Tutorial to Auto Rental Companies in Costa Rica

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

Automobile rental is really a sizzling topic for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Recent exploration conducted with the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) suggests that, after accommodations, leasing a car is the biggest expenditure, averaging $702 for an eleven-day holiday vacation.

The online world is buzzing with negative assessments talking about overcharging, inadequate customer support and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even penned a person oneself!

An average midsize (three - four adults) 4X4 rental operates amongst $58 and $sixty five day by day with 3rd party coverage and fees may vary about twenty % amid car rental businesses, so examining a quick evaluation might be time effectively invested as soon as you calculate the personal savings.

Therefore the concern is; which rental organization offers the ideal balance of honest price, able customer care and trustworthy cars? I have investigated it all for you personally, so Continue reading!

Disclosure: This investigate was performed in Might - July 2013. The subsequent corporations were picked simply because they would be the most generally used in Costa Rica. Some are nearby firms; Other individuals are Worldwide franchises of regarded model names. Comparisons include: customer service, pricing along with the reservation course of action. The companies are shown alphabetically and never based on private or on the internet Choices.
Contemplate this information and facts right before leasing:

Insurance coverage

One of the most important results in for grievances is from your stack of unexpected costs offered to your renter the moment standing within the rental company's counter. Vacationers are typically tired following a extended flight and then are confronted by charges that were not expected, discussed or budgeted.

Topping the list of grievances may be the non-disclosure of costs associated with the obligatory third-get together insurance policy at the time the reservation is manufactured.

According to Costa Rican legislation, just about every driver is needed to carry liability coverage to insure against injuries to third parties. Vehicle rental businesses usually refrain from disclosing the expense of this coverage during the quoted rental amount to appear much more competitive. Required third-occasion insurance policies can sometimes be about double the car or truck's rental Expense. The sole warranty from insurance confusion would be to inquire In case your estimate contains the 3rd party insurance policies and insist on a created quotation.

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

Expect to pay in between $12 and $fifteen every day for this insurance coverage, depending on the make and product with the rented car or truck along with the rental car or truck company. This is a lawful problem within your rental arrangement and is usually not coated by credit cards and can't be waived. It is a actuality of renting an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Harm Waiver (CDW)

Since the name suggests, this isn't insurance policies, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental vehicle once the deductible is paid (ordinarily from $750 to $1,five hundred). Some organizations demand renters to invest in their CDW plan; thereby negating any charge card plan. For an additional cost, lots of companies do offer a zero liability option where the renter are going to be freed from purchasing any damage to the vehicle. Some firms could put stress on renters to purchase the zero liability coverage; on the other hand, it truly is entirely optional, Except if it's during the great print in their rental agreement.

Bank card insurance coverage systems may go over the CDW for any rental car. Examine using your selected rental vehicle organization to locate which proof of insurance policy is needed after which request that out of your credit card enterprise just before arriving. For those who make use of your credit card's CDW plan, count on to pay an increased deposit within the auto; all-around $1,500 to $2000 is popular. The higher deposit ensures that the charge card holder has adequate economical reserves to cover damages if needed. It can be crucial to look at that if working with CDW protection supplied by a credit card (in lieu of your rent an auto operator), all damages might be billed into the renter's bank card. The credit card corporation will then reimburse the card holder for damages.

Extra Insurance coverage

Tires and windshields are not often included in insurance guidelines, Though extra procedures may be taken out for covering these routinely broken things. Neither the inside nor the beneath in the car or truck could possibly be protected. Generally examine the high-quality print.

Conventional Technique

Your bank card are going to be billed, or even a 'maintain' placed, with the rental motor vehicle during the time from the rental settlement; i.e. from selecting up the rental until eventually you come back it. Debit cards are typically not acceptable.

Supplemental Expenses

Most organizations have surcharges For added motorists, automobile seats/boosters, cell phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The costs differ from enterprise to business, but considering that these extras are billed in a day by day rate, it really is really worth examining the full Price tag -- additional selections can add up in a short time! A GPS is all over $8 to $ten a day; however, some operators may possibly offer you discounted models. Expect to pay for about $five day-to-day for a kid seat and a few pounds each day for all the other 'niceties'. Vamos is notable for supplying Many of these possibilities and, during some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Budget, Hertz and National charge probably the most for these added choices; whereas another companies stated, charge much more realistic selling prices.


