Costa Rica Car Rental – All Your Questions Answered

car costa rica
about us

Hi! We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica.

Want the whole crazy story?

Renting a car in Costa Rica is often the most convenient way to travel throughout the country with maximum travel flexibility.

However, there are some things you should know before you rent a car.

So, we tried to answer every Costa Rica car rental question we have ever been asked in this post.

Also, keep in mind that we suggest renting with Adobe Rent-a-Car. If you are ready to book your car you can go ahead and do that here.

BOOK YOUR COSTA RICA RENTAL CAR AND SAVE 10%

The Adobe Rent-A-Car discount includes…..

– A 10% DISCOUNT  

– FREE SECOND DRIVER 

– FREE ROOF RACKS TO USE 

– 0% DEDUCTIBLE ON LIABILITY PROTECTION

– DISCOUNTED SMARTPHONE USAGE WITH UNLIMITED DATA

Should I Rent a  Car?

The short answer is yes. We think that renting a car is almost always the best way to get around here.

The exceptions to that are:

– If you are staying in a resort and don’t plan on traveling to multiple spots, you are probably better off getting a private shuttle to and from the airport instead.

– If you are trying to stick to a really tight budget and opt for the public bus instead. Just keep in mind that the public buses don’t go between every destination so you may end up having to switch buses several times. 

I am spending two weeks in Costa Rica, should I rent a car?

Yes. For your two-week trip, you will most likely want to visit a combination of jungle and beach destinations.

Having a car will make it easier for you to get between locations and will give you the ability to plan tons of your own fun things to do during the day.

I am spending over a month in Costa Rica, should I rent a car?

You should. However, it will be expensive.

We suggest considering renting a car for only part of your trip if you are concerned about the cost.

For example, maybe you plan to spend one week just relaxing at a nice hotel on the beach. You won’t need a car for that time period.

Choose a Car Company

car

What is the best car rental company in Costa Rica?

Everyone will have a different opinion on that, but we personally are loyal to Adobe Rent-a-Car.

Adobe is a local Costa Rican company that prides themselves on excellent customer service, full transparency on all their rates, new & well-maintained vehicles, and so much more!

Why should I book with Adobe Rent-a -Car?

As we mentioned above, you should consider Adobe because they are great, plus we also have a discount for you if you rent with them.

This discount includes:

A 10% Discount – Sometimes this discount increases to 15% depending on the season, but it is always at least 10%. This discount is for your car rental only, not insurance.

Free Second Driver – You can share the driving with your travel companion at no extra cost

Free Roof Racks to Use – If you are bringing your surfboard, Adobe will give you roof racks to strap it on.

Free Car Delivery – Adobe is happy to deliver your car for free within 12 miles of any of their offices. That means you can always use other transportation and have your car delivered to your hotel on the beach or in the jungle.

0% Deductible – This applies to Liability Protection insurance. It is usually a 20% deductible.

Discounted Smartphone with Unlimited Data – For $12 a day you can get a smartphone with unlimited data to use for your trip. Yes, that means you can put on the hot spot and share the data with your travel mates. 

Free Booster Seat and/or Car Seat – If you are traveling with children, adobe will happily equip your vehicle with all the booster and car seats you need.

Free Airport Pickup – The Adobe office is located about five minutes away from the San Jose and Liberia International Airports. Someone will be waiting to pick you up in their comfortable shuttle

Discounted GPS – Usually a GPS unit costs $9 a day with Adobe. With our discount, it will be $6 per day.

You can book your car with Adobe, here

Should I rent my car from a site like Expedia?

We say no.

The reason for that is that a lot of companies will list cars on these sites without including any of the mandatory taxes, fees, and insurance.

You may think you are renting a car for $10 a day, but it will be several hundred more when you actually arrive in Costa Rica to pick up your vehicle.

We have had some really bad experiences with that before we discovered Adobe. 

Are there any car rental scams I should watch out for?

Yes, as I mentioned above, watch out for prices being inaccurate. There are mandatory insurance fees you need to pay in Costa Rica, but not every company discloses these ahead of time.

