What do I need to know about renting a vehicle?
- Be sure to book your rental car as soon as possible, even if you are not sure of your dates of arrival and departure. If you wait to long, you may find there are no appropriate 4x4s, or no cars available at all!
- The main Caldera Highway 27 (San Jose to the Pacific beaches) and Costanera Highway 34 (runs roughly parallel down the beaches) are nicely paved.
- Side rides will probably be a combination of dirt, gravel, concrete, mud and potholes. You will need to rent a strong 4 x 4 vehicle.
- Do not rent an "all wheel drive" vehicle....they do not have the power to make it up our mountain roads! We do not recommend renting Terios / Rav 4 / Begos / Hyundai Tucsons because they lack the power to get up our mountains. A manual /stick Jimny or Bego is usually powerful enough IF you are not too overloaded with people and luggage. Large 4 x 4 suvs are your best bet.
- If you are looking at prices for one of the bigger companies, make sure to search for their Costa Rica website if they have one. The quotes that come from big corporate websites are often lacking Costa Rica-specific charges like insurance (more info below). Same goes for third-party websites like Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Holiday Autos. Their rates may seem outstanding but are rarely accurate.
- When you are comparing pricing, be sure to get a guaranteed all inclusive price (including the mandatory insurance of $20-30/day, 13% sales tax and airport tax). Please be sure to pay any "hold" or deposit with your credit card, not a debit card. It seems to take an act of god, and much more time, to get the "hold" taken off when using a debit card, whereas credit card "holds" are removed quickly. "mandatory insurance" can vary from company to company. We work well with Solid Rental Car (which offers our guests a corporate discount) and their insurances provide are (quoted);
- basic protection package ( cdw / collision damage waiver + sli / supplemental liability insurance ) :
- this protection covers the rental vehicle with a deductible between ($ 900 to $ 1600 dollars) in case of an accident and protects damages to third parties in 80% of the value of the rented vehicle the company assumes and the remaining 20% the customer in case of an accident.
- The customer can decline the basic protection package, and opt for mandatory ( sli + sliz / zero deductible third party damage and civil liability):
- the protection covers without deductible damages to third parties, it means there is no franchise and also covers damages to third parties in case of an accident, in addition it has a deposit of $ 3000 dollars and the client must verify with his insurance or card that his protection covers the cdw in costa rica, which has a protection limit and also a time limit in which it covers. If You want to use the mandatory only double check with your insurance if cdw will cover in costa rica and bring a document and the deposit its $ 3000 dollars. and purchase the ( sli + sliz ) mandatory.
- When you get your vehicle, check the wipers / brakes / 4 x 4 / tires to be sure they are all in good working order before departing the rental car agency. Be sure to have the agent instruct you on how the 4x4 operates.
- We email all our guests an introduction to a rental car company that offers our guests a corporate discount.
- For the drive back to SJO, airlines require you to check in / arrive 2 - 3 hours before an international flight departure. Add 30-45 minutes to drop off your rental car and get back to SJO. Add 3.5 hours travel time with no delays or traffic. Add time for filling up the tank with gas, and stops for food and bathroom breaks. 6 hours is bare minimum...we recommend leaving 7 hours before your return flight to avoid being rushed and less stressed...8 hours if it is Christmas, Easter or a holiday week. Best to arrive early and wait air side, rather than miss your flight!