Guideline to Car Rental Corporations in Costa Rica

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

Car rental can be a very hot matter for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Modern study conducted because of the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) suggests that, following lodging, renting a vehicle is the largest expenditure, averaging $702 for an eleven-working day holiday vacation.

The Internet is buzzing with adverse opinions speaking about overcharging, bad customer care and mechanical breakdowns. You may have even written 1 yourself!

A standard midsize (3 - four adults) 4X4 rental runs in between $fifty eight and $65 every day with 3rd party insurance policies and fees can vary up to twenty % amid auto rental organizations, so looking at a quick evaluation might be time nicely put in when you finally calculate the cost savings.

And so the concern is; which rental organization presents the ideal stability of good price, able customer support and trustworthy vehicles? I've investigated it all for yourself, so keep reading!

Disclosure: This study was done in May - July 2013. The following corporations were chosen as they would be the most generally used in Costa Rica. Some are local firms; Other folks are Worldwide franchises of regarded model names. Comparisons consist of: customer service, pricing and also the reservation course of action. The companies are stated alphabetically and never depending on individual or on the web Choices.
Take into account this information ahead of renting:


Among the greatest brings about for complaints is from the stack of unforeseen costs presented into the renter at the time standing at the rental company's counter. Vacationers are typically worn out after a long flight and after that are confronted by prices that were not expected, discussed or budgeted.

Topping the listing of grievances will be the non-disclosure of service fees linked to the necessary third-party insurance at the time the reservation is designed.

In accordance with Costa Rican legislation, each individual driver is required to carry legal responsibility coverage to insure in opposition to injuries to third parties. Vehicle rental companies normally refrain from disclosing the cost of this coverage in the quoted rental price to look extra aggressive. Mandatory 3rd-social gathering insurance policies can sometimes be approximately double the motor vehicle's rental Value. The sole guarantee against insurance confusion is to inquire If the estimate involves the 3rd party insurance and demand on a penned quotation.

Price of Mandatory Insurance policies (also referred to as 3rd party or SLI)

Expect to pay for in between $twelve and $fifteen every day for this insurance policies, with regards to the make and product of the rented auto and the rental motor vehicle agency. This can be a lawful issue of the rental settlement and is normally not lined by credit cards and cannot be waived. It is a reality of renting an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Problems Waiver (CDW)

Since the name implies, this isn't insurance plan, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental automobile following the deductible is compensated (generally from $750 to $1,five hundred). Some agencies require renters to purchase their CDW plan; therefore negating any charge card system. For yet another rate, many companies do offer a zero legal responsibility choice where by the renter will be freed from paying for any harm to the car. Some corporations could put stress on renters to acquire the zero liability coverage; nevertheless, it really is completely optional, Unless of course it's within the wonderful print of their rental settlement.

Charge card insurance policy plans may possibly protect the CDW for any rental car or truck. Check out with all your picked rental car or truck enterprise to locate which proof of insurance policy is needed after which ask for that out of your charge card enterprise just before arriving. In case you make use of your bank card's CDW coverage, anticipate to pay for a better deposit over the automobile; all around $one,500 to $2000 is widespread. The upper deposit makes certain that the charge card holder has ample fiscal reserves to address damages if desired. It is important to take into consideration that if applying CDW protection provided by a bank card (in lieu of your lease a car or truck operator), all damages might be billed for the renter's charge card. The credit card company will then reimburse the cardboard holder for damages.

Far more Insurance policies

Tires and windshields are hardly ever A part of coverage procedures, Though supplemental insurance policies could possibly be taken out for covering these routinely weakened things. Neither the inside nor the beneath in the car or truck could possibly be included. Always examine the great print.

Regular Treatment

Your credit card will probably be charged, or simply a 'keep' positioned, with the rental automobile through the time of the rental settlement; i.e. from picking up the rental until finally you come it. Debit playing cards are generally not satisfactory.

Supplemental Rates

Most providers have surcharges For added drivers, car seats/boosters, cellular phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The costs vary from business to corporation, but since these extras are billed in a day by day price, it is well worth examining the whole Price tag -- further options can incorporate up in a short time! A GPS is all around $eight to $10 a day; even so, some operators may well present discounted units. Be expecting to pay close to $5 day-to-day for a child seat and a few dollars on a daily basis for all another 'niceties'. Vamos is noteworthy for offering Many of these options and, in the course of some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Spending plan, Hertz and Countrywide demand probably the most for these kinds of added solutions; While another companies detailed, demand more sensible price ranges.


