Car Rental in Costa Rica: Overview

Visiting Costa Rica by car is easy – despite of scarce street signs and sometimes bumpy roads. We will provide you with maps and accurate descriptions of how to find your destination. A further option is to hire a personal driver who is familiar with the roads. This is certainly the best way to get to know the country and especially to travel around more remote areas.
Outside San José’s urban area a four-wheel drive is indispensable. Note that Costa Rican rental cars cannot be brought over the border (to Panama or Nicaragua)!

 

We cooperate with various rental agencies to assure the Best Car Rental service, as well as flawless vehicles. Because of our experience and renown we negotiate beneficial rates for our customers: we offer the same rental prices as the rental agencies (and special prices for longer rental periods).
We are not tied to any rental agency and our goal is the same as yours: to rent cars at the lowest rates with reliable companies. Get an offer for a rental car now!

 

Available Rental Cars

We suggest renting one of the car models featured below. Further vehicles as well as special arrangements are available on demand.

Double Traction 4x4 (all-terrain vehicles)

DAIHATSU BEGO
 

  • 5 passengers
  • 5 doors, trunk
  • manual transmission
  • 1500 cc (gasoline)

Our favourite choice for small groups of 2-4 persons.

DAIHATSU TERIOS

  • 4 passengers
  • 5 doors, trunk
  • manual transmission
  • 1300 cc (gasoline)
  • surf racks

The suspension feels a bit stiff at times and the road adhesion can be sketchy on wet ground.

TOYOTA RAV 4 PLUS

  • 5 passengers
  • 5 doors, luggage compartment
  • manual or automatic transmission
  • 2400 cc (gasoline)

A comfortable and silent car for appropriate travelling on rough grounds.

4x4 Cars (all-terrain vehicles)

TOYOTA FORTUNER
 

  • 5 passengers
  • 5 doors
  • automatic transmission
  • 3000 cc Turbo Diesel

 

A true 4 x 4 with differential lock, suited for comfortable and safe driving on rough terrains.

TOYOTA LAND CRUISER PRADO

  • 5-8 passengers
  • 5 doors
  • manual or automatic transmission
  • 2 800 cc (diesel)

The largest 4x4 in Costa Rica. A great all-terrain vehicle with good road grip and luxurious comfort.

TOYOTA LAND CRUISER FJ
 

  • 5 passengers
  • 3 doors
  • automatic transmission
  • 4000 cc V6 engine

 

4 x 4 with permanent 4 wheel drive. 4 large suitcases and 2 small bags fit in the luggage compartment. One of the most powerful all-terrain cars to be rented in Costa Rica with a superb V6 engine.

SUZUKI GRAN VITARA II

  • 4 passengers
  • manual or automatic transmission
  • 2500 cc
  • permanent 4x4

A comfortable and silent car for appropriate travelling on rough grounds.

SUZUKI JIMNY

  • 4 passengers (max. 3 adults + 1 child)
  • 3 doors
  • manual transmission
  • 1300 cc (gasoline)

The first “true” 4x4, ideal for a couple with child.

TOYOTA L.C. STATION WAGON

  • 8 passengers
  • 5 doors
  • automatic transmission

The largest and most powerful all-terrain vehicle (5 suitcases & 2 bags), luxurios incl. mini refrigerator.

With Personal Driver

HYUNDAI STAREX GRX 2007

    • max. 10 passengers (incl. 2 folding seats)
    • 3 doors, 1 back door
    • 2500 cc Turbo Diesel

Ideal for a group of 6-8 persons with a lot of luggage. Suitable for difficult terrains and very comfortable.

MERCEDES SPRINTER 2007

  • 11 seats
  • 3 doors & luggage compartment door
  • panoramic windows
  • 2148 cc Turbo Diesel
mercedes sprinter

The trunk offers enough space for 5 medium-sized suitcases and 2 small bags. Ideal for groups of 9-10 persons for cheap roundtrips with driver.

Limousines

TOYOTA YARIS

  • manual transmission
  • 4 passengers
  • 4 doors, luggage compartment
  • 1500 cc (gasoline)

This car is only suitable for asphalt roads!

Minivans

TOYOTA HIACE

  • 15 passengers (incl. 3 folding seats)
  • 3 doors
  • manual transmission
  • 2800 or 3000 cc diesel

Ideal for groups of 7-8 persons travelling far with a lot of luggage (the back bench can be folded down). Suitable for difficult roads.

