Manual for Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica

Car parked near beautiful shoreline.

 Vehicle rental in Costa Rica is a chance to investigate the remote shorelines and calm corners of this amazingly lovely nation. Travel without the confinements set by open transport timetables and with opportunity over gathering visits. For the ill-equipped voyager; be that as it may, vehicle rental expenses and administrations can be an inconsiderate stun and a hit to that get-away spending plan.

Leasing a vehicle for your get-away will likely be the most costly piece of your financial plan, so understanding the terms and overseeing desires is essential. The data underneath isn't intended to be a comprehensive manual, however it should show you the way towards an educated choice for your vehicle rental needs in Costa Rica.

For what reason is vehicle rental so costly?

Guests from outside of Costa Rica are frequently astounded by the expense of vehicle rental. While lodgings, eatery bills and visits are lower than the costs paid at home, it might seem peculiar that vehicle rental ought to be all the more expensive.

There are two basic purposes behind this surprising expense:

All vehicles in Costa Rica are transported in and a duty is forced. Because of this substantial tax assessment, the expense of obtaining a vehicle is higher than it would be in other industrialized nations. There are some vehicle rental administrators who lease more seasoned vehicles so as to lessen their expenses.

The expense of obligatory protection (see beneath).

Variables that Affect Car Rental Costs

• Mandatory Insurance

Outsider protection, which might be known as TPI, PDW (Partial Damage Waiver), SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance) and different abbreviations, is a lawful prerequisite. Vehicle rental administrators must charge the client for this inclusion which might be clear in the citation gotten by the client.

The protection itself isn't the issue. All things considered, numerous different nations require vehicle leaseholders to pay an obligatory protection; including: New Zealand, Italy and Mexico, and in addition some of the U.S. states, similar to California. The issue that causes conflict in Costa Rica is that this expense isn't constantly shown unmistakably on the vehicle rental administrator's site or in a statement. Clients at that point find the extra expense of their rental upon entry.

The expense of obligatory protection changes from organization to organization and will rely upon the vehicle classification that is being leased too. The expense for a little car might be as meager as $12 every day, though a premium 4x4 vehicle could be as much as $25 for protection every day. This is notwithstanding the rental expense.

Visas in North America normally offer vehicle protection as an extra liven to the charge card holder thus North Americans specifically, are unused to paying for protection over rental expenses. Nonetheless, no charge card will cover this protection necessity.

Do inquire as to whether the given statement incorporates outsider protection and check the costs on the vehicle rental administrator's site.

• Collision Damage Waiver

This isn't protection, however a waiver. The essential dimension will accompany a deductible that fluctuates, however could be as much as $1,500. For a higher every day rate, a zero deductible CDW might be acquired to diminish the leaseholder of any money related duty if there should arise an occurrence of harm to, or robbery thereof, the vehicle.

Numerous tenants will acquire their CDW through their Mastercard. In any case, it is important that the duty regarding making any protection guarantee is on the client and not with the vehicle rental administrator. A few leaseholders may buy extra in-house inclusion to abstain from having this obligation.

There will be vehicle rental organizations which hard move their own inclusion designs through ensuring genuine feelings of serenity, at the end of the day, this is the tenant's choice. It merits recollecting that vehicle rental organization representatives, as in different parts of the world, will here and there procure commission for protection deals.

In the event that the client's charge card does not give CDW, the client will be required to buy this in-house inclusion.

Vehicle rental administrators require composed verification that the client's charge card gives CDW. Approach the vehicle rental administrator for the correct subtleties of what they require and in what shape. Some may acknowledge a sent email from the Mastercard organization, yet others may request a printed duplicate to be introduced at the season of rental.

• Deposit

The store sum required will rely upon whether the client utilizes the vehicle rental administrator's in-house CDW or takes this inclusion through a Visa. Hope to pay an a lot higher store if the in-house CDW is declined. The store may likewise rely upon vehicle display leased. This sum, which will be hung on the leaseholder's Mastercard until the finish of the rental time frame, can be from $750 up to as much as $3,500. The store should take close to five days to be discounted to the charge card on the vehicle's arrival. Some vehicle rental offices will acknowledge platinum cards for store hold, however the arrival time for this sum can take weeks.

