Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica

Rate Comparisons for 2015

Car condo in Costa Rica is an possibility to explore the remote beaches and quiet corners of this breathtakingly lovely us of a. Travel without the regulations set by public shipping timetables and with freedom over group excursions. For the unprepared traveler; but, vehicle apartment prices and offerings may be a impolite surprise and a blow to that excursion budget.

Renting a Automotive news on your holiday will in all likelihood be the maximum high-priced a part of your budget, so know-how the terms and handling expectancies may be very vital. The statistics underneath isn’t always supposed to be an exhaustive guide, however it must set you at the course in the direction of an knowledgeable decision to your automobile condominium wishes in Costa Rica.

Why is automobile rental so luxurious?

Visitors from out of doors of Costa Rica are regularly surprised through the cost of car condo. While inn rooms, restaurant bills and tours are lower than the costs paid at home, it could appear abnormal that vehicle condo should be extra pricey.

There are easy motives for this excessive fee:

All motors in Costa Rica are imported and a tax is imposed. Due to this heavy taxation, the value of buying a car is higher than it might be in different industrialized countries. There are some car rental operators who hire older cars which will reduce their charges.

The price of obligatory insurance (see below).
Factors that Affect Car Rental Costs

• Mandatory Insurance

Third-celebration insurance, which can be called TPI, PDW (Partial Damage Waiver), SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance) and different acronyms, is a criminal requirement. Car condo operators need to rate the patron for this insurance which may also or may not be clear in the citation obtained through the patron.

The insurance itself isn’t always the problem. After all, many other countries require vehicle renters to pay a obligatory coverage; along with: New Zealand, Italy and Mexico, in addition to a number of the U.S. States, like California. The trouble that reasons rivalry in Costa Rica is this price is not constantly displayed certainly on the automobile condominium operator’s internet site or in a quote. Customers then discover the additional price of their rental upon arrival.

The fee of mandatory coverage varies from company to corporation and could rely upon the automobile category this is being rented as well. The cost for a small sedan can be as little as $12 in line with day, while a top class 4×4 car could be as much as $25 for coverage in keeping with day. This is similarly to the condo cost.

Credit playing cards in North America normally provide automobile coverage as an extra perk to the credit card holder and so North Americans mainly, are unused to having to pay for insurance on pinnacle of condominium prices. However, no credit score card will cover this coverage requirement.

Do ask if the given quote includes 1/3-birthday celebration insurance and take a look at the costs on the car condominium operator’s internet site.

• Collision Damage Waiver

This is not coverage, however a waiver. The primary level will come with a deductible that varies, however can be as an awful lot as $1,500. For a better day by day fee, a 0 deductible CDW may be purchased to relieve the renter of any monetary responsibility in case of harm to, or robbery thereof, the vehicle.

Many renters will attain their CDW through their credit card. However, it’s far worth noting that the obligation for making any coverage claim is on the patron and no longer with the automobile rental operator. Some renters can also pick out to purchase additional in-residence insurance to avoid having this duty.

There may be vehicle rental businesses which hard promote their personal insurance plans thru making certain peace of mind, but in the long run, this is the renter’s selection. It is worth remembering that automobile condominium company employees, like in different elements of the sector, will sometimes earn fee for insurance sales.

If the consumer’s credit score card does no longer offer CDW, the customer could be required to buy this in-residence coverage.

Car condominium operators require written proof that the client’s credit score card affords CDW. Ask the car rental operator for the precise information of what they require and in what form. Some might also take delivery of a forwarded e-mail from the credit card company, but others may ask for a broadcast replica to be offered at the time of condo.

• Deposit

The deposit amount required will depend upon whether or not the patron chooses to apply the auto rental operator’s in-house CDW or takes this coverage via a credit card. Expect to pay a far higher deposit if the in-residence CDW is declined. The deposit may additionally rely upon car version rented. This quantity, in an effort to be hung on the renter’s credit score card until the cease of the condominium duration, may be from $750 up to as a good deal as $three,500. The deposit must take no greater than five days to be refunded to the credit card at the automobile’s return. Some automobile condo agencies will receive debit playing cards for deposit keep, however the return time for this amount can take weeks.

