Manual to Vehicle Rental Businesses in Costa Rica

"My time's limited... how can I choose?"

Auto rental can be a very hot matter for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Current investigate conducted with the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) indicates that, immediately after accommodations, leasing a car is the most important cost, averaging $702 for an eleven-day holiday vacation.

The Internet is buzzing with adverse evaluations speaking about overcharging, bad customer care and mechanical breakdowns. You could have even written a single oneself!

An average midsize (three - 4 Grown ups) 4X4 rental runs between $58 and $sixty five day by day with third party insurance plan and prices may vary as much as 20 per cent among automobile rental companies, so looking at a quick assessment are going to be time nicely put in once you estimate the discounts.

And so the dilemma is; which rental enterprise gives the top balance of honest price tag, capable customer support and reputable cars? I've researched it all to suit your needs, so keep reading!

Disclosure: This analysis was executed in May well - July 2013. The subsequent corporations ended up picked since they are the most generally Utilized in Costa Rica. Some are regional firms; Some others are Global franchises of recognized model names. Comparisons involve: customer service, pricing as well as the reservation course of action. The businesses are detailed alphabetically rather than dependant on personalized or online preferences.
Contemplate this information just before renting:

Insurance plan

Amongst the greatest leads to for grievances is with the stack of unexpected expenses introduced to the renter after standing on the rental firm's counter. Vacationers are generally tired following a extensive flight then are confronted by charges which were not predicted, discussed or budgeted.

Topping the listing of grievances may be the non-disclosure of fees associated with the obligatory third-occasion insurance coverage at the time the reservation is created.

In line with Costa Rican law, each and every driver is necessary to carry liability protection to insure from injuries to 3rd functions. Motor vehicle rental firms typically refrain from disclosing the cost of this plan during the quoted rental amount to seem additional aggressive. Required third-social gathering insurance plan can at times be as much as double the automobile's rental Expense. The only warranty from insurance coverage confusion is to inquire When your estimate consists of the 3rd party insurance and demand over a prepared quotation.

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

Hope to pay for between $12 and $fifteen each day for this insurance policy, depending on the make and design of your rented motor vehicle as well as the rental car or truck company. This is the legal problem of one's rental settlement and is usually not lined by charge cards and cannot be waived. It is a fact of leasing an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Harm Waiver (CDW)

As being the name indicates, this isn't insurance policy, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental motor vehicle following the deductible is compensated (ordinarily from $750 to $one,500). Some organizations demand renters to invest in their CDW policy; therefore negating any bank card application. For a further cost, a lot of businesses do present you with a zero liability option exactly where the renter are going to be freed from purchasing any damage to the car. Some companies could set pressure on renters to acquire the zero liability coverage; nonetheless, it really is totally optional, Except it really is during the great print of their rental agreement.

Charge card insurance plans may well address the CDW for your rental auto. Examine along with your decided on rental auto company to locate which evidence of insurance policies is required after which you can request that from the charge card firm before arriving. If you use your bank card's CDW coverage, anticipate to pay a greater deposit to the motor vehicle; about $1,five hundred to $2000 is prevalent. The higher deposit makes sure that the credit card holder has more than enough financial reserves to go over damages if wanted. It is necessary to contemplate that if using CDW coverage provided by a charge card (in lieu in the rent a car operator), all damages will likely be billed to your renter's credit card. The credit card firm will then reimburse the card holder for damages.

More Insurance plan

Tires and windshields are hardly ever included in insurance policy procedures, Despite the fact that more policies could possibly be taken out for covering these often destroyed things. Neither the inside nor the beneath from the car or truck may be lined. Generally study the great print.

Conventional Process

Your credit card will probably be billed, or perhaps a 'keep' positioned, for the rental motor vehicle through the time of your rental agreement; i.e. from choosing up the rental until eventually you return it. Debit playing cards are normally not suitable.

Added Costs

Most businesses have surcharges For added motorists, car seats/boosters, mobile devices, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The prices vary from company to company, but given that these extras are billed in a every day fee, it truly is worth checking the whole Expense -- more alternatives can add up very quickly! A GPS is around $eight to $10 on a daily basis; having said that, some operators may perhaps give discounted units. Assume to pay for all-around $5 everyday for a kid seat and some dollars daily for all one other 'niceties'. Vamos is noteworthy for supplying Many of these possibilities and, throughout some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Spending plan, Hertz and Countrywide demand by far the most for such additional options; whereas the other businesses listed, charge more realistic rates.


