Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica 2015

Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica

Rate Comparisons for 2015

Car condo in Costa Rica is an probability to uncover the distant seashores and quiet corners of this breathtakingly pretty country. Travel with out the restrictions set by public delivery timetables and with freedom over employees tours. For the unprepared traveler; however, car condo costs and providers might be a impolite surprise and a blow to that holiday budget.

Renting a car to your holiday will perhaps be essentially some of the foremost dear edge of your budget, so knowing the phrases and managing expectations might be very important. The news under isn't intended to be an exhaustive manual, however it surely ought to set you on the trail toward an advised selection to your car condo wants in Costa Rica.

Why is car condo so expensive?

Visitors from outdoor of Costa Rica are usually stunned by the expense of car rental. While lodge rooms, restaurant payments and excursions are decrease than the costs paid at home, it will possibly manifest unusual that car condo ought to be extra costly.

There are NULL clean causes for this excessive cost:

All vans in Costa Rica are imported and a tax is imposed. Due to this heavy taxation, the expense of buying a car is upper than it will be in unique industrialized countries. There are some car condo operators who employ older vans so as to cut back their costs.

The expense of essential insurance (see below).
Factors that Affect Car Rental Costs

• Mandatory Insurance

Third-party insurance, which would possibly be identified as TPI, PDW (Partial Damage Waiver), SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance) and unique acronyms, is a authorized requirement. Car condo operators ought to fee the purchaser for this policy which would possibly or would possibly now not be clean inside the citation acquired by the customer.

The insurance itself isn't the issue. After all, many unique countries require car renters to pay a essential insurance; including: New Zealand, Italy and Mexico, as properly as a host of the united states states, like California. The situation that causes contention in Costa Rica is that this expense isn't at all times displayed virtually on the car condo operator's site or in a quote. Customers then notice the extra expense of their condo upon arrival.

The expense of essential insurance varies from brand to brand and can rely on the car class that's being rented as well. The expense for a small sedan would possibly be as low as $12 per day, while a top rate 4x4 car might be as so a lot as $25 for insurance per day. This is moreover to the condo cost.

Credit playing cards in North America usually supply car insurance as an extra perk to the credits score card holder and so North Americans in particular, are unused to having to pay for insurance on better of condo costs. However, no credits score card will disguise this insurance requirement.

Do ask if the given quote contains third-party insurance and verify the costs on the car condo operator's website.

• Collision Damage Waiver

This isn't insurance, but a waiver. The primary stage will include a deductible that varies, but might be as so a lot as $1,500. For a upper every day rate, a 0 deductible CDW would possibly be bought to relieve the renter of any monetary obligation in case of destroy to, or theft thereof, the vehicle.

Many renters will achieve their CDW via their credits score card. However, it's value noting that the obligation for making any insurance declare is on the purchaser and never with the car condo operator. Some renters would possibly opt for to buy extra in-house policy to keep away from having this responsibility.

There might be car condo businesses which tough promote their very own policy plans via making certain peace of mind, but ultimately, here's the renter's decision. It is value remembering that car condo brand employees, like in unique elements of the world, will typically earn commission for insurance sales.

If the customer's credits score card would now not supply CDW, the purchaser might be required to buy this in-house coverage.

Car condo operators require written evidence that the customer's credits score card adds CDW. Ask the car condo operator for the precise files of what they require and in what form. Some would possibly settle for a forwarded electronic mail from the credits score card company, but others would possibly ask for a printed copy to be presented on the time of rental.

• Deposit

The deposit quantity required will rely on despite even if the purchaser chooses to make use of the car condo operator's in-house CDW or takes this policy via a credits score card. Expect to pay a so a lot upper deposit if the in-house CDW is declined. The deposit would possibly also rely on car brand rented. This amount, which might be hung on the renter's credits score card till the cease of the condo period, might be from $750 as a lot as as so a lot as $3,500. The deposit ought to take no extra than five days to be refunded to the credits score card on the vehicle's return. Some car condo businesses will settle for debit playing cards for deposit hold, however the return time for this quantity can take weeks.

Do guarantee that the deposit is calculated inside the holiday finances as an unexpected grasp of a couple of thousand funds on a credits score card might otherwise severely cut into holiday spending.

• Airport Taxes

Customers that employ from a car condo operator's counter inside an airport constructing are obliged to pay the airport tax.

