Insider Advice on car rental??

Old Apr 8th, 2003, 11:37 AM
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Insider Advice on car rental??

I could use some insider's advise on renting a car in Costa Rica.

We are visitng Arenal & Tamarindo in late September and are planning to rent a 4x4 while there. We're really not interested in having someone else drive us because this vacation is for our honeymoon- we'd like to be alone, take our time driving and have the chance to explore at our leisure.

My problem is that many people I've talked with are making me very nervous about renting a car! Stories about being taken advantage of by the car company and losing their deposits.

Is there a certain car company you would recommend/not recommend?
We are currently considering Adobe because we'll be able to drop the car off in Tamarindo so we can fly back to SJO.

I'm really excited about this trip, but would really appreciate any advise you can offer to ease my worries.

Thank you!
Maren is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2003, 01:49 PM
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We rented a Jeep for our family of five for two weeks in March; our travel agent found the best deal through a packager here in Canada, Fun Sun Vacations. The car was from Payless or Elegante (they shared an office). It was supposed to be a reasonably new vehicle; of course it had more than 100 km on it and looked pretty beat up, so we made sure to mark down every scratch ahead of time and we took out the most expensive insurance. I don't think there's any way around that. Sometimes the back wouldn't open, but otherwise there were no problems. The driving was no also problem; the twisting, rocky mountain roads and potholes were actually a lot of fun, and the scenery was wonderful. Having a vehicle gave us tremendous flexibility; I couldn't imagine doing it any other way, and we met a number of people who regretted that they hadn't chosen to drive themselves. We flew to Liberia, drove the same day to Arenal; then Arenal to Monteverde, Monteverde to Manuel Antonio, and MA back to Tamarindo. I'm not sure you'd need a vehicle in Tamarindo, but it depends what you'll be doing there. You'll have heard this already, but again, be warned: don't leave things in the car. We stopped for half an hour in the town of Canas (turnoff to Arenal from the PanAmerican Highway), on a very busy street in the middle of the day, during our drive from MA to Tamarindo...and now someone in Costa Rica is enjoying all our things--clothes, books, even the kids' toys. They had broken one of the locks and even flattened the front tire. Must have had a car themselves to haul away our heavy bags. So there you go. I would still recommend driving. And of course now the car rental company can have all those scratches and dings fixed when they claim for the broken lock!
Sandra is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Maren, you can prob get by without 4wd but be sure to heed Sandra's advice about leaving luggage in an unattented car; also, don't try driving at night! We have driven all over CR twice without any problems.
Good luck, have fun!
dncee11 is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2003, 11:47 AM
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We used Dollar Rent-a-car in 2001 without any problems. We are planning to use them again for the upcoming trip in August.
Make sure you follow the advice given here about not driving after dark (6pm) and not leaving any belongings in the car while unattended.
Iza is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2003, 12:02 PM
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I am also going in late September for our honeymoon...can't wait....we always rent cars and drive on our trips, but with all of the worries of renting a car, we are going to hire a driver whenever we need to go some where...just seems less stressful for us even though we will miss the freedom, we gain the peace of mind. Have a great time!
rungirl2002 is offline  
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