I’ve rented cars all over the world. I’m a fan of the super sketchy $4 / day rentals in places like Italy and Romania, relying on my credit card insurance to avoid their outrageous rental fees.
The Low Down on Insurance
In Costa Rica, it doesn’t work like that. Here are the non-negotiables:
- You are legally required to have a basic level of insurance no matter what your credit card offers.
- In Costa Rica, the rental car driver is always at fault and always liable to pay for the other person’s damages. My understanding is that credit cards will not cover the other person’s car in this situation.
- I paid for the included, Limited Liability insurance. The car company also sold me insurance for protecting other drivers who hit me (cost about $6 per day). I didn’t take the extended protection and relied on my credit card to cover the 20% deductible on the Limited Liability Insurance and any excess damages.
- Booking through a third party site (like with Experion or SkyScanner) will give you prices without the mandatory insurance. You’ll see prices close to $19 / day. The reality is you will have to pay for this insurance at the counter It will close to double the price. These agencies aren’t ripping you off, especially if you understand that no matter where you go, you’ll pay this cost.
Adobe! (Cost us $1300 for 21 days with all the insurance for the Mitsubishi ASX (their second best car category)
We rented from Adobe and had a fantastic experience. The guy was very kind and the car was new and worked great. You can use this code from this website for a discount + other perks (like a free second driver and a discounted option for a mobile WiFi unit).
The mobile WiFi unit costs $11 / day but the special means that past 11 days, you don’t pay anymore. So if you’re coming for 20 days, you essentially pay for 11 and have 9 free days. Unlimited Internet. We didn’t do it but should have. It’s nice to avoid always needing to refill the data on the SIM Card.
If you want a Jimny, which we would understand, find a rental with like Payless and just expect to pay all the fees at the counter.
You Want To Get A 4x4 with Some Suspension
The roads all around Costa Rica are bad. You will not do well with a normal car, especially if you’re going to the beaches. We had a Mitsubishi ASX and we did fine, but definitely could have used some more suspension.