Do make sure that the deposit is calculated in the holiday price range as an unexpected maintain of some thousand dollars on a credit score card should in any other case critically cut into vacation spending.

• Airport Taxes

Customers that lease from a automobile rental operator’s counter inside an airport constructing are obliged to pay the airport tax.

Those car condominium operators with a counter at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) are: Alamo/National, Budget, Dollar, Economy and Hertz. These agencies will add a further 12% tax to the rental fee.

Those automobile rental operators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Budget and Economy. These corporations will add an additional three% tax to the condo cost.

To keep away from this tax, take an airport travel with the car condominium operator to an office located out of doors of the airport grounds.

• Surcharges and Other Taxes

There are a number of different obligatory charges that car condo operators may also upload into the apartment price, display on-display or show within the quote, or leave undisclosed till the client’s arrival. These potentially hidden expenses may seem small when viewed for my part, but those are commonly every day quotes, so they may add up speedy!

These can also include:

• License Plate Fee: Less than $2 every day, but differs from agency to business enterprise.

• Environmental Tax: Less than $1 every day.

• Sales Tax: All income transactions in Costa Rica are subjected to a 12% authorities-imposed income tax.

• Car Washing Fee: Bring back an extremely dirty automobile and the cleaning charge can be introduced onto the very last charge. One car apartment operator prices $20 for this extra provider.

• Fuel Charges: If the gas tank is not crammed to the same stage as it turned into on the start of the apartment duration, then the car condo corporation will fee (usually to the closest 8th of a tank). This price is dictated by using the car condominium operator and it isn’t always difficulty to the governmentally set fuel rate that would be determined at any gasoline station.

Where Should I Reserve the Vehicle?

A common confusion for travelers reserving a condo automobile is the discrepancy between global web sites for automobile apartment operators and the Costa Rican internet site for the equal emblem. Frequently the worldwide web sites are ignorant of, or fail to disclose, insurances, taxes and surcharges so one can be charged on the counter. This can be due to the truth that many identified car apartment operator manufacturers in Costa Rica aren’t a overseas branch of the branded car apartment operator, however rather are a franchise operation. This aspect is also really worth thinking about in terms of expectations concerning customer support and other finer information. The Costa Rican franchise workplace may have their personal fashion of working, other than the same regulations and pointers that the consumer may additionally have experienced in other parts of the arena.

Understandably then, an internet reservation is high-quality made through the nearby website and no longer the worldwide website, anywhere viable. A quantity of groups do now not have a neighborhood website. In this situation, do take a look at the info with a local group of workers member through the smartphone and ask for written confirmation of the quote. Experience with stay chat on the global web sites suggests that while staff is trained on terms and conditions governing the main workplace (commonly U.S.A.); they understand little of the guidelines that should be adhered to in Costa Rica.

Car Rental Comparisons

In May/June of 2013, I compared the pricing and offerings of some of car condominium operators in Costa Rica and posted the findings. To my wonder, the thing is still being plagiarized regularly across the Internet which indicates that it’s far nevertheless beneficial and so an replace turned into required. The expenses for this comparison had been obtained in December 2014 and January 2015.

The ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) states that there are thirty registered car apartment operators with eight others pending approval. However, there are many more businesses that lease automobiles to visitors. The car condo operators selected are the ones that are maximum often utilized by vacationers:
















Wild Rider

Exclusion of Companies from Final Comparison

Budget, Economy, Payless, and Toyota had been contacted, but those 4 organizations did not provide accurate on-line quotes. Economy and Budget’s web sites have one rate, irrespective of the dates entered and customers need to order a vehicle in order for them to honor the price proven. Toyota’s website changed into regrettably most effective running up till March. Beyond that, the pricing displayed $0 for the the rest of the yr. Payless has this disclaimer on their website: “Taxes and surcharges are not within our manage and may trade with out note.”

