When planning a trip, one of the most common dilemmas is if renting a car is a good option or not. To help you face this predicament and take a good decision based on the type of trip and traveler you are, we bring you some facts to consider.
One piece of advice that can be very helpful during your trip to Costa Rica or any other country is to remember that you will be visiting a place where many things are done differently, different culture, different way of doing things and different conditions than your native country. Dont expect things to be like home. That said,take into consideration the following facts that could be different from what you are used to.
Renting a car is usually easy and you can find international trustful Rent-a-cars everywhere. It is always a good idea to reach out the accommodation option you have chosen for recommendations. If you prefer to do it by yourself you will find several options with different prices online.
Insurance is generally not included in the rental daily rate and you will be presented with a choice between basic or full coverage. The basic coverage is not optional though. Our recommendation will always be to go with a full coverage, remember that you will be driving unknown roads and you are not familiar with the way people drive. If you are planning to use your credit card insurance be 100% sure that it applies in Costa Rica and double-check with the rental staff as usually, it wont cover you.
It is important to consider that your credit card will hold a deposit that could go from $1000 to $1500. Be sure in advance that your credit card and your trip can manage large sums.
If you are flying into San Jos, some big rentals have a booth before exiting the airport and many of the rentals offer free shuttle services. When landing into Liberia, a driver with a sign with your name or companys name will greet you outside the airport.
Consider spending from 30 to 45 minutes in the rent-a-car establishment for the pick-up and drop-off as things are not as automated as in other countries.
Well, you made it and you have your car, you are free to go! Stop for a minute, do you have an address you are heading to? We always recommend adding a GPS to your car. Driving in Costa Rica can get a little bit confusing as the signage is not so good and especially because we dont use addresses as in the rest of the world. The address will not usually include numbers or names for roads, nor numbers for the buildings, so as we dont use them you will not find them on the roads or buildings either.
Having a car will give you the freedom to explore more, but always remember to follow the same safety measures you have at home. Dont leave visible belongings inside the car, in case of a flat tire pull over in a safe place and call the emergency number of the rental, dont let anyone change your tire, and follow the road signs for speed limit and be aware of other signs such as animals in the road. The biggest challenge when driving in Costa Rica, and Guanacaste specifically is the lack of demarcation on the roads. Driving at night will mean, the majority of times, a pitch black road. People riding their bikes and animals on the road are the biggest factor to consider!
If you dont enjoy driving or are not feeling adventurous, you have other choices to move around the country and enjoy it. Private shuttles like Interbus or Gray Line offer scheduled shared services or private transportation. There are many other companies for private service that you concierge can advise you to use and help you book. If traveling long distances local flights can be a good option, Nature Air and Sansa offer regular daily services throughout the country.
Always remember that there is not an option that fit all travelers, and a combination of the choices can be the way to go too. Let us know what is your plan and we will help you curate the best vacation in Costa Rica.