Save over $700 on your two-week Costa Rica Car Rental Trip: 2024 Complete Guide

Costa Rica Car Rental

Table of content

So you want to save some money on your money on your next Costa Rica Car Rental trip? Renting a car is With no doubt the most recommendable option and you came to the right place. Our country has an enormous variety of experiences and places to discover that are normally outside of the traditional tour operator routes.

Renting a car will get you a wider and better selection of food, attractions, and destinations.

This is not a sponsored post. I just like to share what’s the most convenient way to get around as per my own experience.

In the next lines, you can find the most comprehensive information on comparing prices for a Costa Rica car rental over two weeks.

How many Rent-a-Cars exist in Costa Rica?

The majority of the most popular car rentals in the world operate in the country, their prices generally operate in the high range of options you can find.

There are also a large number of smaller car rentals, which usually also strive to make a name for themselves in the vast offer that exists. So, their prices are generally cheaper.

There are also many phantom businesses whose only intention is to scam unwary visitors, I beg you please stay away from car rentals that are not on the following list or are not here.

The most important hubs for renting from a variety of brands are:
San Jose means Airport and San Jose downtown.
Liberia is the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, north of the country.
Other small clusters are in Tamarindo Beach, and Jaco Beach and you can find some dealers at Uvita Beach, San Isidro, and Puerto Viejo Beach. You can see a complete Costa Rica car rental map here.

I collected 25 trade names of recognized and well-established companies that you can use, analyze, and of course share as you want.

What types of insurance protection exist in Costa Rica to rent a vehicle?

Liability insurance:

This is the only mandatory insurance that you must purchase in your Costa Rica Car Rental trip, and it is included in all base quotes offered by the car rental company, no one will rent you a vehicle without this protection

If you want to know more in detail about the insurance requirements here you can find more information and this NY Times article sheds excellent light on the subject.

CDW or not CDW?

CDW (collision damage waiver) is a secondary form of insurance.

This is the factor that most affects the cost of renting a vehicle, Even more than the rental of the car itself and it is a strong generator of profits for the rent-a-cars in Costa Rica and anywhere in the world. Therefore, it is also one of the greatest sources of abuse and aggression towards tourists who visit us.

You have to bear in mind that no law in Costa Rica obliges you to hire the CDW therefore tourists can legally decline that type of insurance but you need a letter from your credit card company to do so.

When should you take the CDW?

If the credit card you use to rent the vehicle offers you free CDW, which they usually do, you don’t need to spend more than 700 dollars in some cases to purchase the CDW for a two-week trip. That is, you are already covered.

At the counter, when you decline the CDW, Some car rental operators are satisfied simply by glancing at your credit card, while others will insist to the point of forcing you to purchase a CDW with them.

If you are not sure about the coverage offered by your card, simply call your card’s customer service, and ask them for an email describing the coverage and explicitly stating international coverage. It is usually not a problem for travelers from the USA and Canada.

If definitely, your card does not cover you, then yes it is better to purchase CDW with your rent-a-car. You won’t want to pay for the extremely high costs of an accident and definitely, our best wishes that that never happens.

Cost of CDW for

We did the work of making a cost comparison of rentals, so you can decide for yourself the options available.

To do this, we standardized as much as possible the rental dates and vehicle type. In some cases, we had to include 4×4 because that’s the only model they handle, in a future comparison we will include only 4×4 vehicles and it will be fairer for them. Still, the excellence of their prices is noticeable.

Costa Rica Car Rental Prices Comparison

In the following table, you will find:

  • The cost of renting a vehicle in Costa Rica for two weeks.
  • The price with basic insurance (without CDW).
  • The price with full insurance.
  • The savings you would have if you take the basic and use your CDW are also shown.

What is in the table:

Car Rental: Name of the car rental business.

Basic: The base rental cost for two weeks, no CDW or other unnecessary charges

Full: The rental costs full insurance for two weeks.

Savings: The amount you save if you decline the CDW in favor of your credit card

URL: The link used if you want more details and do your exercise.

How to get the most out of the table for your Costa Rica Car Rental trip?

If you have your own CDW coverage, the easiest thing to do is to select the car rental that offers you the best service using the Basic column. Once you have decided, we recommend that:

  • Get your printed copy of the CDW from your bank.
  • Call the selected office and verify your selection so that you can completely rule out any hidden fees.
  • The prices shown refer to the online reservations made in February 2024 for two weeks of rental in April or March 2024 in most cases.
  • The prices shown refer to the online reservations made in February 2024 for two weeks of rental in April or March 2024 in most cases.

We want to point out that the table is a bit unfair for Nativos Rent a Car and Rioja Rent a Car since the listed cost is for many higher-range cars, they are also 4×4.

Dropping off at another office.

Most car rentals, if the drop-off is within the metropolitan area, (Alajuela SJO / San Jose) do not charge you for drop-off at different offices, otherwise you pay an extra fee ranging from 50 to 100 dollars

You can see a complete Costa Rica car rental map here.

We look forward to seeing you very soon and enjoying the wonderful rural experiences of our country.

Further reading:
Car Rental (
Paying for Coverage You May Not Need – The New York Times (

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