Rental Cars in Costa Rica

Old Jun 28, 16, 11:36 am
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Rental Cars in Costa Rica

I will be doing a one way car rental from SJO to LIR fro a week. I know from other threads to make sure it is an SUV. The prices seem to range from $150 to $325. Any thoughts on which agencies are good and any to avoid? I'm Gold at Hertz but it is at the higher end.
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Old Jul 24, 16, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by ghia74 View Post
I will be doing a one way car rental from SJO to LIR fro a week. I know from other threads to make sure it is an SUV. The prices seem to range from $150 to $325. Any thoughts on which agencies are good and any to avoid? I'm Gold at Hertz but it is at the higher end.
Perhaps this trip is over so what did you do about renting an SUV?
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Old Jul 25, 16, 8:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
Perhaps this trip is over so what did you do about renting an SUV?
Will let you know at the end of August when I go. So far I've learned most offer similar cars. So I'm probably going with Enterprise or Alamo as more than twice as much for Hertz is not worth it. Seems like the all push the extra insurance pretty strongly and it's more than the daily rental charge.
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Old Jul 26, 16, 8:06 am
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Make sure they're pricing them apples to apples, the mandatory rental car insurance and tax. A lot of Central America list the base price and then add it all up when you get there.

If you have an Amex card and are enrolled in their rental car insurance program you can save a bit of money when renting and turning down all the extra supplementary insurance they try to sell you.

I don't rent in CR but rent in Panama and Nicaragua every month - same scenarios.
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Old Aug 3, 16, 2:51 pm
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The SUV is necessary if you have plans to visit beaches, volcanoes, and national parks. Otherwise, book a sedan.

I highly recommend Economy, their cars are 3 years or newer, and have very low rent prices. The catch is that they have high liability charges:

$15 for basic coverage (mandatory, 80% of 3rd party damages).
$8 for complementary 3rd party damages (optional, additional 20% of 3rd party damages, for 100% coverage).
$15 for Loss Damage Waiver (optional, 100% rented car damages or loss).

Deposits:
$950 if you add LDW.
$2,500 if you decline LDW.

If you decline LDW, you must present proof or letter of coverage, from your credit card or insurance company. This applies to ALL rent-a-car companies in Costa Rica.
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Old Nov 14, 16, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by ariel_sjo View Post
The SUV is necessary if you have plans to visit beaches, volcanoes, and national parks. Otherwise, book a sedan.

I highly recommend Economy, their cars are 3 years or newer, and have very low rent prices. The catch is that they have high liability charges:

$15 for basic coverage (mandatory, 80% of 3rd party damages).
$8 for complementary 3rd party damages (optional, additional 20% of 3rd party damages, for 100% coverage).
$15 for Loss Damage Waiver (optional, 100% rented car damages or loss).

Deposits:
$950 if you add LDW.
$2,500 if you decline LDW.

If you decline LDW, you must present proof or letter of coverage, from your credit card or insurance company. This applies to ALL rent-a-car companies in Costa Rica.
I will make it to San Jose later this month and I am finding several posts by you that are extremely helpful.

I need to rent an SUV for four days, but I noticed in the FT Hertz forum that many complain that Hertz did not work out well for them. Some of them recommend Avis. I was hoping the OP would report back on his Hertz rental but that seems not to be the case.

I have AMEX points where I can get a good price on Economy cars and I will have a letter from AMEX proving I have CDW.

The tourist stops will be the kind you mentioned so I hope this goes well. I have a package with AT&T to do data roaming while in CR as I will need to use an iP app to find all these places.
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Old Nov 14, 16, 4:51 pm
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Sorry for not updating sooner. I had an ok experience with Alamo, not great. I rented through Orbitz and purchased the insurance at the time of booking. When I arrived at the counter they told me the insurance was not valid in CR. I could not argue with them so I purchased the minimum insurance which was like $12 a day. Luckily it just took one email to get a refund from the Orbitz Insurance seller. The car was ok and got the job done. Was a one way rental and the return was no hassle. I would go with lowest cost provider that has the SUV you want, just realize that you will be paying $11-$25 a day for the liability insurance. Also, don't waste money on GPS, if you can get your cell service there it will be cheaper to get a data plan and use Google maps.
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Old Nov 14, 16, 5:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
I will make it to San Jose later this month and I am finding several posts by you that are extremely helpful.

I need to rent an SUV for four days, but I noticed in the FT Hertz forum that many complain that Hertz did not work out well for them. Some of them recommend Avis. I was hoping the OP would report back on his Hertz rental but that seems not to be the case.

I have AMEX points where I can get a good price on Economy cars and I will have a letter from AMEX proving I have CDW.

The tourist stops will be the kind you mentioned so I hope this goes well. I have a package with AT&T to do data roaming while in CR as I will need to use an iP app to find all these places.

just be aware that some of the main tourist spots really need an SUV, not an Economy car - Monteverde and the road to La Pavona (for the ferry to Tortuguero) were the two places where I was really glad we had an SUV.

I used Sixt - and showed them my separate insurance, and they were ok with that.

Sixt gave me a GPS for free (i'm platinum) and it was quite useful, even though I bought a local SIM for data / google map usage. The GPS sometimes had extra little roads - although the google map route planning was better.
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Old Nov 14, 16, 5:51 pm
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Thanks for the replies. So @ghia74 shied away from Hertz but was not really satisfied with Alamo although the vehicle sufficed.

@fartoomanyusers I was quoting a previous post where Economy is a rental company in CR, not the type of vehicle as I know to get an SUV for where I want to go.

Thanks for confirming the value of Google maps in CR which fortunately can be downloaded to my iP7 should my cell reception get lost. I am also looking at the Here and GeniusMaps apps, but may only consider them for backups.
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Old Nov 15, 16, 11:43 am
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I am looking more closely at car rentals. I am holding a Hertz reservation that promises a Suzuki Jimmy SUV 4x4 automatic transmission "or similar".

Another option is to go with a company called Economy - recommended by a FlyerTalk user - and that get me a Hyundai Tucson IX with automatic transmission "or similar". This would cost less because of using AMEX points but that is not a determining factor.

Do I need the 4x4 when going from San Jose to the volcano, national parks, and white-water rafting?
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Old Nov 15, 16, 12:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
Do I need the 4x4 when going from San Jose to the volcano, national parks, and white-water rafting?
I say yes to the 4x4 just in case. While it is not needed on most roads to get from city to city, you never know how far off the road your final destination is. My hotel in Arenal was 1.5 miles of dirt road off the main road and I was glad we had the SUV.

Last edited by ghia74; Nov 15, 16 at 3:28 pm
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Old Nov 15, 16, 1:21 pm
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Thank you. Helpful feedback that I am sure will save me a lot of grief!
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Old Dec 20, 16, 7:07 am
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As of now, I have a reservation with Europcar that claims to include the mandatory Costa Rican liability coverage. If I opt to purchase a Super CDW policy through rentalcover.com, will they accept that? I don't care about the huge credit card deposit issue.

Also, does anyone know of any car rental companies at SJO that give a hassle about using 3rd party Super CDW or vice versa, are cool with it?
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Old Dec 20, 16, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by MileageAddict View Post
As of now, I have a reservation with Europcar that claims to include the mandatory Costa Rican liability coverage. If I opt to purchase a Super CDW policy through rentalcover.com, will they accept that? I don't care about the huge credit card deposit issue.

Also, does anyone know of any car rental companies at SJO that give a hassle about using 3rd party Super CDW or vice versa, are cool with it?
All rental cars in CR accept credit card/3rd party CDW coverages, but they ask for written confirmation that shows the type of coverage and that it is valid in Costa Rica. If they still unconvinced, call to your insurance company or provider and let them talk directly over the phone.
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Old Dec 21, 16, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by ariel_sjo View Post
All rental cars in CR accept credit card/3rd party CDW coverages, but they ask for written confirmation that shows the type of coverage and that it is valid in Costa Rica. If they still unconvinced, call to your insurance company or provider and let them talk directly over the phone.
Thanks for the reply.
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