Most organizations include smaller incremental expenditures, for instance license plate and environmental costs, into the overall tally. Be wary of operators who insert these further expenses in to the little print of your rental agreement. Cars rented immediate for the airport incur airport taxes, which might be a whopping twelve% of your rental cost!

The rental car needs to be returned With all the same quantity of fuel, Until otherwise indicated. If not, organizations might demand above fuel station premiums for lacking fuel.


There's a discussion more than the vehicles equipped by rental companies: Older cars and trucks make it possible for the motive force to Mix in more than a shiny, new car. Possessing an older model may possess the oblique good thing about staying significantly less scrutinized by car or truck rental organizations for latest nicks and scratches, unlike a more moderen auto. However, a more recent car may very well be extra roadworthy. This debate carries on into the several automobile can make and styles. Normally, Costa Rican companies have the ability to hire their automobiles for the lower fee since their cars are typically 3 to five years aged (compared to two to three). On-line critiques would counsel the nearby companies have no additional problems about auto high-quality than transnational franchises; investigation on message boards, including TripAdvisor.com, would seem to indicate that customers often value driving a fewer-than-new motor vehicle through the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are a lot, from highway disorders towards the notion of considerably less-then-new vehicles blending in better -- a more moderen auto might draw extra undesirable attention.

The decisions of rental cars and trucks in Costa Rica are largely restricted to tends to make and designs that keep a aggressive resale price, are a typical model in the region, and so are low-cost to take care of. As a result a lease-a-car operator's fleet are inclined not to be as varied as The us. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai constitute the mainstay brand names of most rental fleets.

From time to time, motorists are charged for supposed 'damages' into the motor vehicle upon return. As soon as receiving the car, renters should really meticulously look for pre-present flaws and Assess it Together with the auto inspection document employed by the rental vehicle consultant. Some renters suggest photographing or videoing the motor vehicle from all angles, to avoid any disagreement involving pre-present and recently damaged things.


Vehicle rentals in Costa Rica are pricier in comparison with other nations around the world. Obligations on automobiles are high (just as much as 50% in their value!), parts are costlier and unforgiving highway ailments add to greater use and tear, producing higher maintenance expenditures.

The rule is you receive what you purchase -- you'll find other available choices than People rental firms stated in this article, but they are not outlined for a superb motive. They just fall short to offer simple customer care and/or an appropriate automobile affliction needed for the (just about) trouble-no cost family vacation.

When evaluating rental car or truck fees, it's best to go straight to the Costa Rican website from the rental vehicle firm, instead of wanting to use their international format or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For a similar autos and reservation dates, the prices provided by the respective Intercontinental vs. Costa Rican Web-sites for Alamo, Finances, Hertz and Thrifty differed substantially.

To stop confusion, print out all correspondence With all the car rental corporation with whom you've got reserved a motor vehicle and bring this into the rental office Along with the quote supplied at the time of reservation.

The following top ten chart ranks the businesses from maximum priced to cheapest and it incorporates the necessary insurance policies demand. Within the instances of Alamo and Hertz, the determine contains their CDW fee since it is one of their rental needs. This price comparison is predicated on every week's rental of the Daihatsu Bego, where out there (Dollar presents the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - twenty first, then again in December to look at the two Environmentally friendly and Large Season rates. The checklist speedily demonstrates that the price variation relies upon tremendously on the organization -- for fundamentally the identical services. These costs were being received in June/July 2013.

Rental Car Businesses Rated Based on Rate


ten. Alamo $650.ninety six
nine. Hertz $514.27
8. Adobe $449
seven. Price range $455
6. Countrywide $428.01
5. Thrifty $421.05
four. Provider $374.43
three. Vamos $370.thirty
two. Greenback $364
1. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.96
nine. Countrywide $597.51
eight. Hertz $566.52
seven. Budget $555
6. Dollar $532
five. Thrifty $506.58
4. Support $494.forty three
three. Vamos $461.30
2. Adobe $459
1. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks selection 10 for equally seasons, making it the most expensive organization. Funds, Hertz and National also charge very low on the scale for inexpensive rental options.