Do guarantee that the store is determined in the excursion spending plan as a sudden hold of a couple of thousand dollars on a Visa could somehow or another seriously cut into get-away spending.

• Airport Taxes

Clients that lease from a vehicle rental administrator's counter inside an air terminal building are obliged to make good on the airplane terminal regulatory expense.

Those vehicle rental administrators with a counter at San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) are: Alamo/National, Budget, Dollar, Economy and Hertz. These organizations will add an extra 12% duty to the rental expense.

Those vehicle rental administrators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Budget and Economy. These organizations will add an extra 3% expense to the rental expense.

To dodge this assessment, take an air terminal transport with the vehicle rental administrator to an office situated outside of the airplane terminal grounds.

• Surcharges and Other Taxes

There are various other mandatory charges that vehicle rental administrators may include into the rental cost, show on-screen or show in the statement, or leave undisclosed until the client's landing. These possibly shrouded expenses may appear to be little when seen exclusively, however these are regularly every day rates, so they will include quick!

These may include:

• License Plate Fee: Less than $2 day by day, however varies from organization to organization.

• Environmental Tax: Less than $1 day by day.

• Sales Tax: All business exchanges in Costa Rica are exposed to a 12% government-forced deals impose.

• Car Washing Fee: Bring back an outstandingly messy vehicle and the cleaning charge might be included onto the last installment. One vehicle rental administrator charges $20 for this extra administration.

• Fuel Charges: If the fuel tank isn't filled to indistinguishable dimension from it was toward the beginning of the rental time frame, at that point the vehicle rental organization will charge (more often than not to the closest eighth of a tank). This charge is managed by the vehicle rental administrator and it isn't liable to the administratively set fuel value that would be found at any corner store.

Where Should I Reserve the Vehicle?

A typical disarray for voyagers booking a rental vehicle is the disparity between worldwide sites for vehicle rental administrators and the Costa Rican site for a similar brand. Habitually the universal sites are unconscious of, or neglect to unveil, protections, assessments and extra charges that will be charged at the counter. This might be because of the way that many perceived vehicle rental administrator marks in Costa Rica are not an outside part of the marked vehicle rental administrator, however rather are an establishment task. This factor is likewise worth considering as far as desires concerning client benefit and other better subtleties. The Costa Rican establishment office may have their own style of working, aside from similar arrangements and rules that the client may have encountered in different parts of the world.

Justifiably at that point, an online reservation is best made through the neighborhood site and not the worldwide webpage, wherever conceivable. Various organizations don't have a neighborhood site. For this situation, do check the subtleties with a neighborhood staff part through the phone and request composed affirmation of the statement. Involvement with live visit on the worldwide sites proposes that though staff is prepared on terms and conditions administering the principle office (generally U.S.A.); they see little of the arrangements that must be clung to in Costa Rica.

Vehicle Rental Comparisons

In May/June of 2013, I analyzed the evaluating and administrations of various vehicle rental administrators in Costa Rica and distributed the discoveries. Incredibly, the article is as yet being appropriated frequently over the Internet which proposes that it is as yet helpful thus a refresh was required. The costs for this examination were acquired in December 2014 and January 2015.

The ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) expresses that there are thirty enlisted vehicle rental administrators with eight others pending endorsement. In any case, there are a lot more offices that lease vehicles to guests. The vehicle rental administrators chose are those which are most much of the time utilized by explorers:




Financial plan












Wild Rider

Rejection of Companies from Final Comparison

Financial plan, Economy, Payless, and Toyota were reached, however these four organizations did not give exact online rates. Economy and Budget's sites have one value, paying little respect to the dates entered and clients need to save a vehicle with the end goal for them to respect the cost appeared. Toyota's site was tragically just working up until March. Past that, the evaluating showed $0 for the rest of the year. Payless has this disclaimer on their site: "Expenses and extra charges are not inside our control and may change without notice."

