Car rental in Costa Rica is an opportunity to explore the remote beaches and quiet corners of this breathtakingly beautiful country. Travel without the restrictions set by public transport timetables and with freedom over group tours. For the unprepared traveler; however, car rental costs and services can be a rude shock and a blow to that vacation budget.
Renting a vehicle for your vacation will probably be the most expensive part of your budget, so understanding the terms and managing expectations is Vilnius important. The information below is not meant to be an exhaustive manual, but it should set you on the path towards an informed decision for your car rental needs in Costa Rica.
Why is car rental so expensive?
Visitors from outside of Costa Rica are often surprised by the cost of car rental. While hotel rooms, restaurant bills and tours are lower than the prices paid at home, it may appear strange that car rental should be more costly.
There are two simple reasons for this high cost:
All vehicles in Costa Rica are imported and a tax is imposed. Due to this heavy taxation, the cost of purchasing a vehicle is higher than it would be in other industrialized countries. There are some car rental operators who rent older vehicles in order to reduce their costs.
The cost of mandatory insurance (see below).
Factors that Affect Car Rental Costs
• Mandatory Insurance
Third-party insurance, which may be known as TPI, PDW (Partial Damage Waiver), SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance) and other acronyms, is a legal requirement. Car rental operators must charge the customer for this coverage which may or may not be clear in the quotation received by the customer.
The insurance itself is not the issue. After all, many other countries require car renters to pay a mandatory insurance; including: New Zealand, Italy and Mexico, as well as a number of the U.S. states, like California. The issue that causes contention in Costa Rica is that this cost is not always displayed clearly on the car rental operator’s website or in a quote. Customers then discover the additional cost of their rental upon arrival.