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Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

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Peoria, Illinois
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Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

Wife and I fly into Liberia airport and we are staying in Tamarindo for a week, then departing from Liberia.

My informal poll from prior postings seems to be 50-50 on renting a car. We could get to and from the airport via shuttle service. Some say no car needed in Tamarindo, others say rent and explore the area.

This is our first trip to Tamarindo, but not Costa Rica. So we're trying to decide if we want to just stick in Tamarindo area (no car) or do we want to do some exploring (car needed).

Any suggestions, since we are not familiar with Tamarindo area?

La Fortuna de San...
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1. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

You can hire a driver for a day of excursions for not much more than a car. You van bargain for a good taxi rate to go to one place nearby. Buses for the adventuresome. If you're not planning on excursions every day I would say no car.

Naperville, IL
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2. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

We're in the same boat. Visiting first week in March for our first trip to Costa Rica. Does anyone have any recommendations for hiring a driver for the day? Thanks.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

You know, it is really easy to rent a car IN Tamarindo. You don't NEED a car if you're staying in Tamarindo, but you might like one (even to go to the grocery store if you're staying at a condo).

The only downside of arranging for a shuttle on arrival and then renting later is that you've already paid $80-$100 towards the cost of renting a car if once you pay for the shuttle (and cars are only $100-$225 weekly rate at this time of the year).

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

Certainly you don't NEED a car, but I have preferred to have one for my trips to Tamarindo. It's nice to be able to explore some of the other beaches nearby and to go to Lola's. :)

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

KAE4, a group of six of us are heading down to Playa Grande/Tamarindo in February and we are renting a car for a few days, we want to explore the area beaches and sights. You say you've been a few times can you give us some tips on car rentals in the area and some good places to see/do. What is Lola's? and should we check it out?

Thanks

California
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6. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

Lola's is a great beachside restaurant at Playa Avellanas, about a half hour from Tamarindo.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

I am staying at the Paradisus in December. Is there a car rental place nearby? Please help. How much would it cost?

Texas
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8. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

We are flying into Liberia the end of July and picking up a car at the airport through USave. We got a good rate. There are so many good beaches to visit in the area,it just seems better to have a car at our disposal. I guess it depends on what you want to do. I haven't visited that area in quite a while, but I used to drive there quite a lot with friends and kids. It was safe and fun, but then I think all of Costa Rica is enjoyable scenery.

Tamarindo
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9. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

If you do decide to rent a car, avoid Mapache Rent a Car. If you rent from them, and then someone breaks into your hotel room, steals the keys to your rental, then steals the car, and then rolls it into a ditch, Mapache will charge your credit card $5000. True story!!

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Rent a car or not (Liberia/Tamarindo)?

Sorry, just saw your questions--I see someone has answered the Lola's question. It would be impossible to explain how to get there, but please ask someone when you're there--it is worth it! I would also recommend driving north to Playa Grande one day--it is a lovely beach as well.

I have always rented in Liberia through Advantage--I always get an SUV, which even during the dry season is helpful. They have always been fantastic to rent from.

I'd also recommend doing Rincon de la Vieja, Palo Verde National Park, and one of the snorkeling/sunset cruises. I also enjoyed horseriding through Santa Rosa tours. For all but the boat ride, you can save money by driving yourself as well.