Tutorial to Vehicle Rental Corporations in Costa Rica

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

Vehicle rental is a sizzling subject for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Current investigation carried out through the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) indicates that, following accommodations, renting an auto is the biggest price, averaging $702 for an eleven-day getaway.

The online world is buzzing with negative critiques speaking about overcharging, lousy customer care and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even created a person on your own!

A standard midsize (3 - four adults) 4X4 rental runs concerning $58 and $65 daily with 3rd party insurance plan and rates will vary about 20 % between vehicle rental providers, so looking through A fast evaluation will likely be time very well invested after you determine the personal savings.

And so the query is; which rental company offers the ideal stability of truthful value, able customer support and responsible motor vehicles? I've researched everything in your case, so Continue reading!

Disclosure: This exploration was done in May perhaps - July 2013. The following businesses were picked simply because they would be the most generally used in Costa Rica. Some are area corporations; Other people are Global franchises of identified model names. Comparisons contain: customer service, pricing along with the reservation method. The businesses are detailed alphabetically and not based on own or online Tastes.
Take into account this info just before renting:

Insurance plan

One of the biggest brings about for grievances is within the stack of unforeseen rates introduced to your renter at the time standing within the rental firm's counter. Vacationers are typically drained after a prolonged flight then are confronted by charges which were not anticipated, defined or budgeted.

Topping the list of grievances could be the non-disclosure of fees connected to the required 3rd-social gathering insurance plan at the time the reservation is produced.

In line with Costa Rican legislation, every single driver is necessary to hold legal responsibility coverage to insure against accidents to third functions. Automobile rental organizations commonly refrain from disclosing the cost of this plan while in the quoted rental level to look more competitive. Necessary third-get together insurance policies can often be just as much as double the motor vehicle's rental Expense. The sole promise against insurance policies confusion is always to inquire In case your estimate includes the third party coverage and demand with a written quotation.

Cost of Required Insurance plan (also known as 3rd party or SLI)

Assume to pay for amongst $twelve and $fifteen every day for this insurance plan, based on the make and model on the rented vehicle along with the rental car or truck agency. It is a lawful situation of your rental agreement and is normally not protected by credit cards and can't be waived. It is a fact of leasing a car or truck in Costa Rica.

Collision Destruction Waiver (CDW)

Because the name implies, this is not insurance policies, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental car once the deductible is paid out (usually from $750 to $1,five hundred). Some organizations demand renters to buy their CDW coverage; thereby negating any bank card application. For an additional fee, many agencies do present you with a zero liability solution in which the renter will likely be freed from purchasing any damage to the vehicle. Some providers might place force upon renters to purchase the zero liability coverage; nonetheless, it can be solely optional, unless it truly is during the wonderful print in their rental agreement.

Bank card insurance policy courses may possibly go over the CDW to get a rental vehicle. Check along with your picked out rental auto business to uncover which proof of insurance plan is necessary and then request that from a charge card enterprise previous to arriving. In the event you make use of your credit card's CDW coverage, expect to pay for the next deposit around the car; all-around $1,500 to $2000 is frequent. The higher deposit makes certain that the charge card holder has adequate monetary reserves to deal with damages if required. It is vital to take into account that if using CDW protection furnished by a bank card (in lieu of the rent a vehicle operator), all damages are going to be billed to your renter's bank card. The charge card enterprise will then reimburse the card holder for damages.

Extra Insurance coverage

Tires and windshields are almost never A part of insurance coverage policies, Despite the fact that further procedures can be taken out for covering these frequently harmed goods. Neither the interior nor the beneath in the motor vehicle might be coated. Generally study the good print.

Conventional Treatment

Your bank card are going to be charged, or maybe a 'maintain' placed, for your rental vehicle in the time of your rental arrangement; i.e. from finding up the rental right up until you come back it. Debit playing cards are frequently not suitable.

Extra Fees

Most businesses have surcharges for additional motorists, car or truck seats/boosters, mobile phones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The costs differ from enterprise to company, but because these extras are billed in a day-to-day rate, it really is well worth examining the entire Charge -- supplemental possibilities can insert up very quickly! A GPS is around $8 to $ten on a daily basis; having said that, some operators might offer you discounted models. Hope to pay all-around $5 daily for a kid seat and a few bucks a day for all the other 'niceties'. Vamos is notable for featuring The majority of these choices and, throughout some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Price range, Hertz and Nationwide cost quite possibly the most for such supplemental selections; whereas one other providers shown, demand more sensible charges.


