Costa Rica Car Rental

Car rental in Costa Rica is not for the faint of heart, but if you want to explore the country on your own, this may be the way to go.

Make your reservation well in advance, and work with a company you’ve heard of, if possible (the major US-based chains are well represented). Otherwise, go through a travel agency you trust to arrange for a rental with a local company.

Costa Rica car rental rules require that you purchase insurance, including a collision damage waiver (CDW) in the country. Your personal auto insurance policy does not cover you in Costa Rica, and you cannot buy the insurance from a US agent or rental company. If you try to buy insurance before arriving in Costa Rica, you will end up paying for it twice.

You will almost certainly want to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle, unless you plan to use the car only on the city streets of San José. If you are not comfortable driving a 4WD car, have never done off-road driving, and freeze in terror at the thought of driving in Manhattan, Boston, or Detroit, you should probably pass on the idea of driving in Costa Rica. This is a challenge that is not for the faint of heart. At the same time, if you’re an overly aggressive driver, you’re likely to get yourself into a whole lot of trouble. The key is smart defensive driving and taking the potholes slow and easy. No matter what, don’t drive the way the locals do, as you will come to regret it. They know where they’re going; you don’t.

 

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