Guideline to Car Rental Organizations in Costa Rica

"My time's constrained... how do I select?"

Car rental is really a warm subject for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Recent research done with the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) signifies that, after accommodations, renting an auto is the most important price, averaging $702 for an eleven-day holiday.

The net is buzzing with detrimental testimonials talking about overcharging, very poor customer service and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even prepared 1 yourself!

A standard midsize (three - four adults) 4X4 rental operates between $fifty eight and $sixty five daily with third party insurance and premiums can differ approximately 20 percent among the automobile rental organizations, so reading through A fast overview might be time well put in after you calculate the discounts.

Hence the query is; which rental business presents the top equilibrium of honest cost, able customer care and reputable vehicles? I have investigated all of it for you, so keep reading!

Disclosure: This investigation was carried out in May well - July 2013. The next organizations have been picked since they would be the most widely Utilized in Costa Rica. Some are community firms; Some others are Intercontinental franchises of recognized model names. Comparisons incorporate: customer service, pricing along with the reservation approach. The businesses are outlined alphabetically rather than based on individual or online Choices.
Think about this details ahead of renting:

Insurance policies

Among the greatest leads to for problems is in the stack of unforeseen rates presented into the renter once standing at the rental firm's counter. Vacationers are generally exhausted following a extended flight after which are confronted by expenses that were not anticipated, defined or budgeted.

Topping the list of grievances may be the non-disclosure of service fees linked to the mandatory 3rd-get together insurance policies at the time the reservation is made.

In line with Costa Rican legislation, each and every driver is required to hold liability coverage to insure versus injuries to 3rd parties. Automobile rental corporations normally refrain from disclosing the expense of this coverage from the quoted rental amount to appear far more aggressive. Mandatory third-social gathering insurance policies can sometimes be about double the motor vehicle's rental cost. The sole promise against insurance policy confusion will be to inquire When your estimate includes the 3rd party insurance policy and insist on the published quotation.

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

Anticipate to pay between $12 and $15 everyday for this insurance coverage, according to the make and product with the rented vehicle as well as rental automobile company. It is a legal affliction of one's rental settlement and is mostly not included by charge cards and cannot be waived. It's a truth of renting an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Problems Waiver (CDW)

As the identify implies, this is not insurance coverage, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental car once the deductible is paid out (typically from $750 to $one,500). Some organizations have to have renters to buy their CDW policy; thus negating any credit card system. For a further charge, quite a few companies do give you a zero legal responsibility option in which the renter are going to be freed from paying for any harm to the car. Some businesses may possibly put strain on renters to get the zero liability protection; however, it is actually entirely optional, Except if it really is from the good print in their rental arrangement.

Bank card insurance applications may perhaps go over the CDW for just a rental car or truck. Check with the selected rental car or truck organization to find which evidence of insurance is necessary then ask for that from a bank card enterprise previous to arriving. When you make use of your bank card's CDW coverage, assume to pay a higher deposit around the motor vehicle; all around $1,500 to $2000 is widespread. The higher deposit ensures that the bank card holder has enough economical reserves to protect damages if essential. It is necessary to consider that if utilizing CDW coverage furnished by a credit card (in lieu with the lease a car operator), all damages is going to be billed to your renter's credit card. The charge card business will then reimburse the cardboard holder for damages.

Much more Insurance

Tires and windshields are almost never A part of insurance policy guidelines, Even though additional policies could possibly be taken out for masking these often destroyed things. Neither the inside nor the beneath of your motor vehicle can be protected. Always examine the fine print.

Typical Procedure

Your bank card will likely be billed, or simply a 'maintain' positioned, for the rental vehicle throughout the time with the rental settlement; i.e. from finding up the rental right up until you come back it. Debit cards are usually not suitable.

Extra Fees

Most businesses have surcharges For extra drivers, car or truck seats/boosters, cell phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The prices differ from enterprise to organization, but considering the fact that these extras are billed at a daily amount, it really is worthy of examining the overall cost -- supplemental solutions can insert up in a short time! A GPS is all over $eight to $10 a day; nonetheless, some operators may offer discounted models. Hope to pay for all around $five everyday for a child seat and a few dollars on a daily basis for all the opposite 'niceties'. Vamos is notable for providing A large number of options and, through some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Spending budget, Hertz and National demand by far the most for such supplemental alternatives; whereas another businesses shown, demand a lot more realistic price ranges.