Enterprise Summaries


Web-site is obvious and easy to use, but pricing and also the automobiles detailed will not be similar to those supplied by an Business office consultant more than the telephone. Required insurance policies expenditures usually are not shown Along with the listing of automobiles and rental rates, but They are really clearly exhibited on the next webpage as a buyer moves towards booking a reservation. Blended buyer opinions on the web. E-mail reaction is fewer than 24 several hours, but may not provide all asked for info.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. No Stay Chat.
ten places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance plan: $19 everyday
Extra costs: GPS $9/working day, little one seat $five/day


Website is evident and convenient to use, but price ranges vary versus quotes obtained about the telephone. Mandatory insurance policy prices aren't presented With all the listing of automobiles and rental prices, but They're Evidently exhibited on the following web site as the customer moves toward earning a reservation. Blended purchaser evaluations on the net. Electronic mail response is fewer than 24 several hours.

No toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada contact number or Are living chat
fourteen offices nationwide
Obligatory coverage: $11.ninety five day-to-day, but have to also take their CDW at $12.95 day by day
Extra costs: GPS $twelve/day, boy or girl seat $six/working day

Spending budget

Web-site is standard, but simple to use. Prices on the internet differ to the quotations supplied by a consultant over the telephone and according to whether the Worldwide or Costa Rican Site is made use of. Required insurance policies fees are given combined with the listing of autos; nonetheless, the other fees are not outlined. Combined consumer evaluations on-line. Email reaction is a lot more than 24 hrs.

No toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Stay Chat on Costa Rican website.
10 offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance policy: included in the listed price
Added prices: GPS $ten.95/working day, boy or girl seat $twelve/working day (the costliest of the top 10)


Website is evident and convenient to use. Prices quoted vary if calling through the U.S. or in Costa Rica. Required insurance coverage charges are usually not provided Together with the list of cars and rental costs, but they are clearly displayed on the next site to be a client moves in direction of a creating a reservation. Mixed opinions on the internet, but typically gets good opinions. E mail inquiries answered in just 24 several hours.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. No Reside Chat.
three places of work nationwide
Required coverage: $sixteen daily
Supplemental expenses: GPS $9/working day, kid seat $5/working day


Web site is obvious and easy to use. Necessary insurance prices usually are not given Aside from the listing of cars and rental rates, but They may be Obviously exhibited Illinois to New York Car Transporters on the next webpage as the customer moves towards a booking a reservation. Blended buyer opinions on-line. E-mail response lower than 24 hours.

Toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada contact number and Live Chat (although it appears to be permanently offline)
seven workplaces nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $seventeen.43 every day, but their CDW can also be a necessity
Extra charges: GPS $12/day, child seat $two/working day


Web page is clear and easy to use. Required insurance policies charges are not specified along with the list of vehicles and rental costs, but They can be clearly exhibited on the next page being a customer moves towards creating a reservation. Blended consumer critiques on the net, but a lot more positive than unfavorable. E mail reaction below 24 several hours.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada telephone number. Reside Chat.
22 workplaces nationwide
Mandatory coverage: $25 daily (the most expensive of the best 10)
Additional costs: GPS $twelve/day, youngster seat $6/working day


Website is obvious and user helpful with simply a slight confusion in that a web based quotation is received by clicking on 'Reserve Now' instead of the 'Get a Quotation' solution. The response to your cell phone inquiry was to use the web site. Required insurance plan expenditures are provided together with the list of cars and rental costs to the minimal period expenses and on the next web site of the opposite quotation webpage. Remember is really a remarkably advised revenue agent who is stated in several on the web testimonials for your superior amount of his customer care. Commonly on-line opinions are positive for Support. Email response is lower than 24 several hours, Despite the fact that all information and facts requested may not be received.

