Manual to Vehicle Rental Corporations in Costa Rica

"My time's minimal... how do I choose?"

Car or truck rental is really a incredibly hot subject matter for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Recent investigate carried out with the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) suggests that, soon after lodging, leasing a vehicle is the biggest price, averaging $702 for an eleven-working day trip.

The Internet is buzzing with negative reviews talking about overcharging, poor customer support and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even prepared just one by yourself!

A normal midsize (three - four Older people) 4X4 rental runs concerning $fifty eight and $65 every day with 3rd party insurance coverage and costs will vary approximately 20 % amid car or truck rental corporations, so reading A fast evaluate will be time very well expended as you calculate the price savings.

So the dilemma is; which rental enterprise offers the ideal harmony of fair value, capable customer service and responsible autos? I've researched everything for yourself, so Continue reading!

Disclosure: This analysis was executed in Might - July 2013. The next corporations ended up picked as they are definitely the most widely Utilized in Costa Rica. Some are nearby businesses; others are international franchises of identified brand name names. Comparisons involve: customer care, pricing as well as reservation course of action. The companies are mentioned alphabetically and never based upon particular or on the net Choices.
Take into account this info right before renting:

Insurance policies

One of the largest will cause for grievances is within the stack of unexpected expenses offered on the renter the moment standing on the rental company's counter. Vacationers are typically exhausted following a lengthy flight and then are confronted by expenditures that were not predicted, explained or budgeted.

Topping the listing of grievances may be the non-disclosure of fees associated with the obligatory 3rd-get together coverage at time the reservation is created.

According to Costa Rican law, each and every driver is necessary to hold legal responsibility protection to insure from accidents to third parties. Automobile rental providers frequently chorus from disclosing the expense of this coverage during the quoted rental price to seem extra competitive. Obligatory 3rd-bash insurance coverage can at times be approximately double the car's rental Expense. The sole assurance towards insurance confusion is always to inquire In the event your estimate incorporates the 3rd party insurance policy and insist with a created quotation.

Expense of Mandatory Insurance policies (also known as 3rd party or SLI)

Be expecting to pay between $twelve and $15 daily for this insurance policies, dependant upon the make and model in the rented car or truck and the rental car or truck agency. That is a authorized issue within your rental settlement and is usually not protected by credit cards and cannot be waived. It is a reality of renting an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

As being the name suggests, this is not insurance coverage, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for damage to the rental automobile after the deductible is paid out (commonly from $750 to $one,five hundred). Some businesses need renters to purchase their CDW policy; therefore negating any bank card application. For an additional charge, numerous agencies do present you with a zero liability choice where by the renter might be freed from paying for any damage to the car. Some companies may perhaps set force upon renters to purchase the zero legal responsibility coverage; on the other hand, it's fully optional, Unless of course it truly is inside the fantastic print of their rental settlement.

Credit card coverage applications might include the CDW for the rental car or truck. Verify with your selected rental automobile company to seek out which evidence of insurance policy is necessary then ask for that from a charge card corporation previous to arriving. In the event you use your credit card's CDW plan, count on to pay a higher deposit within the automobile; all over $1,five hundred to $2000 is popular. The upper deposit makes sure that the credit card holder has plenty of fiscal reserves to protect damages if essential. It can be crucial to take into consideration that if making use of CDW coverage furnished by a credit card (in lieu of your rent a car or truck operator), all damages will be billed into the renter's credit card. The bank card organization will then reimburse the cardboard holder for damages.

More Insurance

Tires and windshields are hardly ever A part of insurance coverage guidelines, Though additional guidelines may be taken out for covering these usually destroyed products. Neither the interior nor the beneath from the motor vehicle may be coated. Generally read the fantastic print.

Conventional Course of action

Your bank card are going to be billed, or even a 'maintain' put, for the rental auto through the time of your rental settlement; i.e. from picking up the rental until you come it. Debit cards are normally not acceptable.

Supplemental Fees

Most corporations have surcharges For added motorists, vehicle seats/boosters, cell phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The prices vary from firm to enterprise, but considering that these extras are billed in a every day level, it really is worthy of examining the whole Price tag -- added options can include up in a short time! A GPS is all-around $eight to $10 daily; on the other hand, some operators could give discounted models. Be expecting to pay close to $5 daily for a child seat and some pounds each day for all another 'niceties'. Vamos is noteworthy for offering Many of these choices and, for the duration of some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Funds, Hertz and National demand essentially the most for these more choices; Whilst the other providers listed, charge extra reasonable prices.


