, providers could cost higher than gasoline station prices for lacking gas.


There is a debate about the autos supplied by rental organizations: More mature automobiles allow for the driver to blend in in excess of a shiny, new motor vehicle. Possessing an older design may perhaps contain the indirect good thing about staying a lot less scrutinized by auto rental businesses for latest nicks and scratches, in contrast to a more moderen motor vehicle. On the other hand, a more moderen car can be extra roadworthy. This discussion carries on into the several auto would make and versions. Commonly, Costa Rican companies can easily lease their vehicles for just a decrease fee simply because their cars are typically three to 5 years aged (compared to two to a few). On the web reviews would propose that the area corporations haven't any extra grievances about auto excellent than transnational franchises; study on forums, like, appears to point that consumers routinely value driving a significantly less-than-new car from the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are loads, from road disorders towards the Idea of less-then-new motor vehicles Mixing in greater -- a more recent auto may possibly attract much more unwelcome focus.

The selections of rental vehicles in Costa Rica are primarily limited to will make and versions that retain a aggressive resale value, are a typical brand name within the country, and they are reasonably priced to keep up. Therefore a lease-a-car operator's fleet have a tendency never to be as varied as The usa. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai represent the mainstay makes of most rental fleets.

In some cases, motorists are charged for supposed 'damages' towards the car or truck on return. At the time obtaining the motor vehicle, renters ought to meticulously check for pre-current flaws and Examine it While using the motor vehicle inspection document employed by the rental motor vehicle agent. Some renters counsel photographing or videoing the auto from all angles, to prevent any disagreement amongst pre-present and not too long ago ruined items.


Auto rentals in Costa Rica are pricier when compared to other countries. Responsibilities on cars are superior (as much as fifty% in their benefit!), elements are costlier and unforgiving road situations lead to larger use and tear, producing greater maintenance charges.

The rule is you will get what you buy -- you'll find other choices than These rental organizations detailed in this article, but they're not shown for a great explanation. They basically fall short to supply fundamental customer service and/or a suitable automobile ailment needed for your (virtually) problems-totally free holiday.

When comparing rental auto charges, it is best to go straight to the Costa Rican Internet site in the rental car organization, instead of seeking to use their Worldwide structure or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For a similar motor vehicles and reservation dates, the fees offered by the respective Intercontinental vs. Costa Rican Web-sites for Alamo, Spending budget, Hertz and Thrifty differed considerably.

To stop confusion, print out all correspondence With all the vehicle rental enterprise with whom you may have reserved a car or truck and bring this to the rental office Using the quotation presented at time of reservation.

The next top rated 10 chart ranks the companies from maximum priced to least expensive and it incorporates the necessary coverage demand. Inside the circumstances of Alamo and Hertz, the figure incorporates their CDW price as it is one of their rental needs. This price tag comparison is predicated on weekly's rental of a Daihatsu Bego, exactly where obtainable (Dollar provides the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - twenty first, on the other hand in December to watch equally Environmentally friendly and High Season fees. The checklist speedily demonstrates that the price variation depends drastically on the corporation -- for basically the identical service. These charges were being acquired in June/July 2013.

Rental Auto Corporations Ranked Based on Rate


10. Alamo $650.96
9. Hertz $514.27
8. Adobe $449
7. Finances $455
six. Countrywide $428.01
five. Thrifty $421.05
4. Assistance $374.43
three. Vamos $370.thirty
two. Dollar $364
one. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.96
nine. Nationwide $597.fifty one
eight. Hertz $566.fifty two
7. Funds $555
six. Dollar $532
5. Thrifty $506.58
four. Support $494.43
three. Vamos $461.thirty
2. Adobe $459
1. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks range ten for both of those seasons, making it the most costly organization. Finances, Hertz and Nationwide also rate very low on the scale for affordable rental options.