U.S.A telephone number, although not toll-free of charge. No Are living Chat.
five offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $fifteen day by day
More rates: GPS $5.ninety nine/working day, boy or girl seat $two.ninety nine/working day


Costa Rican Variation of the website is not possible to utilize and you also are requested to sign-up for any person identify and password. Mandatory coverage charges aren't offered together with the listing of motor vehicles and rental fees. A client should click on "Defense Alternatives" over the U.S. Web page and choose the necessary insurance policies by clicking on it -- implying that it's optional instead of a expected Expense. Thrifty are inclined to receive combined evaluations on line. E mail reaction is over 24 hrs.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Dwell Chat.
4 places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance policies: $19.ninety nine every day
Extra charges: GPS $10/working day, kid seat $five/working day


Web site is obvious and convenient to use. Obligatory insurance policy costs usually are not presented together facet the listing of vehicles and rental charges, but are Obviously shown on the following web site as The shopper moves towards scheduling a reservation. Anibal, a agent, is commonly described in online testimonials for his substantial standard of customer support expertise. Standard Manager, George Schwarzenbach is known on Journey Advisor for his upfront and truthful responses to consumers' posts.

Recently, Vamos has received pretty good opinions on the internet. E-mail response is a lot less than 24 hrs. Are living Chat has quick reaction time to inquiries.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada telephone number. Are living Chat.
three offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance policies: $11.ninety five everyday
Added costs: GPS $8/working day, little one seat cost-free

Wild Rider

Website is obvious and simple to use. Necessary insurance plan charges are given next to the listing of automobiles. Wild Rider is the one motor vehicle rental agency in Costa Rica without any obvious poor critiques on the web. Proprietor, Thorsten, is frequently praised for his effectiveness and customer service, Regardless of the really limited assets the company has at hand. E-mail obtain quite prompt and in depth responses in lower than 12 several hours.

No toll-free telephone number or Dwell Chat
1 Place of work -- no Liberia airport Business office
Mandatory insurance coverage: incorporated
Further fees: GPS $eight/day, boy or girl seat $5/working day

Comparison Assessment

Customer support

Vamos and Wild Rider react swiftly and proficiently to email or Are living chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Dollar, Hertz, Countrywide, and Service reply to e-mail inquiries in below 24 hrs, but Adobe and Service didn't deliver all the data asked for (quite possibly a language barrier). Spending plan provides a free of charge cellular phone service, but it seems to become constantly active. Hertz's Are living chat seems to become continually offline. Through the past calendar year, prospects who posted to on line review web pages expressed a particular pleasure Using the customer service supplied by Support, Vamos and Wild Rider.


Adobe, Alamo and Finances have various rental rates posted on their Web-sites than Those people quoted more than the mobile phone. Phone price ranges were being decrease than that quoted on the website inside the instances of Adobe and Alamo, but still bigger in the situation of Spending plan. Adobe also offers different auto types around the telephone when compared with their website. International auto rental companies with both of those a Costa Rican and Intercontinental Site show up to have pricing differences among the two sites.

Spending plan and Wild Rider incorporate the necessary insurance policy inside their rental selling prices, but Price range states that 'other expenses' which will be presented for the counter in the compact print on their Web page. Rental costs for vehicle seating had to be confirmed over the phone as they're not outlined over the Price range Web page.

All other firms with the exception of Thrifty (a U.S. Web site), Evidently present the required insurance policy Expense Along with the quotation presented. Thrifty's Costa Rican Internet site is just unusable.


Services, Vamos and Wild Rider persistently give the most beneficial premiums for both Green and Large seasons, Despite the fact that Dollar has one among the lowest Environmentally friendly period fees out there, when Adobe has a less expensive Higher time amount. Vamos provide the best "all inclusive" premiums, given that most solutions are provided for free.

Adobe, Greenback, Service, Thrifty and Wild Rider stay aggressive with their pricing of things for example little one seats. Alamo, Hertz and National are the most costly firms to rent from and their further choice costs can also be dearer.

"So, what is actually your rental suggestion?"

Total, the Costa Rican corporations manage to trump the multi-nationals with much better pricing, provider and clarity.
Services offers a typically higher-level of customer support and reasonably competitive pricing at both of those Worldwide airports.
Vamos can give productive reserving and continued superior-amount of customer service with competitive pricing, along with totally free extra solutions at both equally SJO and LIR airports.
Wild Rider is very highly rated for your rental with crystal clear and cost-effective pricing and fantastic customer care, but They may be only in San Jose.

"Now you're prepared to book your rental car or truck immediately after seeing how the Opposition compares. Excellent luck and joyful travels!"

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