car rental costa rica

Old Jan 20th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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car rental costa rica

I'm sure the topic of renting acar in Costa Rica had come up before, but I am unable to find it. I'll be renting a car the end of Feb. and I am looking for any suggestions. Is any one agency better than another, what type of cars aare best, is four-wheel really needed, etc.? Any thing different than renting a car in the States. Thanks for any help anyone might have.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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We looked into but did not rent a car in Costa Rica. I would definitely recommend four-wheel drive even if all you are doing are the normal tourist stuff. If you are departing from the norm, there is no question but that 4-wheel drive in necessary. I'd also come armed with nerves of steel -- the roads are awful for the most part (not as bad as Bolivia, but primitive by USA standards) and the drivers are very crazy.

That said, we loved Costa Rica and would go back in an instant.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Hi Bert48,
My name is Neta Talmor and I have been living in Costa Rica with my boyfriend for almost 3 years. We have helped so many friends and family members plan their visits to Costa Rica so I thought it would be nice doing the same online.
I personally recommend renting a car, if that's your style. Don't be too intimidated by all the stories. Driving in Costa Rica is nothing like driving in the States (bad roads, pot holes, small bridges, only 1 lane for each direction etc). However, it only means you have to drive slower and pay more attention, which is a good thing. In terms of directions, use a good map (www.berndston.com), follow the directions and ask help from locals (no need to speak Spanish, it is enough to say the name of the next town you want to get to, and they will point it out to you). One thing you should know - it is not recommended driving at night, avoid it if possible. This means you should try and start your day early.
If this all sounds too much stress to you - don't rent a car. There are alternatives (tours, car with driver, taxis, shuttle buses and more), but it always means less flexibility.
By the way, a 4x4 car is much better, and is a must for some areas.
If you choose to rent a car, I will give you some more information on agencies.
Feel free to write directly to my email if you need any more information or help planning your vacation.
Pura Vida
Neta.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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I usually rent my 4x4s from Dollar, they seem to have the best rates, and I have never had a problem with them. You will have to have a credit card with at least $1000 on it as a deposit and you will have to get insurance unless your credit card has car rental insurance attached to it.

As Neta mentioned, don't necesarily believe all the bad stories about driving yourself in Costa Rica. Personally I find renting a car and driving myself is a great way to see the country, you can stop whenever you want. And to me it's part of the adventure.

Check out http://www.crica.com/cars/cars.html for rental companies including Dollar. Also, remember to drive the speed limit as there are a lot of cops along some of the roads. We got a ticket last time we were there but we were able to pay it at Dollar's office which worked out really nice. Even with their surcharge for paying it for us it was only $18. And try not to pick up your car at the airport, there will be an extra charge for that.

Have a great trip! Pura vida!
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Old Jan 21st, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Thanks to all for the good advice.

thanks ZazuToo for your concerns.

Thanks Neta and Cakes for your overall suggestions and connections for maps and car rental agencies. I will try a car and your help has been reassuring and definitely reduce my sleepless nights I was starting to experience.

I am getting very excited about Costa Rica beacuse of you all.

Pura Vida.
bert48 is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2004, 08:05 AM
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Hello,
Definitely a 4 wheel drive. I recommend a toyota 4 runner or a Prada. We got a great deal through tico travel the last time we rented. Much cheaper than the others and they delivered it to quepos at no charge. I am sure they have a website, but sorry i don't have that right now. Have fun here. Walt
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Old Jan 22nd, 2004, 08:46 AM
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Whether to rent a car or not depends a lot on your personality and interests. We chose not to and are happy with our decision. But we only went to Monteverde and Arenal, so a car would have just been a handicap. If you're going to more places, a car might be a good idea. Stay alert--note that if you run into a detour, signage might not be very good. Driving is very very very slow and tedious. Many vehicles are underpowered or in poor condition and drive very slowly--it's not unusual for overloaded trucks to dump their cargo on the road on a sharp curve. But drivers are generally very polite.
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