Most organizations insert modest incremental charges, including license plate and environmental charges, into the total tally. Be wary of operators who insert these supplemental prices to the modest print with the rental deal. Autos rented direct at the airport incur airport taxes, which can be a whopping 12% of the rental Price tag!

The rental car should be returned Together with the exact same degree of gasoline, unless otherwise indicated. If not, firms might charge above fuel station premiums for missing gas.


You will find there's debate more than the cars equipped by rental companies: More mature cars and trucks allow the driver to blend in greater than a shiny, new car or truck. Acquiring an older product may perhaps have the indirect benefit of remaining a lot less scrutinized by motor vehicle rental companies for the latest nicks and scratches, compared with a newer automobile. On the other hand, a more recent motor vehicle can be more roadworthy. This discussion carries on into the different car or truck would make and types. Generally, Costa Rican firms will be able to lease their motor vehicles for any reduce fee because their cars are generally a few to 5 years aged (versus two to 3). Online assessments would suggest the regional corporations haven't any extra problems about vehicle good quality than transnational franchises; investigate on forums, including, would seem to indicate that clients routinely value driving a a lot less-than-new vehicle throughout the wilds of Costa Rica. The reasons are a lot, from street disorders into the notion of much less-then-new motor vehicles blending in far better -- a more moderen auto may possibly draw additional undesired focus.

The decisions of rental automobiles in Costa Rica are mainly limited to tends to make and styles that manage a aggressive resale value, are a common manufacturer within the state, and they are reasonably priced to maintain. As a result a lease-a-car or truck operator's fleet are likely never to be as varied as America. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai represent the mainstay brands of most rental fleets.

In some cases, drivers are billed for intended 'damages' into the car or truck upon return. As soon as obtaining the automobile, renters really should meticulously check for pre-existing flaws and Examine it with the motor vehicle inspection document employed by the rental car representative. Some renters propose photographing or videoing the car or truck from all angles, in order to avoid any disagreement amongst pre-existing and recently damaged goods.


Motor vehicle rentals in Costa Rica are pricier in comparison with other international locations. Duties on autos are substantial (around fifty% in their benefit!), pieces are costlier and unforgiving road conditions contribute to higher use and tear, producing better maintenance expenses.

The rule is you can get That which you pay for -- there are actually other choices than These rental firms listed listed here, but they don't seem to be outlined for a very good purpose. They only fall short to offer simple customer service and/or an appropriate motor vehicle affliction expected for the (almost) hassle-no cost holiday vacation.

When comparing rental car or truck charges, it's best to go straight to the Costa Rican website of the rental auto firm, rather than looking to use their international format or an intermediary (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For the same motor vehicles and reservation dates, the rates supplied by the respective Worldwide vs. Costa Rican Sites for Alamo, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty differed substantially.

To avoid confusion, print out all correspondence Using the vehicle rental corporation with whom you might have reserved a motor vehicle and produce this on the rental Workplace With all the quote offered at time of reservation.

The next top ten chart ranks the businesses from highest priced to least expensive and it consists of the necessary insurance cost. While in the scenarios of Alamo and Hertz, the determine has their CDW fee because it is among their rental demands. This value comparison is based on each week's rental of a Daihatsu Bego, where by obtainable (Dollar delivers the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - twenty first, nonetheless in December to see each Green and Superior Year premiums. The record quickly demonstrates that the cost variation relies upon significantly on the corporation -- for fundamentally the exact same assistance. These prices had been attained in June/July 2013.

Rental Vehicle Companies Rated Based on Rate


ten. Alamo $650.96
nine. Hertz $514.27
8. Adobe $449
7. Price range $455
six. National $428.01
5. Thrifty $421.05
4. Services $374.forty three
3. Vamos $370.30
two. Dollar $364
one. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.96
nine. Countrywide $597.51
8. Hertz $566.52
7. Funds $555
six. Greenback $532
5. Thrifty $506.fifty eight
four. Services $494.forty three
3. Vamos $461.thirty
two. Adobe $459
one. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks number ten for both equally seasons, rendering it the most expensive firm. Spending budget, Hertz and National also level lower on the size for inexpensive rental solutions.