Most businesses incorporate small incremental costs, including license plate and environmental costs, into the whole tally. Be cautious of operators who insert these added charges in the smaller print in the rental deal. Motor vehicles rented direct in the airport incur airport taxes, which are a whopping 12% of your respective rental Price!

The rental motor vehicle ought to be returned While using the similar amount of gas, Unless of course usually indicated. If not, firms may possibly demand over gas station prices for missing fuel.


There's a discussion in excess of the motor vehicles supplied by rental organizations: Older cars permit the driving force to blend in much more than a shiny, new car. Obtaining an more mature product could contain the indirect good thing about currently being less scrutinized by car or truck rental companies for new nicks and scratches, unlike a more recent car. Nevertheless, a newer auto may be more roadworthy. This discussion carries on into the various car or truck tends to make and versions. Normally, Costa Rican companies are able to rent their vehicles to get a lessen amount mainly because their cars and trucks are typically three to 5 years aged (compared to two to three). On the net assessments would counsel the regional corporations don't have any far more grievances regarding vehicle top quality than transnational franchises; study on community forums, for example, appears to be to point that consumers routinely enjoy driving a much less-than-new auto from the wilds of Costa Rica. The reasons are a lot, from highway disorders to your notion of less-then-new vehicles Mixing in better -- a newer vehicle may well draw extra unwelcome attention.

The possibilities of rental automobiles in Costa Rica are primarily restricted to can make and styles that sustain a competitive resale value, are a common model inside the place, and they are cheap to maintain. As such a lease-a-car or truck operator's fleet are likely never to be as various as The us. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai represent the mainstay brand names of most rental fleets.

Occasionally, motorists are charged for intended 'damages' to the auto on return. At the time getting the motor vehicle, renters must meticulously check for pre-present flaws and Examine it Using the car or truck inspection document used by the rental car agent. Some renters suggest photographing or videoing the car or truck from all angles, to prevent any disagreement involving pre-current and a short while ago damaged goods.


Automobile rentals in Costa Rica are pricier when compared to other nations around the world. Obligations on autos are large (as much as fifty% of their worth!), areas are costlier and unforgiving street problems contribute to larger don and tear, generating increased routine maintenance prices.

The rule is you obtain Whatever you pay for -- you will discover other options than These rental companies outlined here, but they're not listed for a fantastic motive. They basically fail to provide fundamental customer support and/or an acceptable automobile condition expected for any (just about) difficulty-totally free trip.

When evaluating rental auto expenses, it is best to go directly to the Costa Rican Site from the rental automobile organization, rather then endeavoring to use their international format or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For the same automobiles and reservation dates, the rates provided by the respective Global vs. Costa Rican Web sites for Alamo, Funds, Hertz and Thrifty differed significantly.

To prevent confusion, print out all correspondence Using the vehicle rental organization with whom you have reserved a car and bring this on the rental Place of work With all the quote given at time of reservation.

The subsequent best 10 chart ranks the companies from best priced to lowest and it includes the obligatory insurance policy charge. During the conditions of Alamo and Hertz, the figure consists of their CDW cost because it is one of their rental Illinois to New York Car Transporters prerequisites. This value comparison relies on weekly's rental of a Daihatsu Bego, wherever offered (Greenback gives the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th - 21st, nevertheless in December to check out both equally Eco-friendly and High Season prices. The checklist swiftly demonstrates that the cost variation depends enormously on the organization -- for essentially the exact same company. These costs ended up received in June/July 2013.

Rental Automobile Businesses Rated As outlined by Price tag


ten. Alamo $650.96
nine. Hertz $514.27
8. Adobe $449
seven. Spending plan $455
six. Countrywide $428.01
5. Thrifty $421.05
4. Support $374.forty three
3. Vamos $370.30
2. Greenback $364
one. Wild Rider $350


ten. Alamo $650.ninety six
9. Countrywide $597.51
8. Hertz $566.52
seven. Budget $555
six. Greenback $532
5. Thrifty $506.fifty eight
four. Service $494.43
3. Vamos $461.30
two. Adobe $459
one. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks quantity 10 for both seasons, rendering it the costliest corporation. Price range, Hertz and Nationwide also level very low on the scale for inexpensive rental solutions.