Sending character inquiries for on every occasion period ended in inconsistent results: Budget supplied the identical fee for all 3 investigated time intervals while receiving an e mail request, that’s distinctly not going; Economy answered with different quotes for the identical dates from specific individuals of staff; and Toyota’s emailed prices for time periods beyond March’s prices indicated on-line did not correspond to the March rates quoted (possibly the emailed rates contained taxes that had been now not proven on line). Payless can provide fees thru email and telephone, but have been no longer consistent with pricing for exclusive seasons.

Avis is handiest excluded from the price assessment, as they do not have an intermediate SUV class of their fleet.

Comparison Information

Car condominium fee, all taxes and surcharges, and 1/3-birthday celebration coverage fees are (supposedly) calculated and ranked as a consequence beneath based at the week’s condominium of a BeGo or similar intermediate 4×4 from a San Jose/Alajuela location (no longer from the airport).

Rates are calculated on a weekly basis and divided by using seven to offer a daily cost that’s extra easily comparable. As now not all pricing is absolutely transparent, the fees are as correct as feasible based totally on the facts supplied from the auto condominium operators’ websites, smartphone calls, and/or emails. Airport taxes aren’t covered in those figures.

Shoulder Season (Quote for July thirteen via 20)

1. USave $43.37

2. Service $54.92

3. Fox $55.Sixty four

four. Hertz $58.17

five. Adobe $60.13

6. Alamo $60.Ninety nine

7. Wild Rider $62.86

8. Dollar $63.35

9. Vamos $sixty four.15

10. National $67.04

eleven. Thrifty $74.39

Low Season (Quote for May thirteen through 20)

1. National $37.04

2. USave $43.37

three. Dollar $46.49

4. Adobe $fifty two.Fifty seven

five. Vamos $53.15

6. Service $fifty three.Forty nine

7. Hertz $54.59

8. Fox $55.64

nine. Wild Rider $55.Seventy one

10. Alamo $60.99

eleven. Thrifty $seventy four.39

High Season (Quote for March 13 thru 20)

1. Dollar $fifty five.92

2. USave $fifty six.22

3. Hertz $56.37

four. Fox $fifty nine.36

5. Thrifty $sixty four.Sixty nine

6. Service $66.Sixty three

7. Vamos $67.14

8. Alamo $sixty nine.56

nine. Wild Rider $70.00

10. Adobe $70.63

11. National $73.Ninety

Summary of Comparison

Interestingly, there isn’t always one clear high-priced or reasonably-priced employer from the ones compared. The version in ranking among seasons is marked and clients must consider their excursion dates when selecting the car apartment operator. For instance, Thrifty seems because the maximum highly-priced for each low and shoulder season, but are only in fourth position within the rankings for High Season.

It is also significant that pricing is not regular with rating with vehicle condo operators in other vehicle classes. For instance, Vamos’ pricing is the cheapest for a top class automobile within the shoulder season; even though they’re now not first in any rankings for the intermediate category and Adobe which seems competitive are the most steeply-priced for this term and automobile class.

Information on Car Rental Operators

Adobe Rent-A-Car is a local car apartment operator that has eleven workplaces throughout the united states of america. The website is easy and clean to use without a obvious hidden prices. The obligatory coverage fee is displayed as a part of the net quote. The business enterprise gets mixed evaluations on line, but more high quality than poor feedback are made. Emails acquire a respond within 24 hours, but may not absolutely solution the questions asked.

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

Child Seat: $three/day

Booster: $1/day

Additional Driver: $three/day

GPS System: $9/day

Alamo works in partnership with National and has thirteen places of work throughout the usa. As with many huge names, Alamo Costa Rica is a franchise and now not a department of Alamo itself. Third-birthday celebration coverage and primary CDW are protected within the on line quotation, even though the CDW can be refused upon presentation of evidence of coverage thru the client’s credit card. This makes the pricing seem high on first glance, specifically when, not like different automobile apartment operators, Alamo includes airport taxes of their online citation and so their pricing is honest, however seems tons better than different groups as a result. Pricing is different on the global internet site of the organisation, despite the fact that the phrases and conditions do nation the charges in an effort to be paid on arrival. This pricing discrepancy is the lead motive of terrible critiques for this enterprise. Emails are responded to inside 24 hours.