Organization Summaries


Website is obvious and simple to operate, but pricing and in some cases the autos stated are certainly not the same as those supplied by an Place of work agent around the cellphone. Necessary coverage costs usually are not demonstrated While using the listing of autos and rental rates, but They may be Plainly shown on the following site as being a shopper moves towards reserving a reservation. Mixed customer reviews on the net. E-mail reaction is below 24 several hours, but might not give all requested info.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada telephone number. No Reside Chat.
ten workplaces nationwide
Necessary insurance coverage: $19 each day
Added charges: Illinois to New York Can Shipping GPS $nine/day, little one seat $five/day


Web site is evident and easy to use, but price ranges differ in opposition to offers acquired above the mobile phone. Necessary insurance coverage expenses are certainly not specified Using the list of vehicles and rental charges, but They can be Plainly exhibited on the next website page as The client moves to making a reservation. Blended shopper critiques on the net. Electronic mail reaction is lower than 24 hrs.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada contact number or Live chat
14 workplaces nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $11.95 everyday, but should also consider their CDW at $12.95 daily
Extra costs: GPS $12/day, boy or girl seat $6/day

Spending plan

Site is basic, but easy to use. Rates online vary to your quotations presented by a agent about the mobile phone and dependant upon whether or not the Global or Costa Rican Internet site is applied. Required insurance coverage expenditures are supplied along with the listing of automobiles; on the other hand, one other rates are usually not mentioned. Mixed shopper opinions on-line. Electronic mail response is in excess of 24 hours.

No toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Reside Chat on Costa Rican Internet site.
ten places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance policy: included in the stated rate
More charges: GPS $ten.95/working day, little one seat $12/day (the most expensive of the very best ten)


Internet site is evident and simple to use. Price ranges quoted vary if contacting with the U.S. or in Costa Rica. Mandatory insurance policy prices aren't supplied With all the listing of automobiles and rental rates, but They can be Evidently shown on the following page being a buyer moves in the direction of a building a reservation. Blended reviews on line, but frequently receives beneficial suggestions. Email inquiries answered inside 24 hours.

Toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. No Are living Chat.
3 workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance: $sixteen day-to-day
Extra fees: GPS $nine/working day, kid seat $five/working day


Web-site is clear and easy to use. Required coverage costs are certainly not given besides the list of cars and rental expenses, but These are Obviously exhibited on the next page as The client moves to a booking a reservation. Mixed buyer assessments online. Electronic mail reaction less than 24 hrs.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada phone number and Dwell Chat (although it seems to be permanently offline)
7 workplaces nationwide
Required coverage: $seventeen.forty three day by day, but their CDW is likewise a need
More rates: GPS $twelve/working day, baby seat $two/day


Web-site is clear and simple to use. Mandatory insurance policies prices usually are not specified along with the list of automobiles and rental rates, but They may be Evidently exhibited on the subsequent web site as being a customer moves towards producing a reservation. Blended client opinions on the internet, but extra constructive than negative. Electronic mail reaction under 24 several hours.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. Reside Chat.
22 places of work nationwide
Required insurance policies: $twenty five everyday (the most expensive of the very best ten)
More costs: GPS $twelve/working day, boy or girl seat $6/day


Site is obvious and user friendly with just a slight confusion in that an online estimate is received by clicking on 'Reserve Now' and never the 'Get a Quotation' option. The reaction to a telephone inquiry was to utilize the web site. Obligatory insurance coverage costs are offered along with the list of autos and rental rates with the small time expenses and on the 2nd website page of the other quotation page. Don't forget can be a hugely encouraged gross sales agent that is pointed out in lots of on line assessments for your large degree of his customer care. Usually on the net critiques are optimistic for Support. Electronic mail reaction is less than 24 several hours, Though all info requested will not be obtained.

U.S.A phone number, but not toll-no cost. No Stay Chat.
five places of work nationwide
Required insurance coverage: $fifteen everyday
Supplemental fees: GPS $5.ninety nine/day, kid seat $2.99/working day


Costa Rican version of the website is unattainable to employ so you are questioned to register for a consumer title and password. Mandatory insurance fees aren't specified combined with the listing of vehicles and rental costs. A purchaser should click "Protection Choices" on the U.S. Web page and select the obligatory insurance coverage by clicking on it -- implying that it's optional rather than a needed Charge. Thrifty often acquire blended testimonials on the internet. Email reaction is a lot more than 24 several hours.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada telephone number. No Dwell Chat.
four offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance policy: $19.99 day-to-day
Added costs: GPS $10/day, child seat $five/day


Internet site is evident and convenient to use. Obligatory coverage expenditures are usually not provided along aspect the listing of motor vehicles and rental charges, but are Evidently shown on the subsequent web page as The client moves in direction of reserving a reservation. Anibal, a consultant, is regularly mentioned in on the web assessments for his higher volume of customer care techniques. Basic Supervisor, George Schwarzenbach is understood on Trip Advisor for his upfront and genuine responses to clients' posts.

