If you are renting a car in Costa Rica, you’re probably trying to decide which car to rent. What car to rent will depend on three things: budget, number of people and destinations. In this post, I will go over the popular types of cars to rent in Costa Rica.
The prices below are for car rental price, not including insurances, fees, taxes or extras and may vary depending on availability, time of year, car rental company and other factors. Prices are the car rental rate only, an estimate for high season and are quoted in USD.
Read our tips for renting a car in Costa Rica post for more information.
Compact Car: Hyundai i10, Hyundai Gran i10, Hyundai Atos
The Hyundai i10 and Gran i10 are two common compact cars for rent in Costa Rica. They generally come in automatic and manual transmission and can fit up to 4 people. It also comes in a hatchback version. The Hyundai Atos is the smallest compact vehicle and is manual transmission.
You can see what the Hyundai Grand i10 looks like in this video.
Cost: The Hyundai Gran i10 is the cheapest car to rent in Costa Rica. A hatchback manual i10 is around $30-45 a day to rent and the automatic is around $40-55 a day.
Number of people: This car can fit up to 4 passengers but the trunk is not big. If you are a group of 4 each with a piece of check in luggage, you will need a bigger car.
Destinations: This car is perfect for major destinations and cities. You can go to many main destinations in Costa Rica in this car. This car will not be suitable for anywhere more remote or rural or if you plan to explore. Likewise, this car does not have a big engine.
Sedan: Hyundai Venue
A common sedan to rent in Costa Rica is the Hyundai Venue which is very similar or Honda Civic in size. The Venue comes in manual and automatic transmission.
Cost: An Venue manual runs around $55 a day, an automatic is around $60.
Number of people: Has 5 seat belts but is recommended for 4 plus luggage.
Destinations: This car works for most roads in Costa Rica and major destinations. We don’t recommend it for going off the main road, but it is an excellent city car to get from main destinations to main destinations.
Hyundai Iconic Hybrid Automatic
Some agencies are now carrying the Hyundai Ionic Hybrid, automatic transmission. This is a hybrid car so it is more gas friendly. It costs around $60 USD a day and holds up to 5 people. It’s just a teeny tiny bit bigger than the Accent.
Small Manual 4×4 SUV: Suzuki Jimny
The Suzuki Jimny is an economy SUV that comes in manual transmission only and 4×4. It’s an excellent car if you want a 4×4, can drive manual and are visiting alone or as a couple. This is one of the best cars to rent for 2 people in Costa Rica as it can go to all the roads. It’s a great little 4×4 car.
Here is a video on the Jimny.
Cost: The Jimy is around $80 a day.
Number of people: It’s a 2 door car and fits up to 2 people. You can technically fit 4 people but the backseat and trunkspace is tiny for 4. Definitely not recommended for 4 people but for 2 with luggage, it is great.
Destinations: The Jimny is an awesome 4×4 and can go anywhere in Costa Rica.
Compact SUV: Mitsubishi ASX and Geely Gx3
The Geely Gx3 and Mitsubishi ASX are two compact SUV’s that are one of the most popular types of cars to rent in Costa Rica because it’s great value. The Mitsubishi ASX is 4wd, the Geely Gx3 is NOT 4wd, it is only 2wd.
Both cars are automatic.
Mitsubishi ASX video
Geely GX3 Video (2wd)
Cost: The ASX costs around $90 a day. The Geely is around $65 a day.
Number of people: Both fit up to 4 people.
Destinations: The ASX is a 4wd so that one is a great options for those who want more security than a sedan. Keep in mind that these cars are a little bit higher than a sedan but not as high as a full size SUV.
SsangYong Korando 4wd Manual (Compact SUV)
Another option for a compact SUV that is 4wd and manual is the SsangYong Korando. It costs around $80 a day and holds up to 4 passengers.
Mid size SUV: Hyundai Venue, Hyundai Tucson Superior, Toyota Rav 4
Popular mid size SUVs to rent in Costa Rica are the Hyundai Venue and Hyundai Tucson. The Venue is a 2wd and Tucson is 4wd and both come in automatic. Although the Venue is not 4wd, it does have a higher clearance than a sedan.
The Toyota Rav4 is more of a premium car and not found in all agencies. It’s also more expensive (Toyota in general is more expensive in CR).
Hyundai Venue 2wd with higher clearance
Hyundai Tucson Superior 4wd automatic
Cost: The Venue runs around $85 a day and the Tucson Superior is around $105 a day.
Number of people: Both cars can fit up to 5 people. The Tucson is a bit bigger than the Venue though. However, for bigger sized people and those bringing a lot of luggage, you may need to rent a full size SUV instead. Both cars will be very tight for 3 people in the backseat if they are bigger/really tall.
Destinations: These cars can go to pretty much all roads in Costa Rica. Keep in mind the Venue is not 4×4 but it is higher than a normal sedan and works well for unpaved or gravel roads in dry season. However, if you need to go up mountains or steep roads, you may need an actual 4×4.
Full size SUV: Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Explorer
For larger groups, a full size SUV is the best option. All these cars are 4×4, automatic and are super spacious.
Mitsubishi Montero Sport
Cost: These cars are more expensive since they are bigger and 4×4. You can get the Mitsubishi in diesel though, which does save on gas because diesel is cheaper than gas in Costa Rica. The Chevrolet and Montero Sport around $120 a day. Ford Explorer is more expensive as it’s considered more of a premium car and costs around $140 a day.
Number of people: These cars can fit up to 7 people as they have a third row of seats you can pull up. The luggage space does get a lot smaller when all three rows of seats are used, so keep that in mind if you are bringing a lot of luggage.
Destinations: These 4wd cars will get you to your destination in Costa Rica even if it’s up a steep mountain or through some muddy roads in the rain. Just remember to put on the 4wd/4×4 if you need to.
Pick up truck: Mitsubishi L200
A popular pick up truck to rent in Costa Rica are the Mitsubishi L200. This car is a powerhouse, built for hauling big loads and going up rough roads. If you’re a group of surfers or for some reason, need to move a big load, this is the best car to rent. The Mitsubishi L200 comes in manual.
See what the Mitsubishi L200 looks like in this video.
Cost: The Mitsubishi L200 costs around $110 per day.
Number of people: These trucks have a double cabin so it can fit up to 5 people.
Destinations: Anywhere in Costa Rica.
Van: Hyundai H1 and Hyundai Staria
For even bigger groups, a Hyundai H1 is a great option. It fits up to 12 people without luggage, 9 with. It’s not 4wd or 4×4 but does have higher clearance than a sedan. It comes in both automatic and manual. See what the Hyundai H1 looks like in this video.
Another van that is very similar to the H1 is the Hyundai Staria. This is the newer model and is recommended for 7 people with luggage but can fit up to 10-11 people without luggage. Here is a video of it below. When you rent this category of car, you will get either the H1 or the Staria.
Cost: The Hyundai H1 costs around $100 for both automatic and manual.
Number of people: 9 with luggage, 12 without for the H1. 7 with luggage, 10-11 without for the Staria.
Destinations: All touristic areas and main roads but not great for steep unpaved hills. It can make through normal gravel roads.
Don’t forget to get our Costa Rica car rental discount to save $$$ on your car rental!
Read our tips for driving in Costa Rica if you’re worried about driving. You’ll find all you need to know such as road signs, road conditions, safety tips and more!