If you would like to know more, check out our post about car rental scams in Costa Rica

Saving Money

car costa rica

Do you know of any car Rental Coupons?

I don’t know of any coupon codes for car rentals. However, if you book through us your discount will automatically be included. Adobe set up a special booking system just for us with the discount built-in. 

Do You Know of any Car Rental Discount?

As I mentioned, yes, we have 10% discount with Adobe to pass on to you. If you are ready to reserve your car you can do so here.

Are there any economy-friendly car rental companies?

We have heard about local residents renting out cars and this is usually cheaper. However, we have also heard about people having bad experiences with this and not getting deposits back, renting dirty cars etc.

I strongly suggest renting from a reputable company.

Any tips for paying less for my car rental?

We have a few money-saving tips for you

– Use our discount to save money

– Travel at off-peak times. Car rentals (and most things in Costa Rica) are cheaper during the rainy season (May – early December)

– Book your car early. Cars do sell out so the earlier you book the more likely you are to have more budget-friendly options.

Cost of Renting a Car

road puerto jimenez

Is Renting a Car in Costa Rica Expensive?

Yes, it is expensive (in my opinion). This is because of the mandatory insurance fees.

However, it is the most convenient way to get around so that is a trade-off you will need to consider.

What Should I Set Aside for My Car Rental Budget?

That depends on the time of year you are visiting (prices go up during the high season), the length of your visit, and which car you are considering.

To get a better idea I suggest checking the prices on our car rental page

Is a Car Rental Calculated in Dollars or Colones?

Most car rental companies calculate their prices in US dollars.US dollars are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica, although the national currency is colones.

What are the Costa Rica car rental fees?

If you book through Adobe there are no hidden fees.

You will need to pay the Liability Protection Insurance and the Car Protection Insurance as is required by Costa Rican law. 

Other than those, the only extra fees would be if you add any extra things such as GPS or having your car delivered to a location that is far from one of Adobe’s offices.

With other companies, please look out for: 

-Fees of transportation to and from the airport to their office

-If the mandatory rental car insurance is included in your price quote

-Any extra fees for extra drivers, car seat rentals etc.

Are there any good price options for long term rentals?

Yes, if you plan to rent a car for longer than a month, please contact us [email protected] and let us know:

-The dates you will need the vehicle

– Which type of vehicle you would prefer

– Your pick-up and drop-off place.

Adobe may be able to provide you with a discounted rate.

Requirements to Rent a Car

road near rio celeste

What are the requirements to rent?

With Adobe you need to:

– be at least 23 years old to rent a car 

– You can not rent a car if you are over 75 years old

– have a valid drivers license

– have had a license for at least two years

You do not need an international driver’s license. Your normal license from home will be fine.

If you plan on staying in Costa Rica for longer than 90 days you will have to get a Costa Rican driver’s license.

I am under 25, how can I rent a car?

With Adobe you can rent at age 23. Some companies might have lower age limits, but I don’t know which ones.

Choosing a Car

cars costa rica adobe

Should I rent a 4 Wheel Drive?

For most popular destinations it is not necessary to rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle. The exceptions to that are: 

– The remote areas on the Nicoya Peninsula. If you are going to any of the towns between the ferry and Santa Teresa you won’t need a 4 wheel drive. Just check with your hotel or Airbnb though. If your accommodation is on a small side street up a hill you might need a 4×4.

Monteverde. You can get by with just an SUV with decent clearance but in some situations, you may need a 4×4. 

– The mountains south of San Jose. For example, San Gerardo de Dota area is really steep.

– The South Pacific area near Drake Bay and Pavones. This area is very remote and a lot of the roads aren’t paved.

Even if you opt not to rent a 4×4 we highly suggest renting a vehicle with good clearance (as in an SUV). 

if you have any questions, you can always email me. [email protected] or leave a comment at the end of the post. We are always here to help you out. 

I would like a luxury car rental, is that possible?