Sending singular request for each day and age brought about conflicting outcomes: Budget offered a similar cost for every one of the three examined eras while accepting an email ask for, which is exceedingly impossible; Economy reacted with various statements for similar dates from various individuals from staff; and Toyota's messaged statements for eras past March's costs demonstrated online did not relate to the March rates cited (maybe the messaged statements contained assessments that were not appeared). Payless can give cites by means of email and phone, however were not predictable with valuing for various seasons.

Avis is just avoided from the value examination, as they don't have a halfway SUV classification in their armada.

Correlation Information

Vehicle rental rate, all duties and additional charges, and outsider protection costs are (probably) determined and positioned in like manner beneath dependent on the week's rental of a BeGo or comparable middle of the road 4x4 from a San Jose/Alajuela area (not from the air terminal).

Rates are determined on a week by week premise and isolated by seven to give a day by day cost which is all the more effectively practically identical. As not all valuing is totally straightforward, the costs are as precise as conceivable dependent on the data gave from the vehicle rental administrators' sites, telephone calls, or potentially messages. Airplane terminal charges are excluded in these figures.

Shoulder Season (Quote for July 13 through 20)

1. USave $43.37

2. Administration $54.92

3. Fox $55.64

4. Hertz $58.17

5. Adobe $60.13

6. Alamo $60.99

7. Wild Rider $62.86

8. Dollar $63.35

9. Vamos $64.15

10. National $67.04

11. Thrifty $74.39

Low Season (Quote for May 13 through 20)

1. National $37.04

2. USave $43.37

3. Dollar $46.49

4. Adobe $52.57

5. Vamos $53.15

6. Administration $53.49

7. Hertz $54.59

8. Fox $55.64

9. Wild Rider $55.71

10. Alamo $60.99

11. Thrifty $74.39

High Season (Quote for March 13 through 20)

1. Dollar $55.92

2. USave $56.22

3. Hertz $56.37

4. Fox $59.36

5. Thrifty $64.69

6. Administration $66.63

7. Vamos $67.14

8. Alamo $69.56

9. Wild Rider $70.00

10. Adobe $70.63

11. National $73.90

Synopsis of Comparison

Curiously, there isn't one clear costly or modest organization from those looked at. The variety in positioning between seasons is stamped and clients ought to consider their excursion dates while picking the vehicle rental administrator. For instance, Thrifty shows up as the most expensive for both low and shoulder season, yet are just in fourth position in the rankings for High Season.

It is additionally huge that estimating isn't steady with positioning with vehicle rental administrators in other vehicle classifications. For instance, Vamos' estimating is the least expensive for a top notch vehicle in the shoulder season; in spite of the fact that they are not first in any rankings for the middle of the road class and Adobe which seems aggressive are the most costly for this day and age and vehicle classification.

Data on Car Rental Operators

Adobe Rent-A-Car is a nearby vehicle rental administrator that has eleven workplaces the nation over. The site is basic and simple to use with no obvious concealed expenses. The obligatory protection cost is shown as a major aspect of the online statement. The organization gets blended audits on the web, however more positive than negative remarks are made. Messages get an answer inside 24 hours, yet may not completely answer the inquiries inquired.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-855-861-1250

Kid Seat: $3/day

Supporter: $1/day

Extra Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $9/day

Alamo works in association with National and has thirteen workplaces the nation over. Similarly as with numerous huge names, Alamo Costa Rica is an establishment and not a part of Alamo itself. Outsider protection and fundamental CDW are incorporated into the online citation, despite the fact that the CDW might be endless supply of verification of inclusion through the client's charge card. This influences the evaluating to appear to be high on first look, particularly when, in contrast to other vehicle rental administrators, Alamo incorporates airplane terminal charges in their online citation thus their valuing is straightforward, yet seems a lot higher than different organizations subsequently. Evaluating is distinctive on the universal site of the organization, despite the fact that the terms and conditions do express the charges that will be paid on landing. This estimating error is the lead reason for negative surveys for this organization. Messages are reacted to inside 24 hours.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-855-533-1196

Youngster Seat: $3/day

Extra Driver: $6/day

GPS System: $12/day

Avis' site obliges one to choose a vehicle insurance alternative, yet it neglects to show a last citation aggregate or cost for the inclusion chose online until the point that a messaged statement is sent. Inclusion expenses might be acquired by tapping on the choice 'Insurances Explained' at the base of the screen.

