The Ultimate Guide to Leasing a Cars And Truck in Costa Rica (Upgraded 2024)

A sunny, bright day overlooking the towering Arenal volcano in Costa Rica with lush jungle in all directions
Published: 1/25/24|January 25th, 2024

I like Costa Rica It was the top place I went to by myself over 15 years earlier and the nation that set me on my nomadic journey. From its sensational beaches to its lavish jungles, this biodiverse country is popular with backpackers, honeymooners, and expats alike. And while it’s little, there’s a load to see and do You might quickly invest a month and still hardly scratch the surface area.

It’s likewise incredible for road-tripping.

As much as a backpacking bus or hitchhiking experience may at first sound enticing, the truth is that waiting in the hot sun and after that bouncing along rough roadways in an old bus without shocks or air-conditioning is not for the fainthearted. If you desire genuine liberty to check out, you require a rental cars and truck

To assist you prepare your journey, here’s whatever you require to learn about leasing a cars and truck in Costa Rica.


Choosing the Right Rental Cars And Truck (and Rental Business)

Before you lease a cars and truck, check out and compare evaluations for cars and truck rental business. While the basic huge business are readily available here, there are great deals of regional ones too.

As soon as you have actually limited the list to a selected couple of, request for quotes for the kind of lorry and travel dates that you need. The quote needs to consist of compulsory third-party insurance coverage, taxes, and any other additional charges, like airport tax. The majority of websites consist of all this details when getting a quote online.

Whether you are scheduling online or straight with a representative, verify the information of your booking. Crossing time zones might indicate that your rental pickup time or perhaps date is various in Costa Rica than your nation of departure. You will require to validate the time, date, and area of your lorry’s pickup and drop-off, the lorry classification, transmission, and protection needed.

Indicate keep in mind when leasing a cars and truck in Costa Rica:

  • A manual transmission might be less expensive than automated and more typical in Costa Rica however must just be chosen if you can drive a standard transmission.
  • Returning your cars and truck at a location various from where you selected it up will most likely sustain a surcharge.
  • The majority of rental business will not ensure a particular make and design within the rental classification.
  • Anticipate to lease for 24-hour durations. Time your pickup and drop-off appropriately.
  • Offer your flight number before you show up, so the business can track your flight.
  • If you have an early flight, think about dropping off the lorry the night before and utilizing a hotel shuttle bus to the airport.
  • Online travel bureau (OTAs) typically stop working to consist of all charges, so if you schedule through one, make sure to inspect the last cost with the cars and truck rental business, through which the prices might be more transparent.
  • The majority of business now provide an online check-in procedure to submit files such as passports and motorist’s licenses to cut time at the counter and get on the roadway quicker.

My go-to rental cars and truck business in Costa Rica is Vamos. You can click on this link to get a quote (You’ll get 5% off simply by utilizing that link).

Getting To the Airport

Both global airports in Costa Rica have cars and truck rental business desks within the structure; nevertheless, the workplaces (where you’ll get your cars and truck) are off-site. They normally have a shuttle bus service to take customers to their workplaces, the majority of which lie within a 10-minute drive of the airport.

Regional hustlers may inform you that your business has actually failed to persuade you to choose a various business that will pay them a commission. Try to find an indication with your business’s logo design and disregard the hustlers.

If your flight is postponed or you miss your connection, get in touch with the business with your brand-new approximated arrival time to prevent having actually the booking canceled as a no-show.

When you reach the rental workplace, the representative will fill out any exceptional documentation that has actually not been done online and carry out an automobile assessment with you. Although the representative will keep in mind existing damage, you must take images or video of the cars and truck for backup functions.

Your lorry might not have a complete fuel tank when you choose it up, however the fuel gauge level must be gone to the assessment type. You will require to return the cars and truck with the very same fuel level. Although you will not be compensated for a level greater than the one signed up, you will be charged if it is listed below the beginning level.

Returning the Automobile
Verify your drop-off area and time when you get the lorry. If you are captured in traffic or are postponed for any factor, get in touch with the rental business to prevent a charge. Make certain that your fuel gauge is at the best level, otherwise head to a filling station before you drop it off. The business’s agent will check your lorry with you and after that process the deposit compensation.

Files Required for Leasing a Cars And Truck in Costa Rica

Here’s whatever you require to lease a cars and truck in Costa Rica:

Motorist’s license— You can utilize your regional motorist’s license throughout the rental duration as long as it is printed in the Latin alphabet. If your license remains in a language that does not utilize the Latin alphabet (e.g., Mandarin, Arabic), a global driving license is needed. Your motorist’s license need to stand for the whole of your stay.

It is very important to keep in mind that although a lot of travelers will be offered a 180-day visa when they go into the nation, their motorist’s licenses are just legitimate for 90 days, and they will be needed to leave Costa Rica and go back to lawfully drive once again.

Charge card— You require a legitimate charge card in your name to pay the cars and truck leasing and to position the deposit.