Adobe doesn’t have any sports cars, but to be honest, you probably wouldn’t want a sports car for driving in Costa Rica anyway.

As far as more luxury vehicles, it is possible to rent the Mitsubishi ASX or the Chevy Trailblazer.  

Can I go off roading with my car?

No, please don’t. In fact, you are not supposed to drive through rivers either.

Your insurance could become void if there is a problem with the vehicle and it is deemed to be from your driving through a river.

What is the best car for my destination?

I suggest checking out our destination guides for the places you plan to visit. Each destination guide includes info on the road conditions so you can better gauge which car to rent.

Picking up Your Rental Car

car la fortuna

Can I Pick my Car Up from the Airport?

There are only a few car rental companies with offices in the airport. The rest (including Adobe) are located about a 5 minute drive away.

San Jose

The San Jose International Airport is called Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) and it is located on the edge of San Jose near the city of Alajuela.

After you go through Border Control and pick up your luggage you will exit the airport. Upon exiting you will see tons of people standing around asking if you need a taxi. Politely tell them “no” and look for a person with an Adobe sign waiting for you. 

They will then take you in a comfortable shuttle about five minutes away to the Adobe office. Here an attendant will help you to finalize your car rental, inspect the car with you, and help you get on your way for your vacation.

Liberia

The Liberia International Airport is located in the Guanacaste Province on the Pacific coast near the Nicaragua border.

As with San Jose, you will see an Adobe representative waiting for you when you exit the airport. They will take you to their office about 5 minutes away to pick up your car.

For your first night, we suggest staying in Playa Hermosa or on the Papagayo Peninsula.  

Can I Have my Car Delivered to My Hotel?

Yes, Adobe will deliver your rental car for free to any hotel, Airbnb etc. within 12 miles of any of their offices. If it is more than 12 miles you may have to pay a small fee. 

When you make your reservation just indicate which hotel you will be staying in. If you haven’t booked a hotel yet when you make your reservation, that is fine. You can always update your reservation later from within your confirmation email.

Can I Rent a car in La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo, Jaco etc.?

Yes, Adobe has offices located throughout the country. They will happily deliver your car to you for free within 12 miles of any of their offices. If you are more than 12 miles away there may be a small delivery fee. 

Their office locations are in:

Alajuela (Juan Santamaria Airport location), Downtown San Jose, Downtown Liberia, Liberia Airport Office, Heredia, Cartago, Ciudad Quesada, Grecia, San Pedro, Limon, Puerto Viejo, Puntarenas, Quepos, Tamarindo, and Uvita.

Can I pick up/ drop my car off at the Nicaragua border?

The nearest Adobe office is in Liberia. From Liberia, you can easily get a bus for a few dollars to the border. If you need more info, check out our guide to crossing the Nicaragua border.

Can I pick up/ drop my car off at the Panama border?

The nearest Adobe office is in Puerto Viejo. From here there is a bus that runs about every hour to the Panama border. For more information check out our guide to the Panama border.

Can I pick my car up in one location and return it in another?

Yes, you can return your car to a different Adobe office. Just keep in mind that there is usually an extra fee for this. The reason for this is that Adobe will then need to drive the vehicle back to its original location.

Insurance

road near puerto jimenez

Does my car insurance cover me in Costa Rica?

No, your car insurance from your home country will not meet the minimum requirements needed to cover you for a rental car in Costa Rica. 

Is rental car insurance required in Costa Rica?

Yes, there are two mandatory rental car insurances in Costa Rica. These are Liability Protection and Car Protection.

What is the Costa Rica Liability Protection mandatory insurance?

This insurance covers basic damages to third parties property up to $20,000 and basic coverage of third party injury or death up to $100,000 with 0% deductible. 

This insurance is required by law in Costa Rica. Every single person who rents a car needs to purchase Liability Protection.

The price you are quoted when you book your car through our site includes the Liability Protection fees (you will see it checked off in your rental car booking). 

This is one of the many reasons we love Adobe for car rentals in Costa Rica. Most other rental car companies here do not include Liability Protection in their quote.

This means that when you arrive to start your vacation in paradise the first thing you experience is a rental car agent telling you that you will actually have to pay several hundred dollars more than the price you were quoted online because of the Liability Protection.

We don’t think this is a good business tactic and neither does Adobe.

What is the Car Protection Insurance?

This insurance covers:

-Direct car damages, collision, and rollovers

-Total or partial theft of the rental car

Car Protection is also required by Costa Rica law.

This means when you rent a car with Adobe you need to check off the box for Car Protection.

Most rental car companies in Costa Rica bundle the Liability Protection and Car Protection together, meaning you have to pay for both of them because they are required by law.

If you have a letter from your credit card company stating that you are covered for car protection in Costa Rica you will not need to pay for the Car Protection insurance if you rent with Adobe.

Make sure you bring a letter or email from your credit card company stating you have car protection in Costa Rica to show as proof. Adobe will not accept a basic brochure.

What is the Total Protection Insurance?

​​This is the final type of car protection that is offered. Total Protection insurance covers a tow truck, road assistance, damage to things like windows and tires, and a 4 million dollar coverage for third-party injury or death. 

You are NOT required to purchase Total Protection by Costa Rica law.

However, it is great if you want to ensure that you are 100% covered in case of an accident.

Do You Have Any Advice on Rental Insurance?

If you have multiple credit cards check with all of them and see if any will cover you for Car Protection in Costa Rica so you won’t have to pay for that one.

Also, the Total Protection is expensive, but it will likely be cheaper than having to pay out of pocket to get a windshield or tires replaced. 

If you have questions about insurance you should contact Adobe directly (we here at Costa Rica Vibes are not personally experts in insurance). You can email them at info(at)adobecar(dot)com, contact them via WhatsApp at 506) 8494-5956 (Monday to Friday, 8 am-5 pm Central Time) or if you are in the US or Canada you can call their toll-free number Mon- Fri from 8 am-5 pm Central Time at)+1(855)861-1250  

Deposit

car montezuma

What is the deposit for a car in Costa Rica?

With Adobe you will pay a $1,000 deposit. This is standard in Costa Rica, but we have heard of some companies charging more like $2,000.

How do I pay the deposit? 

The best way to pay the deposit is with a credit card. You can also pay with a debit card, but sometimes it can take a week or so to get the money back in your account after your trip.

Personally, I strongly suggest a credit card because it is just a hold and will immediately be credited back to you when you return your car without issues.

Will I get my deposit reimbursed? 

Yes, as long as there are no problems your deposit will be returned to you as soon as you return your car.

Are there any car rentals that require no deposit?

Not that we know of. The deposit is really a security blanket for the rental car companies. They need to make sure you don’t damage the car and then leave without taking care of it.

Paying for Your Rental

road la fortuna

Can I use a Debit Card to Rent My Car?

You can, however, you need to make sure that you will have enough money in your account for the car, the $1,000 deposit, and whatever you want to spend while in Costa Rica. 

Also, keep in mind that most bank accounts have a daily limit. When you rent a car you will be paying for the deposit and car all at once so, you might go over whatever your daily limit is.

Can I use a Credit Card to Rent my Car?

Yes, this is what we suggest.

Just make sure your card does not have a daily limit and that you notify your credit card company ahead of time that you will be traveling to Costa Rica.

That way your card won’t get blocked for looking like it’s being used for fraudulent charges.

Can I use my American Express credit card?

Yes, Adobe accepts American Express.

Can I use my Visa credit card?

Yes, Adobe accepts Visa.

Can I use cash to rent my car?

No, you will need to pay with credit or debit card.

Car Rental Reviews

car la fortuna

Can You Tell me Your Experience?

We have rented cars with other companies when we first moved to Costa Rica and had some negative experiences. You can read about that here.

With Adobe, we have had only great experiences. In fact, one time my dad rented with Adobe, and his flight was delayed two hours so he didn’t land until midnight in San Jose. I figured that the rental office would be closed and we would take a taxi home and get the car in the morning. 

But, there was an Adobe employee waiting when we got to the airport. 

I was so surprised but he said “We had your flight number. We knew your flight was delayed. Of course, we would stay open for you.” 

And, that is a prime example of how great they are as a company.

Do you have any car rental reviews?

Yes, we have had so many people message us thanking us for the car rental discount and saying they had a great experience with Adobe. 

For more reviews check out the Adobe review page.

Booking Your Car

driving

Why should I book my car through a blog?

We started Costa Rica Vibes after living here for a year because we love this country and wanted to bring the most genuine information on Costa Rica travel to all of you.

Over time, this turned into a business and source of income for us. I (Sarah) run this site as my main source of income.

So, we are a blog, but we are also a business. One of the ways we make money to keep this site going is by partnering with companies we really like on an affiliate basis.

This means that we suggest products or services that we love and get a percentage of all sales that come through our site at no extra cost to you.

With Adobe, we decided to give part of our commission as a discount to you. 

So, by booking through us:

You get a discount with our favorite Costa Rica car rental service which you will have a great experience with.

We receive a percentage of all bookings that come from Costa Rica Vibes. This helps us make a living and keeps all info on our website free for you to use.

Adobe gets their company promoted by us and gets to work with great customers like you. 


It’s a win-win-win in my opinion.

What is the step by step booking process?

On the booking form, after selecting your dates and drop off/ pick up location you will be directed to a page where you can select your car.

Adobe has a large fleet of vehicles for you to choose from. When selecting your vehicle, pay attention to how many people the car can fit and the amount of luggage that can fit.

Note: If you are unsure what to rent, feel free to email us. [email protected] We recently had the chance to go through every single vehicle that Adobe offers. We have a good idea of what is best for your particular needs.

After selecting your vehicle you will be directed to the Reservation Form. Keep in mind that you can always change your reservation details later if you need.

For example, if you would like your car delivered to your hotel but haven’t booked a hotel yet, just leave it blank for now. Adobe is happy to update that for you at a later point in time if you need it.

The extra drivers and 0% deductible are automatically applied to all car rentals through our site. When you pick up your car Adobe will see that you rented through us and automatically add these perks. You do not need to select anything in your reservation to get them.

If you would like to add in the TRIO smartphone plan for $12 a day, or need a set of free roof racks, please leave a comment in the comment section of the reservation to let Adobe know so they can make sure to set those aside for you.

When you are finished, make sure you click “Reserve” not “Save Quote.” You should get an email within a few hours with your rental car reservation.You are then all set! Your vehicle will be waiting for you when you arrive in Costa Rica! 🙂

Also, just note if you need to change or cancel your reservation you can just reply to your confirmation email to get in touch with Adobe. They are usually very good at responding within 24 hours.

You do not have to pay for anything ahead of time. You pay for your car upon pick up. 

Note: If you are arriving at the San Jose airport you will select “Aeropuerto San Jose (SJO) as your pick up and drop off location. If you are arriving at Liberia airport you will select “Aeropuerto Liberia (LIR)” as your drop-off and pick-up location. 

What happens if I click “Get Quote” instead of “Reserve”?

When you complete your reservation you will have the option of selecting “Get Quote” or “Reserve”. 
If you select Get Quote you will receive an email detailing the price breakdown of your selected rental agreement. In that email you can then confirm the reservation.

However, cars book out fast, so don’t wait too long to confirm.

I never got a confirmation email, what can I do?

Just email me: [email protected] and I can check on that for you.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?

That is no problem! With Adobe you can cancel for free at any time. Just click on your confirmation email where it says “Click here to modify this reservation” and you will be able to cancel at no cost, anytime.

Driving

Which side of the road do people in Costa Rica drive on?

The right side.

Are there tolls in Costa Rica?

Yes, near San Jose there are tolls. They accept US dollars and Costa Rican colones. If you only have USD I suggest paying with a $10 bill. They will give you change in colones and this change will be enough to pay the rest of the tolls.

How are the roads in Costa Rica?

In general, the roads are decent. Well-maintained highways connect almost all of the most popular destinations.
The road conditions within towns can sometimes be not as good. This especially applies to small towns.
For more info on the roads in the area, you are visiting check our destination guides.

What Should I do if I get pulled over by police?

First off, don’t panic. The first time we got pulled over (just a routine check) we got so nervous because we have heard too many things about corrupt police in Central America. 

In our experience, that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue here. All the police we have dealt with have spoken English and been nice.

You will likely need to show them your driver’s license, passport, and car rental agreement.

What documents do I need to carry with me?

Always have your driver’s license, passport, and car rental agreement. It is not unusual for police to set up checkpoints to check that people are legally driving. In our experience, they usually recognize tourists and just wave them through.

Also, note that there are check points near the borders.

For example, just north of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast, there is a police station that waves down all travelers to check passports.

For more info check out our guide to driving in Costa Rica

Directions

road la fortuna

Can I use a map to get around?

I wouldn’t suggest a paper map for directions. Things are constantly changing here. You will be way better off to have some type of GPS.

What is the best GPS app?

The best app, hands down, is Waze. Waze is a free app that most everyone in the country uses.
I’m obsessed with it.

With Waze you can input when you see police on the road if there is an obstacle if there is an accident, etc. And, people in Costa Rica are really good about inputting these things. So, usually you well have plenty of warning during your drive if there are any obstacles.

Keep in mind that you will need to be connected to data to use Waze.

If you will not have a data connection you can download offline maps on the Google Maps app. This usually works alright, but I have had it glitch out a few times and then we have been stuck without directions.

Should I rent a GPS unit?

Adobe does offer GPS units to rent, but if you will have data on your phone, I really think Waze is the best option.

Does Costa Rica have addresses?

No, actually, there are no addresses in Costa Rica.

Instead, people say, “500 meters west of the soccer field. Blue house with white porch” 

When we first moved here we had a friend help us write out our home location in Spanish and would take that paper with us every time we had to set up any accounts like wifi. 
It was such a new thing for us!

How do I find my destination without an address?

You will always need to know the name of the place you are going. Usually, even Airbnb listings have a name that they will give you which you can put into Waze or Google Maps.

If I need to ask for directions will someone help me?

Ticos are so friendly and will usually be more than happy to help you.

The only problem is that you can’t always be confident that they actually know the correct way.

What I mean is, Ticos are so friendly that they hate disappointing people. We have found that they are more likely to give you directions that they think may be correct instead of saying, “I have no idea.”

For more info, check out our guide to directions in Costa Rica.

Getting Gas

gas station

Will the gas tank be full when I pick up my car?

Yes, the gas tank should be full when you pick up your car.

Do I need to return my car with a full tank?

Yes, you should return your car with a full tank of gas unless the employee tells you otherwise when you pick up your car.

Is there a gas station near San Jose International Airport?

Yes, the nearest gas station to Adobe is a two minute drive away. It is open 24 hours a day. Here is a Google map link so you can find it. 

Is there a gas station near Liberia International Airport?

Yes. If you are coming from the south there is a gas station about 4 minutes from Adobe. It is called Delta and they are open 24 hours a day. 

Is Costa Rica full service or self service?

All gas stations in Costa Rica are full service. That means you need to stay in your car while an attendant fills your tank with gasoline.

Can I pay with cash?

Most places will accept cash in colones or dollars. But, it is a good idea to have a credit card on you just in case.

Can I pay with credit card? 

Yes, all petrol stations accept credit cards.

Do most gas stations have a bathroom to use?

Yes, every decent-sized gas station should have a bathroom for customers to use. Usually these are accessible from outside the station building. Some may require a key, but usually they are unlocked.

Do most gas stations have a small store?

Not all, but most do. This is a great place to get some snacks and drinks for your road trip.I suggest buying some snacks you’ve never seen before to embrace the culture.

Accidents

town costa rica

What should I do if I get in an accident?

If you get in a car accident your first move should be to call your rental car company. If there is an injury obviously call 9-1-1 first and then call the company. If you rent with Adobe, they are super great and will send someone out to assist you and bring you another car when applicable.

When you pick up your rental car they will give you a thorough brochure with all the information and emergency numbers.

Adobe actually has a great article on their website about what to do during an accident here.

My tire popped, what do I do?

If you rented with Adobe call them at call Adobe at 2542-4888. They will instruct you what to do.

How can I call the police?

9-1-1 is the emergency number in Costa Rica.

Should I accept help from other people?

Most people in Costa Rica only want the best for you and just want to be helpful. However, if a situation feels uncomfortable, trust your instincts.

My windshield cracked, what should I do?

If you rented with Adobe call them at call Adobe at 2542-4888. They will instruct you what to do.

I am injured, where can I go?

There are doctors’ offices in every town. If you need more extensive treatment it is best to get to one of the larger hospitals (preferably CIMA) in San Jose.

Other Transportation Options

san jose road

I don’t feel comfortable driving, how can I get around?

There are few different options:

Taxis – Great for going out to dinner if you’ll be drinking and short rides

Public Bus – Good for if you are on a tight budget and don’t mind a long journey

Private Shuttle – Good for if you don’t want to drive a long distance

Domestic Flights – Good for if you want to get somewhere fast and aren’t scared of small planes

Is a private shuttle a good option?

We like private shuttles for a few different scenarios:

– You are traveling with a large group to a villa, destination wedding, or resort.

– You are going to an all-inclusive resort and won’t need a car once you are there.

– You don’t feel comfortable driving far distances. In this case you can take a private shuttle and rent a car for day trips once at your destination.

Adobe recently opened a private shuttle business. You can find out more and get a quote here

Is the public bus a good option?

We aren’t huge fans of the public bus, but if you are trying to stick to a tight budget, this is a good option.

The problem with the buses is that they don’t often connect between the locations you want to go to. For example, let’s say you want to go from Samara to Monteverde. There are no direct buses so you would have to go from Samara to Nicoya. Nicoya to Irma. Irma to Monteverde.

And if you miss your connection you might be stuck waiting a long time for the next one.

If you are going from San Jose or Liberia to another destination, you should be able to find good routes, but that is because these are the main cities in the country. 

Should I take day tours with transportation included?

Day tours with transportation to and from your hotel are always nice. This allows you to just relax and not have to think about driving or planning anything.

However, there are a lot of things that you can do on your own that will be more affordable with a rental car.

For example, let’s say you are visiting La Fortuna (which I highly suggest). Maybe you want to take a chocolate tour at Rainforest Chocolate Tours (again, this is something I highly suggest). It is possible to book a day tour which includes a stop at Rainforest Chocolate Tours, but you can also easily drive yourself here and save a lot of money by just paying for the tour.

Maybe the next day you want to go white water rafting and zip lining. This would be a good opportunity to book a combo day tour with transportation from your hotel. That way you can just get shuttled between activities without organizing multiple things.

Does that make sense?  

Can I use Uber in Costa Rica?

For a long time, Uber has been existing in some legal gray zone in Costa Rica. We used to use Uber a lot because it’s cheaper than taxis. However, in the past year, we have switched to only using registered taxis.

The reason for this is that the police are cracking down on Uber drivers. We have heard of police pulling over Uber drivers and the passengers being fined for using an illegal service.

Or the passenger is left by the side of the road when the driver is apprehended and has to find another transportation option.

So, you can use Uber.

But, please don’t.

What should I know about taxis?

Taxis are a good way to get around in short distances. Just make sure to always use registered taxis because pirate taxi drivers will majorly overcharge you.

You can recognize registered taxis because they are red with a yellow triangle on the drivers and passenger side doors. From the airport, taxis are orange.

You can find out more in our guide to taxis.

And that is about all the questions we have gotten about renting a car in Costa Rica. If there is anything that you can think of which we haven’t answered, please leave them in the comment section below.

If you are ready to book your car you can do so here.


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