Those car condo operators with a counter at San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) are: Alamo/National, Budget, Dollar, Economy and Hertz. These companies will upload an extra 12% tax to the condo cost.

Those car condo operators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Budget and Economy. These companies will upload an extra 3% tax to the condo cost.

To keep away from this tax, take an airport shuttle with the car condo operator to an workplace situated outdoor of the airport grounds.

• Surcharges and Other Taxes

There are a host of unique obligatory fees that car condo operators would possibly upload into the condo cost, screen on-screen or reward inside the quote, or go away undisclosed till the customer's arrival. These potentially hidden costs would possibly manifest small whilst seen individually, but these are typically every day rates, so they'll upload up fast!

These would possibly include:

• License Plate Fee: Less than $2 daily, but differs from brand to company.

• Environmental Tax: Less than $1 daily.

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

• Car Washing Fee: Bring again a really grimy car and the cleansing fee would possibly be brought onto the last payment. One car condo operator fees $20 for this extra service.

• Fuel Charges: If the gasoline tank isn't stuffed to the comparable stage simply due to the actual fact it was on the bounce of the condo period, then the car condo brand will fee (usually to the nearest eighth of a tank). This fee is dictated by the car condo operator and it's now not topic to the governmentally set gasoline fee that can be discovered at any gas station.

Where Should I Reserve the Vehicle?

A standard confusion for tourists reserving a condo car is the discrepancy among world sites for car condo operators and the Costa Rican site for the comparable brand. Frequently the world sites are unaware of, or fail to disclose, insurances, taxes and surcharges that might be charged on the counter. This would possibly be resulting from the truth that many recognized car condo operator manufacturers in Costa Rica aren't a overseas department of the branded car condo operator, but as an alternative are a franchise operation. This thing can also be value thinking in phrases of expectations concerning purchaser carrier and unique finer details. The Costa Rican franchise workplace would possibly have their very own variety of operating, aside from the comparable insurance guidelines and hints that the purchaser would possibly have experienced in unique elements of the world.

Understandably then, a web reservation is finest made via the native site and never the world site, anywhere possible. A quantity of companies don't have a native website. In this case, do verify the files with a native employees member via the phone and ask for written confirmation of the quote. Experience with stay chat on the world sites suggests that while employees is educated on phrases and conditions governing the essential workplace (usually U.S.A.); they recognize little of the insurance guidelines that ought to be adhered to in Costa Rica.

Car Rental Comparisons

In May/June of 2013, I in contrast the pricing and providers of a host of car condo operators in Costa Rica and revealed the findings. To my surprise, the article is nonetheless being plagiarized steadily throughout the Internet which suggests that it's nonetheless valuable and so an replace was required. The costs 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 condo operators with eight others pending approval. However, there are many extra businesses that employ vans to visitors. The car condo operators chose are these which might be most commonly utilized by travelers:
















Wild Rider

Exclusion of Companies from Final Comparison

Budget, Economy, Payless, and Toyota had been contacted, but these 4 companies didn't supply correct on-line rates. Economy and Budget's sites have one price, despite the dates entered and users have to reserve a car so as for them to honor the fee shown. Toyota's site was unfortunately only operating up till March. Beyond that, the pricing displayed $0 for the remaining of the year. Payless has this disclaimer on their website: "Taxes and surcharges aren't inside our manage and would possibly swap with out notice."

Sending particular person inquiries for every term led to inconsistent results: Budget bought the comparable fee for all three investigated time durations whilst receiving an electronic mail request, which is truly unlikely; Economy responded with unique quotes for the comparable dates from unique members of staff; and Toyota's emailed quotes for time durations previous March's costs indicated on-line didn't correspond to the March fees quoted (perhaps the emailed quotes contained taxes that had been now not proven online). Payless can supply quotes via electronic mail and telephone, but had been now not consistent with pricing for unique seasons.

Avis is purely excluded from the fee comparison, as they don't have an intermediate SUV class of their fleet.

Comparison Information

Car condo rate, all taxes and surcharges, and third-party insurance costs are (supposedly) calculated and ranked accordingly under founded mostly on the week's condo of a BeGo or comparable intermediate 4x4 from a San Jose/Alajuela region (not from the airport).

Rates are calculated on a weekly foundation and divided by seven to supply a every day expense which is extra unquestionably comparable. As now not all pricing is totally transparent, the costs are as correct as you may possibly founded mostly on the news equipped from the car condo operators' websites, cellphone calls, and/or emails. Airport taxes aren't covered in these figures.

