We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Do I need a 4x4?

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
43 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
Do I need a 4x4?

My boyfriend and I will be traveling to CR in July. We are flying into San jose and will be renting a car. Since it is rainy season, we are unsure if we should get a 4x4. They are much more expensive, so we would prefer not to, unless absolutely necessary. We were hoping someone who is familiar with the roads could look at our plan and let us know if the roads we will be traveling will require a 4x4. Our itinerary is as follows: San Jose to Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio to Puntaneras to take the ferry across to Pacquera. From Pacquera we will be traveling along the southern peninsula- montezuma, Mai Pais, etc. If anyone could let us know, that would be fabulous!! Thank you:)

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,654 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Do I need a 4x4?

You don't NEED a 4x4 for this trip, but it would be handy. A 4-wheel drive vehicle gives you better clearance and in general is more sturdy for travel on some rough roads. If you get really bogged down somewhere off the road in rainy season, a 4x4 probably won't do you much good. You would need another car with a rope or chain or three men to push. If you stay on the main roads everywhere, you won't have a problem.

Have you looked at the smaller 4x4's?

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
43 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Do I need a 4x4?

Not really, we havent looked much at the smaller 4x4. We thought if we were going to do the 4x4 we would just go for the real thing! But the difference in cost between a small compact car and a larger SUV is over $400 for the week. Do you have any suggestions of types of cars we should look into? And maybe a company to go through? Thank you so much for your help so far!!

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,654 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Do I need a 4x4?

My only advice is to go with a reputable company. Pick out two or three that look good to you and then search this forum. There are many horror stories of companies that you should avoid. Don't assume that the cheapest would be the best.

I am not that familiar with the sedan models that rental car companies use so can't help you with that.

I would take a look at the smaller 4x4. You definitely don't need a big, honking Prado or anything like that. A Suzuki or similar would be fine if you decide to go the 4x4 route.

Puerto Viejo de...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Level Contributor
2,264 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Do I need a 4x4?

Why not compare a small sedan with a Daihatsu Terios or Bego. I am all for a 4x4 because of the reasons Hattie gave in her first reply.

Asheville, NC
Level Contributor
37 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Do I need a 4x4?

My wife and I just returned from CR and were faced with a similar question before our trip. We decided relatively last minute to upgrade to the 4x4, and it was a great decision. We were able to explore a bit beyond our initial destinations, explorations that would have been impossible without a 4x4.

In short, unless you plan on sticking to the main roads (that's all the roads clearly marked as paved on the map), you won't need a 4x4. But if there's any chance you'll be wanting to explore any distance from the main roads, upgrade.

Since we decided last minute to get a 4x4, most of the major companies were booked. We finally found Service Car Rental that still had one available. They were AWESOME! I know many folk on here will tell you to stick with the major names, and I'm sure that's good advice, and perhaps we had one of those rare positive experiences with a sketchy company, but... Service was awesome. They met us at the airport even though our plane was two hours late. Our contact spoke English and gave us his cell just in case something happened. He patiently took notice of every little ding I pointed out on the pre-check out. And, best of all, when we returned the car to the airport, he was there waiting with our deposit slip in hand. He didn't even check over the car.

There was an implicit trust with them that I found in many places in CR. It was a welcome change from many of the distrustful exchanges here in the states where often people expect the worse.

There you have it. If you look at my profile, you'll see that I'm a real person who doesn't live in CR and isn't out to profit from this referral. I just felt so strongly about the service we received from, um, Service, that I wanted to pass it along.

I'm sure if you google them, you'll find them.

Edited: 06 January 2011, 15:56
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
290 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Do I need a 4x4?

I will second the 4x4 as a "in case" option, and I will also second Service Car Rental. We used them on our first trip and they were nothing short of awesome. We had zero issues. We rented our car out of San Jose where they had an office, but returned it in Liberia where they did not. They only charged us 30 more to do this and they had to send a guy on the bus to meet us. We are going to use them again for our next trip. We rented a Terios since it was a 4wd and inexpensive. It is a little bigger than a Jimmy but not by much. Good Luck.

7. Re: Do I need a 4x4?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 06 July 2011, 07:42