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Renting a Car in Costa Rica

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There are many car rental agencies in Costa Rica and the prices vary from company to company and from season to season. The quality of the cars, service and reputation vary too. Some will offer a lower price but will say the mandatory insurance costs more than what it does so the “total” price for the rental works out to be the same or more than a more reputable company. “Big” brand named rental companies that you see in North America don’t necessarily mean they are good or reputable here in Costa Rica.

Tips for renting a car in Costa Rica:

Decide whether you want an SUV 4×4 or a car. If you plan to travel back roads and Monteverde, it is a good idea to have a 4×4. If you plan to come to Grecia, Arenal, then some big name beaches then a car will probably work for you. Then email the rental agency you find and ask the following questions:

Do they have the type of vehicle you want for the dates you want?

How much is it for the time you specify?

Does it include the mandatory insurance? If not, how much is it?

How much is full coverage?

How much is it per day for a second driver?

How much do they hold on your credit card? It is usually anywhere from $800 to $1500 and Do they charge for the rental on top of that?

How much is the total price including all taxes, insurances and fees?

Before you commit you should ask them to send you an email with all the prices including EVERYTHING. You can compare and always call them back if they are your choice.

Before you come to Costa Rica make sure you print out the email quote and bring it with you “just in case”. I have had many guests come where the price changed when they arrived and after a long flight or late at night, the last thing you want to do is find another rental agency. Don’t assume anything and get everything in writing.

As you may have noticed, I did not mention any companies in this blog and don’t plan to. However I do have a few companies that I do highly recommend. I have sent many guests to them and have never had any problems with service. If you are interested in renting a car in Costa Rica, we can help. Just contact us and we will be glad to lend you a hand.

If you do rent a car DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING VISIBLE INSIDE when you park it. Like most places in the world, if you leave your camera or laptop visible in the car like on the seat or dash or floor, don’t expect it to be there when you return.