Corporation Summaries


Website is evident and user friendly, but pricing as well as the automobiles detailed aren't the same as These provided by an Office environment consultant above the mobile phone. Necessary insurance policies charges are not shown Together with the listing of autos and rental costs, but They can be clearly displayed on the next site to be a consumer moves in the direction of scheduling a reservation. Mixed consumer assessments on line. Electronic mail response is a lot less than 24 hours, but may not present all requested facts.

Toll-no cost U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Dwell Chat.
10 workplaces nationwide
Required coverage: $19 daily
Further costs: GPS $nine/day, little one seat $five/working day


Web page is obvious and simple to operate, but rates vary in opposition to offers gained in excess of the cellular phone. Obligatory insurance policies costs are certainly not offered Using the list of automobiles and rental expenses, but They are really Evidently exhibited on the following site as The client moves towards earning a reservation. Combined shopper opinions on line. Electronic mail reaction is under 24 hrs.

No toll-absolutely free U.S.A and Canada phone number or Are living chat
fourteen offices nationwide
Mandatory insurance plan: $11.ninety five daily, but will have to also take their CDW at $12.95 everyday
Supplemental rates: GPS $12/day, child seat $6/day

Spending plan

Web page is basic, but convenient to use. Charges on the internet differ for the quotations supplied by a agent over the telephone and dependant upon whether the Global or Costa Rican Web page is made use of. Required insurance policies charges are specified along with the list of motor vehicles; nonetheless, another fees are not outlined. Blended buyer testimonials on the net. E-mail reaction is in excess of 24 several hours.

No toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Stay Chat on Costa Rican Site.
ten places of work nationwide
Required insurance plan: included in the outlined price
Added charges: GPS $ten.95/day, boy or girl seat $12/day (the most costly of the very best 10)


Website is evident and user friendly. Costs quoted differ if contacting from your U.S. or in Costa Rica. Necessary insurance coverage expenditures aren't presented Using the listing of autos and rental fees, but They can be Plainly displayed on the subsequent webpage to be a consumer moves in direction of a building a reservation. Combined opinions on the net, but typically receives beneficial responses. E mail inquiries answered inside of 24 hrs.

Toll-totally free U.S.A and Canada phone number. No Are living Chat.
3 workplaces nationwide
Necessary insurance policies: $16 day by day
More expenses: GPS $9/working day, youngster seat $5/day


Web-site is clear and simple to operate. Required coverage costs are not specified Aside from the listing of automobiles and rental costs, but They may be clearly exhibited on the subsequent web site as The shopper moves in direction of a booking a reservation. Combined customer opinions on-line. Electronic mail reaction lower than 24 hours.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada phone number and Live Chat (although it seems to be forever offline)
seven offices nationwide
Obligatory insurance coverage: $seventeen.43 day by day, but their CDW can also be a need
Further fees: GPS $twelve/working day, boy or girl seat $2/day


Web page is evident and user friendly. Required insurance policies costs are certainly not offered combined with the listing of vehicles and rental charges, but They may be Obviously exhibited on the following webpage being a buyer moves to generating a reservation. Mixed client reviews on the web, but a lot more good than adverse. Electronic mail reaction below 24 hrs.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada contact number. Are living Chat.
22 workplaces nationwide
Necessary insurance policy: $twenty five every day (the costliest of the highest 10)
Supplemental costs: GPS $twelve/working day, little one seat $six/day


Website is evident and person helpful with simply a slight confusion in that an on-line quotation is attained by clicking on 'Reserve Now' rather than the 'Get yourself a Quotation' choice. The reaction to your cellphone inquiry was to use the website. Mandatory insurance plan fees are presented together with the list of cars and rental charges for the low period costs and on the next webpage of one other quotation webpage. Recall is really a hugely encouraged profits representative that's stated in several on-line critiques for the high level of his customer service. Generally on the web reviews are positive for Company. Electronic mail reaction is less than 24 hours, Even though all details asked for might not be been given.

U.S.A phone number, although not toll-totally free. No Dwell Chat.
5 workplaces nationwide
Obligatory insurance plan: $fifteen daily
Further fees: GPS $five.ninety nine/working day, boy or girl seat $2.99/day


Costa Rican Edition of the web site is extremely hard to use and you also are requested to sign up for your person identify and password. Obligatory insurance coverage charges aren't supplied combined with the list of vehicles and rental rates. A customer must click "Safety Solutions" over the U.S. Web-site and select the obligatory insurance policies by clicking on it -- implying that it's optional and never a expected cost. Thrifty are likely to receive blended evaluations on-line. E mail response is greater than 24 hours.

