Information to Automotive Rental Firms in Costa Rica 2015

Information to Automotive Rental Firms in Costa Rica

Fee Comparisons for 2015

Automotive 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; nonetheless, automotive rental prices and companies could be a impolite shock and a blow to that trip finances.

Renting a car on your trip will most likely be the most costly a part of your finances, so understanding the phrases and managing expectations is essential. The knowledge under shouldn’t be meant to be an exhaustive handbook, however it ought to set you on the trail in the direction of an knowledgeable determination on your automotive rental wants in Costa Rica.

Why is automotive rental so costly?

Guests from outdoors of Costa Rica are sometimes shocked by the price of automotive rental. Whereas lodge rooms, restaurant payments and excursions are decrease than the costs paid at dwelling, it might seem unusual that automotive rental ought to be extra pricey.

There are two easy causes for this excessive price:

  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 greater than it could be in different industrialized nations. There are some automotive rental operators who lease older autos with a view to scale back their prices.
  2. The price of necessary insurance coverage (see under).

Components that Have an effect on Automotive Rental Prices

Obligatory Insurance coverage

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

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

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

Bank cards in North America often provide automotive insurance coverage as an extra 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 test the costs on the automotive rental operator’s web site.

Collision Harm Waiver

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

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

There will likely be automotive rental businesses which arduous promote their very own protection plans by means of guaranteeing peace of thoughts, however in the end, that is the renter’s determination. It’s value remembering that automotive rental firm staff, like in different elements of the world, will generally earn fee for insurance coverage gross sales.

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

Automotive rental operators require written proof that the shopper’s bank card offers CDW. Ask the automotive 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 automotive rental operator’s in-house CDW or takes this protection by means of a bank card. Anticipate to pay a a lot greater deposit if the in-house CDW is declined. The deposit may additionally depend upon automotive mannequin rented. This quantity, which will likely be held on the renter’s bank card till the top 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 automotive rental businesses will settle for debit playing cards for deposit maintain, however the return time for this quantity can take weeks.

Do make sure 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

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

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

These automotive rental operators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros Worldwide Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Finances and Economic system. These firms will add an extra 3% tax to the rental price.

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

Surcharges and Different Taxes

There are a selection of different compulsory charges that automotive rental operators could add into the rental price, show on-screen or present within the quote, or depart undisclosed till the shopper’s arrival. These doubtlessly hidden prices could seem small when seen individually, however these are sometimes day by day charges, so they’ll add up quick!

These could embody:

License Plate Price: 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.

Automotive Washing Price: Deliver again an exceptionally soiled automotive and the cleansing payment could also be added onto the ultimate cost. One automotive rental operator costs $20 for this extra service.

Gasoline Expenses: If the gasoline tank shouldn’t be crammed to the identical stage because it was at first of the rental interval, then the automotive rental firm will cost (often to the closest eighth of a tank). This cost is dictated by the automotive rental operator and it isn’t topic to the governmentally set gasoline value that will be discovered at any fuel station.

The place Ought to I Reserve the Car?

A standard confusion for vacationers reserving a rental automotive is the discrepancy between worldwide web sites for automotive rental operators and the Costa Rican web site for a similar model. Continuously the worldwide web sites are unaware of, or fail to reveal, insurances, taxes and surcharges that will likely be charged on the counter. This can be on account of the truth that many acknowledged automotive rental operator manufacturers in Costa Rica are usually not a overseas department of the branded automotive rental operator, however as an alternative are a franchise operation. This issue can be value contemplating when it comes to 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 pointers that the shopper could have skilled in different elements of the world.

Understandably then, an internet reservation is finest made by means of the native web site and never the worldwide web site, wherever potential. A variety of firms do not need a neighborhood web site. On this case, do test the small print with a neighborhood workers member through the phone and ask for written affirmation of the quote. Expertise with reside chat on the worldwide web sites means that whereas workers is educated on phrases and circumstances governing the principle workplace (often U.S.A.); they perceive little of the insurance policies that should be adhered to in Costa Rica.

