How to Rent Cars in Costa Rica.

To rent cars in Costa Rica the big chain car rental companies flash low prices and mumble through boiler-plate answers. Then, upon returning your car your bill could be higher than you expected. So many visitors need help understanding how to rent cars in Costa Rica!


Don't rent a car unless you really need one.

Don’t rent a car unless you really need one.

You ask for an explanation and can only nod your head in polite agreement as your mind blacks-out during the explanation. The employees behind the counter speak some English, but you notice if you ask them a question using words not on the contract, they give you a puzzled look! Even though you still don’t really understand, you feel trapped! And, sign your credit card voucher anyways with a feeling of helplessness. Saying to yourself, ‘I’d never do this back at home!’

Hint: Add between 130 to 170% to your Time and Mileage quotes and read their local websites for info on renting cars Costa Rica insurance local policies.

Renting Cars in Costa Rica without overpaying, or at least paying what you expected takes a little focus. Learning how to calculate your  Time and Mileage is pretty straight forward. So, let’s focus on the controversial subject of insurance charges.

Two types of rent cars Costa Rica insurance policies

The concepts are only a little different from those in the USA and Canada, but somehow they’ve gotten over complicated in the minds of our visitors.

- CDW – collision and loss damage insurance – Can it be waived?

You might be able to waive this charge with a standard form from the bank of your credit card. The form needs to acknowledge they’re taking responsibility for the primary car rental insurance. Otherwise, you’ll need to leave a security deposit( $750-$2500) and pay an extra $5 to $ 15 per day. CWD does have a 20% deductible.

ALI/TPL/SLI – personal liability

This is the mandatory coverage by the national insurance company (INS) for all Costa Rica car rentals. Any waiver is invalid. According to Costa Rica law all car rentals companies must charge this fee. Some companies bundle this into their normal fees.  So be careful when comparing costs. The fee is $15 per day.

The easy road out – maybe? Zero deductible coverage

All renting car Costa Rica companies have an all-inclusive plan that combine liability and collision insurance for one price. Of course there are different plans, rates, inclusions and exclusions for different cars. OMG!  Here we go again!

After all this – You may not need to rent a car at all! Visit Tamarindo Costa Rica! And, skip the car rental!

If you’re going to book a hotel and stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, did you know you probably don’t even need to rent a car? Walking or taking a cab is a typical way of getting around. To get out-of-town for a tour or something, Tamarindo has plenty of shuttle buses available. My suggestion is take a shuttle transfer from either airport and walk or rent bicycles once you get here. Rent a car only if you really need one!


August 2, 2013


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