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

Child Seat: $3/day

Additional Driver: $6/day

GPS System: $12/day

Avis’ website obliges one to choose a automobile protection alternative, but it fails to show a final quotation general or price for the insurance decided on online till an emailed quote is sent. Coverage prices can be acquired by using clicking on the option ‘Protections Explained’ at the lowest of the display screen.

No Toll-Free Phone Number

Child Seat: $five/day

Additional Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9.99/day

Budget has a internet site that is straightforward to apply, however the pricing given is as the identical for all seasons, suggesting that it is not correct. Email responses have been typically rapid, but a few had been left unanswered. Emailed quotes showed the same pricing for all seasons because the internet site did. Mandatory coverage isn’t always blanketed on the web quote, however the important points states that this is payable at the counter. Budget receives blended on-line critiques.

No Toll-Free Phone Number, but Live Chat is obtainable

Child Seat: $five/day

Additional Driver: $five/day

GPS System: $14.99/day

Dollar appears to have very aggressive charges, however airport taxes can be carried out if the automobile is being amassed from the airport’s counters. One may additionally discover this of their phrases and conditions, however no longer of their on-line rates. Car washing price is enforced for extremely dirty automobiles. There are 4 places of work in Liberia and San Jose. Email reaction is inside 24 hours. Dollar receives mixed reviews from on line journey boards.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $nine/day

Economy has twelve offices across the country. They don’t have any Costa Rican internet site. Scroll down on their web page to discover and click on insurance costs. Airport taxes are not included inside the quote. Emails get hold of either a short reaction or no reaction at all. Economy has the worst on-line popularity of any massive name automobile condominium operator in Costa Rica.

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

Child Seat: $10/day

Additional Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $15/day

Fox works in partnership with USave. Offices are located at both global airports. Emails obtain a reaction within 24 hours. Online reviews are commonly terrible.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $10/day (until partner)

GPS System: $9.Ninety nine/day

Hertz has six offices inside the us of a. Reservations may be made thru a Costa Rican internet site. Initial on line quote does no longer encompass income taxes, but it does encompass the CDW — although CDW can be waived with evidence of credit score card insurance. Emails obtain a reaction within 24 hours. Mediocre reviews on journey boards.

No Toll-Free Phone Number

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $13/day

GPS System: $12/day

National works in partnership with Alamo and has thirty places of work in operation across the usa. The organization has a Central American internet site, as well as the worldwide website, which truly shows the breakdown of pricing. CDW is protected in the on-line quote, however it can be unchecked to get a quote with simply the required coverage. Note that the airport tax is included within the online quote as well. Instant responses to questions are available via Live Chat on their internet site. Reviews are blended, but there are more tremendous than terrible.

Free Phone Call Option Via Website

Child Seat: $6/day

Booster: $6/day

Additional Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $12/day

Payless is part of the worldwide automobile rental enterprise and has no Costa Rican website. Online prices do not include third-birthday party coverage, although the facts on this may be found by way of studying the regulations for the San Jose place. Emails acquire a response in less than 24 hours, however tend to refer lower back to the website, in place of new information. Reviews are more terrible than effective.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-PAYLESS

Child Seat: $five/day

Booster: $5/day

Additional Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.Ninety five/day

Service is a local corporation with 5 workplaces inside the country. On an in any other case clear website, click on ‘Reserve Now’ and no longer ‘Get a Quote’ for an internet price take a look at. Rember is the body of workers member mentioned in opinions on journey discussion board for his useful customer service and the enterprise normally gets good reviews. Emails are spoke back inside 24 hours and generally provide asked facts.

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

Child Seat: $three.50/day

Additional Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $7.50/day

Thrifty does now not have a neighborhood internet site, thus facts is thru the international website. Coverage options or records regarding 1/3-birthday party coverage is not supplied at the reservation web site until one clicks ‘Protection Information’. Emails acquire a response within 24 hours, however won’t answer vicinity-unique questions. Reviews are often terrible due to pricing court cases.

