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Rental Car Tips

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Rental Car Tips

I have revised my itinerary for a trip to Costa Rica in November and plan to fly into San Jose and then visit Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio, with a flight out of San Jose. What type of rental car is recommended, especially for the trip to and from Monteverde? Can I get away with a compact or midsize car or is it recommended to have a 4x4. Any tips on who I should/should not rent from.

Thanks in advance

Destination Expert
for Richmond
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1. Re: Rental Car Tips

There are numerous threads that go into detail about rental cars... even a few on this first page here, and one tacked at the top right (if viewing the full TA site on a computer).

Basically, there are a couple local rental car companies that have good reviews, but sticking with the "Big Guys" (Worldwide Companies) is the safest bet. For the most accurate fleet listing and rates, make sure you are on the company's Costa Rica site, and not a third party site like Expedia or Kayak.

Basic mandatory insurance is required by law in Costa Rica, regardless of any other kind of Credit Card insurance or any other existing insurance you may have, so make sure you confirm that's included in your quote price.

Someone else can chime in about 4X4 necessity for that area.

Once you narrow down some rates and companies, come back and run them by the forum here and people will point you in the right direction.

Good luck!

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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2. Re: Rental Car Tips

Technically you could drive your itinerary, even the Monteverde section, in a compact or midsize sedan. All roads, apart a section between Tilaran and Monteverde and then Monteverde to Guacimal, are paved. However if price difference is not huge, I would opt for an SUV type of vehicle. To get an idea about what a good all inclusive rental rate is, go to www.wild-rider.com . Thorsten runs WYSIWYG business

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
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3. Re: Rental Car Tips

You would expect international companies to be the best choice of car rental companies, maybe they are in other countries. However, in Costa Rica, the big and well-known brand names are often not part of the company chain but are franchises and do not always follow the same policies in terms of customer service and quality of vehicles. Recent threads and reviews would suggest that very often local companies like Service, Vamos and Wild Rider give better value for money, honest pricing and good customer service.

If you do decide to go with a big name, do book through their local webpage and not their US page for more realistic quotations. The international sites don't seem to understand or give pricing for the mandatory insurance requirement, just as an example.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Rental Car Tips

I have driven the Tilaran to Santa Elena (Monteverde) section in a 2WD Rav4..... It is gravel, rough and in good shape.but I'd say a Corolla would be fine. It's 20 MPH....We went in May. We called it "the Bobblehead Highway".... No problem for us. And that section is a pretty ride. The gravel section from Monteverde to Pan Am Highway thru Las Juntas (sp?) is the same.

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5. Re: Rental Car Tips

Thank you for all of your recommendations and input. Very much appreciated.

6. Re: Rental Car Tips

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