Most organizations insert compact incremental expenses, for example license plate and environmental fees, into the full tally. Be wary of operators who insert these additional rates into the small print of the rental agreement. Autos rented direct in the airport incur airport taxes, which can be a whopping twelve% within your rental cost!

The rental automobile should be returned Along with the similar level of gasoline, Except normally indicated. If not, companies may perhaps cost higher than fuel station fees for missing fuel.


There's a discussion about the automobiles provided by rental firms: Older cars and trucks let the driver to blend in over a shiny, new car. Acquiring an older model may well contain the indirect benefit of remaining considerably less scrutinized by auto rental organizations for the latest nicks and scratches, compared with a newer car. However, a newer car may very well be a lot more roadworthy. This debate carries on into the various motor vehicle will make and versions. Commonly, Costa Rican firms are able to lease their vehicles for any decreased rate for the reason that their cars and trucks are typically three to five years outdated (as opposed to two to three). On the internet reviews would suggest that the area firms have no far more issues about automobile high quality than transnational franchises; investigate on discussion boards, for instance TripAdvisor.com, seems to indicate that prospects frequently appreciate driving a significantly less-than-new auto with the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are loads, from highway circumstances to your Idea of a lot less-then-new automobiles blending in better -- a newer automobile could attract additional unwanted attention.

The decisions of rental automobiles in Costa Rica are generally restricted to helps make and styles that retain a competitive resale benefit, are a typical model during the nation, and therefore are cheap to take care of. Therefore a rent-a-vehicle operator's fleet are likely to not be as assorted as America. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai constitute the mainstay makes of most rental fleets.

Occasionally, drivers are charged for meant 'damages' for the car upon return. The moment acquiring the automobile, renters should really meticulously check for pre-existing flaws and Examine it Together with the auto inspection document utilized by the rental auto representative. Some renters propose photographing or videoing the auto from all angles, to avoid any disagreement between pre-present and lately destroyed merchandise.


Car rentals in Costa Rica are pricier in comparison with other nations. Responsibilities on cars are significant (as much as fifty% in their value!), sections are costlier and unforgiving highway circumstances lead to bigger wear and tear, producing bigger upkeep expenses.

The rule is you obtain Whatever you purchase -- you can find other available choices than those rental corporations mentioned below, but they're not detailed for a great explanation. They basically fall short to offer essential customer care and/or a suitable vehicle ailment necessary for any (virtually) difficulty-totally free holiday vacation.

When comparing rental car or truck costs, it is best to go on to the Costa Rican Internet site in the rental car organization, rather then looking to use their Intercontinental format or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For a similar automobiles and reservation dates, the rates offered by the Illinois to New York Car Transporters respective Global vs. Costa Rican Web-sites for Alamo, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty differed substantially.

To avoid confusion, print out all correspondence Together with the car or truck rental company with whom you've got reserved a vehicle and bring this to your rental office While using the quotation offered at some time of reservation.

The following top rated 10 chart ranks the companies from highest priced to least expensive and it consists of the obligatory insurance policies charge. While in the conditions of Alamo and Hertz, the figure includes their CDW price as it is among their rental specifications. This value comparison is predicated on each week's rental of the Daihatsu Bego, in which offered (Greenback provides the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - 21st, nonetheless in December to look at both equally Environmentally friendly and Significant Year prices. The listing immediately demonstrates that the cost variation depends significantly on the organization -- for generally a similar provider. These costs were being attained in June/July 2013.

Rental Car or truck Businesses Rated Based on Value


ten. Alamo $650.ninety six
9. Hertz $514.27
eight. Adobe $449
7. Funds $455
6. National $428.01
five. Thrifty $421.05
4. Services $374.forty three
3. Vamos $370.30
two. Greenback $364
one. Wild Rider $350


10. Alamo $650.96
9. Nationwide $597.51
eight. Hertz $566.52
seven. Spending budget $555
six. Dollar $532
5. Thrifty $506.58
four. Support $494.43
three. Vamos $461.thirty
2. Adobe $459
1. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks selection 10 for both equally seasons, which makes it the most costly enterprise. Price range, Hertz and Nationwide also fee minimal on the size for economical rental possibilities.