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

Child Seat: $five/day

Booster: $five/day

Additional Driver: $12/day

GPS System: $11.99/day

Toyota is a large name; but, despite the fact that their website appears expert before everything glance, it really does not paintings, or at least it was no longer functioning as a way to gain quotations later than March 2015. Their on line quotes do no longer consist of income taxes. Emails get hold of rapid responses, however fees for different seasons seemed to be contradictory. However, Toyota has an awesome reputation on tour forums. Eight workplaces are positioned across the us of a.

Free Phone Call Option Via Website

Child Seat: $5/day

Cooler: $1.50/day

Additional Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $10/day

USave works in partnership with Fox and has 3 office locations. Insurance options are shown for the online quote, but it ought to be selected and ‘recalculate’ pressed, before it’s far included in the pricing. Emails acquire a reaction within 24 hours. The corporation acquire ordinary terrible opinions, even though there are a few high quality feedback made on journey boards.

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

Child Seat: $five/day

Additional Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $nine.Ninety five/day

Vamos is a local business enterprise that could be a famous preference for Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet professionals because of their customer support and pricing. The website is straightforward to apply with itemized expenses without a doubt displayed. The Live Chat option allows on the spot personalized quotes and solutions from English-speakme team of workers. The agency has 3 offices.

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

Child Seat: loose

Booster: free

Additional Driver: unfastened

GPS System: $eight/day

Wild Rider is a small, neighborhood enterprise located only in San Jose. The website is simple with 0.33-birthday celebration coverage covered inside the pricing. At the start of this studies, the pricing become now not updated, however this has considering the fact that been remedied. This car apartment operator stands proud via having most effective tremendous reviews and so is fairly encouraged by tour discussion board users. Owner, Thorsten, replies inside the hour to inquiries all through workplace hours.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $eight/day

Overall Summary


Adobe, Alamo, National, Service, Vamos, and Wild Rider offer clear and whole costs on their web sites. The different vehicle condo operators were much less obvious with surcharges or taxes, including airport taxes or income taxes. Pricing on extra extras have been now not constantly clean to find, and Avis, Thrifty and Toyota needed to be contacted for those information.


Levels of conversation have improved since the first evaluation, although it could appear sensible to request a local wide variety and verify answers with the Costa Rica workplace of the global automobile apartment operators, as international chat operators or those replying to emails, do now not usually appear 100% assured about neighborhood rules and can even supply incorrect information.

Be organized to exchange some of emails in an effort to get full solutions to questions with some of companies: Budget and Economy were mainly prone to this — requesting lots of facts so one can provide a citation. It isn’t unreasonable that contributors of body of workers operating in a 2nd language may omit elements of an e mail, so gift questions in clear and easy language.

Live Chat on both the Budget and Vamos websites mean facts may be supplied instantly and is still documented, unlike a cellphone name.


The contrast above shows that the pricing among corporations relies upon closely on the season and automobile class being taken into consideration, in preference to a clear reduce preference among more or less high priced apartment rates.

Customers want to keep in mind the pricing of other items, consisting of additional drivers or GPS system, and households will need to evaluate automobile seat rental pricing. Wild Rider offers the primary additional driving force totally free, Vamos do now not fee for any extras, besides the GPS, and in popular, the global firms have better prices for these extras than the nearby corporations.

So Who Do I Rent From?

It is clear that the nearby car condominium operators are nevertheless trumping the large names of their transparency and customer service while evaluating their websites and on line critiques. The difference from the preceding rate comparison from a couple of years ago is that the pricing has become extra hard to equate.

Adobe, Alamo, and National appear to rate properly as global automobile apartment operators. It is worth noting that National is the maximum high-priced in excessive season for the intermediate category, yet the most inexpensive in low season. Adobe and Alamo are center-ranked for pricing.

Wild Rider is exceptional in having 0 terrible critiques, but is only primarily based in San Jose and has a far smaller fleet of cars. Of the opposite neighborhood firms, Service and Vamos pop out properly and Vamos’ loose extra extras will attraction to finances-minded travelers and families with younger children. Service additionally offers these extras at low every day rates.

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