Planning a trip to Costa Rica and debating on how to get around? There are numerous transportation options including local fights, buses, or tourist shuttles. Although these are all reasonable choices; renting a car is by far the best way to see this spectacular country. You have freedom, affordability and reliability all rolled up into one. A home base to explore the small surf towns and remote waterfalls while stopping along the way at chocolate factories or fruit stands. Keep reading for everything you need to know about renting a car in Costa Rica and our favorite rental company!
Booking Your Vehicle
Of the seemingly endless rental companies in Costa Rica; one stood out to us above all the rest. Vamos Rent-A-Car provided excellent customer service, a reliable vehicle and amazing FREE extras that took our road trip to the next level. They have an excellent online booking system boasting a simple process and no hidden fees. They were very honest and friendly throughout the entire process and offer price matching on comparable competitor quotes! For more information; check out our post on renting a car in Costa Rica with Vamos Rent-A-Car.
The Vehicle & Insurance
We would highly recommend getting a 4×4 if you plan to do any exploring in Costa Rica. The majority of the main highways are paved and in good condition. However many of the most amazing destinations will take you on gravel roads, through creeks and up and down steep hills. We were thrilled with our 2019 mid sized SUV from Vamos Rent-A-Car; it was extremely reliable, clean, and spacious.
As far as insurance goes; we always recommend the full CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) as well as the mandatory TPL (Third Party Liability). This will completely cover you, your vehicle, and any other vehicles/passengers involved in a potential collision with zero deductible. For more information on rental insurance options in Costa Rica; check out this brilliant post by Vamos Rent-A-Car which will explain everything you need to know!
The Roads in Costa Rica
The Roads in Costa Rica vary greatly depending on where you are and what you want to see. As mentioned previously; if you plan to go off the main routes at all a 4×4 is the superior option. The paved highways are in excellent condition running between major cities. Once you get off these roads you will be driving on a combination of older pavement and gravel. It’s important to note that many of the smaller gravel roads wind through the rolling hills and because of this you will very rarely exceed 50 km/h. The good news is that you’ll have a ton of beautiful scenery to pass the time so plan accordingly and enjoy the ride!
How to Make The Most of Your Vehicle
If you are on a budget while travelling; renting a car in Costa Rica can be an excellent way to save money! Here are some of our favourite budget tips on how to make the most of your rental car:
- Drive to Attractions: Instead of paying for sightseeing tours (averaging $75-$100 USD per person) jump in your car and go see these places on your own! You will generally have to pay a small entrance fee but can end up saving over 75% of the cost. Plus you have the option of arriving before the tours do to have the place almost all to yourself.
- Buy Your Own Groceries: Costa Rica is full of great grocery stores from local fruit stands to large Superstores and everything in between. Load up on things like fruit, nuts, chips & salsa, oatmeal, wraps, avocados, cheese and lunch meat to pack for breakfasts and lunches. Vamos Rent-A-Car supplies a cooler helping you to keep your food cold and save some dough.
- Take Advantage of The FREE Cellphone: Yes you heard that right.. when you rent through Vamos they give you a free smartphone with unlimited local calling AND unlimited data. You can also receive international calls for free, you just cant make them. This can save money and time trying to find decent internet or get in touch with local companies/hosts.