Information to Automobile Rental Firms in Costa Rica 2015

Information to Automobile Rental Firms in Costa Rica

Charge Comparisons for 2015

Automobile rental in Costa Rica is a chance to discover the distant seashores and quiet corners of this breathtakingly lovely nation. Journey with out the restrictions set by public transport timetables and with freedom over group excursions. For the unprepared traveler; nevertheless, automobile rental prices and companies is usually a impolite shock and a blow to that trip finances.

Renting a car in your trip will in all probability be the costliest a part of your finances, so understanding the phrases and managing expectations is essential. The data under shouldn’t be meant to be an exhaustive guide, however it ought to set you on the trail in direction of an knowledgeable determination in your automobile rental wants in Costa Rica.

Why is automobile rental so costly?

Guests from exterior of Costa Rica are sometimes shocked by the price of automobile rental. Whereas resort rooms, restaurant payments and excursions are decrease than the costs paid at house, it could seem unusual that automobile rental needs to be extra expensive.

There are two easy causes for this excessive value:

  1. All autos in Costa Rica are imported and a tax is imposed. On account of this heavy taxation, the price of buying a car is larger than it could be in different industrialized nations. There are some automobile rental operators who lease older autos with a purpose to cut back their prices.
  2. The price of obligatory insurance coverage (see under).

Components that Have an effect on Automobile Rental Prices

Necessary Insurance coverage

Third-party insurance coverage, which can be generally known as TPI, PDW (Partial Injury Waiver), SLI (Supplementary Legal responsibility Insurance coverage) and different acronyms, is a authorized requirement. Automobile rental operators should cost the shopper for this protection which can or might not be clear within the citation obtained by the shopper.

The insurance coverage itself shouldn’t be the difficulty. In spite of everything, many different nations require automobile renters to pay a compulsory insurance coverage; together with: New Zealand, Italy and Mexico, in addition to a variety of the U.S. states, like California. The difficulty that causes rivalry in Costa Rica is that this value shouldn’t be at all times displayed clearly on the automobile rental operator’s web site or in a quote. Prospects then uncover the extra value of their rental upon arrival.

The price of obligatory insurance coverage varies from firm to firm and can depend upon the automobile class that’s being rented as nicely. The price for a small sedan could also be as little as $12 per day, whereas a premium 4×4 car could possibly be as a lot as $25 for insurance coverage per day. That is along with the rental value.

Bank cards in North America often provide automobile insurance coverage as a further perk to the bank card holder and so North Individuals specifically, are unused to having to pay for insurance coverage on high of rental prices. Nonetheless, no bank card will cowl this insurance coverage requirement.

Do ask if the given quote consists of third-party insurance coverage and examine the costs on the automobile rental operator’s web site.

Collision Injury Waiver

This isn’t insurance coverage, however a waiver. The essential degree will include a deductible that varies, however could possibly be as a lot as $1,500. For the next day by day fee, a zero deductible CDW could also be bought to alleviate the renter of any monetary accountability in case of harm to, or theft thereof, the car.

Many renters will receive their CDW via their bank card. Nonetheless, it’s value noting that the accountability for making any insurance coverage declare is on the shopper and never with the automobile rental operator. Some renters could select to buy further in-house protection to keep away from having this accountability.

There will probably be automobile rental companies which arduous promote their very own protection plans via guaranteeing peace of thoughts, however in the end, that is the renter’s determination. It’s value remembering that automobile rental firm workers, like in different elements of the world, will typically earn fee for insurance coverage gross sales.

If the shopper’s bank card doesn’t present CDW, the shopper will probably be required to buy this in-house protection.

Automobile rental operators require written proof that the shopper’s bank card gives CDW. Ask the automobile rental operator for the precise particulars of what they require and in what kind. Some could settle for a forwarded electronic mail from the bank card firm, however others could ask for a printed copy to be offered on the time of rental.