Most companies incorporate tiny incremental costs, which include license plate and environmental fees, into the full tally. Be wary of operators who insert these extra rates in to the smaller print on the rental contract. Motor vehicles rented immediate with the airport incur airport taxes, which are a whopping twelve% of one's rental Charge!

The rental automobile ought to be returned While using the similar amount of gas, Until or else indicated. Otherwise, corporations could cost over gas station charges for lacking fuel.


You will find a debate around the autos provided by rental firms: Older cars and trucks let the driving force to blend in in excess of a shiny, new motor vehicle. Acquiring an older model might possess the indirect benefit of currently being fewer scrutinized by car or truck rental companies for the latest nicks and scratches, contrary to a newer motor vehicle. Even so, a more moderen vehicle might be extra roadworthy. This debate carries on into different car tends to make and versions. Generally, Costa Rican companies are able to rent their autos for the reduce level simply because their cars are generally three to five years outdated (as opposed to two to three). On-line testimonials would suggest that the local corporations haven't any much more complaints concerning motor vehicle quality than transnational franchises; analysis on forums, which include, appears to point that shoppers regularly enjoy driving a a lot less-than-new car with the wilds of Costa Rica. The reasons are lots, from street circumstances on the Idea of less-then-new vehicles blending in much better -- a more moderen car may perhaps attract far more undesired awareness.

The possibilities of rental automobiles in Costa Rica are primarily limited to tends to make and types that preserve a competitive resale benefit, are a standard brand name while in the place, and therefore are cheap to keep up. As a result a lease-a-motor vehicle operator's fleet are inclined not to be as assorted as The us. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai constitute the mainstay brands of most rental fleets.

From time to time, motorists are charged for meant 'damages' on the auto on return. When getting the car, renters should really meticulously look for pre-present flaws and Review it With all the car inspection doc utilized by the rental automobile agent. Some renters propose photographing or videoing the car or truck from all angles, to stay away from any disagreement concerning pre-present and recently broken items.


Vehicle rentals in Costa Rica are pricier compared to other nations around the world. Obligations on autos are large (about 50% in their value!), components are costlier and unforgiving street disorders add to better put on and tear, making greater servicing expenses.

The rule is you have Whatever you purchase -- you'll find other options than those rental companies detailed in this article, but they are not outlined for a very good rationale. They basically are unsuccessful to offer basic customer support and/or an acceptable auto issue needed for the (just about) difficulties-no cost holiday vacation.

When comparing rental vehicle fees, it is best to go directly to the Costa Rican Site on the rental vehicle organization, rather than attempting to use their Global structure or an intermediary (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For a similar cars and reservation dates, the fees provided by the respective international vs. Costa Rican websites for Alamo, Finances, Hertz and Thrifty differed considerably.

To stay away from confusion, print out all correspondence With all the vehicle rental company with whom you've got reserved a vehicle and produce this for the rental Business With all the quotation offered at some time of reservation.

The following top ten chart ranks the businesses from greatest priced to cheapest and it involves the mandatory insurance charge. Within the scenarios of Alamo and Hertz, the figure incorporates their CDW cost because it is among their rental specifications. This selling price comparison is predicated on per week's rental of the Daihatsu Bego, where accessible (Greenback delivers the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - 21st, nonetheless in December to look at the two Inexperienced and Superior Period charges. The listing rapidly demonstrates that the price variation relies upon drastically on the corporate -- for fundamentally exactly the same support. These costs ended up received in June/July 2013.

Rental Automobile Businesses Rated According to Price tag


ten. Alamo $650.ninety six
nine. Hertz $514.27
eight. Illinois to New York Car Transporters Adobe $449
7. Finances $455
six. Countrywide $428.01
5. Thrifty $421.05
4. Provider $374.43
3. Vamos $370.30
2. Greenback $364
1. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.ninety six
9. National $597.fifty one
8. Hertz $566.52
seven. Finances $555
6. Greenback $532
five. Thrifty $506.58
4. Services $494.forty three
three. Vamos $461.thirty
two. Adobe $459
1. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks variety 10 for both equally seasons, making it the costliest business. Price range, Hertz and National also amount low on the size for cost-effective rental choices.