Automotive Rental Comparisons

In Could/June of 2013, I in contrast the pricing and companies of numerous automotive rental operators in Costa Rica and printed the findings. To my shock, the article remains to be being plagiarized repeatedly 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 automotive rental operators with eight others pending approval. Nonetheless, there are various extra businesses that lease automobiles to guests. The automotive rental operators chosen are these that are most often utilized by vacationers:






Economic system










Wild Rider

Exclusion of Firms from Remaining Comparability

Finances, Economic system, Payless, and Toyota have been contacted, however these 4 firms didn’t present correct on-line charges. Economic 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 $0 for the rest of the 12 months. Payless has this disclaimer on their web site: “Taxes and surcharges are usually not 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 durations when receiving an electronic mail request, which is very unlikely; Economic system responded with completely different quotes for a similar dates from completely different members of workers; and Toyota’s emailed quotes for time durations 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 through electronic mail and phone, however weren’t per 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

Automotive rental fee, all taxes and surcharges, and third-party insurance coverage prices are (supposedly) calculated and ranked accordingly under based mostly 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 supply a day by day price which is extra simply comparable. As not all pricing is totally clear, the costs are as correct as potential based mostly on the knowledge offered from the automotive rental operators’ web sites, telephone calls, and/or emails. Airport taxes are usually not included in these figures.

Shoulder Season (Quote for July 13 by means of 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 by means of 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 by means of 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

Curiously, 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 automotive rental operator. For instance, Thrifty seems as the most expensive for each low and shoulder season, however are solely in fourth place within the rankings for Excessive Season.

Additionally it is important that pricing shouldn’t be per rating with automotive rental operators in different automotive classes. For instance, Vamos’ pricing is the most cost effective 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 most costly for this time interval and automotive class.

Data on Automotive Rental Operators

Adobe Lease-A-Automotive is a neighborhood automotive 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 necessary insurance coverage price is displayed as a part of the net quote. The corporate receives combined evaluations on-line, however extra optimistic than detrimental feedback are made. Emails obtain a reply inside 24 hours, however could not absolutely reply the questions requested.

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

Baby 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 huge names, Alamo Costa Rica is a franchise and never a department of Alamo itself. Third-party insurance coverage and fundamental CDW are included within the on-line citation, though the CDW could also be refused upon presentation of proof of protection by means of the shopper’s bank card. This makes the pricing appear excessive on first look, particularly when, not like different automotive rental operators, Alamo consists of airport taxes of their on-line citation and so their pricing is trustworthy, however seems a lot greater than different firms because of this. Pricing is completely different on the worldwide web site of the corporate, though the phrases and circumstances do state the charges that will likely be paid on arrival. This pricing discrepancy is the lead explanation for detrimental evaluations for this firm. Emails are responded to inside 24 hours.

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

Baby Seat: $3/day

Extra Driver: $6/day

GPS System: $12/day

Avis’ web site obliges one to pick out a automotive safety choice, however it fails to show a last 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 Telephone Quantity

Baby Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9.99/day

Finances has a web site that’s simple to make use of, however the pricing given is as the identical for all seasons, suggesting that it isn’t right. 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. Obligatory insurance coverage shouldn’t be included on the net quote, however the small print states that that is payable on the counter. Finances receives combined on-line evaluations.

No Toll-Free Telephone Quantity, however Stay Chat is obtainable

Baby Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $14.99/day

Greenback seems to have very aggressive charges, however airport taxes will likely be utilized if the car is being collected from the airport’s counters. One could discover this of their phrases and circumstances, however not of their on-line quotes. Automotive 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 combined evaluations from on-line journey boards.

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

Baby Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $9/day

Economic system has twelve places of work across the nation. They don’t have any Costa Rican web site. Scroll down on their web page to search out and click on on insurance coverage prices. Airport taxes are usually not included within the quote. Emails obtain both a fast response or no response in any respect. Economic system has the worst on-line status of any huge title automotive rental operator in Costa Rica.

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

Baby 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 evaluations are usually poor.

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

Baby 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 by means of a Costa Rican web site. Preliminary on-line quote doesn’t embody gross sales taxes, however it does embody the CDW — though CDW could also be waived with proof of bank card protection. Emails obtain a response inside 24 hours. Mediocre evaluations on journey boards.

No Toll-Free Telephone Quantity

Baby 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 web site, which clearly reveals the breakdown of pricing. CDW is included within the on-line quote, however it might be unchecked to get a quote with simply the necessary insurance coverage. Be aware that the airport tax is included within the on-line quote as properly. Immediate responses to questions can be found by means of Stay Chat on their web site. Critiques are combined, however there are extra optimistic than detrimental.