NISSAN URVAN

  • 12 passengers (incl. 3 folding seats)
  • 4 doors
  • manual transmission
  • 3000 cc diesel

Ideal for groups of 9-10 persons travelling far with a lot of luggage (the back bench can be folded down). Suitable for difficult roads.

 

hotels

Get a price offer for your rental car now

 

(Rental cars are subject to availability)

 


Important Driving Information

Delivery & Return

To hotels in San José, its agglomeration and some major destinations the delivery is free of charge (ask as for more details).

There is no additional charge if the car is returned at an international airport (San José and Liberia) or at a major destination and San José. Having the car picked up in other places will cost between 15-175 $, depending on the location.

Fines

The police (policia de tránsito) are regularly performing speed checks. In case the police should stop you we advise never to pay fines directly to the police officer, as this is not intended in Costa Rican law. The authorities are bound to write an accident record, which you will receive in order to pay the fine to your car rental agency. Attention: if you do not proceed according to this scheme it is possible that you will be additionally charged on your credit card for the fine (this could happen weeks or months later)! So be aware: never pay fines directly to the police!

Note that the Costa Rican governement has started setting up a net of fixed speeding cameras throughout the country. If you are caught speeding more than 20km/h over the allowed limit, expect high fines! The fines will have to be paid through the rental car company and charged to your credit card.

Driver’s License

Most European and North American driver’s licenses are accepted in Costa Rica (i.e. an international license is no longer necessary). The minimum age to rent a car is between 21 (Adobe) and 25 years (Mapache). The renter has to have been in possession of a license for at least 3 years.

Credit Cards

For reasons of security and insurance you can only rent a car with a valid credit card. A blank credit card imprint will be made as a security deposit. This serves only as a security for the rental agency and the imprint will be destroyed when you return the car (in undamaged state).

Insurances

Insurances are included in our rates but there is a deductible of 850-1500 $, depending on the car and the agency. Most insurances are valid only for one person to drive the car. Tell us beforehand in case you are travelling with several drivers. Unlike in other countries, payment with credit cards (like VISA Premier, AMEX, etc.) does not replace insurances nor does it exempt from paying the deductible in case of an accident.

Deductible:

(Deductible means the part of any claim that is not covered by the insurance.) Between 850-1500 $, depending on the rental agency and the car model.

Full Cover Insurance:

We strongly recommend to effect a Full Cover Insurance (to be arranged directly with the rental agency). In that case the rental agency will bear 100% of the deductible cost (at Mapache; other agencies will pay 80%). Full Cover Insurances cost between 10-15 $ per day. In case of self-inflicted accidents only 80% of the costs will be provided for. This supplementary insurance covers all damages to the vehicle except tires (check them at the arrival of your car) and the theft of your personal belongings (if the car was unlocked and/or left “unattended”; we therefore advise you not to leave anything in the car). The Full Cover Insurance is also invalid in case of driving under the influence, non-compliance with traffic rules, motor immersion (e.g. in case of driving through a river) or if the car was used on beaches (it is illegal to drive outside roads in Costa Rica). The possible 20% of remaining costs can be covered with a supplementary “third party damage” insurance for 3 $ per day.

Seat Belts:

Since April 2004 seat belts are obligatory in the front and the back. Be aware of frequent police controls and high fines in case of violation.

Fuel

Normally the vehicles are delivered with a full tank (check at delivery). We advise to return the car with a full tank. Otherwise 10 $ will be charged per eighth of the missing gasoline (or a flat rate between 50 and 80 $).

Accidents

In case of an accident call the police which will write an accident statement. Do not move your car from the place of accident – otherwise the insurance will not pay for the damage! This might lead to a massive traffic jam; try not to care about it and wait it out…. The procedure is the same if you find the car damaged in your absence: don’t remove the vehicle and wait for the police.

Car Rental with Personal Driver

Book on time if you desire a personal driver during high season (Dec-Jan, summertime). The driver has to be hired at least for two consecutive days, and his service is limited to 8 hours per day. The service includes: car rental, all insurances, unlimited driving kilometres and a bilingual driver (Spanish/English). Board and lodging of the driver are included as well. Not included are: fuel, road and parking tolls and ferry crossings. Please note: if you rent a car with driver you will not be allowed to drive yourself.

 

Consult the section Driving in Costa Rica for more information or read our distance chart

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