Shoulder Season (Quote for July 13 via 20)

1. USave $43.37

2. Service $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 via 20)

1. National $37.04

2. USave $43.37

3. Dollar $46.49

4. Adobe $52.57

5. Vamos $53.15

6. Service $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 via 20)

1. Dollar $55.92

2. USave $56.22

3. Hertz $56.37

4. Fox $59.36

5. Thrifty $64.69

6. Service $66.63

7. Vamos $67.14

8. Alamo $69.56

9. Wild Rider $70.00

10. Adobe $70.63

11. National $73.90

Summary of Comparison

Interestingly, there isn't one clean dear or low fee brand from these compared. The edition in score among seasons is marked and users ought to imagine their holiday dates whilst picking the car condo operator. For example, Thrifty seems simply due to the actual fact essentially some of the foremost pricey for equally low and shoulder season, but are just in fourth role inside the scores for High Season.

It can also be tremendous that pricing isn't consistent with score with car condo operators in unique car categories. For example, Vamos' pricing is the least expensive for a top rate car inside the shoulder season; though they aren't first in any scores for the intermediate class and Adobe which seems competitive are essentially some of the foremost dear for this term and car category.

Information on Car Rental Operators

Adobe Rent-A-Car is a native car condo operator that has eleven workplaces throughout the country. The site is clean and clean to make use of and now not using a obvious hidden costs. The essential insurance expense is displayed as edge of the on-line quote. The brand receives combined evaluations online, but extra sure than destructive feedback are made. Emails achieve a respond inside 24 hours, but would possibly now not totally respond the questions asked.

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

Child Seat: $3/day

Booster: $1/day

Additional Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $9/day

Alamo works in partnership with National and has 13 workplaces throughout the country. As with many huge names, Alamo Costa Rica is a franchise and never a department of Alamo itself. Third-party insurance and primary CDW are covered inside the on-line quotation, though the CDW would possibly be refused upon presentation of evidence of policy via the customer's credits score card. This makes the pricing manifest excessive on first glance, especially when, now not like unique car condo operators, Alamo contains airport taxes of their on-line citation and so their pricing is honest, but seems so a lot upper than unique companies as a result. Pricing is unique on the world site of the company, though the phrases and conditions do state the fees that might be paid on arrival. This pricing discrepancy is the lead trigger of destructive evaluations for this company. 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' site obliges one to opt for a car safe practices option, however it surely fails to screen a last citation whole or fee for the policy chose on-line till an emailed quote is sent. Coverage costs would possibly be obtained by clicking on the possibility 'Protections Explained' on the backside of the screen.

No Toll-Free Phone Number

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9.99/day

Budget has a site that's clean to use, however the pricing given is simply due to the actual fact the comparable for all seasons, suggesting that it's now not correct. Email responses had been usually fast, but some had been left unanswered. Emailed quotes confirmed the comparable pricing for all seasons simply due to the actual fact the site did. Mandatory insurance isn't covered on the on-line quote, however the small print states that here's payable on the counter. Budget receives combined on-line reviews.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $14.99/day

Dollar seems to have very competitive rates, but airport taxes might be utilized if the car is being collected from the airport's counters. One would possibly notice this of their phrases and conditions, but now not of their on-line quotes. Car washing fee is enforced for very grimy vehicles. There are 4 workplaces in Liberia and San Jose. Email reaction is inside 24 hours. Dollar receives combined evaluations from on-line journey forums.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9/day

Economy has twelve workplaces round the country. They have no Costa Rican website. Scroll down on their web page to notice and click on on on insurance costs. Airport taxes aren't covered inside the quote. Emails achieve the two a fast reaction or no reaction at all. Economy has the worst on-line repute of any huge identify car condo 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 situated at equally world airports. Emails achieve a reaction inside 24 hours. Online evaluations are largely poor.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $10/day (unless spouse)

GPS System: $9.99/day

Hertz has six workplaces inside the country. Reservations would possibly be made via a Costa Rican website. Initial on-line quote would now not contain gross income taxes, however it surely does contain the CDW -- though CDW would possibly be waived with evidence of credits score card coverage. Emails achieve a reaction inside 24 hours. Mediocre evaluations on journey forums.

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 workplaces in operation throughout the country. The brand has a Central American website, as properly simply due to the actual fact the world site, which virtually exhibits the breakdown of pricing. CDW is covered inside the on-line quote, however it surely would possibly be unchecked to get a quote with just the essential insurance. Note that the airport tax is covered inside the on-line quote as well. Instant responses to questions are accessible via Live Chat on their website. Reviews are mixed, but there are extra sure than negative.