Firm Summaries


Web site is obvious and easy to use, but pricing and in some cases the motor vehicles listed usually are not the same as Individuals supplied by an Office environment agent above the phone. Required insurance policy expenditures will not be shown Using the listing of motor vehicles and rental charges, but They may be Obviously exhibited on the next page to be a shopper moves to reserving a reservation. Mixed buyer opinions on the net. Email reaction is lower than 24 hours, but might not give all requested info.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Are living Chat.
10 places of work nationwide
Mandatory insurance policies: $19 daily
Added fees: GPS $nine/day, youngster seat $5/working day


Website is obvious and simple to use, but costs differ from prices been given more than the mobile phone. Mandatory insurance coverage fees are usually not supplied with the listing of automobiles and rental costs, but they are Evidently exhibited on the subsequent site as the customer moves in the direction of earning a reservation. Mixed purchaser assessments on the internet. Email response is less than 24 several hours.

No toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada contact number or Are living chat
14 places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance policies: $11.ninety five day-to-day, but must also consider their CDW at $twelve.95 each day
Additional prices: GPS $12/day, youngster seat $6/day

Spending budget

Web site is primary, but convenient to use. Costs on the web vary for the quotations presented by a agent about the phone and according to whether the Worldwide or Costa Rican Web site is utilized. Necessary insurance costs are given along with the list of cars; nevertheless, another costs usually are not outlined. Blended buyer assessments on the internet. Email reaction is greater than 24 hrs.

No toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada telephone number. No Are living Chat on Costa Rican website.
ten workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance policies: included in the listed cost
Supplemental rates: GPS $10.95/day, little one seat $12/day (the costliest of the highest 10)


Web page is clear and convenient to use. Price ranges quoted vary if contacting through the U.S. or in Costa Rica. Necessary coverage prices are certainly not supplied with the list of cars and rental expenses, but They are really Plainly displayed on the following site being a buyer moves in the direction of a producing a reservation. Blended testimonials online, but usually gets positive feedback. Email inquiries answered in 24 several hours.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Are living Chat.
three workplaces nationwide
Obligatory coverage: $16 every day
Added costs: GPS $9/working day, kid seat $5/working day


Web page is evident and convenient to use. Obligatory coverage prices aren't specified Apart from the listing of motor vehicles and rental charges, but They're Evidently exhibited on the subsequent web site as the customer moves in direction of a reserving a reservation. Combined customer evaluations on the internet. Electronic mail reaction below 24 hours.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada telephone number and Reside Chat (although it seems to be completely offline)
seven workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance policy: $17.43 day-to-day, but their CDW is also a need
Further rates: GPS $twelve/day, youngster seat $two/working day


Web page is evident and convenient to use. Mandatory coverage prices usually are not presented together with the listing of automobiles and rental fees, but They're Plainly displayed on the subsequent page for a consumer moves towards making a reservation. Mixed customer opinions on the net, but extra good than negative. E-mail response less than 24 hrs.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. Reside Chat.
22 offices nationwide
Obligatory coverage: $twenty five day-to-day (the costliest of the top ten)
Further fees: GPS $twelve/working day, boy or girl seat $six/working day


Website is obvious and person friendly with only a slight confusion in that a web based quotation is acquired by clicking on 'Reserve Now' and not the 'Obtain a Estimate' possibility. The reaction to some cellphone inquiry was to utilize the website. Necessary coverage expenditures are provided combined with the list of autos and rental charges for the low period rates and on the next site of one other quotation website page. Keep in mind is often a extremely advised gross sales agent who is mentioned in several on the net reviews with the superior degree of his customer service. Typically on line assessments are optimistic for Provider. E mail response is below 24 several hours, Even though all information asked for may not be gained.