Most businesses increase smaller incremental prices, including license plate and environmental costs, into the total tally. Be cautious of operators who insert these added expenses in the little print of your rental agreement. Vehicles rented direct within the airport incur airport taxes, which can be a whopping 12% of the rental cost!

The rental car needs to be returned With all the very same level of fuel, Until usually indicated. If not, firms may demand over gasoline station rates for lacking gasoline.


There is a debate around the autos provided by rental organizations: More mature automobiles let the driving force to Mix in greater than a shiny, new car or truck. Owning an older product could provide the oblique benefit of becoming less scrutinized by motor vehicle rental companies for modern nicks and scratches, not like a more recent car or truck. Having said that, a more recent car or truck could possibly be a lot more roadworthy. This debate carries on into the different auto will make and styles. Frequently, Costa Rican corporations are able to rent their automobiles for just a lessen rate because their autos are generally three to five years old (compared to two to three). On line opinions would suggest which the regional corporations haven't any additional issues regarding car top quality than transnational franchises; analysis on discussion boards, for instance, would seem to indicate that shoppers routinely take pleasure in driving a fewer-than-new motor vehicle through the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are a lot, from street circumstances towards the notion of a lot less-then-new motor vehicles blending in greater -- a more moderen car may perhaps draw extra unwelcome focus.

The possibilities of rental cars in Costa Rica are primarily limited to makes and styles that manage a competitive resale benefit, are a common model inside the nation, and are affordable to maintain. As such a lease-a-car operator's fleet tend never to be as numerous as America. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai constitute the mainstay manufacturers of most rental fleets.

Often, drivers are billed for intended 'damages' into the vehicle on return. At the time getting the automobile, renters really should meticulously check for pre-existing flaws and Examine it With all the car inspection document utilized by the rental automobile agent. Some renters recommend photographing or videoing the auto from all angles, to stop any disagreement among pre-existing and a short while ago weakened goods.


Car or truck rentals in Costa Rica are pricier when compared to other nations around the world. Duties on autos are significant (as much as 50% of their worth!), components are costlier and unforgiving highway situations contribute to better dress in and tear, making bigger routine maintenance expenditures.

The rule is you have Anything you purchase -- you can find other available choices than All those rental providers outlined in this article, but they're not mentioned for an excellent purpose. They simply are unsuccessful to supply standard customer service and/or a suitable auto situation needed for a (almost) trouble-absolutely free vacation.

When comparing rental vehicle prices, it's best to go straight to the Costa Rican Web site from the rental car company, as an alternative to wanting to use their Worldwide structure or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For the same automobiles and reservation dates, the fees made available from the respective international vs. Costa Rican Internet sites for Alamo, Price range, Hertz and Thrifty differed substantially.

To prevent confusion, print out all correspondence Along with the car rental company with whom you've got reserved a car and convey this towards the rental office With all the quotation provided at time of reservation.

The next major ten chart ranks the companies from greatest priced to lowest and it features the necessary insurance coverage charge. During the instances of Alamo and Hertz, the determine includes their CDW charge since it is among their rental prerequisites. This cost comparison is based on every week's rental of the Daihatsu Bego, where by offered (Dollar features the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - 21st, however in December to see equally Inexperienced and Higher Time rates. The list immediately demonstrates that the price variation relies upon greatly on the corporate -- for mainly the exact same provider. These price ranges ended up received in June/July 2013.

Rental Vehicle Businesses Rated As outlined by Price Illinois to New York Can Shipping tag


ten. Alamo $650.96
9. Hertz $514.27
8. Adobe $449
seven. Price range $455
6. National $428.01
five. Thrifty $421.05
4. Company $374.43
3. Vamos $370.30
two. Greenback $364
1. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.96
nine. Nationwide $597.fifty one
8. Hertz $566.52
seven. Finances $555
6. Greenback $532
5. Thrifty $506.fifty eight
4. Company $494.forty three
three. Vamos $461.thirty
2. Adobe $459
one. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks number ten for the two seasons, which makes it the most costly enterprise. Spending budget, Hertz and Nationwide also fee lower on the dimensions for cost-effective rental options.