The deposit quantity required will depend upon whether or not the shopper chooses to make use of the automobile rental operator’s in-house CDW or takes this protection via a bank card. Count on to pay a a lot larger deposit if the in-house CDW is declined. The deposit might also depend upon automobile mannequin rented. This quantity, which will probably be held on the renter’s bank card till the tip of the rental interval, might be from $750 as much as as a lot as $3,500. The deposit ought to take not more than 5 days to be refunded to the bank card on the car’s return. Some automobile rental companies will settle for debit playing cards for deposit maintain, however the return time for this quantity can take weeks.

Do be certain that the deposit is calculated within the trip finances as an surprising maintain of some thousand {dollars} on a bank card might in any other case severely lower into trip spending.

Airport Taxes

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

These automobile rental operators with a counter at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria Worldwide Airport (SJO) are: Alamo/Nationwide, Finances, Greenback, Financial system and Hertz. These firms will add a further 12% tax to the rental value.

These automobile rental operators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros Worldwide Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Finances and Financial system. These firms will add a further 3% tax to the rental value.

To keep away from this tax, take an airport shuttle with the automobile rental operator to an workplace situated exterior of the airport grounds.

Surcharges and Different Taxes

There are a variety of different compulsory charges that automobile rental operators could add into the rental value, show on-screen or present within the quote, or depart undisclosed till the shopper’s arrival. These doubtlessly hidden prices could appear small when seen individually, however these are usually day by day charges, so they are going to add up quick!

These could embrace:

License Plate Charge: Lower than $2 day by day, however differs from firm to firm.

Environmental Tax: Lower than $1 day by day.

Gross sales Tax: All gross sales transactions in Costa Rica are subjected to a 12% government-imposed gross sales tax.

Automobile Washing Charge: Deliver again an exceptionally soiled automobile and the cleansing charge could also be added onto the ultimate fee. One automobile rental operator prices $20 for this extra service.

Gas Prices: If the gas tank shouldn’t be crammed to the identical degree because it was at the beginning of the rental interval, then the automobile rental firm will cost (often to the closest eighth of a tank). This cost is dictated by the automobile rental operator and it isn’t topic to the governmentally set gas value that will be discovered at any gasoline station.

The place Ought to I Reserve the Automobile?

A standard confusion for vacationers reserving a rental automobile is the discrepancy between worldwide web sites for automobile rental operators and the Costa Rican web site for a similar model. Ceaselessly the worldwide web sites are unaware of, or fail to reveal, insurances, taxes and surcharges that will probably be charged on the counter. This can be on account of the truth that many acknowledged automobile rental operator manufacturers in Costa Rica aren’t a overseas department of the branded automobile rental operator, however as an alternative are a franchise operation. This issue can also be value contemplating by way of expectations regarding customer support and different finer particulars. The Costa Rican franchise workplace could have their very own fashion of working, other than the identical insurance policies and tips that the shopper could have skilled in different elements of the world.

Understandably then, a web-based reservation is finest made via the native web site and never the worldwide website, wherever doable. A variety of firms don’t have an area web site. On this case, do examine the main points with an area employees member by way of the phone and ask for written affirmation of the quote. Expertise with stay chat on the worldwide web sites means that whereas employees is educated on phrases and situations governing the principle workplace (often U.S.A.); they perceive little of the insurance policies that have to be adhered to in Costa Rica.

Automobile Rental Comparisons

In Could/June of 2013, I in contrast the pricing and companies of a variety of automobile rental operators in Costa Rica and revealed the findings. To my shock, the article remains to be being plagiarized often throughout the Web which means that it’s nonetheless helpful and so an replace was required. The costs for this comparability have been obtained in December 2014 and January 2015.

The ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) states that there are thirty registered automobile rental operators with eight others pending approval. Nonetheless, there are various extra companies that lease vehicles to guests. The automobile rental operators chosen are these that are most often utilized by vacationers:






Financial system










Wild Rider

Exclusion of Firms from Last Comparability

Finances, Financial system, Payless, and Toyota have been contacted, however these 4 firms didn’t present correct on-line charges. Financial system and Finances’s web sites have one value, whatever the dates entered and prospects want to order a car to ensure that them to honor the worth proven. Toyota’s web site was sadly solely working up till March. Past that, the pricing displayed $zero for the rest of the yr. Payless has this disclaimer on their web site: “Taxes and surcharges aren’t inside our management and will change with out discover.”