Free Phone Call Option Via Website

Child Seat: $6/day

Booster: $6/day

Additional Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $12/day

Payless is edge of the world car condo brand and has no Costa Rican website. Online quotes don't contain third-party insurance, though the news in this would possibly be discovered by studying the insurance guidelines for the San Jose location. Emails achieve a reaction in a lot less than 24 hours, but have a tendency to refer again to the website, truly than new information. Reviews are extra destructive than positive.

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-PAYLESS

Child Seat: $5/day

Booster: $5/day

Additional Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Service is a native brand with five workplaces inside the country. On an otherwise clean website, click on on 'Reserve Now' and never 'Get a Quote' for a web fee check. Rember is the employees member said in evaluations on journey discussion board for his valuable purchaser carrier and the brand largely will get nice reviews. Emails are answered inside 24 hours and usually supply asked information.

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

Child Seat: $3.50/day

Additional Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $7.50/day

Thrifty would now not have a native website, therefore news is via the world website. Coverage recommendations or news relating to third-party insurance isn't equipped on the reservation webpage till one clicks 'Protection Information'. Emails achieve a reaction inside 24 hours, but would possibly now not respond location-specific questions. Reviews are commonly destructive resulting from pricing complaints.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

Booster: $5/day

Additional Driver: $12/day

GPS System: $11.99/day

Toyota is a huge name; however, even though their site seems skilled at first glance, it merely would now not work, or a minimum of it was now not functioning so as to achieve quotations later than March 2015. Their on-line quotes don't contain gross income taxes. Emails achieve quickly responses, but quotes for unique seasons seemed to be contradictory. However, Toyota has a nice repute on journey forums. Eight workplaces are situated throughout the country.

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 three workplace locations. Insurance recommendations are proven for the on-line quote, however it surely ought to be chose and 'recalculate' pressed, earlier than it's covered inside the pricing. Emails achieve a reaction inside 24 hours. The brand achieve general poor reviews, though there are some sure feedback made on journey forums.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

Additional Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Vamos is a native brand that's a well-liked selection for Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet mavens simply due to the actual fact of their purchaser carrier and pricing. The site is clean to make use of with itemized fees virtually displayed. The Live Chat possibility allows on the spot personalized quotes and solutions from English-speaking staff. The brand has three offices.

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

Child Seat: free

Booster: free

Additional Driver: free

GPS System: $8/day

Wild Rider is a small, native brand situated only in San Jose. The site is clean with third-party insurance covered inside the pricing. At the bounce of this research, the pricing was now not as a lot as date, but this has since been remedied. This car condo operator stands out by having only sure evaluations and so is truly advised by journey discussion board users. Owner, Thorsten, replies inside the hour to inquiries throughout workplace hours.

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

Child Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $8/day

Overall Summary


Adobe, Alamo, National, Service, Vamos, and Wild Rider supply clean and entire fees on their websites. The unique car condo operators had been a lot less obvious with surcharges or taxes, comparable to airport taxes or gross income taxes. Pricing on extra extras had been now not at all times clean to find, and Avis, Thrifty and Toyota needed to be contacted for these details.


Levels of communication have stronger because the primary comparison, though it will manifest sensible to request a native quantity and verify solutions with the Costa Rica workplace of the world car condo operators, as world chat operators or these replying to emails, don't at all times manifest 100 percent certain about native insurance guidelines and would possibly even give unsuitable information.

Be ready to substitute a host of emails so as to get full solutions to questions with a host of companies: Budget and Economy had been specifically susceptible to this -- requesting so a whole lot of news so as to current a quotation. It isn't unreasonable that members of employees operating in a moment language would possibly miss sides of an email, so reward questions in clean and clean language.

Live Chat on equally the Budget and Vamos sites imply news might be equipped abruptly and is nonetheless documented, now not like a cellphone call.


The comparison above exhibits that the pricing among companies relies closely on the season and car class being considered, truly than a clean cut selection among extra or a lot less dear condo rates.

Customers have to imagine the pricing of unique items, comparable to extra drivers or GPS system, and households will desire to evaluate car seat condo pricing. Wild Rider deals the primary extra driver for free, Vamos don't fee for any extras, besides the GPS, and in general, the world companies have upper fees for these extras than the native companies.