No Toll-Free Phone Number

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9.99/day

Financial plan has a site that is anything but difficult to utilize, however the evaluating given is as the equivalent for all seasons, recommending that it isn't right. Email reactions were ordinarily quick, however some were left unanswered. Messaged cites demonstrated indistinguishable estimating for all seasons from the site did. Compulsory protection is excluded on the online statement, yet the little print expresses this is payable at the counter. Financial plan gets blended online audits.

No Toll-Free Phone Number, however Live Chat is advertised

Tyke Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $14.99/day

Dollar seems to have extremely aggressive rates, however airplane terminal charges will be connected if the vehicle is being gathered from the air terminal's counters. One may discover this in their terms and conditions, yet not in their online statements. Vehicle washing charge is implemented for extremely grimy vehicles. There are four workplaces in Liberia and San Jose. Email reaction is inside 24 hours. Dollar gets blended surveys from online travel discussions.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-877-767-8651

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9/day

Economy has twelve workplaces around the nation. They have no Costa Rican site. Look down on their page to discover and tap on protection costs. Air terminal assessments are excluded in the statement. Messages get either a speedy reaction or no reaction by any stretch of the imagination. Economy has the most noticeably bad online notoriety of any enormous name vehicle rental administrator in Costa Rica.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-877-326-7368

Youngster Seat: $10/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $15/day

Fox works in association with USave. Workplaces are situated at both global airplane terminals. Messages get a reaction inside 24 hours. Online audits are commonly poor.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-225-4369

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day (except if life partner)

GPS System: $9.99/day

Hertz has six workplaces in the nation. Reservations might be made through a Costa Rican site. Beginning on the web quote does exclude deals charges, but rather it includes the CDW - in spite of the fact that CDW might be postponed with confirmation of Visa inclusion. Messages get a reaction inside 24 hours. Unremarkable surveys on movement discussions.

No Toll-Free Phone Number

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $13/day

GPS System: $12/day

National works in organization with Alamo and has thirty workplaces in task the nation over. The organization has a Central American site, and in addition the worldwide site, which unmistakably demonstrates the breakdown of valuing. CDW is incorporated into the online statement, yet it might be unchecked to get a statement with simply the compulsory protection. Note that the airplane terminal expense is incorporated into the online statement too. Moment reactions to questions are accessible through Live Chat on their site. Audits are blended, however there are more positive than negative.

Free Phone Call Option Via Website

Youngster Seat: $6/day

Promoter: $6/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $12/day

Payless is a piece of the universal vehicle rental organization and has no Costa Rican site. Online statements do exclude outsider protection, in spite of the fact that the data on this might be found by perusing the arrangements for the San Jose area. Messages get a reaction in under 24 hours, yet will in general allude back to the site, as opposed to new data. Surveys are more negative than positive.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-PAYLESS

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Promoter: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Administration is a nearby organization with five workplaces in the nation. On a generally clear site, tap on 'Hold Now' and not 'Get a Quote' at an online cost check. Rember is the staff part referenced in audits on movement discussion for his accommodating client benefit and the organization for the most part gets great surveys. Messages are replied inside 24 hours and ordinarily give asked for data.

U.S. Telephone Number: 1-305-897-3718

Youngster Seat: $3.50/day

Extra Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $7.50/day

Thrifty does not have a neighborhood site, subsequently data is through the worldwide site. Inclusion alternatives or data in regards to outsider protection isn't given on the reservation site page until one ticks 'Security Information'. Messages get a reaction inside 24 hours, however may not answer area explicit inquiries. Surveys are as often as possible negative because of estimating protestations.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-344-1705

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Promoter: $5/day

Extra Driver: $12/day

GPS System: $11.99/day

Toyota is a major name; in any case, despite the fact that their site seems proficient at first look, it basically does not work, or if nothing else it was not working so as to acquire citations later than March 2015. Their online statements do exclude deals charges. Messages get quick reactions, yet cites for various seasons had all the earmarks of being opposing. Be that as it may, Toyota has a decent notoriety on movement gatherings. Eight workplaces are situated the nation over.