Organization Summaries


Web-site is evident and convenient to use, but pricing and in many cases the cars listed aren't similar to Individuals given by an Business representative in excess of the phone. Obligatory insurance policy costs aren't proven Along with the list of autos and rental charges, but They're clearly exhibited on the following page being a shopper moves towards reserving a reservation. Combined client reviews on line. Electronic mail reaction is fewer than 24 hrs, but may not present all requested details.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada telephone number. No Reside Chat.
10 offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $19 each day
Added charges: GPS $nine/day, boy or girl seat $5/day


Site is evident and simple to use, but rates differ versus estimates been given in excess of the mobile phone. Necessary insurance policy expenditures usually are not presented While using the listing of cars and rental rates, but They are really Plainly displayed on the following webpage as the customer moves to building a reservation. Mixed customer evaluations on line. E-mail response is lower than 24 hours.

No toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada phone number or Reside chat
14 offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance: $eleven.95 day by day, but must also just take their CDW at $12.95 day-to-day
Added prices: GPS $12/working day, child seat $6/day

Price range

Site is essential, but convenient to use. Price ranges on the net vary for the quotations specified by a consultant over the cellular phone and according to if the Global or Costa Rican website is utilized. Required coverage prices are provided together with the listing of autos; even so, the other prices are not listed. Blended consumer testimonials on the internet. Electronic mail reaction is more than 24 several hours.

No toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Live Chat on Costa Rican Web site.
10 workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance plan: included in the listed rate
More charges: GPS $ten.ninety five/day, boy or girl seat $twelve/day (the most costly of the top 10)


Web page is obvious and easy to use. Costs quoted differ if contacting from your U.S. or in Costa Rica. Obligatory insurance fees are not given Using the list of autos and rental charges, but They can be clearly exhibited on the subsequent page for a purchaser moves toward a creating a reservation. Combined assessments on the internet, but normally gets optimistic feed-back. Email inquiries answered in just 24 hrs.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Reside Chat.
3 workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance coverage: $sixteen each day
Supplemental expenses: GPS $nine/working day, child seat $5/working day


Web-site is clear and simple to use. Necessary insurance policies expenditures usually are not provided Moreover the list of automobiles and rental expenses, but They are really Obviously exhibited on the following website page as The shopper moves towards a scheduling a reservation. Mixed buyer evaluations on line. Electronic mail response fewer than 24 several hours.

Toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada contact number and Dwell Chat (even though it is apparently permanently offline)
7 offices nationwide
Required insurance coverage: $seventeen.forty three every day, but their CDW can be a prerequisite
Supplemental costs: GPS $twelve/day, kid seat $2/working day


Website is clear and easy to use. Necessary insurance plan charges are not supplied along with the list of automobiles and rental rates, but They're Evidently displayed on the next web site as being a consumer moves towards generating a reservation. Combined consumer testimonials on the web, but far more positive than detrimental. Email reaction lower than 24 hours.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada contact number. Live Chat.
22 workplaces nationwide
Necessary coverage: $twenty five daily (the most expensive of the very best ten)
More costs: GPS $twelve/working day, little one seat $6/day


Internet site is clear and person helpful with just a slight confusion in that an internet based quote is obtained by clicking on 'Reserve Now' rather than the 'Get yourself a Quotation' alternative. The reaction to some mobile phone inquiry was to work with the website. Mandatory insurance coverage expenditures are offered along with the listing of cars and rental charges for the very low time costs and on the second page of one other quotation web site. Keep in mind is usually a highly advisable revenue agent that is stated in several on the web assessments for that superior volume of his customer service. Typically online assessments are optimistic for Assistance. Electronic mail reaction is below 24 hours, although all facts requested will not be been given.

