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Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

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The Woodlands, Texas
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Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

My family of 5 (3 kids ages 1, 6, and 11) are traveling soon to CR. We have private transportation from San Jose to our hotel near La Fortuna and then a few days later to Manuel Antonio. My question is: would it be best for us to rent a car while we are in the La Fortuna area so that we can get around, have a car seat for the baby, etc? Or is it best to just rely on tour companies to pick us up from the hotel and take us places? I am confused about this one!

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

With your family, I think renting a car is the way to go. By the time you pay for transportation or organized tours, the costs will be similar.

Plus - you will have so much freedom and flexibility which I think is really important when traveling with kids.

ON, Canada
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2. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

I think that having a rental is great for flexibility ... so I would get one in La Fortuna. Renting a car for the whole trip would work too, but is it too late to cancel your private shuttles?

Where are you staying in la Fortuna and have you decided on activities/tours there?

Are you bringing a car seat for the baby?

Playa Guiones...
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3. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

Depends on how many excursions you are planning. All the tour companies include roundtrip transportation in the price. So if you are doing all your excursions with a tour company you may not need a car. Bringing your own car seat may be a pain, but so worth it. You never know what you are going to be provided here. When you book excursions with tour companies, make sure you let them know you have 1 yr old and ask if they have car seats. On the other had, if you are planning on doing things yourself, drive yourself to the waterfall, handing bridges, volcano park, hot springs etc., by all means rent a car! And ask for a car seat!

The Woodlands, Texas
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4. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

Thanks for everyone's input so far. We have been heavily discouraged from driving around CR ourselves with kids. We are pretty adventurous and pretty well traveled, but we also want to be sure we are safe and don't want to be screaming at each other in the car because we are constantly stressed out with driving. However, we've never been to CR before. Our current general plan is to go 9 days (half at La Fortuna and half at Manuel Antonio). I was planning to get private transport between cities with a car seat provided by the service. Do I keep private transport between destinations, rent own car while at each destination and bring my own car seat for the whole time?

Costa Rica
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5. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

It's very convenient to use private transportation between locations. It's easy -- you get picked up when you want to be, you can make a few stops if you need to and no worries about driving. It's also a good way to get to know Costa Rica and Costa Ricans roads.

In some areas, a car really is not necessary. But things in the Arenal area are so spread out that you will spend a lot on taxis to get around. Plus...... if you go strictly with organized tours, you are locked into their time frame and what they are doing. If you have a rental car, you can come and go to your own choosing and spend as much time or as little time at various places as you like without worrying about how your kids are affecting the other folks on the tour.

I don't think you have to bring your own car seat if you are just renting a car for a few days here and there. By law, the rental car companies are supposed to provide the appropriate car seat -- just like the private transportation.

As for whether you need a car in the Manuel Antonio area -- maybe not. It will depend on what you want to do and where you are staying. You can decide once you get there if you need a car for a day or two.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

Love your advice Hattei…YES rent a car…great way to save money and time…big ripp offs about transportation around La Fortuna…

Take advice from people that have had been there recently some people offer some confusing advice based on 20 years ago…

roadadvisor

The Woodlands, Texas
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7. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

This is great advice. I think private transfers to the destinations, renting car in La Fortuna and waiting and seeing in Manuel Antonio is the way we will go. Can anyone recommend a rental company?

Costa Rica
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8. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

Your choices in La Fortuna will be somewhat limited.

These are all good agencies but may not have an office in La Fortuna. Vamos, Wild Rider, Solid, Service, Budget, National, Toyota, Adobe, Alamo. If you book with an agency that has a US presence, be sure to book with the Costa Rican agency and not the US agency or through a third party. Make sure the quote includes the mandatory liability insurance.

Farmington Hills MI
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9. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

We were in CR in April, and used private drivers between locations and we rented a car from National Car Rental (natcar.com) in La Fortuna for 3 days. Wasn't cheap (about $260 for a really nice Toyota SUV), but it was convenient. Took about 45 min to rent and 45 min to return at the combined Alamo/NatCar office in downtown LaFortuna. We were glad we rented. Much more convenient.

Murrieta, California
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10. Re: Should we rent a car to get around La Fortuna area???

Ok! Got the message, should we rent a car at SJO vs La Fortuna. If at La Fortuna, how do we get there from the airport? Cost? Thanks