Free Phone Call Option Via Website

Kid Seat: $5/day

Cooler: $1.50/day

Extra Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $10/day

USave works in association with Fox and has three office areas. Protection choices are appeared for the online statement, yet it must be chosen and 'recalculate' squeezed, before it is incorporated into the evaluating. Messages get a reaction inside 24 hours. The organization get generally poor audits, in spite of the fact that there are some positive remarks made on movement discussions.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-467-3659

Kid Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Vamos is a nearby organization that is a mainstream decision for Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet specialists due to their client administration and evaluating. The site is anything but difficult to use with ordered charges plainly showed. The Live Chat choice empowers moment customized statements and answers from English-talking staff. The organization has three workplaces.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-950-8426

Tyke Seat: free

Sponsor: free

Extra Driver: free

GPS System: $8/day

Wild Rider is a little, neighborhood organization found just in San Jose. The site is basic with outsider protection incorporated into the estimating. Toward the beginning of this examination, the evaluating was not a la mode, but rather this has since been helped. This vehicle rental administrator emerges by having just positive surveys as is exceedingly suggested by movement gathering clients. Proprietor, Thorsten, answers inside the hour to request amid available time.

U.S. Telephone Number: 1-917-477-7712

Tyke Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $8/day

By and large Summary


Adobe, Alamo, National, Service, Vamos, and Wild Rider give clear and finish rates on their sites. The other vehicle rental administrators were less straightforward with additional charges or assessments, for example, air terminal expenses or deals charges. Estimating on extra additional items were not in every case simple to discover, and Avis, Thrifty and Toyota must be reached for these subtleties.


Dimensions of correspondence have enhanced since the primary correlation, despite the fact that it would appear to be insightful to ask for a nearby number and affirm answers with the Costa Rica office of the worldwide vehicle rental administrators, as universal visit administrators or those answering to messages, don't generally appear to be 100% sure about neighborhood approaches and may even give off base data.

Be set up to trade various messages so as to find full solutions to inquiries with various organizations: Budget and Economy were especially inclined to this - asking for a ton of data so as to give a citation. It isn't irrational that individuals from staff working in a second dialect may miss parts of an email, so present inquiries in clear and straightforward dialect.

Live Chat on both the Budget and Vamos sites mean data can be given right away is as yet reported, not at all like a telephone call.


The examination above demonstrates that the evaluating between organizations depends vigorously on the season and vehicle classification being considered, as opposed to an obvious decision between pretty much costly rental rates.

Clients need to think about the estimating of different things, for example, extra drivers or GPS framework, and families will need to analyze vehicle situate rental evaluating. Wild Rider offers the principal extra driver for nothing, Vamos don't charge for any additional items, aside from the GPS, and all in all, the worldwide firms have higher charges for these additional items than the neighborhood organizations.

So Who Do I Rent From?

Obviously the nearby vehicle rental administrators are as yet besting the enormous names in their straightforwardness and client benefit when looking at their sites and online audits. The distinction from the past rate correlation from a few years prior is that the valuing has turned out to be increasingly hard to compare.

Adobe, Alamo, and National appear to rate well as universal vehicle rental administrators. It is important that National is the most costly in high season for the middle of the road classification, yet the least expensive in low season. Adobe and Alamo are center positioned for valuing.

Wild Rider is extraordinary in having zero terrible surveys, however is just situated in San Jose and has an a lot littler armada of vehicles. Of the other nearby firms, Service and Vamos turn out well and Vamos' free extra additional items will speak to spending plan disapproved of voyagers and families with youthful kids. Administration likewise offers these additional items at low day by day rates.

Last however Certainly not Least...

On the off chance that you have made it completely through this article, you are set up to start your investigation into your excursion vehicle rental, furnished with realities and prepared to perceive those costs that are simply pipe dream! Have a superb (and reasonable) get-away in delightful Costa Rica!

Presently you know everything, what are you sitting tight for? Get booking your rental vehicle for an exceptional excursion that you'll recollect for all the correct reasons.


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