Company Summaries


Web site is clear and easy to use, but pricing as well as the cars listed usually are not similar to These presented by an Place of work agent around the cellphone. Required insurance policy charges are usually not proven With all the listing of cars and rental costs, but they are Plainly displayed on the next website page as being a buyer moves in direction of reserving a reservation. Combined buyer assessments on-line. Email reaction is below 24 several hours, but might not supply all asked for facts.

Toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Live Chat.
ten places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance policies: $19 each day
Added prices: GPS $9/working day, kid seat $5/day


Web site is clear and simple to use, but charges vary in opposition to prices received around the mobile phone. Required insurance policies prices are usually not specified Along with the listing of motor vehicles and rental fees, but They are really Evidently shown on the following web site as the customer moves toward building a reservation. Mixed client reviews on the internet. Email reaction is under 24 several hours.

No toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada contact number or Dwell chat
14 places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance: $11.ninety five each day, but should also choose their CDW at $twelve.ninety five daily
Extra prices: GPS $twelve/day, youngster seat $6/working day


Internet site is essential, but easy to use. Rates on-line differ to your quotations provided by a agent around the telephone and according to whether or not the Intercontinental or Costa Rican website is utilised. Required coverage expenses are supplied together with the listing of automobiles; however, the opposite costs usually are not stated. Combined consumer evaluations on the net. E mail reaction is over 24 hours.

No toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Reside Chat on Costa Rican website.
ten places of work nationwide
Necessary insurance plan: included in the outlined selling price
Added costs: GPS $ten.95/working day, boy or girl seat $twelve/working day (the costliest of the best ten)


Internet site is evident and convenient to use. Charges quoted differ if contacting from your U.S. or in Costa Rica. Obligatory insurance plan prices are certainly not supplied Using the list of automobiles and rental expenses, but They may be Evidently exhibited on the subsequent site like a customer moves toward a building a reservation. Combined evaluations on-line, but usually gets good feedback. Email inquiries answered inside of 24 several hours.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Are living Chat.
three places of work nationwide
Required insurance: $16 day by day
Additional costs: GPS $9/working day, little one seat $5/day


Internet site is evident and simple to use. Required insurance charges are usually not specified Moreover the listing of automobiles and rental expenses, but They can be Plainly displayed on the subsequent page as The shopper moves towards a booking a reservation. Blended purchaser critiques on line. E mail reaction under 24 hrs.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada telephone number and Are living Chat (although it appears to be permanently offline)
7 places of work nationwide
Required insurance plan: $seventeen.43 day by day, but their CDW is also a requirement
Additional rates: GPS $12/working day, baby seat $2/working day


Web site is obvious and easy to use. Mandatory insurance policies prices are usually not presented together with the listing of automobiles and rental fees, but they are clearly exhibited on the following website page being a customer moves toward building a reservation. Blended client evaluations on line, but far more positive than unfavorable. E mail response under 24 several hours.

Toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada phone number. Live Chat.
22 workplaces nationwide
Necessary insurance: $twenty five everyday (the most costly of the top 10)
Supplemental charges: GPS $12/working day, kid seat $6/day


Website is obvious and person friendly with simply a slight confusion in that a web-based quote is received by clicking on 'Reserve Now' and not the 'Get a Estimate' alternative. The response to some mobile phone inquiry was to implement the web site. Required insurance policy fees are specified together with the listing of cars and rental prices for your low time expenses and on the 2nd webpage of the opposite quotation website page. Keep in mind is actually a really suggested sales consultant that is described in many online opinions with the large standard of his customer support. Typically on-line evaluations are constructive for Service. E mail reaction is fewer than 24 several hours, While all facts asked for is probably not acquired.