U.S.A phone number, but not toll-free. No Are living Chat.
5 places of work nationwide
Necessary coverage: $15 every day
Added expenses: GPS $5.ninety nine/day, youngster seat $2.99/working day


Costa Rican Model of the website is difficult to employ and also you are requested to sign up for the user title and password. Obligatory insurance policy prices usually are not offered combined with the listing of motor vehicles and rental expenses. A buyer should click on "Protection Alternatives" to the U.S. Web page and select the required insurance policy by clicking on it -- implying that it's optional instead of a demanded cost. Thrifty tend to acquire mixed evaluations on line. Electronic mail reaction is over 24 several hours.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada telephone number. No Dwell Chat.
four places of work nationwide
Obligatory insurance plan: $19.ninety nine day by day
Extra costs: GPS $10/working day, little one seat $5/day


Website is evident and convenient to use. Required insurance policies fees will not be specified together aspect the listing of automobiles and rental rates, but are Evidently exhibited on the next website page as The shopper moves in direction of booking a reservation. Anibal, a agent, is regularly outlined in online reviews for his superior standard of customer support skills. Normal Supervisor, George Schwarzenbach is understood on Journey Advisor for his upfront and straightforward responses to buyers' posts.

Recently, Vamos has obtained quite positive assessments on-line. Email reaction is lower than 24 several hours. Stay Chat has instant reaction the perfect time to inquiries.

Toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada telephone number. Reside Chat.
3 offices nationwide
Obligatory coverage: $11.95 day by day
Further rates: GPS $eight/day, little one seat totally free

Wild Rider

Site is obvious and easy to use. Required insurance plan expenses are offered next to the listing of vehicles. Wild Rider is the one car rental business in Costa Rica with no seen bad reviews on the net. Operator, Thorsten, is often praised for his effectiveness and customer support, Regardless of the pretty constrained resources the company has at hand. E-mails acquire very prompt and comprehensive responses in fewer than twelve hours.

No toll-no cost phone number or Reside Chat
1 Business -- no Liberia airport Place of work
Obligatory insurance plan: included
Additional expenses: GPS $8/day, baby seat $5/working day

Comparison Evaluation

Customer support

Vamos and Wild Rider answer quickly and competently to electronic mail or live chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Dollar, Hertz, Nationwide, and Service reply to email inquiries in under 24 several hours, but Adobe and repair didn't present all the knowledge requested (possibly a language barrier). Price range offers a free of charge cellphone support, but it really appears to get generally chaotic. Hertz's Reside chat seems for being regularly offline. During the previous yr, consumers who posted to on the internet evaluation sites expressed a selected gratification Using the customer care offered by Company, Vamos and Wild Rider.


Adobe, Alamo and Price range have different rental rates posted on their Web sites than All those quoted around the cellular phone. Telephone prices had been lower than that quoted on the website in the scenarios of Adobe and Alamo, but but greater in the situation of Funds. Adobe also provides various auto products over the cellular phone when compared to their Web site. Worldwide auto rental companies with both of those a Costa Rican and international website look to obtain pricing differences between The 2 internet sites.

Spending budget and Wild Rider include the obligatory insurance policies within their rental selling prices, but Price range states that 'other fees' which is able to be offered on the counter in the tiny print on their Web site. Rental prices for vehicle seating had to be verified over the cell phone as they don't seem to be stated over the Finances website.

All other companies apart from Thrifty (a U.S. Web site), Obviously clearly show the required insurance plan Price tag Along with the quotation provided. Thrifty's Costa Rican website is solely unusable.


Company, Vamos and Wild Rider constantly offer the best charges for each Eco-friendly and Superior seasons, While Dollar has one of the lowest Environmentally friendly season premiums readily available, while Adobe has a less expensive Large time price. Vamos provide the very best "all inclusive" fees, given that most choices are offered free of charge.

Adobe, Dollar, Support, Thrifty and Wild Rider stay aggressive with their pricing of items like youngster seats. Alamo, Hertz and National are the most costly providers to lease from as well as their additional possibility fees also are dearer.

"So, what's your rental suggestion?"

Total, the Costa Rican businesses manage to trump the multi-nationals with much better pricing, services and clarity.
Service provides a generally substantial-level of customer support and quite aggressive pricing at the two Global airports.
Vamos can offer effective reserving and continued higher-degree of customer service with competitive pricing, in addition to cost-free additional possibilities at the two SJO and LIR airports.
Wild Rider is extremely very rated for the rental with clear and affordable pricing and excellent customer service, but They're only in San Jose.

"Now you happen to be willing to guide your rental car immediately after viewing how the Opposition compares. Great luck and satisfied travels!"

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