Information to Automobile Rental Firms in Costa Rica

“My time’s restricted… how do I select?”

Automobile rental is a sizzling subject for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Current analysis carried out by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) signifies that, after lodging, renting a automotive is the biggest expense, averaging $702 for an eleven-day trip.

The Web is buzzing with detrimental critiques discussing overcharging, poor customer support and mechanical breakdowns. You might need even written one your self!

A typical midsize (three – four adults) 4X4 rental runs between $58 and $65 every day with third celebration insurance coverage and charges can range as a lot as 20 p.c amongst automotive rental corporations, so studying a fast evaluate can be time effectively spent when you calculate the financial savings.

So the query is; which rental firm presents the perfect stability of honest value, succesful customer support and dependable autos? I’ve researched all of it for you, so hold studying!

Disclosure: This analysis was carried out in Could – July 2013. The next corporations had been chosen as a result of they’re essentially the most broadly utilized in Costa Rica. Some are native corporations; others are worldwide franchises of acknowledged model names. Comparisons embody: customer support, pricing and the reservation course of. The businesses are listed alphabetically and never based mostly on private or on-line preferences.
Contemplate this info earlier than renting:

Insurance coverage

One of many greatest causes for complaints is from the stack of unexpected costs offered to the renter as soon as standing on the rental firm’s counter. Vacationers are sometimes drained after a protracted flight after which are confronted by prices that weren’t anticipated, defined or budgeted.

Topping the checklist of grievances is the non-disclosure of charges related to the obligatory third-party insurance coverage on the time the reservation is made.

In accordance with Costa Rican regulation, each driver is required to hold legal responsibility protection to insure in opposition to accidents to 3rd events. Automobile rental corporations typically chorus from disclosing the price of this coverage within the quoted rental charge to seem extra aggressive. Necessary third-party insurance coverage can generally be as a lot as double the car’s rental price. The one assure in opposition to insurance coverage confusionĀ exotic car rentals in Los Angeles is to inquire in case your estimate consists of the third celebration insurance coverage and demand on a written citation.

Price of Necessary Insurance coverage (additionally referred to as Third Celebration or SLI)

Count on to pay between $12 and $15 every day for this insurance coverage, relying on the make and mannequin of the rented car and the rental automotive company. It is a authorized situation of your rental settlement and is mostly not lined by bank cards and can’t be waived. It is a reality of renting a automotive in Costa Rica.

Collision Injury Waiver (CDW)

Because the identify suggests, this is not insurance coverage, however a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental automotive after the deductible is paid (normally from $750 to $1,500). Some companies require renters to buy their CDW coverage; thereby negating any bank card program. For a further payment, many companies do supply a zero legal responsibility possibility the place the renter can be free of paying for any harm to the automotive. Some corporations might put strain upon renters to buy the zero legal responsibility protection; nonetheless, it’s completely non-obligatory, except it’s within the tremendous print of their rental settlement.

Bank card insurance coverage packages might cowl the CDW for a rental car. Verify together with your chosen rental automotive firm to search out which proof of insurance coverage is required after which request that out of your bank card firm previous to arriving. Should you use your bank card’s CDW coverage, count on to pay the next deposit on the car; round $1,500 to $2000 is widespread. The upper deposit ensures that the bank card holder has sufficient monetary reserves to cowl damages if wanted. It is very important contemplate that if utilizing CDW protection offered by a bank card (in lieu of the hire a automotive operator), all damages can be billed to the renter’s bank card. The bank card firm will then reimburse the cardboard holder for damages.

Extra Insurance coverage

Tires and windshields are hardly ever included in insurance coverage insurance policies, though extra insurance policies could also be taken out for masking these continuously broken objects. Neither the inside nor the beneath of the car could also be lined. At all times learn the tremendous print.

Customary Process

Your bank card can be charged, or a ‘maintain’ positioned, for the rental car through the time of the rental settlement; i.e. from selecting up the rental till you come back it. Debit playing cards are typically not acceptable.

Extra Costs

Most corporations have surcharges for added drivers, automotive seats/boosters, cell telephones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The prices range from firm to firm, however since these extras are billed at a every day charge, it’s price checking the entire price — extra choices can add up in a short time! A GPS is round $eight to $10 per day; nonetheless, some operators might supply discounted items. Count on to pay round $5 every day for a kid seat and some a day for all the opposite ‘niceties’. Vamos is notable for providing most of those choices and, throughout some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Price range, Hertz and Nationwide cost essentially the most for such extra choices; whereas the opposite corporations listed, cost extra affordable costs.


Most corporations add small incremental prices, similar to license plate and environmental charges, into the entire tally. Be cautious of operators who insert these extra costs into the small print of the rental contract. Automobiles rented direct on the airport incur airport taxes, that are a whopping 12% of your rental price!

The rental car needs to be returned with the identical quantity of gas, except in any other case indicated. If not, corporations might cost above gasoline station charges for lacking gas.


