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Car rental for 6

San Diego...
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219 posts
34 reviews
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Car rental for 6

I'm going to CR in January for two weeks. There will be 6 of us, and we were planning on renting a large 12 person van from Vamos. They only have a manual transmission. My husband was going to be the main driver, but has just torn his rotator cuff , will require surgery and the immobilization of his right arm. Bye bye driver. I am not used to such a large vehicle. Throw in the seldom used manual transmission, rainy weather and hilly terrain and I'm a little chicken.

I'm trying to find something a little bit smaller and with an automatic transmission, while staying with the recommended car rental companies. I'm not doing very well. The Prado and the mini-vans tend to fit 7. Throw in at least 6 bags and a cooler, we're going to be cramped. My parents, who are going with us, are in their 80's. I want them to be comfortable. Any suggestions you guys? Know of any rental companies with a slightly larger vehicle with an automatic?

I did find a large 12 person van with an automatic through Thrifty, though they want to charge about $2000 for two weeks. Still, it's an option.....

I appreciate any suggestions and help. Thanks

Brenda

Costa Rica
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25,653 posts
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1. Re: Car rental for 6

Brenda - I would go with one of the larger SUV's such as the Prado or Montero and then put your luggage and coolers on top. You can bring or buy garden size garbage bags and tie-downs to keep everything in place and dry. Then keep your "valuables" inside in small daypacks. That way, your stuff is with you, you can drive an automatic SUV and there will be room for everyone.

Stay away from Thrifty. They can be bad news.

I would check Vamos again to see if either the Prado or Montero are available with automatic transmission while you are here.

San Diego...
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219 posts
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2. Re: Car rental for 6

Thanks Hattie, I was hoping you would weigh in. Vamos does have an automatic Prado, and I would love to stay with them, if they can get me one with a luggage rack on top. They are so wonderful to deal with. I was scared that it wouldn't be roomy enough. My husband can't lift or move his arm, Dad is 82, so it will be up to me to heft all those suitcases up there, tie them down, and bring them back down again, but it may be worth it. I can fit a couple of the heaviest ones behind the back seat. I've been married for nearly 30 years to a man with all the muscle. My turn to pony up I guess. :)

Costa Rica
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25,653 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Car rental for 6

You can find someone to help you lift up those bags! At the rental office, for sure, and also at your lodging. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Costa Ricans are very helpful and accommodating so it won't be a big deal for them. The sad part will be your poor husband who will have to just stand by and watch after being "The Man." lol

I'm pretty sure the Prado has a luggage rack and very sure the Montero has one. I think you can make this work!

San Diego...
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4. Re: Car rental for 6

I never even thought of that, what a dummy! Thanks Hattie, I feel much better about this.

San Jose
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88 posts
13 reviews
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5. Re: Car rental for 6

Dear TravelMom002,

Please allow me to chime in, if you will. First an introduction is in order, my name is George, I am the general manager at Vamos Rent-A-Car. If you send me an email at george@vamos4x4.com, I will gladly check if we have an Automatic Prado with a basket at your disposition.

In addition, I would personally ensure to have your car outfitted with a plastic tarp to ensure your belongings stay dry- even though I doubt it will rain during the dry season months (Jan - Apr).

Naturally, my co-workers would be glad to assist you with storing the luggage in the basket. If you like, we would also be able to contact your hotels to ensure that someone would be available to help with the unloading and loading of the luggage at each of your destinations.

Sincerely,

George Schwarzenbach

Vamos

Edited: 29 November 2013, 16:57
San Diego...
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219 posts
34 reviews
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6. Re: Car rental for 6

Wow George, you don't get customer service any better than that! I am so happy I chose Vamos.

I understand that the Prado is essentially the same as the Toyota 4 runner in the US. We went to look at one today, and found the very backseat to look very uncomfortable. Like the person in the back would have their knees near their chin, no floor space. Is that the case with the Prado? My husband and I are in our early 50's and the youngest in our group. My parents are in their 80's and I would hate to see them cramped, or have difficulty getting in and out. I want to stay with Vamos, as from start to finish, your customer service is top notch! I may just have to suck it up and drive the original 12 person van with manual transmission. Do you know of any other options?

Edmonton Canada
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879 posts
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7. Re: Car rental for 6

The Prado is a bit larger than the 4Runner, and they are a very nice vehicle. With 6, you will have one person in the third row and it will be cramped, but they could spread out a bit as they have the row to themselves. Keep in mind that, depending on your itinerary, you won't always be full of luggage. The van would be a bit cumbersome to manage because of the size, but unless you will be driving in San Jose traffic you would probably do fine .They all have diesel engines which are actually pretty easy to drive with a manual (high torque at low RPM) so they don't stall as easily as a gas engine. I don't know of any options between these two.

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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Midland, Texas
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208 posts
214 reviews
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8. Re: Car rental for 6

2 weeks---6 (50+) people plus luggage plus a cooler (?)....you guys will be crammed in like a bunch of sardines in a small/med SUV in my opinion. This may be acceptable for a very short drive (or kids & teenagers)--but may be more "togetherness" than anyone wants....

SUVs in Central America are not generally available in the size of a Ford Excursion but more in the Mid Size SUV category.. even a LARGE SUV can't really handle 6 adults+ 6 pieces of luggage + a cooler without being cramped.

You might consider just renting 2 smaller vehicles-- you haven't said where you are traveling...but two economy cars may be more realistic and comfortable..

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Canada
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4,612 posts
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9. Re: Car rental for 6

Hola Car rental in San Jose has a 7 seat Mitsubishi Montero. I am not necessarily recommending this company because I have no experience with them but friends are looking in to it so if anyone has any experience with then please let us know.

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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Canada
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4,612 posts
67 reviews
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10. Re: Car rental for 6

And apparently a 12 seat Hyundai Minibus with automatic transmission. I would love th hear from anyone with experience with this company.