Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica

“My time’s limited… how do I choose? ”

Car rental is a hot topic for vacationers going to Costa Rica. New research conducted by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) indicates that, after accommodations, renting a car is the major expense, averaging $702 for an eleven-day vacation. Automobiliu nuoma

The Internet is buzzing with negative reviews discussing charging an overpriced fee, poor customer service and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even written one yourself! 

An average midsize (3 – 4 adults) 4 WHEEL DRIVE rental runs between $58 and $65 daily with third party insurance and rates can vary just as much as 20 percent among car nightly rental companies, so reading a quick review will be time well spent once you calculate the cost savings.

So the question is; which rental company supplies the best balance of good price, capable customer service and reliable vehicles? We’ve researched it all for you, so keep reading!

Disclosure: This research was conducted in May – July 2013. The subsequent companies were selected because they are the most widely used in Bahía Rica. Many are local companies; others are international franchises of recognized brand names. Comparisons include: customer satisfaction, pricing and the booking process. The companies are listed alphabetically and not based on personal or online preferences.
Consider this to be information before renting:


1 of the biggest triggers for complaints is from the stack of unanticipated charges presented to the renter once standing at the rental company’s table. Vacationers are normally tired after a long flight and then are faced with costs that were not anticipated, explained or budgeted.

Topping the set of issues is the non-disclosure of fees associated with the mandatory third-party insurance at the time the booking is done.

According to Playa Rican law, every rider is necessary to carry liability coverage to insure against accidents to third parties. Car rental companies generally stay away from disclosing the price tag on this insurance plan in the quoted lease rate to appear more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can be as much as double the vehicle’s local rental cost. The only assurance against insurance confusion is to inquire if your estimate includes the third party insurance and persist on a written offer.

Cost of Mandatory Insurance (also called Other or SLI)

Expect to pay between $12 and $15 daily for this insurance, with regards to the make and model of the rented vehicle and the car hire firm. This is a legal current condition of your rental agreement which is generally not covered by bank cards and cannot be waived. It has been proven of renting a car in Costa Sana.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

As the name implies, this isn’t insurance, but a waiver, which minimizes the renter from any liability for damage to the rental car after the deductible is paid (usually from $750 to $1, 500). Some companies require renters to get their CDW policy; thereby stopping any credit card program. For an additional cost, many agencies do give a zero liability option where the renter will be freed from investing in any damage to the car. Some companies may put pressure after renters to acquire the zero liability coverage; however, it is totally optional, unless it is in the fine print out with their rental arrangement.