Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica
Rate Comparisons for 2015
Car rental in Costa Rica is an opportunity to explore the particular remote beaches and quiet corners of this breathtakingly beautiful country. Journey without the restrictions set by general public transport timetables and with freedom more than group tours. For the unprepared traveler; however , car rental costs and solutions can be a rude shock and a blow to that vacation budget.
Renting an automobile for your vacation will probably be the most expensive portion of your budget, so understanding the terms and managing expectations is very important. The information below is not meant to be an exhaustive manual, but it should set you for the path towards an informed decision for the car rental needs in Costa Rica.
Exactly why is car rental so expensive?
Visitors from outside of Costa Rica are often surprised with the cost of car rental. While hotel rooms, eating place bills and tours are lower than the prices paid at home, it may appear strange that car rental should be more costly.
There are two simple reasons for this particular high cost:
All vehicles in Costa Rica are imported and a taxes is imposed. Due to this heavy taxation, the cost of purchasing a vehicle is more than it would be in other industrialized countries. There are some car rental operators who rent old vehicles in order to reduce their costs.
The cost of mandatory insurance (see below).
Factors that Affect Car Rental Costs
᾿ Mandatory Insurance
Third-party insurance, which may be known as TPI, PDW (Partial Damage Waiver), SLI (Supplementary Legal responsibility Insurance) and other acronyms, is a legal requirement. Car rental operators must charge the customer for this coverage which may or may not be clear in the quotation received by the customer.
The insurance itself is not the issue. After all, many other countries need car renters to pay a mandatory insurance policy; including: New Zealand, Italy and Mexico, as well as a number of the U. S. states, like California. The issue that causes contention in Costa Rica is that this cost is not always displayed obviously on the car rental operator’s website or even in a quote. Customers then find out the additional cost of their rental on arrival.
The cost of mandatory insurance differs from company to company and will depend on the vehicle category that is being rented as well. The cost for a small sedan might be as little as $12 per day, whereas reduced 4×4 vehicle could be as much as $25 for insurance per day. This is as well as the rental cost.
Credit cards in North America usually offer car insurance as an additional perk to the credit card holder therefore North Americans in particular, are unused to using to pay for insurance on top of rental costs. However , no credit card will cover this insurance requirement.
Do ask if the given quote includes third-party insurance coverage and check the prices on the carrental operator’s website.
᾿ Collision Harm Waiver
This is not insurance, but the waiver. The basic level will come with a deductible that varies, but could be as much as $1, 500. For a higher daily rate, a zero deductible CDW may be purchased to relieve the renter of any financial responsibility in case of harm to, or theft thereof, the vehicle.
Many renters will obtain their CDW through their credit card. However , it really is worth noting that the responsibility to make any insurance claim is within the customer and not with the car rental operator. Some renters may choose to purchase extra in-house coverage to avoid having this responsibility.
There will be car rental agencies which hard sell their own coverage programs through guaranteeing peace of mind, but ultimately, this is the renter’s decision. It is worth remembering that car rental company employees, like in other parts of the world, will sometimes earn commission for insurance coverage sales.
If the customer’s credit card does not provide CDW, the customer will be needed to purchase this in-house coverage.
Car rental operators require written proof that the client’s credit card provides CDW. Ask the vehicle rental operator for the exact details of what they require and in what form. Some may accept a submitted email from the credit card company, yet others may ask for a printed copy to be presented at the time of rental.
The deposit amount required will depend on whether the customer selects to use the car rental operator’s in-house CDW or takes this protection through a credit card. Expect to pay a much higher deposit if the in-house CDW is declined. The deposit may also depend on car model rented. This amount, which will be held on the renter’s credit card until the end of the rental period, can be from $750 as much as as much as $3, 500. The down payment should take no more than five times to be refunded to the credit card for the vehicle’s return. Some car rental companies will accept debit cards for deposit keep, but the return time for this quantity can take weeks.
Do ensure that the particular deposit is calculated in the vacation budget as an unexpected hold of several thousand dollars on a credit card could otherwise severely cut into holiday spending.
᾿ Airport Taxes
Customers that rent from a car rental operator’s counter within an airport building are obliged to pay the airport tax.
Those car rental operators with a counter-top at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) are: Alamo/National, Spending budget, Dollar, Economy and Hertz. These companies will add an additional 12% tax to the rental cost.
Those car rental operators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Budget and Economy. These businesses will add an additional 3% taxes to the rental cost.
To avoid this particular tax, take an airport shuttle with the car rental operator to an workplace located outside of the airport grounds.
᾿ Surcharges and Other Taxes
There are a number of other obligatory fees that car rental operators may add into the rental cost, display on-screen or show in the quote, or leave undisclosed until the customer’s arrival. These possibly hidden costs may seem small when viewed individually, but these are typically everyday rates, so they will add up quick!
These may include:
᾿ License Dish Fee: Less than $2 daily, but differs from company to company.
᾿ Environmental Tax: Less than $1 daily.
᾿ Sales Tax: All sales transactions in Costa Rica are subjected to the 12% government-imposed sales tax.