Sending particular person inquiries for every time interval resulted in inconsistent outcomes: Finances supplied the identical value for all three investigated time intervals when receiving an electronic mail request, which is extremely unlikely; Financial system responded with totally different quotes for a similar dates from totally different members of employees; and Toyota’s emailed quotes for time intervals previous March’s costs indicated on-line didn’t correspond to the March charges quoted (maybe the emailed quotes contained taxes that weren’t proven on-line). Payless can present quotes by way of electronic mail and phone, however weren’t according to pricing for various seasons.

Avis is barely excluded from the worth comparability, as they don’t have an intermediate SUV class of their fleet.

Comparability Data

Automobile rental fee, all taxes and surcharges, and third-party insurance coverage prices are (supposedly) calculated and ranked accordingly under primarily based on the week’s rental of a BeGo or related intermediate 4×4 from a San Jose/Alajuela location (not from the airport).

Charges are calculated on a weekly foundation and divided by seven to offer a day by day value which is extra simply comparable. As not all pricing is totally clear, the costs are as correct as doable primarily based on the data offered from the automobile rental operators’ web sites, telephone calls, and/or emails. Airport taxes aren’t included 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. Greenback $63.35

9. Vamos $64.15

10. Nationwide $67.04

11. Thrifty $74.39

Low Season (Quote for Could 13 via 20)

1. Nationwide $37.04

2. USave $43.37

3. Greenback $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

Excessive Season (Quote for March 13 via 20)

1. Greenback $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. Nationwide $73.90

Abstract of Comparability

Apparently, there’s not one clear costly or low-cost firm from these in contrast. The variation in rating between seasons is marked and prospects ought to take into account their trip dates when selecting the automobile rental operator. For instance, Thrifty seems as the costliest for each low and shoulder season, however are solely in fourth place within the rankings for Excessive Season.

It is usually vital that pricing shouldn’t be according to rating with automobile rental operators in different automobile classes. For instance, Vamos’ pricing is the most affordable for a premium car within the shoulder season; though they aren’t first in any rankings for the intermediate class and Adobe which seems aggressive are the costliest for this time interval and automobile class.

Data on Automobile Rental Operators

Adobe Lease-A-Automobile is an area automobile rental operator that has eleven places of work throughout the nation. The web site is easy and simple to make use of with no obvious hidden prices. The obligatory insurance coverage value is displayed as a part of the net quote. The corporate receives blended critiques on-line, however extra constructive than adverse feedback are made. Emails obtain a reply inside 24 hours, however could not totally reply the questions requested.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-855-861-1250

Youngster Seat: $3/day

Booster: $1/day

Extra Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $9/day

Alamo works in partnership with Nationwide and has 13 places of work throughout the nation. As with many large names, Alamo Costa Rica is a franchise and never a department of Alamo itself. Third-party insurance coverage and primary CDW are included within the on-line citation, though the CDW could also be refused upon presentation of proof of protection via the shopper’s bank card. This makes the pricing appear excessive on first look, particularly when, in contrast to different automobile rental operators, Alamo consists of airport taxes of their on-line citation and so their pricing is sincere, however seems a lot larger than different firms because of this. Pricing is totally different on the worldwide web site of the corporate, though the phrases and situations do state the charges that will probably be paid on arrival. This pricing discrepancy is the lead reason for adverse critiques for this firm. Emails are responded to inside 24 hours.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-855-533-1196

Youngster Seat: $3/day

Extra Driver: $6/day

GPS System: $12/day

Avis’ web site obliges one to pick out a automobile safety choice, however it fails to show a ultimate citation complete or value for the protection chosen on-line till an emailed quote is shipped. Protection prices could also be obtained by clicking on the choice ‘Protections Defined’ on the backside of the display.

No Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9.99/day

Finances has an internet site that’s simple to make use of, however the pricing given is as the identical for all seasons, suggesting that it isn’t appropriate. E mail responses have been usually quick, however some have been left unanswered. Emailed quotes confirmed the identical pricing for all seasons as the web site did. Necessary insurance coverage shouldn’t be included on the net quote, however the small print states that that is payable on the counter. Finances receives blended on-line critiques.

No Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity, however Reside Chat is obtainable

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $14.99/day

Greenback seems to have very aggressive charges, however airport taxes will probably be utilized if the car is being collected from the airport’s counters. One could discover this of their phrases and situations, however not of their on-line quotes. Automobile washing cost is enforced for very soiled autos. There are 4 places of work in Liberia and San Jose. E mail response is inside 24 hours. Greenback receives blended critiques from on-line journey boards.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-877-767-8651

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9/day

Financial system has twelve places of work across the nation. They haven’t any Costa Rican web site. Scroll down on their web page to seek out and click on on insurance coverage prices. Airport taxes aren’t included within the quote. Emails obtain both a fast response or no response in any respect. Financial system has the worst on-line popularity of any large title automobile rental operator in Costa Rica.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-877-326-7368

Youngster Seat: $10/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $15/day

Fox works in partnership with USave. Workplaces are situated at each worldwide airports. Emails obtain a response inside 24 hours. On-line critiques are typically poor.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-800-225-4369

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day (except partner)

GPS System: $9.99/day

Hertz has six places of work within the nation. Reservations could also be made via a Costa Rican web site. Preliminary on-line quote doesn’t embrace gross sales taxes, however it does embrace the CDW — though CDW could also be waived with proof of bank card protection. Emails obtain a response inside 24 hours. Mediocre critiques on journey boards.

No Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $13/day

GPS System: $12/day

Nationwide works in partnership with Alamo and has thirty places of work in operation throughout the nation. The corporate has a Central American web site, in addition to the worldwide website, which clearly reveals the breakdown of pricing. CDW is included within the on-line quote, however it could be unchecked to get a quote with simply the obligatory insurance coverage. Observe that the airport tax is included within the on-line quote as nicely. On the spot responses to questions can be found via Reside Chat on their web site. Opinions are blended, however there are extra constructive than adverse.

Free Cellphone Name Choice Through Web site

Youngster Seat: $6/day

Booster: $6/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $12/day

Payless is a part of the worldwide automobile rental firm and has no Costa Rican web site. On-line quotes don’t embrace third-party insurance coverage, though the data on this can be discovered by studying the insurance policies for the San Jose location. Emails obtain a response in lower than 24 hours, however are likely to refer again to the web site, fairly than new info. Opinions are extra adverse than constructive.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-800-PAYLESS

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Booster: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Service is an area firm with 5 places of work within the nation. On an in any other case clear web site, click on on ‘Reserve Now’ and never ‘Get a Quote’ for a web-based value examine. Rember is the employees member talked about in critiques on journey discussion board for his useful customer support and the corporate typically will get good critiques. Emails are answered inside 24 hours and usually present requested info.

U.S. Cellphone Quantity: 1-305-897-3718

Youngster Seat: $3.50/day

Extra Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $7.50/day

Thrifty doesn’t have an area web site, thus info is thru the worldwide web site. Protection choices or info relating to third-party insurance coverage shouldn’t be offered on the reservation webpage till one clicks ‘Safety Data’. Emails obtain a response inside 24 hours, however could not reply location-specific questions. Opinions are often adverse on account of pricing complaints.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-800-344-1705

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Booster: $5/day

Extra Driver: $12/day

GPS System: $11.99/day

Toyota is an enormous title; nevertheless, despite the fact that their web site seems skilled at first look, it merely doesn’t work, or a minimum of it was not functioning with a purpose to receive quotations later than March 2015. Their on-line quotes don’t embrace gross sales taxes. Emails obtain quick responses, however quotes for various seasons seemed to be contradictory. Nonetheless, Toyota has a great popularity on journey boards. Eight places of work are situated throughout the nation.