Free Telephone Name Possibility Through Web site

Baby Seat: $6/day

Booster: $6/day

Extra Driver: $5/day

GPS System: $12/day

Payless is a part of the worldwide automotive rental firm and has no Costa Rican web site. On-line quotes don’t embody third-party insurance coverage, though the knowledge 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, somewhat than new info. Critiques are extra detrimental than optimistic.

Toll-Free Telephone Quantity: 1-800-PAYLESS

Baby Seat: $5/day

Booster: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Service is a neighborhood 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 an internet value test. Rember is the workers member talked about in evaluations on journey discussion board for his useful customer support and the corporate usually will get good evaluations. Emails are answered inside 24 hours and usually present requested info.

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

Baby Seat: $3.50/day

Extra Driver: $3/day

GPS System: $7.50/day

Thrifty doesn’t have a neighborhood web site, thus info is thru the worldwide web site. Protection choices or info concerning 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. Critiques are often detrimental on account of pricing complaints.

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

Baby Seat: $5/day

Booster: $5/day

Extra Driver: $12/day

GPS System: $11.99/day

Toyota is a giant title; nonetheless, though their web site seems skilled at first look, it merely doesn’t work, or at the least it was not functioning with a view to receive quotations later than March 2015. Their on-line quotes don’t embody gross sales taxes. Emails obtain quick responses, however quotes for various seasons seemed to be contradictory. Nonetheless, Toyota has status on journey boards. Eight places of work are situated throughout the nation.

Free Telephone Name Possibility Through Web site

Baby 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 areas. Insurance coverage choices are proven for the net quote, however it should be chosen and ‘recalculate’ pressed, earlier than it’s included within the pricing. Emails obtain a response inside 24 hours. The corporate obtain general poor evaluations, though there are some optimistic feedback made on journey boards.

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

Baby Seat: $5/day

Extra Driver: $10/day

GPS System: $9.95/day

Vamos is a neighborhood firm that may be a fashionable selection for Journey Advisor and Lonely Planet consultants due to their customer support and pricing. The web site is straightforward to make use of with itemized costs clearly displayed. The Stay Chat choice allows prompt customized quotes and solutions from English-speaking workers. The corporate has three places of work.

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

Baby 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. At first of this analysis, the pricing was not updated, however this has since been remedied. This automotive rental operator stands out by having solely optimistic evaluations and so is very really helpful by journey discussion board customers. Proprietor, Thorsten, replies inside the hour to inquiries throughout workplace hours.

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

Baby 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 automotive rental operators have been much less clear with surcharges or taxes, akin to airport taxes or gross sales taxes. Pricing on further extras weren’t all the time simple to search out, and Avis, Thrifty and Toyota needed to be contacted for these particulars.


Ranges of communication have improved for the reason that first comparability, though it could appear clever to request a neighborhood quantity and make sure solutions with the Costa Rica workplace of the worldwide automotive rental operators, as worldwide chat operators or these replying to emails, don’t all the time appear 100% assured about native insurance policies and will even give incorrect info.

Be ready to alternate numerous emails with a view to get full solutions to questions with numerous firms: Finances and Economic system have been significantly vulnerable to this — requesting numerous info with a view to give a citation. It isn’t unreasonable that members of workers working in a second language could miss elements of an electronic mail, so current questions in clear and easy language.

Stay Chat on each the Finances and Vamos web sites imply info might be offered immediately and remains to be documented, not like a telephone name.


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

Clients want to think about the pricing of different gadgets, akin to further drivers or GPS system, and households will wish to examine automotive seat rental pricing. Wild Rider presents the primary further driver at no cost, Vamos don’t cost for any extras, besides the GPS, and normally, the worldwide corporations have greater costs for these extras than the native firms.

So Who Do I Lease From?

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

Adobe, Alamo, and Nationwide appear to fee properly as worldwide automotive rental operators. It’s value noting that Nationwide is the most costly in excessive season for the intermediate class, but the most cost effective in off-season. Adobe and Alamo are middle-ranked for pricing.

Wild Rider is outstanding in having zero dangerous evaluations, however is barely based mostly in San Jose and has a a lot smaller fleet of autos. Of the opposite native corporations, Service and Vamos come out properly and Vamos’ free further extras will attraction to budget-minded vacationers and households with younger youngsters. Service additionally presents these extras at low day by day charges.

Final however Actually not Least…

In case you have made it throughout this text, then you are ready to start your analysis into your trip automotive rental, armed with details and able to acknowledge these costs which might be simply too good to be true! Have a beautiful (and inexpensive) trip in lovely Costa Rica!