Renting a car in Costa Rica.
Easy..... or not so easy...??
The best Costa Rica vacation includes a sense of adventure. Renting a car and driving around is also certainly an adventure! Costa Rica is so beautiful, no matter where you drive there will be something great to see. And for sure you will get lost... and you will be glad you did!
The best Costa Rica vacation includes a sense of adventure. Renting a car and driving around is also certainly an adventure! Costa Rica is so beautiful, no matter where you drive there will be something great to see. And for sure you will get lost... and you will be glad you did!

1. At your hotel. Nearly all hotels represent one of Costa Rica's rental car companies. They receive a commission and often the commission is more important than the daily rental rate of the company they represent.
2. With a broker, like Holiday cars, Car Del Mar, etc.
   A  broker is an intermediary between rental car agencies and consumers.   
   Brokers don't own rental cars. The car you rent is owned by one of     
   the rental car agencies.
3. With a rental car company (agency).
You will not find rental car companies at the airport, because  they have to add 12% airport concours tax to the cost of any car picked up at the airport. In order to avoid this all the companies have their office outside the airport area and offer a pickup service or car drop service at your hotel.
It is common to order a rental car via internet in advance to your arrival.

Looking at rental car prices you are confronted with advertising techniques. Rental car prices can be very attractive, but the cost of your car insurance can easily double or triple the total price.
The following price study shows how much the price can vary among the different companies per 01 January 2012:
                               high season     Min. req. insurance
                               week price $   week price $    insurance type    car type
Explorer                    156               + 7x18              CD-waiver             Aveo
Thrifty Car rental        162               +7x13              CD-waiver             Yaris
Budget                      163               +7x10              CD-waiver             Yaris
Europcar                    168              +7x15              CD-waiver             Yaris
Avis                           162               +7x16             CD-waiver            Nissan
Vamos                       168               +7x15              CD-waiver            Aerio
Adobe Rent a car         191              +7x13              CD-waiver            Getz
Poasrent a car            180               +7x21              CD-waiver            Nissan
Economy Rent a Car    186               +7x15              CD-waiver            Yaris
Avanti Rent a car         217              +7x15              CD-waiver            Nissan   
Toyota                       232               +7x14             CD-waiver             Yaris
Usave carrental           217               +2x7x15          CD-waiver             Nissan
Dollar RentaCar           210               +7x12             CD-waiver             Nissan
Mapache rentacar        223              +7x12              CD-waiver             Nissan
Alamo rent a car         252               +7x17              CD-waiver             Yaris     
Holidaycars                 227                +38               No-risk ins             Yaris
EconomyCarrentals      210🙂           incl.                No-risk ins            Yaris
Rentalcars                  315               incl                  No-risk ins            Yaris

Insurance cost is a daily price, that's explains x7. It covers mandatory +reduced CD.
EconomyCarrentals, Holidaycars, Rentalcars are international brokers and supply their cars mainly through THRIFTY. Also they include or offer a no-risk insurance for a very low price.
EconomyCarrentals offers the BEST rental price at this time

4 x 4 economy
                               week price $   week price $    type of insur.     car type
Alamo rent a car         354                +7x15             CD-waiver        Jimmy 
Economy RentaCar       235                +7x15            CD-waiver        Jimmy
Thrifty Car rental        204                +7x18             CD-waiver        Bego
Budget                      250                +7x15             CDwaiver          Bego
Mapache rent a car      244                +7x18            CD-waiver        Jimmy
Europcar                    204                +7x18            CD-waiver         Bego
Avis                          270                 +7x18            CD-waiver         Kia
Adobe Rent a car        291                 +7x19            CD-waiver         Bego
Dollar RentaCar          300                 +7x15             CD-waiver        Jimmy
Toyota                      299                 +7x18            CD-waiver         Bego
Avanti Rent a car        313                 +7x20            CD-waiver        Jimmy  
Wildrider                   340                  incl.              CD-waiver        Terios
Explorer                    228                  +7x18            CD-waiver        Terios  Vamos                      294                  +7x15            CD-waiver        Jimmy    
4x4 Rentals in CR        350                 +7x15            CD-waiver         Geo
EconomyCarrentals      271 🙂            incl               no-risk ins        Terios
Discount Rent a car     391                  incl.              no-risk ins         Jimmy
Rentalcars                 391                   incl.              no-risk ins         Jimmy
Holiday cars               346                  +38               no-risk ins         Jimmy      

EconomyCarrentals offers the BEST rental price at this time

Another price study, which also might be very interesting, shows where to find the lowest rental price for the same type of car at Costarican Rental car companies.  For this information you have to open the following website:

Finding a rental car is a part of this adventure but understanding all the car insurances is another part of this adventure.
As a rental car driver you are responsible for:
1. Damage to third parties, like injury, death of other persons, damage to their cars or properties. This also means damage to road constructions, like bridges etc.
2. Any damage to your rental car, not only by a collision but also by vandalism, theft, or bad road conditions (tires, wheel suspension)

ad 1) Third person liability: 
By law any car on the road is required to be at least insured for LIABILITY to third persons (mandatory insurance). This insurance is called TPL (third party liability) and is offered by INS, a government insurance company.
TPL is mandatory and provides only minimal coverage, namely damage to someone else's property. Furthermore your own risk is 20%.
Voluntary you can buy an additional SLP or SLI ( supplemental Liability Protection/Insurance). This insurance covers the 20% own risk, injury and death of other persons. Be sure you read the conditions of SLP/SLI. It might differ per rental car company.

ad 2) Damage to rental car: 
Rental car companies require that you also buy at least a CDW insurance. A collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance covers damage to the rented vehicle as a result of collision. Your own risk starts from us$750 to $1500 depending on the type of car. This amount of own risk has to be covered by a deposit.
For THEFT you can voluntary buy a LDW (Loss damage waiver). Also this insurance has a own risk from us$750 to $1500 depending on the type of car.
For vandalism you can voluntary buy a VAI (Vandalism Insurance).
To reduce your own risk you can also voluntary buy an API (Additional Protection Insurance) or a FCI (Full Cover Insurance). You have to read carefully the conditions of the API or FCI. It will not mean that your own risk is really ZERO.

Now you might understand that an attractive low rental car price can end up in an unexpected high price. But all depends on HOW MUCH own risk you like to take.
But there is an attractive cheap solution for a garanteed ZERO own risk insurance by buying a rental car insurance offered by in England in stead of all offered voluntary  insurances by rental car companies.
For 5 Euro per day in stead of us$ 20++ (rental car company) you have zero own risk. An other option is that you buy an annual rental car insurance for 70 Euro's
(more economically when renting a car at least 2 weeks).

For your own interest:
1)Always take pictures from the complete contour of your car when you receive it from the rental car company, as a proof for possible disputes later on.
2)Do a light test before accepting the car. Roads are badly illuminated
3)Let them show you the spare tire, the jack and the wrench. Avoid that you are helpless when you get a flat tire.

Links to the websites of all the rental companies in Costa Rica:

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