U.S.A phone number, but not toll-free of charge. No Dwell Chat.
5 offices nationwide
Required insurance plan: $15 each day
Extra charges: GPS $5.99/day, little one seat $2.99/day


Costa Rican Model of the website is unattainable to make use of and you simply are questioned to register for just a consumer title and password. Mandatory insurance policies charges are usually not given along with the listing of vehicles and rental fees. A consumer has to click "Security Solutions" over the U.S. Site and choose the obligatory coverage by clicking on it -- implying that it is optional instead of a needed cost. Thrifty are inclined to receive mixed assessments on line. Electronic mail reaction is greater than 24 hrs.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada telephone number. No Stay Chat.
4 workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance policies: $19.99 day-to-day
Added prices: GPS $ten/day, little one seat $5/day


Internet site is clear and simple to operate. Obligatory insurance coverage costs usually are not presented together facet the list of autos and rental rates, but are Obviously exhibited on the next page as the customer moves to reserving a reservation. Anibal, a consultant, is often mentioned in on the web critiques for his large volume of customer service abilities. Standard Supervisor, George Schwarzenbach is thought on Journey Advisor for his upfront and genuine responses to prospects' posts.

In recent years, Vamos has obtained incredibly favourable testimonials on-line. Email reaction is under 24 several hours. Are living Chat has instantaneous reaction time for you to inquiries.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada contact number. Stay Chat.
three offices nationwide
Necessary insurance: $eleven.95 daily
Added charges: GPS $8/working day, child seat totally free

Wild Rider

Site is clear and simple to operate. Mandatory insurance fees are specified beside the listing of motor vehicles. Wild Rider is the only real auto rental organization in Costa Rica without any noticeable undesirable assessments online. Operator, Thorsten, is often praised for his efficiency and customer care, despite the pretty restricted assets the business has at hand. Email messages acquire very prompt and specific responses in under twelve hours.

No toll-cost-free cell phone number or Dwell Chat
1 Business office -- no Liberia airport Place of work
Necessary insurance policy: included
Supplemental charges: GPS $8/working day, youngster seat $five/working day

Comparison Review

Customer Service

Vamos and Wild Rider react speedily and effectively to e-mail or Dwell chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Greenback, Hertz, National, and Service reply to email inquiries in a lot less than 24 several hours, but Adobe and repair did not deliver all the data requested (probably a language barrier). Spending plan provides a free cell phone assistance, nevertheless it appears to be normally occupied. Hertz's live chat appears to become continually offline. Over the earlier year, consumers who posted to on the web assessment web-sites expressed a certain gratification Along with the customer service supplied by Services, Vamos and Wild Rider.


Adobe, Alamo and Price range have unique rental rates posted on their own websites than those quoted more than the cellphone. Phone price ranges were being lower than that quoted on the web site inside the scenarios of Adobe and Alamo, but nonetheless bigger in the situation of Spending budget. Adobe also provides distinct car versions in excess of the cellular phone compared to their Web-site. Worldwide motor vehicle rental corporations with each a Costa Rican and Global Web site look to own pricing dissimilarities concerning the two websites.

Price range and Wild Rider incorporate the mandatory insurance policy of their rental charges, but Spending plan states that 'other expenses' that can be introduced for the counter inside the small print on their Web-site. Rental prices for auto seating had to be confirmed over the cell phone as they don't seem to be listed within the Price range Web-site.

All other providers aside from Thrifty (a U.S. Web site), Plainly present the obligatory coverage Price tag Together with the quotation offered. Thrifty's Costa Rican Web site is simply unusable.


Support, Vamos and Wild Rider continuously offer the ideal costs for each Inexperienced and Higher seasons, Despite the fact that Greenback has certainly one of the bottom Inexperienced year fees readily available, whilst Adobe has a cheaper High season fee. Vamos supply the most effective "all inclusive" prices, provided that most possibilities are made available totally free.

Adobe, Dollar, Provider, Thrifty and Wild Rider keep on being competitive with their pricing of items like kid seats. Alamo, Hertz and Countrywide are the most expensive corporations to rent from as well as their added solution expenses also are dearer.

"So, what is actually your rental suggestion?"

Overall, the Costa Rican firms appear to trump the multi-nationals with much better pricing, service and clarity.
Services provides a frequently superior-volume of customer care and rather competitive pricing at both equally international airports.
Vamos can present economical reserving and continued large-degree of customer support with aggressive pricing, and no cost extra selections at both equally SJO and LIR airports.
Wild Rider is rather very rated for just a rental with apparent and inexpensive pricing and excellent customer support, but These are only in San Jose.

"Now you might be wanting to book your rental auto after seeing how the Competitors compares. Great luck and delighted travels!"

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