U.S.A phone number, although not toll-cost-free. No Reside Chat.
5 workplaces nationwide
Required insurance plan: $15 each day
Added prices: GPS $five.ninety nine/day, kid seat $2.99/day


Costa Rican Variation of the web site is extremely hard to employ and also you are asked to sign up for any consumer name and password. Mandatory insurance plan fees are certainly not given together with the list of cars and rental costs. A shopper should click on "Protection Possibilities" to the U.S. Web page and choose the obligatory insurance coverage by clicking on it -- implying that it's optional instead of a expected Expense. Thrifty usually get combined reviews on-line. Email response is a lot more than 24 hours.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada cell phone number. No Dwell Chat.
four places of work nationwide
Obligatory insurance policies: $19.ninety nine each day
Additional rates: GPS $10/working day, little one seat $5/day


Internet site is evident and convenient to use. Mandatory insurance policies fees are usually not provided alongside facet the listing of motor vehicles and rental expenses, but are Obviously exhibited on the subsequent site as the customer moves toward booking a reservation. Anibal, a representative, is routinely outlined in on the net testimonials for his significant amount of customer support capabilities. Basic Manager, George Schwarzenbach is thought on Vacation Advisor for his upfront and truthful responses to consumers' posts.

Recently, Vamos has received incredibly favourable critiques on the net. Electronic mail reaction is under 24 hours. Reside Chat has instant response time for you to inquiries.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada telephone number. Dwell Chat.
three workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance policies: $11.ninety five day by day
Added fees: GPS $8/day, little one seat absolutely free

Wild Rider

Website is evident and simple to operate. Mandatory insurance coverage prices are given next to the list of vehicles. Wild Rider is the sole automobile rental business in Costa Rica with no seen bad evaluations on-line. Owner, Thorsten, is commonly praised for his effectiveness and customer care, Regardless of the quite limited sources the company has at hand. Emails receive quite prompt and in-depth responses in lower than 12 hrs.

No toll-absolutely free phone number or Stay Chat
1 office -- no Liberia airport office
Necessary coverage: involved
Additional costs: GPS $eight/working day, little one seat $5/day

Comparison Overview

Customer Service

Vamos and Wild Rider react promptly and successfully to e mail or Stay chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Greenback, Hertz, National, and Service reply to electronic mail inquiries in less than 24 hrs, but Adobe and repair didn't deliver all the knowledge asked for (maybe a language barrier). Funds provides a free cellphone assistance, but it surely seems being usually hectic. Hertz's Stay chat seems to get regularly offline. During the previous yr, prospects who posted to on line review web pages expressed a particular gratification Using the customer service supplied by Company, Vamos and Wild Rider.


Adobe, Alamo and Spending budget have various rental costs posted on their Web-sites than Individuals quoted about the mobile phone. Telephone selling prices were decreased than that quoted on the web site in the circumstances of Adobe and Alamo, but nevertheless greater in the situation of Spending budget. Adobe also provides distinctive car versions about the phone as compared to their website. Worldwide car or truck rental companies with the two a Costa Rican and Global website appear to possess pricing variations between the two web pages.

Funds and Wild Rider include the mandatory coverage inside their rental price ranges, but Spending plan states that 'other fees' that will be presented within the counter while in the smaller print on their own Web page. Rental costs for car or truck seating had to be confirmed on the cell phone as they don't seem to be outlined on the Spending budget Web page.

All other organizations except for Thrifty (a U.S. Web site), clearly show the required insurance policy Value Together with the quotation presented. Thrifty's Costa Rican Web page is just unusable.


Service, Vamos and Wild Rider consistently present the ideal rates for both Green and Significant seasons, Whilst Dollar has amongst the lowest Green period prices obtainable, even though Adobe has a cheaper Large year level. Vamos offer the best "all inclusive" costs, provided that most solutions are made available totally free.

Adobe, Dollar, Support, Thrifty and Wild Rider continue to be competitive with their pricing of items for example baby seats. Alamo, Hertz and Nationwide are the costliest firms to lease from and their further choice charges also are dearer.

"So, what is actually your rental advice?"

Over-all, the Costa Rican organizations manage to trump the multi-nationals with improved pricing, services and clarity.
Service offers a frequently substantial-standard of customer service and fairly aggressive pricing at equally international airports.
Vamos can give effective reserving and continued high-degree of customer care with aggressive pricing, and cost-free more options at both of those SJO and LIR airports.
Wild Rider is very very rated for a rental with apparent and economical pricing and excellent customer care, but They're only in San Jose.

"Now you might be wanting to guide your rental car or truck following viewing how the Levels of competition compares. Fantastic luck and content travels!"

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