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.

Rent a car or private transfers??

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
3 posts
14 reviews
Save Topic
Rent a car or private transfers??

My wife and I are planning a trip to 3 different hotels in Costa Rica in January of 2012 and can't decide if it is better to rent a car or go with private transfers. The three locations are El Silencio Lodge in the Rain Forest about an hour from San Jose. Then, Tabacon for three nights in Arenal and finally, Punta Islita on the coast for 4 nights. Is it better to have a car at these locations? How difficult is the drive? What would be the cost for a 4 x 4, with GPS and the mandatory insurance? Thanks!

Bermuda
Destination Expert
for Bermuda
Level Contributor
3,399 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

i highly recommend renting a car in arenal/la fortuna. if you use the mapache.com website, their rates include mandatory insurance and they have some of the best rates going. i have also had good experience with alamo in la fortuna and adobe elsewhere in cr. if you get the gps (usually $8 per day) then driving isn't hard at all. it can be done with a map, but the road signs in costa rica can be scarce in some areas. if you decide to go with a private driver then consider www.tucanlimoservices.com i have used them several times and they are a high quality operation, 100% costa rican owned and operated. there are many other good transport services available and i'm sure more recommendations will come in, but i can only recommend tucan because i have only used them.

Punta Uva, Costa...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Level Contributor
6,874 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

Most roads are in good shape and it wont be hard for you to drive to those Locations while in Costa Rica, the companies recommended by sonny are all excellent and there are others too, get a quote that includes all the insurance fees, a small 4x4 should be around $50 p/d. I have used many different private transport companies, but the last few years I have only used Tucan Limo Services, and also recommend them highly, send them a email for a quote if you decide to go that route.

Edited: 01 October 2011, 15:39
Connecticut, USA
Level Contributor
514 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

Also agree that a car is very convenient in Arenal area. We paid $70/day for the rental fee but we wanted a larger SUV for our family of four and our excessive luggage. We could have comfortably fit in a smaller SUV, but feared that the luggage would have been a squeeze. Assuming that your charge card will cover CDW/LDW, you will only need to purchase the mandatory CR insurance. That cost us $10/day plus another $10/day to rent the GPS, so $90/day all in. The GPS was tremendously useful, so if you do not want to pay the rental fee, I would look into downloading the CR maps to your own handheld GPS. The rent/own GPS cost may be a wash. Also, unlike the U.S., there was very little additional charge for taxes---a few dollars, if I recall.

The roads were much better than one would believe after reading this forum, but remain vigilant and don't drive at night other than a short trip into town for dinner. There are no lights and pedestrians share the road as there aren't sidewalks either.

Helpful hint--the GPS did not include hotel names, but the concierge at the hotel knew some code or coordinate to type in that got us to our destination. He had a book where he looked this up. Someone more familiar can explain what I am trying to describe, but just check with your resort before departing so that they can help you navigate to your next destination.

I am not sure if this will work, but I am going to post the URL here from a prior post. If it doesn't transfer, just look up Rental Car Question on Sept 28th for info about Am Ex coverage of excess insurance.

Edited: 01 October 2011, 16:40
Connecticut, USA
Level Contributor
514 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

And, I forgot to include the URL and too late to edit.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g291982-i813-k4845…

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
46,402 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

It is hard to match the freedom of having your own car..our roads are in good shape...maybe getting into Punta Islita can be some bad roads...but not a biggy...

Just rent a GPS...just observe speed limits some high traffice tickets if you drive over the speed limits...and observe the driving distances...

Get a car and hit the road!

roadadvisor

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
3 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

What great suggestions! Thanks everyone!

La Fortuna de San...
Level Contributor
19 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

Here is a short article that compares the prices of private transfers and car rental in Costa Rica:

morphovans.com/private-vs-rental-price-compa…

Grecia, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
916 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

crhiker, are you connected in anyway with Destino Tropical or Morpho Vans?

The article you linked seemed to be an advertisement for a private driver service, and was hardly a valid comparison of costs.

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
25 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

Rent a car, buy a Costa Rica GPS map online before you go - DON"T rent one from car rental, buy a LAMINATED paper map, compass and small first aid kit.

Check car rental tires. If they are bald - DO NOT accept the car until proper tires have been added to the car and a good spare and jack are in the car.

10. Re: Rent a car or private transfers??

-:- 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: 07 September 2013, 10:15