Costa Rica Car Rental for 6 passengers

Old Nov 10th, 2010, 04:14 AM
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Costa Rica Car Rental for 6 passengers

Does anyone know of a car rental company who has vehicles large enough for 6 passengers? When my kids were younger we were able to squeeze them into one of the SUV's but now that they're grown, I'm having trouble finding a car large enough for all of us. Thrifty offers a minivan but the rate is over $700 compared to $450 if we take private transfers. I would much rather have a car then rely on taxis but for the difference in price it seems like we're better off with the transfers. We're traveling in May, flying into SJO, driving to Arenal then spending some time in Flamingo Beach before flying out of LIR. Any suggestions?
Thanks!!
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 05:46 AM
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We've faced that problem too. We fit 6 adults into a Toyota Prado for 10 days in Nicaragua a couple of years ago. On the drives to and from the airport we had to squeeze 6 pieces of luggage in too, which required tolerance and a willingness to have bags on laps or at feet--not comfortable, but it worked out. The car wasn't cheap. Maybe transfers would be better for you--you could rent when you get to your locations if you really want the flexibility.
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 08:13 AM
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Part of the decision will depend on what you are bringing for luggage. If you are light packers, then it is possible to fit everyone in. There are several companies that offer 6 or 7 passenger SUV's. If you have a good amount of luggage, shuttles might be the best way to go.

You might consider taking the shuttle from Alajuela to the Arenal area and then renting a car while you are there since things are spread out. Then turn your car in, take the shuttle to the airport in Liberia, rent a car for your trip to Flamingo and around that area and for the return to Liberia. This way, if it is somewhat crowded, you don't have a long trip. You could book your trip from the Arenal area to the Hilton Garden Inn, across the road from the airport, and just ask the driver to drop you off at the airport. Alternatively, most of the rental car companies are located along the highway that leads to the airport so you could just get your driver to drop you off at their office.

It really doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" kind of thing.
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 07:07 PM
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We rented from Mapache in Arenal. It was a larger SUV, with 3rd row seating - however we didn't have luggage to fit in. As hsmithcr mentions, the luggage will make the decision - we had a driver take us from San Jose to Arenal - so no problems with luggage there. Then once in Arenal we rented the SUV. We like the freedom of having a car at that location. We rented for the three days we were there. Then we returned the SUV and had a driver drive us to our next location - which was back to San Jose where we left for the Osa and didn't need a car.

I don't think we could have fit the luggage for all 6 of us in the SUV.
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 02:28 AM
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Good suggestions, thanks! I'm going to check with Mapache to see if they offer a luggage rack for the top of the car. If they do, that might solve my problem and I'll be able to rent the car for the entire trip otherwise I'll take your advice & rent separately in each area. Thanks again!
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 05:15 AM
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If you go the luggage rack route, you may want to consider bringing along a sheet of heavy plastic or individual contractor size trash bags to protect your things from rain or road dust. You may need rope also.
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Old Nov 12th, 2010, 05:01 AM
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I would recommend that you rent the car instead of the transfers, it is a much better way to travel around Costa Rica. In regards to the size I would check with companies that specialize in Costa Rica as they will have the best knowledge on the size of car that you will need. Check with companies that deal with a couple of car rental agenices instead of calling each one direct. The reason I say this is because when I went I did that and I actually found a better deal from a travel company (www.ticotravel.com)than if I went to them direct.. not sure why that was.... but I didn't argue.. anyway it worked out great so that I why I am letting you know.. good luck and have fun!!
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Old Nov 12th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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Good advice from kinkazote - I was going to suggest the same thing. You can bring or buy here the large garbage bags for your luggage and then bring or buy some stout twine.
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Old Nov 12th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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I didn't even think of that, the last time we rented from Avis they gave us a hard top luggage carrier so I didn't have to worry about the weather. I'm still checking around for rates but so far even if I only book the rental for a few days, when added to the cost of the transfers it's over what I would pay to have the car for the entire week.

My 21 yr old son has told me he hasn't gotten any bigger since the last time we squished him in the car so there shouldn't be a problem...he'll be the one you see tied to the roof when we can't fit!
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 02:34 AM
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As far as your needs are concerned you should go for 8 seated minivan. That will give you a lot of space to comfortably sit as well as place your luggage. You can find the list of cars available at the car rental company site at http://www.pointcarhire.com.The price they quote includes all the additional facilities like Vehicle Theft Waiver, Liability Insurance, Premium Location / Airport Fee, VAT Local Tax. It may seem initially high to you but these facilities are must required when you are renting a car.
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 02:59 AM
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www.servicecarrental.com nice prices on ToYo vans

might have a look at those...
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 07:28 AM
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Hmmm... have to wonder if carolosgarlan is connected to pointcarhire.com I have never heard of these people and I usually recommend going with the tried and true. The servicecarrental recommended by qwovadis is a good company, among others.
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 03:26 PM
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I agree hsmithcr...I've been on this forum for years & never seen carolosgarlan or heard of pointcarhire.com either.

Thanks qwovadis...servicecarrental.com looks good so I have emailed them for a quote
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 02:25 AM
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The mini van rate from www.servicecarrental.com was much less than any of the others but I'm a little hesitant since I've never heard of them before.

qwovadis, Did you have a personal experience with them?

Thanks!
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 03:29 AM
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There are many car rental companies who offer cars large enough for 6 passengers. But generally the prices are on a high side. If one is looking for budget car rental then it is best to book a rental car via a broker.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2011, 02:10 PM
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Figured I'd give this a bump rather than start a new thread. I'm also interested in knowing if anyone has personal experience with servicecarrental.com?

I'm looking for an affordable, reliable 4x4 rental and the big names (Alamo, Hertz, etc.) seem very expensive compared to the local companies.
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