Free Cellphone Name Choice Through Web site

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Cooler: $1.50/day

Extra Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $10/day

USave works in partnership with Fox and has three workplace places. Insurance coverage choices are proven for the net quote, however it have to be chosen and ‘recalculate’ pressed, earlier than it’s included within the pricing. Emails obtain a response inside 24 hours. The corporate obtain total poor critiques, though there are some constructive feedback made on journey boards.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-800-467-3659

Youngster Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Vamos is an area firm that may be a well-liked selection for Journey Advisor and Lonely Planet specialists due to their customer support and pricing. The web site is straightforward to make use of with itemized prices clearly displayed. The Reside Chat choice allows prompt customized quotes and solutions from English-speaking employees. The corporate has three places of work.

Toll-Free Cellphone Quantity: 1-800-950-8426

Youngster Seat: free

Booster: free

Extra Driver: free

GPS System: $8/day

Wild Rider is a small, native firm situated solely in San Jose. The web site is easy with third-party insurance coverage included within the pricing. Firstly of this analysis, the pricing was not updated, however this has since been remedied. This automobile rental operator stands out by having solely constructive critiques and so is extremely really helpful by journey discussion board customers. Proprietor, Thorsten, replies inside the hour to inquiries throughout workplace hours.

U.S. Cellphone Quantity: 1-917-477-7712

Youngster Seat: $5/day

GPS System: $8/day

Total Abstract


Adobe, Alamo, Nationwide, Service, Vamos, and Wild Rider present clear and full charges on their web sites. The opposite automobile rental operators have been much less clear with surcharges or taxes, equivalent to airport taxes or gross sales taxes. Pricing on further extras weren’t at all times simple to seek out, and Avis, Thrifty and Toyota needed to be contacted for these particulars.


Ranges of communication have improved because the first comparability, though it could appear clever to request an area quantity and make sure solutions with the Costa Rica workplace of the worldwide automobile rental operators, as worldwide chat operators or these replying to emails, don’t at all times appear 100% assured about native insurance policies and will even give incorrect info.

Be ready to trade a variety of emails with a purpose to get full solutions to questions with a variety of firms: Finances and Financial system have been notably susceptible to this — requesting a variety of info with a purpose to give a citation. It’s not unreasonable that members of employees working in a second language could miss elements of an electronic mail, so current questions in clear and easy language.

Reside Chat on each the Finances and Vamos web sites imply info might be offered immediately and remains to be documented, in contrast to a telephone name.


The comparability above reveals that the pricing between firms relies upon closely on the season and automobile class being thought of, fairly than a transparent lower selection between kind of costly rental charges.

Prospects want to think about the pricing of different objects, equivalent to further drivers or GPS system, and households will wish to evaluate automobile seat rental pricing. Wild Rider affords the primary further driver without spending a dime, Vamos don’t cost for any extras, besides the GPS, and typically, the worldwide corporations have larger prices for these extras than the native firms.

So Who Do I Lease From?

It’s clear that the native automobile rental operators are nonetheless trumping the large names of their transparency and customer support when evaluating their web sites and on-line critiques. The distinction from the earlier fee comparability from a few years in the past is that the pricing has turn out to be tougher to equate.

Adobe, Alamo, and Nationwide appear to fee nicely as worldwide automobile rental operators. It’s value noting that Nationwide is the costliest in excessive season for the intermediate class, but the most affordable in off-season. Adobe and Alamo are middle-ranked for pricing.

Wild Rider is phenomenal in having zero unhealthy critiques, however is barely primarily based in San Jose and has a a lot smaller fleet of autos. Of the opposite native corporations, Service and Vamos come out nicely and Vamos’ free further extras will enchantment to budget-minded vacationers and households with younger youngsters. Service additionally affords these extras at low day by day charges.

Final however Definitely not Least…

When you have made it right through this text, then you’re ready to start your analysis into your trip automobile rental, armed with information and able to acknowledge these costs which are simply too good to be true! Have a beautiful (and reasonably priced) trip in lovely Costa Rica!

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