Company Summaries


Web-site is evident and convenient to use, but pricing and perhaps the cars shown will not be similar to These given by an Business consultant more than the cell phone. Necessary insurance coverage expenditures aren't demonstrated While using the list of automobiles and rental rates, but These are Plainly shown on the following page being a client moves in direction of scheduling a reservation. Blended customer testimonials on-line. E-mail response is less than 24 hours, but may not provide all asked for information.

Toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. No Live Chat.
ten offices nationwide
Necessary insurance plan: $19 everyday
Further costs: GPS $nine/working day, little one seat $5/working day


Site is evident and convenient to use, but selling prices differ in opposition to quotes obtained more than the mobile phone. Required insurance policy costs aren't presented Along with the list of autos and rental rates, but They're Plainly displayed on the subsequent website page as The shopper moves towards making a reservation. Mixed purchaser assessments on the net. E-mail reaction is lower than 24 hrs.

No toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada telephone number or Dwell chat
fourteen places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance policy: $eleven.95 each day, but ought to also acquire their CDW at $12.ninety five every day
More prices: GPS $12/day, kid seat $6/working day

Spending plan

Internet site is basic, but convenient to use. Price ranges on the internet vary into the quotations offered by a agent in excess of the phone and based upon whether or not the Intercontinental or Costa Rican website is utilised. Mandatory insurance policies prices are provided combined with the listing of motor vehicles; having said that, the other expenses usually are not stated. Mixed buyer reviews on the web. E-mail response is a lot more than 24 hrs.

No toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. No Live Chat on Costa Rican website.
10 offices nationwide
Necessary insurance policy: A part of the outlined price
Supplemental costs: GPS $10.ninety five/working day, little one seat $twelve/working day (the most expensive of the best ten)


Web page is obvious and simple to operate. Charges quoted differ if calling through the U.S. or in Costa Rica. Required coverage fees are not specified Along with the listing of vehicles and rental fees, but They can be Evidently exhibited on the next webpage being a shopper moves in direction of a earning a reservation. Combined testimonials on the web, but normally gets positive opinions. Electronic mail inquiries answered within 24 hrs.

Toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Dwell Chat.
3 offices nationwide
Necessary insurance policy: $sixteen day-to-day
Supplemental prices: GPS $nine/day, kid seat $five/day


Internet site is evident and easy to use. Necessary insurance policies expenses are not given In addition to the list of cars and rental costs, but they are Obviously displayed on the following web site as The client moves towards a booking a reservation. Mixed buyer assessments on line. E mail reaction lower than 24 hours.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number and Reside Chat (even though it is apparently permanently offline)
seven offices nationwide
Obligatory insurance policies: $17.43 day-to-day, but their CDW can also be a prerequisite
Additional prices: GPS $twelve/working day, little one seat $2/working day


Web-site is evident and easy to use. Obligatory insurance coverage expenses are certainly not supplied combined with the list of cars and rental prices, but They're Obviously exhibited on the next page being a customer moves to producing a reservation. Combined shopper assessments on the internet, but extra optimistic than damaging. Electronic mail reaction under 24 hrs.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada telephone number. Are living Chat.
22 workplaces nationwide
Mandatory coverage: $twenty five daily (the most costly of the very best 10)
Extra fees: GPS $12/working day, child seat $six/working day


Website is evident and consumer helpful with simply a slight confusion in that a web-based estimate is received by clicking on 'Reserve Now' instead of the 'Get a Estimate' alternative. The reaction to the mobile phone inquiry was to utilize the website. Required insurance costs are offered combined with the list of autos and rental rates for the lower season charges and on the second web site of the opposite quotation website page. Recall is a really suggested gross sales agent who is mentioned in lots of on the internet critiques for your superior amount of his customer care. Typically on the net opinions are good for Services. E mail response is a lot less than 24 hrs, Whilst all information requested may not be been given.