There’s a debate over the autos provided by rental corporations: Older automobiles permit the motive force to mix in additional than a shiny, new automotive. Having an older mannequin might have the oblique good thing about being much less scrutinized by automotive rental companies for current nicks and scratches, not like a more moderen car. Nevertheless, a more moderen car could also be extra roadworthy. This debate carries on into the totally different car makes and fashions. Typically, Costa Rican companies are capable of hire their autos for a decrease charge as a result of their automobiles are sometimes three to 5 years outdated (versus two to a few). On-line critiques would counsel that the native companies haven’t any extra complaints regarding car high quality than transnational franchises; analysis on boards, similar to, appears to point that clients continuously admire driving a less-than-new car by way of the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are a lot, from highway situations to the notion of less-then-new autos mixing in higher — a more moderen car might draw extra undesirable consideration.

The alternatives of rental automobiles in Costa Rica are largely restricted to makes and fashions that keep a aggressive resale worth, are a standard model within the nation, and are cheap to take care of. As such a rent-a-car operator’s fleet have a tendency to not be as various as the US. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai represent the mainstay manufacturers of most rental fleets.

Generally, drivers are charged for supposed ‘damages’ to the car upon return. As soon as receiving the car, renters ought to meticulously test for pre-existing flaws and examine it with the car inspection doc utilized by the rental automotive consultant. Some renters counsel photographing or videoing the car from all angles, to keep away from any disagreement between pre-existing and lately broken objects.


Automobile leases in Costa Rica are pricier in comparison with different nations. Duties on autos are excessive (as a lot as 50% of their worth!), elements are costlier and unforgiving highway situations contribute to greater put on and tear, producing greater upkeep prices.

The rule is you get what you pay for — there are different choices than these rental corporations listed right here, however they aren’t listed for cause. They merely fail to supply fundamental customer support and/or an appropriate car situation required for a (practically) trouble-free trip.

When evaluating rental automotive costs, it’s best to go on to the Costa Rican web site of the rental automotive firm, reasonably than making an attempt to make use of their worldwide format or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For a similar autos and reservation dates, the charges provided by the respective worldwide vs. Costa Rican web sites for Alamo, Price range, Hertz and Thrifty differed considerably.

To keep away from confusion, print out all correspondence with the automotive rental firm with whom you may have reserved a car and produce this to the rental workplace with the quote given on the time of reservation.

The next high ten chart ranks the businesses from highest priced to lowest and it consists of the obligatory insurance coverage cost. Within the circumstances of Alamo and Hertz, the determine accommodates their CDW payment as it’s certainly one of their rental necessities. This value comparability is predicated on every week’s rental of a Daihatsu Bego, the place obtainable (Greenback presents the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th – 21st, then once more in December to view each Inexperienced and Excessive Season charges. The checklist rapidly demonstrates that the worth variation relies upon drastically on the corporate — for mainly the identical service. These costs had been obtained in June/July 2013.

Rental Automobile Firms Ranked In accordance with Worth


10. Alamo $650.96
9. Hertz $514.27
eight. Adobe $449
7. Price range $455
6. Nationwide $428.01
5. Thrifty $421.05
four. Service $374.43
three. Vamos $370.30
2. Greenback $364
1. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.96
9. Nationwide $597.51
eight. Hertz $566.52
7. Price range $555
6. Greenback $532
5. Thrifty $506.58
four. Service $494.43
three. Vamos $461.30
2. Adobe $459
1. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks quantity ten for each seasons, making it the costliest firm. Price range, Hertz and Nationwide additionally charge low on the size for economical rental choices.

Firm Summaries


Web site is obvious and straightforward to make use of, however pricing and even the autos listed should not the identical as these given by an workplace consultant over the cellphone. Necessary insurance coverage prices should not proven with the checklist of autos and rental costs, however they’re clearly displayed on the next web page as a buyer strikes in direction of reserving a reservation. Blended buyer critiques on-line. E-mail response is lower than 24 hours, however might not present all requested info.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada cellphone quantity. No Stay Chat.
10 workplaces nationwide
Necessary insurance coverage: $19 every day
Extra costs: GPS $9/day, baby seat $5/day


Web site is obvious and straightforward to make use of, however costs differ in opposition to quotes obtained over the cellphone. Necessary insurance coverage prices should not given with the checklist of autos and rental costs, however they’re clearly displayed on the next web page because the buyer strikes in direction of making a reservation. Blended buyer critiques on-line. E-mail response is lower than 24 hours.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada cellphone quantity or Stay chat
14 workplaces nationwide
Necessary insurance coverage: $11.95 every day, however should additionally take their CDW at $12.95 every day
Extra costs: GPS $12/day, baby seat $6/day

Price range

Web site is fundamental, however simple to make use of. Costs on-line differ to the quotations given by a consultant over the cellphone and relying on whether or not the worldwide or Costa Rican web site is used. Necessary insurance coverage prices are given together with the checklist of autos; nonetheless, the opposite costs should not listed. Blended buyer critiques on-line. E-mail response is greater than 24 hours.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada cellphone quantity. No Stay Chat on Costa Rican web site.
10 workplaces nationwide
Necessary insurance coverage: included within the listed value
Extra costs: GPS $10.95/day, baby seat $12/day (the costliest of the highest ten)

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