Passport— Your passport needs to stand throughout of your stay. Lawfully, travelers need to bring it with them at all times. The transit authorities will wish to see it and your entry visa if you are pulled over.

A Note on the Minimum and Optimum Driving Age
Each cars and truck rental business has policies relating to the age of the motorists it guarantees. Lots of do not have an optimum age, however some set a limitation of 70-75 years of ages. The legal age to drive in Costa Rica is 18; nevertheless, a lot of business need that motorists be at least 25. More youthful motorists might have the ability to lease a cars and truck for an extra surcharge and insurance coverage expenses.

Insurance Coverage Protection

Costa Rica has compulsory third-party insurance coverage for cars and truck leasings. It is not possible to get this protection any other method. Examine that this expense is consisted of in your rental quote, as it’s typically overlooked, so you might wind up paying more than what you at first believed.

An accident damage waiver (CDW) covers losses from damage to your rental cars and truck. This is lawfully needed when leasing a cars and truck in Costa Rica. The majority of business provide different tiers of insurance coverage, with different deductibles. Lots of occupants choose complete protection for comfort, as then any damage that takes place throughout leasing is covered. Some business provide extra protection for tires and the windshield (windscreen), as they are not constantly covered by the CDW.

If your charge card company has a CDW as a perk, you can waive the internal CDW. Simply keep in mind that you will require to bring a letter that clearly mentions the quantity of protection, that Costa Rica is consisted of in the locations covered, and the last 4 digits of the motorist’s charge card. A copy of the charge card business’s conditions is not typically adequate.

One crucial thing to note is that the rental business might hold a deposit for the rental duration, which might be as much as $5,000 USD if the occupant is utilizing their charge card company’s CDW. The deposit will be launched at the end of the rental duration. Make certain you have a charge card that can absorb this deposit.

Driving in Costa Rica

Here are a couple of things to remember while driving in Costa Rica:

Speed limitations— Indications remain in kilometers instead of miles, and speed limitations are normally lower than you ‘d anticipate, with a 90 km/h (55 miles per hour) limitation on significant highways. Speed limitations alter with minimal caution in between locations, so remain alert to signs.

Gasoline station— Make certain that you understand if your rental lorry is sustained by gas or diesel. This info needs to be on the lorry assessment report if you have actually forgotten. Gasoline station are not self-service, so be prepared to request for the sort of fuel you require along with the quantity.

If you’re leasing among the EVs that are beginning to form part of fleets in Costa Rica, then prepare your path around the network of charging stations throughout the nation. You can discover more about those here

Navigation— Usage Waze, which is upgraded in genuine time by a passionate group of volunteers, so you understand mishaps or other scenarios that might impact your travel time. Google Maps is readily available however does not constantly have precise info. It likewise tends to undervalue journey times, so you must take that into factor to consider when preparing your schedule if you prepare to utilize it.

In spite of Costa Rica’s main address system, which includes calles (roadways that run north-south) and avenidas (opportunities that run west-east), nearly all residents offer instructions utilizing landmarks, and couple of can supply instructions utilizing roadway or opportunity numbers. It’s useful to understand that a block is typically referred to as 100 meters.

To contribute to the confusion, a place might utilize landmarks that no longer exist however were understood all right to stay in living memory. So you might be directed to go 600 meters south of the location “where the huge mango tree utilized to be” or to turn left after “the grocery store that utilized to be pink.” Fortunately, Waze is a navigation lifesaver, however you may grow to take pleasure in the wacky tico (Costa Rican) method of discovering locations!

Parking— Constantly park in safe and secure car park, and do not leave belongings in an ignored lorry, as burglaries can take place.

In the last couple of years, there have actually been cases of the transit authorities releasing fines and eliminating license plates from cars parked on yellow lines at popular traveler areas like Manuel Antonio. The headache in this scenario is that the lorry can not be driven without plates and need to be pulled back to the workplace, where it stays off the roadway up until the cars and truck rental business recovers the plates from the appropriate authority. This is a lengthy and costly treatment, so bear in mind where you park!

Extra Rental Factors To Consider

Lots of cars and truck rental business charge an everyday cost for devices or services beyond the fundamental rental expenses. You must take this into account when budgeting your journey. These can consist of:

Extra motorists— Anticipate to pay an everyday rate for each motorist contributed to your rental contract after the primary motorist. ( Vamos Rent-A-Car uses extra motorists without additional expense.) It makes good sense to have at least one extra motorist to share the problem for longer journeys or to take control of if the primary motorist is feeling under the weather condition.

Roofing system racks— If you’re taking a trip with a great deal of travel luggage or surf boards, then leasing a roofing rack at an everyday rate might be a service to a confined lorry interior.

Infant or cars and truck seating— If you’re taking a trip with kids, Costa Rican law about seating (see listed below) is strictly imposed. Either bring your own kid seat or lease one at an everyday rate from the business.