Lately, Vamos has gained incredibly good evaluations online. Electronic mail reaction is under 24 several hours. Dwell Chat has prompt reaction time for you to inquiries.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada telephone number. Reside Chat.
3 offices nationwide
Necessary insurance plan: $11.ninety five daily
Supplemental fees: GPS $eight/day, baby seat absolutely free

Wild Rider

Web site is evident and user friendly. Mandatory insurance coverage fees are provided beside the listing of cars. Wild Rider is the sole auto rental organization in Costa Rica without any noticeable negative evaluations on the net. Proprietor, Thorsten, is commonly praised for his efficiency and customer support, despite the very confined sources the organization has at hand. E-mail receive very prompt and thorough responses in below 12 hrs.

No toll-totally free phone number or Dwell Chat
one Place of work -- no Liberia airport Business office
Necessary insurance coverage: provided
Extra prices: GPS $eight/day, youngster seat $five/day

Comparison Evaluate

Customer Service

Vamos and Wild Rider reply speedily and proficiently to e mail or Are living chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Dollar, Hertz, Countrywide, and Service reply to email inquiries in lower than 24 several hours, but Adobe and Service did not give all the information asked for (probably a language barrier). Budget offers a cost-free mobile phone provider, however it seems to generally be generally occupied. Hertz's Stay chat seems to become constantly offline. In the course of the previous 12 months, buyers who posted to on the internet evaluate internet sites expressed a particular fulfillment with the customer support supplied by Assistance, Vamos and Wild Rider.


Adobe, Alamo and Spending budget have different rental price ranges posted on their Internet sites than All those quoted over the mobile phone. Telephone prices were lower than that quoted on the web site inside the circumstances of Adobe and Alamo, but still greater in the situation of Budget. Adobe also offers unique car designs over the mobile phone when compared with their Web-site. Global motor vehicle rental corporations with equally a Costa Rican and Worldwide Web-site surface to get pricing distinctions between the two websites.

Funds and Wild Rider include things like the obligatory insurance plan of their rental selling prices, but Spending plan states that 'other fees' that will be presented with the counter within the modest print on their Web page. Rental selling prices for vehicle seating had to be verified to the cellphone as they aren't outlined over the Funds Web-site.

All other organizations excluding Thrifty (a U.S. Web page), Plainly display the required coverage Charge Together with the quotation provided. Thrifty's Costa Rican Web page is just unusable.


Company, Vamos and Wild Rider constantly offer the top prices for both of those Eco-friendly and Superior seasons, Even though Greenback has certainly one of the bottom Green year costs offered, whilst Adobe has a cheaper High season amount. Vamos supply the best "all inclusive" rates, provided that most choices are offered without spending a dime.

Adobe, Greenback, Assistance, Thrifty and Wild Rider keep on being aggressive with their pricing of things for instance kid seats. Alamo, Hertz and Nationwide are the most costly providers to lease from as well as their further option fees are more expensive.

"So, what's your rental advice?"

All round, the Costa Rican providers seem to trump the multi-nationals with better pricing, assistance and clarity.
Provider provides a commonly high-amount of customer service and fairly competitive pricing at both international airports.
Vamos can offer you efficient reserving and ongoing high-standard of customer service with aggressive pricing, and no cost extra solutions at both SJO and LIR airports.
Wild Rider is very remarkably rated to get a rental with distinct and affordable pricing and great customer service, but They're only in San Jose.

"Now you happen to be willing to guide your rental car or truck right after observing how the competition compares. Very good luck and joyful travels!"

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