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laurenjones1919 Aug 4th, 2008 06:34 AM

Car rental help
My husband and I are traveling to CR for the first time the first week in September. This forum has given me some great advice for our trip planning, but the one thing I have not been able to get in order is our car rental situation.

Being that there are 19 different companies, ranging from local to international companies, rates, insurances, etc, it has been a very confusing process. I didn't know if there were any suggestions for

1- whether to rent from a local or international company?
2- if anyone knows who has 24 hour hotlines for the various situations I have read about on here?
3- who has gps rentals?
4- if a 4 x 4 is worthwhile? (traveling from San Jose to Arenal to Jaco and back to San Jose)

Surprisingly this has been the most overwhelming part of our trip planning. Thank you in advance for any advice on this subject!:)

Keith Aug 4th, 2008 07:34 AM

I used Tricolor Car Rental, which was repeatedly recomended in this forum. I was very happy with them.

The pricing was among the best and they didn't try to sell me things I didn't need.

I don't know the road to Jaco, but the drive to Arenal does not require a 4X4. On the other hand, there are hotels around Arenal where you would be happier driving a 4x4.


Jim_Boo Aug 5th, 2008 08:35 AM

Hi laurenjones1919!

I have made good experience with Wild Rider, they have 2 24hour hotlines. I am not sure if they rent GPS.
You don't need a 4x4 to drive from San Jose to Arenal to Jaco and back.

volcanogirl Aug 5th, 2008 09:37 AM

We usually hire a private driver, but Tricolor is probably the most recommended rental agency on this board.

beloit96 Aug 10th, 2008 01:51 PM

We just rented from Tricolor (out of Liberia airport, not San Jose) and it was fine. Not the most fabulous service but we got the car we wanted at the lowest price. We wanted to go with Mapache--their service when we were researching companies & cars was really good! But they didn't have the vehicle we needed for our group of 6. We considered these 2 companies mostly because of the comments here on the board.

Most of the roads are in decent shape around Arenal and having a 4x4 won't really matter, but the side roads roads to El Castillo (where there is a great butterfly conservatory and a few other places to visit) and to Arenal Observatory Lodge are both unpaved, rocky and pot-holey roads. Very slow going. And they were decent sized rocks too, not little pebbles like a dirt road in Iowa! Hubby felt that the 4x4 wasn't really necessary to navigate those roads, but I can't imagine doing it in a small vehicle either.

beloit96 Aug 10th, 2008 01:54 PM

Oh, but I should add that because we didn't inquire about GPS and/or a cell phone until about a week before our trip, Tricolor didn't have any that we could use. Turns out we really didn't need a GPS (we were just staying and driving around Lake Arenal), but it would have been nice to have had a cell phone in case of emergency.

I think Mapache offered a 7-day prepaid cell phone with a weekly rental thru their website.

qwovadis Aug 10th, 2008 02:51 PM

Just did your route in a 2WD Sentra did fine no need for 4WD in any situation few potholes small rattly
hardpack in some areas no mud no need
for GPS.Just a good map has the most locations

good web specials

Tricolor cheaper local

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