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Liz
Westlake

Costa Rica

Has anyone ever rented a car in Costa Rica?

I'm visiting a friend in Costa Rica in Decemember and can't decide if I should rent a car or not. We want to see a lot of things but I've been warned about bad experiences renting cars in other countries. Any advice?


7 Answers

answered by
Rocio from Costa Rica

Hello Liz!! You will be perfectly safe renting a car in Costa Rica. You just need to plan you activities and decide whether or not you will need it. If you stay in San Jose downtown a rented car wont be a must. However, going to the Caribbean side or to the Pacific it will be much better if you rent a car. There are plenty of excellent rental cars, i.e Thrifty Car Rental, Budget Car Rental San José, Alamo Rent a Car, Dollar Rent a Car, etc. As it works in many countries, you can pick it up upon arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport. Simple as that!!

Hope this helps!!


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Thrifty Car Rental (attraction)
  2. Budget Car Rental San José (attraction)
  3. Alamo Rent a Car (attraction)
  4. Dollar Rent a Car (attraction)
  5. Juan Santamaria International Airport (attraction)
1 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Jenn from Costa Rica

Hi Liz,

Renting a car will definitely give you the most flexibility to stop and go as you please and explore. Road conditions to get between most major destinations are generally good- well paved, smooth highway. Some exceptions are the road between La Fortuna/Volcán Arenal and Monteverde (this is a rough dirt road, 4x4 required), and once you get off the main roads, some are rough dirt with potholes. Best thing to do is research if you'll need 4x4 for where you'll be going- in many areas you don't need it, but if you want to go off the beaten path, you probably will.

Signage is not the best throughout the whole country so I always recommend getting a GPS AND mapping out your route in advance with this site (it's better than Google Maps for Costa Rica). Google sometimes sends you a way that looks shorter but is actually longer because it's not a main way. One other thing to note is the locals can be a bit crazy drivers, but as long as you're careful, you'll be fine. Have a great trip!


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. La Fortuna (attraction)
  2. Volcán Arenal (attraction)
  3. Monteverde (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Markus from Kreuzlingen

Renting and driving a car in Costa Rica is a piece of cake. Main roads are quite good but the side roads can have potholes, but when driving during the day this should not be a problem. Make sure you get a small 4x4 car, that helps a lot. A couple of years ago I did a 2 week trip in Costa Rica w/ a car and not a single problem.


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  1. Costa Rica (attraction)
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answered by
Ross from Fort Collins

I personally don't like driving in costa, except the Osa Peninsula were the only traffic are cows. Also the buses are great and very cheap. If you can pick a destination in Costa Rica that you can't get to by bus for under $10 then I'll buy your plane tickets lol. Also costa rica is very safe but the most dangerous thing to do in country is get behind the wheel!


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  1. Osa Peninsula (region)
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answered by
Gary from Winston Salem

Renting has worked well, no problems. Think about a 4x4 SUV if you want to be in the more remote areas. Or just be able to drive the dirt roads in some of the pacific beach towns with confidence.  Costa Rica includes insurance on each rental. Mandatory.  The price quoted most times Does Not Include All the Insurances.  Especially booking from a website.  Expedia, Priceline, etc.   The other tip, take your time when finding your way. Allow lots of extra time to get lost until you get a feel for the road signs. YES a GPS helps.  You will have a great trip by stopping often.  Gary


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  1. Costa Rica (attraction)
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answered first by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Hello Liz!  I have rented a car several times out of San Jose.  Twice to go to Manuel Antonio National Parkand once to drive up to the La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano area with Jacey.  There have been no issues at all.  However, I would strongly consider using Sansa or Nature Air, as flying distances vs. drive times can make a big difference.  Some of that, however, is contingent upon where you plan to go, what you want to see, budget, and how much time you have.  Some places it might make sense to have a car, and others, not so much.  If you need anything more specific, feel free to ask away!  


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Manuel Antonio National Park (attraction)
  2. La Fortuna (attraction)
  3. Arenal Volcano (attraction)
1 thankscomments (3)


answered by
Chandra from Boulder

We rented a car for a week when we were down there. Pretty easy to do. The driving is definitely a bit different as they've got some different perspectives but totally doable!






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