U.S.A telephone number, although not toll-totally free. No Live Chat.
5 workplaces nationwide
Mandatory insurance plan: $fifteen every day
Supplemental costs: GPS $five.99/working day, kid seat $two.99/working day


Costa Rican version of the website is not possible to use so you are requested to sign up for your consumer name and password. Necessary insurance policy charges are not supplied along with the list of autos and rental charges. A client has to click "Protection Choices" over the U.S. Web site and select the obligatory insurance policy by clicking on it -- implying that it's optional and not a expected cost. Thrifty tend to receive mixed reviews on the net. E-mail reaction is over 24 several hours.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Dwell Chat.
4 places of work nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $19.ninety nine each day
More expenses: GPS $10/day, boy or girl seat $5/day


Site is obvious and simple to use. Mandatory insurance policy costs are not offered together aspect the listing of vehicles and rental fees, but are Obviously exhibited on the following page as The shopper moves in direction of reserving a reservation. Anibal, a consultant, is regularly stated in on the internet opinions for his high level of customer service skills. Basic Supervisor, George Schwarzenbach is understood on Vacation Advisor for his upfront and sincere responses to clients' posts.

In recent years, Vamos has received really beneficial assessments on line. Electronic mail response is fewer than 24 several hours. Stay Chat has instantaneous reaction time to inquiries.

Toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada phone number. Dwell Chat.
3 workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance: $11.95 each day
Further expenses: GPS $eight/working day, baby seat totally free

Wild Rider

Web site is obvious and simple to use. Obligatory insurance coverage expenses are provided next to the list of autos. Wild Rider is the only car rental organization in Costa Rica with no seen lousy opinions online. Owner, Thorsten, is frequently praised for his performance and customer care, Regardless of the quite limited means the company has at hand. E-mails get extremely prompt and in depth responses in less than twelve several hours.

No toll-totally free phone number or Dwell Chat
one Workplace -- no Liberia airport Workplace
Obligatory insurance policy: provided
Extra fees: GPS $8/day, little one seat $5/working day

Comparison Evaluation

Customer Service

Vamos and Wild Rider react rapidly and effectively to email or live chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Dollar, Hertz, Nationwide, and Service respond to e-mail inquiries in fewer than 24 hours, but Adobe and Service did not supply all the information requested (potentially a language barrier). Price range provides a free of charge phone support, nonetheless it appears to get constantly active. Hertz's Dwell chat appears to generally be frequently offline. In the course of the past calendar year, prospects who posted to on the web evaluation web pages expressed a selected satisfaction with the customer support supplied by Assistance, Vamos and Wild Rider.


Adobe, Alamo and Spending budget have different rental prices posted on their own Internet websites than These quoted above the telephone. Phone rates had been lessen than that quoted on the web site while in the cases of Adobe and Alamo, but yet bigger in the case of Budget. Adobe also provides distinctive car designs about the mobile phone compared to their website. Global car or truck rental firms with both equally a Costa Rican and Global Web page seem to own pricing variations involving The 2 web pages.

Spending budget and Wild Rider include things like the required insurance policy in their rental price ranges, but Spending budget states that 'other expenses' that may Illinois to New York Can Shipping be presented at the counter during the small print on their own Web page. Rental price ranges for auto seating had to be verified within the mobile phone as they are not listed about the Spending budget Site.

All other companies excluding Thrifty (a U.S. Internet site), Plainly show the obligatory insurance coverage Price With all the quotation given. Thrifty's Costa Rican Web page is simply unusable.


Support, Vamos and Wild Rider continually offer you the most beneficial prices for each Eco-friendly and Significant seasons, While Greenback has considered one of the bottom Inexperienced period charges available, though Adobe has a cheaper Superior time price. Vamos provide the ideal "all inclusive" charges, on condition that most solutions are offered free of charge.

Adobe, Greenback, Provider, Thrifty and Wild Rider continue being competitive with their pricing of things for instance boy or girl seats. Alamo, Hertz and Nationwide are the most costly organizations to rent from and their additional alternative expenses are more expensive.

"So, what's your rental recommendation?"

In general, the Costa Rican providers appear to trump the multi-nationals with greater pricing, provider and clarity.
Company offers a generally superior-amount of customer service and reasonably aggressive pricing at both equally international airports.
Vamos can give effective scheduling and continued higher-amount of customer service with aggressive pricing, as well as totally free further possibilities at both equally SJO and LIR airports.
Wild Rider is quite extremely rated for any rental with crystal clear and economical pricing and fantastic customer support, but they are only in San Jose.

"Now you might be able to guide your rental motor vehicle soon after seeing how the Level of competition compares. Superior luck and joyful travels!"

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