Costa Rican seating laws for kids are based either on age or weight/height:

  • Rear-facing infant seat: Needed for kids less than a years of age and under 22 pounds (10 kg)
  • Kid seat: For those as much as 4 years of ages or less than 40 pounds (18 kg) and under 3′ 7″
  • Car seat: For those 5 to 12 years of ages, 40 pounds or more, and still under 4′ 9″
  • Safety belt: For those 4′ 9″ or taller or over the age of 12

Wi-Fi— Stay linked throughout your journey without paying extortionate roaming charges by utilizing a Mi-Fi (mobile Wi-Fi) gadget from your rental business. It’s typically quickly adequate to submit your most current vacay photos onto Instagram, link to your Spotify road-trip playlists, and browse with Waze, however downloading motion pictures is most likely excessive to anticipate. Web protection in Costa Rica is large, however do not depend on it if you are taking a trip off the beaten track.

Mishaps— If you are associated with a traffic mishap, check that nobody is injured then relocate to safety off the roadway. Do stagnate the lorry. Call the transit authorities and your insurer. You must likewise call your cars and truck rental company to examine if the cars and truck can be driven, if a mechanic is needed onsite or if the cars and truck requires to be exchanged and pulled. The lorry can be moved when the transit authorities allow.

Crossing the Border— Rental cars can not be required to surrounding nations ( Nicaragua or Panama) due to insurance coverage constraints. If you wish to go to those locations, you can organize to drop off your rental lorry at the border and reserve a cars and truck to be provided when you have actually crossed it.

11 Driving Tips for Costa Rica

A car driving on a dirt road in the shadow of Arenal volcano in Costa Rica
1. Keep a close eye on speed limitation indications, as this can alter rapidly within a brief range.

2. You’re leasing a cars and truck, not a boat, so withstand the temptation to drive through rivers (even if the residents are doing so). Insurance plan are voided if the lorry is driven through any body of water. And the electronic parts of contemporary cars are most likely to experience costly damage in water.

3. On a comparable note, it is prohibited to park on the beach. This is to safeguard wildlife, such as turtles. Even if residents are doing it, discover a safe parking area rather.

4. Chauffeurs in the other lane might flash their lights as they are coming towards you. This is typically a caution that there are transit authorities ahead or that there’s an upcoming challenge.

5. Speed bumps might be huge and might be unmarked. Stay vigilant.

6. Bridges might be one lane, so you require to try to find signs that shows which instructions has concern.

7. If driving a manual-transmission lorry, modification equipments when driving downhill, and do not ride the brakes otherwise the pads might get too hot.

8. Usage care while driving at night. Roadways are typically badly lit, and bicyclists or pedestrians might utilize the roadway edge in locations where there’s no pathway. Strategy to reach your location by sundown or around 5:30 pm. Keep your eyes peeled for sloths or other wildlife crossing the roadway.

9. If you’re taking a trip beyond the Central Valley or the most gone to traveler areas like Jaco, lease an SUV for the greater clearance that the lorry uses. For more rural locations, a 4 × 4 might be needed, particularly in the rainy season. Do not hesitate to ask your cars and truck rental company for recommendations on the very best lorry for your schedule.

10. Blowouts are not typically covered by internal or charge card policies. If you get a blowout, a regional garage can typically repair it for less than $20 USD.

11. If you are pulled over by the transit authorities, you must provide your motorist’s license, passport, and the documentation supplied by the cars and truck rental business. Traffic tickets can be released by authorities, however the payment can just be made in a bank or by means of your cars and truck rental business. Ought to a law enforcement officer ask you for money, call the authorities straight or your cars and truck rental business for help. Do not pay any kickbacks.


Costa Rica is a gorgeous nation and among my preferred locations in Central America. To guarantee you take advantage of your see and leave the beaten course, lease a cars and truck. You’ll have more liberty and versatility, and have the ability to check out beyond the basic traveler websites. I can’t advise it enough!

Click on this link to get a quote from Vamos Rent-A-Car. You’ll get an automated 5% off simply by utilizing this link!

Schedule Your Journey to Costa Rica: Logistical Idea

Schedule Your Flight
Usage Skyscanner to discover an inexpensive flight. They are my preferred online search engine due to the fact that they browse sites and airline companies around the world so you constantly understand no stone is left unturned!

Schedule Your Lodging
You can schedule your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the most significant stock and finest offers. If you wish to remain someplace besides a hostel, usage as they regularly return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and inexpensive hotels. My preferred locations to remain are:

Do Not Forget Travel Insurance Coverage
Travel insurance coverage will safeguard you versus health problem, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s detailed defense in case anything fails. I never ever go on a journey without it as I have actually needed to utilize it lot of times in the past. My preferred business that provide the very best service and worth are:

Trying To Find the very best Business to Conserve Cash With?
Take A Look At my resource page for the very best business to utilize when you take a trip. I note all the ones I utilize to conserve cash when I’m on the roadway. They will conserve you cash when you take a trip too.

Desired More Info on Costa Rica?
Make sure to visit our robust location guide on Costa Rica for a lot more preparation ideas!

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: