To Rent or Not To Rent?
Tips and Information about Car Rental in Costa Rica
Costa Rica car rental is more popular than ever..... many people enjoy the freedom of having their own transport. Presently there are no rental car companies in Monteverde but some companies are willing to bring a car up for an extra fee. It is easy to rent a car in San Jose, Liberia or other larger towns such as La Fortuna.
Be warned that Costa Rica has some pretty adventurous roads! Although there have been many improvements over the years. The famous road to Monteverde is now completely paved from the Pan-American Highway all the way to Guacimal (Guacimal is about a 40 minutes drive from Monteverde and this is still a dirt road).
There are also more gas stations availble in Costa Rica. Monteverde has two! And there is another one
before you start going up the road at the entrance from the Pan-American Highway at Sardinal.
It is advisable to rent a GPS system when hiring a car, as road signs and physical directions are often non-exisistant. Note that although road conditions have vastly improved over the last few years you are much better off with a four-wheel drive vehicle for the added clearance it gives.
Road to Monteverde
Car rental gives you added freedom to explore - especially if you are on a tight schedule and
do not want to be waiting on shuttles or the buses.
Tips About Driving Rental Cars
A foreign driver's license is valid in Costa Rica as long as your passport and visa are in order as
well. Note: most rental agencies ask a $1000 deposit or deductible.
A little warning... renting a car also adds additional responsibility.
The road signs are bad or non-existant and there are many thefts from rental cars. The drivers are not the best in the world and driving in San Jose is a nightmare! The highways here are not like in the US, Canadaor Germany - there are sometimes hazards with little or no signage and you never can be toosure there's not a cow looming around the next corner. Most roads are just one laned per direction and thereare many older cars and bad drivers. Always drive defensively and stay alert. Excess speed is the cause of most accidents.
Speaking a little Spanish can go along way in getting driving directions. You should find that Tico's live up to their reputation and will be happy to assist you on the road. Being a 'Gringo' (all foreigners are called Gringos it seems!) may get you special attention from "Traficos" (trafficcops) who may look to write you up a speeding ticket in an attempt to extort a little cash. This is a small hassle and does not happen that often. Just pay the tickets small fine from any bank in Costa Rica before you leave, don't pay them directly (always ask for a written ticket). And of course, never leave valuables in the car unattended!
Costa Rica has a reasonable public transportation system and there are shared shuttle companies that cater to transferring people from one tourist destination to another. Think about where you are going, will you actually need the car when you arrive at each destination or will you just use it to get from point A to B? Most tours now include transport. Taxis are also abundant all over the country. If you have questions on getting around Costa Rica please email us and we can try to help. We can provide private transport all over Costa Rica with trusted vans and drivers.
Check out our other transport sections:
We can recommend Adobe Rent a Car