The Best Tips and Advice about Renting a Car in Costa Rica

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Many people have called me over the years about Renting a car in Costa Rica because they are confused about the prices they find by going direct compared to those they have been quoted on some of the famous travel sites. If you are looking to compare “apples with apples” make sure to check the following important details…

  1. Does the price of the car rental company or online site include insurance and are you required to buy it it upon arrival (up to $200 a week)!
  2. Does the price quoted by the rental car company include the 12% fee charged by the airport management for pickup (fee is on both rental price AND insurance).
  3. Do they GUARANTEE a car type or is it simply described as an “intermediate 4×4” or similar. This usually means a sub class of 4×4 and not the car you see in the online photo.

You should be aware and have answers to all of these potential issues in order to avoid any “surprises” when you arrive at the car rental agency in Costa Rica.

How Does It Work Once I Have Reserved My Car In Costa Rica?

When you arrive in Costa Rica the Car agency will meet you on your scheduled day, time & location. (Hotel pick up drop off in San Jose area is free. Other areas available but there are fees for certain ones.

Make sure to ask the car rental company to see what, if any, the price is. If you choose to pick up your airport at the airport, then you will need to let them know the exact arrival information (airline, time and flight number). The car company in Costa Rica will meet you there at arrival and take you to their office FREE of charge!

Once you meet with the car rental representative, they will ask for major credit card and valid drivers license both of which need to be in YOUR name! You MUST be 21 to rent! You MUST have available credit for the deposit. They will then go over all the paperwork and insurance information with you.

You will do the site inspection of the car and you will sign off on it. On the last day of the rental you will bring back the car to the specified location on your car travel voucher provided to you.

There are NO Refunds for unused service. so if you need to return the car early you can do so but you will not be refunded those days.  For information on Costa Rica Car Rental insurance, check out my car rental insurance post