᾿ Car Washing Fee: Bring back an exceptionally dirty car and the cleaning charge may be added onto the final payment. One particular car rental operator charges $20 for this additional service.
᾿ Fuel Costs: If the fuel tank is not stuffed to the same level as it was at the start of the rental period, then the car rental company will charge (usually towards the nearest eighth of a tank). This charge is dictated by the carrental operator and it is not subject to the governmentally set fuel price that might be found at any gas station.
Exactly where Should I Reserve the Vehicle?
A common confusion for travelers booking a rental car is the discrepancy between international websites for car rental operators and the Costa Rican website for the same brand. Regularly the international websites are unaware of, or fail to disclose, insurances, taxes plus surcharges that will be charged at the kitchen counter. This may be due to the fact that many recognized carrental operator brands in Costa Rica aren’t a foreign branch of the branded car rental operator, but instead are a business operation. This factor is also worth looking at in terms of expectations concerning customer service as well as other finer details. The Costa Rican franchise office may have their own type of operating, apart from the same policies plus guidelines that the customer may have experienced in other parts of the world.
Understandably then, an online reservation is best made with the local website and not the global site, wherever possible. A number of companies do not have a local website. In this case, do examine the details with a local staff member via the telephone and ask for written confirmation of the quote. Experience with live talk on the international websites suggests that whereas staff is trained on terms and conditions governing the main office (usually Oughout. S. A. ); they understand little of the policies that must be honored in Costa Rica.
Car Rental Comparisons
Within May/June of 2013, I in comparison the pricing and services of a number of car rental operators in Costa Rica and published the findings. To my surprise, the article is still being plagiarized regularly across the Internet which suggests that it is still useful and so an update was required. The prices for this assessment were obtained in December 2014 plus January 2015.
The ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) states that there are thirty registered car rental providers with eight others pending authorization. However , there are many more agencies that rent cars to visitors. The vehicle rental operators selected are those that are most frequently used by travelers:
Exclusion of Companies from Final Comparison
Budget, Economy, Payless, and Toyota were contacted, but these four companies did not provide accurate on-line rates. Economy and Budget’s websites have one price, regardless of the dates joined and customers need to reserve an automobile in order for them to honor the price shown. Toyota’s website was unfortunately only working up until March. Beyond that will, the pricing displayed $0 for that remainder of the year. Payless provides this disclaimer on their website: “Taxes and surcharges are not within our manage and may change without notice. ”
Delivering individual inquiries for each time period resulted in inconsistent results: Budget offered exactly the same price for all three investigated time periods when receiving an email request, which is highly unlikely; Economy responded with various quotes for the same dates from different members of staff; and Toyota’s emailed quotes for time periods previous March’s prices indicated online did not correspond to the March rates quoted (perhaps the emailed quotes included taxes that were not shown online). Payless can provide quotes via email and telephone, but were not in line with pricing for different seasons.
Avis is only excluded from the price comparison, as they do not have an intermediate SUV type in their fleet.
Carrental rate, all taxes and surcharges, and third-party insurance costs are (supposedly) calculated and ranked accordingly beneath based on the week’s rental of a BeGo or similar intermediate 4×4 from a San Jose/Alajuela location (not from the airport).
Rates are calculated on the weekly basis and divided by seven to provide a daily cost which is more easily comparable. As not all prices is completely transparent, the prices are since accurate as possible based on the information supplied from the car rental operators’ websites, telephone calls, and/or emails. Airport taxes are not included in these figures.
Shoulder Season (Quote for July 13 through 20)
1 . USave $43. thirty seven
2 . Service $54. 92
a few. Fox $55. 64
4. Hertz $58. 17
5. Adobe $60. 13
6. Alamo $60. 99
7. Wild Rider $62. 86
8. Dollar $63. 35
9. Vamos $64. 15
10. National $67. 04
11. Thrifty $74. 39
Low Season (Quote to get May 13 through 20)
1 ) National $37. 04
2 . USave $43. 37
3. Dollar $46. 49
4. Adobe $52. 57
5. Vamos $53. 15
six. Service $53. 49
7. Hertz $54. 59
8. Fox $55. 64
9. Wild Rider $55. 71
10. Alamo $60. 99
11. Thrifty $74. 39
High Season (Quote for March 13 through 20)
1 . Dollar $55. 92
2 . USave $56. 22
3. Hertz $56. 37
4. Fox $59. 36
5. Cash conscious $64. 69
6. Service $66. 63
7. Vamos $67. 14
8. Alamo $69. 56
9. Wild Rider $70. 00
ten. Adobe $70. 63
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Nationwide $73. 90
Summary of Assessment
Interestingly, there is not one clear expensive or cheap company from those people compared. The variation in rating between seasons is marked and customers should consider their vacation schedules when choosing the car rental operator. For example , Thrifty appears as the most costly intended for both low and shoulder time of year, but are only in fourth place in the rankings for High Season.
It is also significant that pricing is not really consistent with ranking with car rental workers in other car categories. For example , Vamos’ pricing is the cheapest for a high quality vehicle in the shoulder season; although they are not first in any rankings for the intermediate category and Adobe which appears competitive are the most expensive for this time period and car category.