Toll-cost-free U.S.A and Canada contact number. No Live Chat.
four workplaces nationwide
Required insurance policy: $19.ninety nine day-to-day
Additional fees: GPS $10/working day, little one seat $five/working day


Web-site is clear and convenient to use. Obligatory insurance costs are usually not specified together side the listing of cars and rental charges, but are Evidently shown on the following page as The client moves towards booking a reservation. Anibal, a agent, is regularly mentioned in on the net opinions for his superior level of customer care competencies. Standard Manager, George Schwarzenbach is thought on Journey Advisor for his upfront and trustworthy responses to buyers' posts.

Recently, Vamos has obtained quite positive reviews on the web. E-mail response is under 24 hrs. Reside Chat has fast reaction time for you to inquiries.

Toll-free of charge U.S.A and Canada telephone number. Stay Chat.
3 offices nationwide
Obligatory insurance plan: $11.95 day-to-day
Further fees: GPS $eight/working day, child seat free of charge

Wild Rider

Web site is evident and easy to use. Obligatory coverage charges are supplied beside the list of autos. Wild Rider is the sole car or truck rental organization in Costa Rica without any visible bad opinions on-line. Operator, Thorsten, is often praised for his efficiency and customer support, Regardless of the pretty restricted sources the corporation has at hand. Email messages obtain pretty prompt and in-depth responses in a lot less than 12 hrs.

No toll-free contact number or Live Chat
1 Business office -- no Liberia airport Office environment
Mandatory insurance policies: provided
Extra prices: GPS $eight/day, baby seat $five/day

Comparison Review

Customer support

Vamos and Wild Rider answer immediately and proficiently to email or Stay chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Greenback, Hertz, Nationwide, and repair respond to e-mail inquiries in lower than 24 hrs, but Adobe and Service didn't supply all the data requested (maybe a language barrier). Price range offers a totally free phone provider, however it seems being usually occupied. Hertz's Reside chat appears for being continuously offline. In the course of the past year, clients who posted to on line review web sites expressed a certain gratification While using the customer support offered by Services, Vamos and Wild Rider.


Adobe, Alamo and Finances have distinct rental rates posted on their own Internet websites than These quoted above the phone. Phone costs had been reduced than that quoted on the website in the situations of Adobe and Alamo, but but greater in the situation of Price range. Adobe also offers different auto products above the cell phone in comparison with their Site. Worldwide car rental companies with both a Costa Rican and Global Site show up to obtain pricing differences amongst the two sites.

Budget and Wild Rider contain the mandatory insurance in their rental rates, but Budget states that 'other rates' which will be offered within the counter during the tiny print on their own website. Rental rates for car or truck seating had to be confirmed within the telephone as they're not stated to the Finances Site.

All other companies aside from Thrifty (a U.S. website), Evidently display the required coverage Price With all the quotation offered. Thrifty's Costa Rican Internet site is solely unusable.


Service, Vamos and Wild Rider continually give the ideal prices for each Inexperienced and Large seasons, Even though Greenback has certainly one of the lowest Environmentally friendly time costs obtainable, even though Adobe has a cheaper Superior year charge. Vamos give the most beneficial "all inclusive" charges, on condition that most possibilities are made available totally free.

Adobe, Greenback, Company, Thrifty and Wild Rider continue being aggressive with their pricing of items like kid seats. Alamo, Hertz and Countrywide are the costliest companies to rent from and their additional choice expenses also are more expensive.

"So, what is your rental advice?"

Overall, the Costa Rican organizations seem to trump the multi-nationals with improved pricing, provider and clarity.
Service provides a frequently superior-standard of customer care and relatively competitive pricing at both Global airports.
Vamos can provide effective reserving and continued large-amount of customer support with competitive pricing, together with no cost added alternatives at both SJO and LIR airports.
Wild Rider may be very highly rated for any rental with apparent and cost-effective pricing and excellent customer support, but they are only in San Jose.

"Now you might be ready to e book your rental car or truck just after viewing how the Competitiveness compares. Fantastic luck and delighted travels!"

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