Costa Rica is a lovely place, which is something that more and more tourists seem to be realizing each year, as the interest for visiting this country in Central America increases, and with good reason.
The biodiversity in this country in amazing, letting you go from beautiful beaches to surf, to rainforests, to volcanoes. But in order to visit as much as you can in this small paradise, you will most likely want to rent a car in Costa Rica.
As convenient as it is to count with your own rented car to freely explore Costa Rica and have your own itineraries, however; renting a car in Costa Rica has a bit of a bad rap, being often regarded as a stressful process that can lead to extra, unexpected charges.
To be fair though, many of the headaches of car rentals in Costa Rica can be avoided by better understanding the process, getting informed about insurance, policies, fees; and of course, to find out which are considered the best car rental companies in the Central American countries, so you can start relaxing and say ¡Pura Vida!
#1 – Mapache 🏆
Being environmentally friendly is often is often a nice extra feature for car rental companies. For Mapache Rent a Car however, sustainability is at the core of their business, and they have been able to do a great job balancing helping the environment and offering a great service.
As a local company, Mapache better understands the nuances of renting a car in Costa Rica, and they alleviate the process by not hiding prices such as insurance, which is a common complain and a cause for negative reviews among customers of car rentals, either in Costa Rica as well as anywhere else.
Mapache Rent a Car offers some of the best rates in Costa Rica, and the most important is that they do not only show the base price, but also the mandatory insurance fees, relieving you from surprises in the final receipt.
Apart from the good prices and excellent customer service, you could feel better about renting with Mapache by knowing that they are a company that cares for the environment, and among their actions, they recycle water, make compost on-site, and have many plants to aid the absorption of gases.
Overall, Mapache is one of the best companies to rent a car for your adventure in Costa Rica. You might still want to make sure to understand the policies of renting a car in the country, and ask the right questions, to make sure your experience is as good as posible.
#2 – Adobe 🥈
Another professional and overall loved company company among many of the customers who have rented a car with them in Costa Rica is Adobe Rent a Car, a local company with more than 20 years of experience, and very good reviews and customer experiences.
By renting a car in Costa Rica with Adobe, you will be safe from the dreaded hidden costs on insurances, as they include the mandatory Liability Protection coverage upfront, as well as the optional but useful CDW, which you can toggle and see the difference in prices, which means no surprises on your receipt.
Their fleet is good, with cars not more than 24 months old and good mileage. And their customer service is very friendly and willing to help and clarify any doubt or issue you might have during the pick-up, drop-off, and for the time you have rented the car.
If you don’t know what company to rent a car from in Costa Rica, you should definitely check Adobe, as their rates are often very good, with all the fees clearly specified, and they have many locations in major cities, touristic places and airports in Costa Rica, making Adobe Rent a Car a solid option.
#3 – Service 🥉
For a smaller, more personal experience with another local company to rent a car with in Costa Rica, Service Car Rental is one that has constantly received very good reviews among the customers who have rented with them.
Being a small, local company, you will receive a very personal service by the owner of the company, which is an advantage if you have not experience on renting a car, or you have but haven’t done it in Costa Rica.
When booking your car with Service, you will be happy to know that prices are transparent. In their site, you will see the base price with no extras, and the mandatory Third Party Liability insurance will be include upfront in the balance.
When deciding what company to rent a car with in Costa Rica, it will definitely be a good idea to take Service Car Rental into account, as they are professional, and you might find the best deal with them.
Do make sure to consider SLI or further coverage while booking your car, as it can help you travel safer and have a much better experience.
#4 – Toyota 🔝
When renting a car for your trip, it is always reassuring to know that you are trusting a well-known and reputable brand. And this is exactly what makes Toyota Rent a Car in Costa Rica a popular choice for car rentals in the Central American country.
As expected, their fleet is only Toyota vehicles, which is not a limitation whatsoever, as this maker has a wide range of cars available, from small cars to large SUVs and vans to safely explore Costa Rica.
Their prices are the ones shown in the balance during the booking process, and they include check boxes to add or remove extra services. They come with a base price including mandatory insurance, and you can further add services such as extra insurance, child seats or GPS and see the price automatically being refreshed.
Some reviewers have complained about Toyota Rent a Car charging extra fees that weren’t disclosed at the moment of booking.
Overall Toyota is a reputable and popular company for renting a car in Costa Rica, but you might want to make sure to understand the nuances of car rentals in Costa Rica, as well as asking the right questions before signing and everything should be fine.
#5 – MrMagnum 🔝
Despite the bad rap that Costa Rica seems to have in regards to renting a car, this charming country has many good small, local companies which seem to serve customers well, and this is also the case with MrMagnum, a company that those who have decided to try, have received an overall good experience.
Renting with MrMagnum is straightforward with a modern-looking website. At the moment of introducing your dates, you will see the options on cars available and the base price.
Do take into account that once you have chosen a vehicle, the balance will always be higher than what you see on the list, but this is clearly visible and it is because they include the SLI, which you cannot waive, as it is mandatory. Which means that they are transparent on their prices and you will be charged exactly what you accept.
Overall a good company, with cars in good conditions, even if not the newest ones, and you will receive a personalized service by the owner of the MrMagnum Car Rentals.
#6 – Vamos 🔝
Yet another local car rental company which has been growing throughout the years in Vamos Rent a Car, which has merit for coming from a quite anonymous spot in the car rental industry in Costa Rica to a reputable and respected company.
Vamos has a good fleet of cars, with the standard models for most companies in Costa Rica, with vehicles in good conditions, as well as their signature free baby seat and an ice box, which even if not the most important, they add-up to the overall experience.
The rates with Vamos are some of the best in the country, and they don’t obscure any cost, which can bring peace of mind to travelers worried about hidden costs in their final receipt.
Once you have decided for a car, the site will automatically chose the minimum mandatory insurance, which is the SLI, and you can upgrade from there, and the prices will be updated.
Some reviewers have experienced inconveniences a few years ago as the company’s system had an error, but the company responded professionally to the issue, offering a very similar booking with another reputable car rental company. This says good things about Vamos, and might bring you peace of mind if you decide to rent with them.
#7 – Poas 🔝
It seems that Costa Rica has a surprising amount of good local car rental companies, and this is also the case of Poas Rent a Car, a company with almost forty years of experiences, and a surprising amount of positive reviews.
First of all, their rates are very good, and they do not obscure any extra cost. When booking your car, once you have selected the car on the site, you will be taken to the check out and will notice that the License Plate Fee, Third Party Liability and CDW will be checked by default.
From these three, you can decide not to take CDW, as only the first two ones are mandatory, and you can add any other service, which will automatically update the balance of your car rental.
Poas has very good rates that might scare more than one traveler due to the negative stories on car rentals in Costa Rica, but you might be happy to know that Poas Rent a Car is a serious company, and you will pay what you see in the balance.
A very good option for car rentals, and a local, but well established company, which might bring you some extra peace of mind, and they rates are definitely hard to overlook.
If you are already a customer with an international company, and you would like to continue renting with them during your trip to Costa Rica, then you would be happy to know that Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Enterprise, Sixt, and all of the other international companies also work in Costa Rica.
Do be aware that some people have had negative experiences with these companies, but many times it is because they rent through a third party or broker, which often only show the base price, without including any of the other fees, not even the mandatory insurance.
However, if you are well-informed, book directly with the company, and ask all of the questions, your experience with international car rental companies in Costa Rica should be as sound as it would be with the best local companies available.