Renting a car in Costa Rica is one of the best ways to explore the country since you will be able to visit many places where the buses don’t go. You’ll also save money compared to hiring private shuttles everywhere. Having a car makes traveling around the country much more convenient!
Before you rent a car, it is very important to do the proper research to make sure it goes without a hitch. It’s easy to rent a car in Costa Rica but there are some things foreigners need to know before they do and one of those things is insurance.
Important facts about Costa Rica car rental insurance
Costa Rica car rental insurance is one of the most common questions and complaints we get from visitors since the process is different than the US and Canada. The majority of the complaints we hear about are the hidden fees so in this article, I’m going to simplify the information about Costa Rica car rental insurance and how it works.
First here are a few important facts about car rental insurance.
- Before 2010, one company called INS had a monopoly over the insurance and were the only company allowed. After 2010, Costa Rica opened their doors allowing local and international companies to enter the market to increase competition.
- The only mandatory insurance by law in Costa Rica is the one rent a car companies pay every year called “Marchamo.” It is the equivalent to personal property tax and it covers a very small part to third parties.
This mandatory insurance is the one most people ask about as many credit card companies offer auto insurance. However, this doesn’t usually apply to car rental insurance in Costa Rica.
Mandatory Costa Rica car rental insurance
When any rental car company tells you that there is a mandatory insurance, they are not lying but it’s not exactly specific.
As I mentioned earlier, the only mandatory insurance is the one all car owners have to pay, the yearly property tax or “Marchamo.” This insurance is called “Responsabilidad Civil” and it only covers third party damages up to 20,000,000 Costa Rican Colones (around $37,000 USD).
Mandatory Insurance That Almost Every Car Rental Company Asks You to Buy
When the car rental company tells you that you have to purchase “mandatory insurance,” it’s because most of the car rental companies have their own policies. This is not the mandatory insurance by Costa Rican law.
This insurance is the one that covers the damages of the car you rent and third party damages. The truth is that car rental companies can’t rely on the Marchamo insurance due to slow processes and bureaucracy in Costa Rica for legal processes. That would take months if not years to clear up.
Every single company has their own policies and coverage for insurance and this is how the car rental companies make most of their money, by selling insurances and extras.
Now let’s start by taking a look of some of the most popular car rental companies in Costa Rica and what their polices are. I made my research over the past couple months and this is the information their representatives told me.
Economy rent a car insurance policies
First I went to their online system to make a reservation for a compact car from May 1 – 10.
Their system gave me a rate of $26.55 USD weekly for a total of $71.99 USD for a Hyundai i10 automatic.
I didn’t see any information about insurance so I went onto the next page.
In the next step I saw the Waivers and Options. I read all the information on the website but I decided to call them and ask a representative to make sure they had the same information.
This is what I found:
- Liability Waiver: This insurance costs $15 USD a day for a sedan/compact and $20 USD for a SUV. It covers only 80% of third party damages. In case of accidents you will have to cover 100% of your car and 20% of the third party damages.
- Limited Loss Waiver: For an extra $8 USD a day you will be covered for 100% of third parties damages but you still have 0% coverage on the car you rented.
- Loss Damage Waiver: It costs $15 USD a day and this insurance will cover the damages of the car you rented, but there is a deductible of $950 USD. If you have an accident and the cost of fixing your car is $1500, you will have to pay $950 and the insurance will cover the rest.
- Secret option: This option is not listed on the website but is offered when Economy delivers the car to you. For an extra $10 a day, this insurance will cover the $950 USD deductible so if you purchase this option and the Loss Damage Waiver together, you will have 0 deductible.
Security Deposit and Credit Card Insurances for Economy rent a car
I asked the Economy representative about credit card insurances because I know many credit cards offer car rental insurance but it isn’t accepted in Costa Rica.
This is the explanation given to me.
Most of the credit card insurances do not cover third party damages. If your credit card does offer third party damage protection in Costa Rica, the client needs to present a letter stating that the card will cover the rented car’s damages and the third party damages.
According to the representative, 99% of the time, the client doesn’t have that third party damages protection. If the client does bring the correct letter, Economy takes $5000 USD for the security deposit which is frozen for your entire car rental period. In case of accidents, Economy will charge everything to the client’s credit card and the client will have to do all the paper work with their bank.
If you don’t purchase the Liability waiver because you have the letter from your bank, you will still have to purchase the Limited loss waiver and leave a $5000 USD security deposit. If you purchase the L.W + L.LW + LDW, the deposit will be $950 USD and if you purchase the secret option in addition, they keep $500 USD.
Readers’ Main Complaint About Economy rent a car
When I was making the reservation online, my final total came out to be $71.99 USD without purchasing the insurance so now I understand their catch and why people get angry with Economy.
This is how it typically works with Economy: The client makes the reservation online and they think, “Oh my car rental for one week is only $72 USD, it’s so cheap” because they think they don’t have to purchase insurance. However, once the client shows up at the airport, the Economy representative will tell them yes, their reservation is $71.99 USD but there are additional insurances they must purchase even though it didn’t seem like that online.
If the client refuses to buy an insurance because of their credit card coverage, Economy will ask for the letter and pretty much nobody does that as most people don’t have a way to call when they have already left their home country and it would take time away from their vacation.
If you do have the letter, you will stay have to pay insurance and lay down a $5000 USD security deposit.
So I checked online all the options (without the $10 USD a day secret option) and my new total jump from $145.25 USD to $458.45 USD.
Then if the client wants to be 100% covered with 0 deductible with the extra $10 USD at the airport, the final total will be $548.45 USD. What a huge difference from $71.99 USD right?
Thoughts About Economy rent a car
I can see why visitors complain about hidden fees since it seems like on the online reservation system you don’t have to purchase insurance. So if you want to use Economy, the best way to not get any surprises is by selecting all the insurances they have and making sure you have enough on your credit card to leave a $950 USD security deposit.
I also feel that all the extras are a bit expensive. An additional driver is $10 USD a day and GPS is $15 USD a day.
Adobe rent a car Insurance Policies
As many of you know, Adobe is the company that we recommend but I analyzed and scrutinized them with the same rigor. Actually I did perhaps a little bit harder because I want our readers to get the best.
I went to their online reservations website using the widget on our discount page and I selected the same car for the same period of time. Then I called their call center to talk to a representative to re-confirm the following:
Adobe has easy to understand insurances
- Liability Protection: This is their mandatory insurance and it costs $13-25 USD a day depending on the car. With this insurance you will have coverage up to $20,000 USD in 3rd party damages with a 20% deductible as well as coverage of 3rd parties not in the car up to $100,000 USD with 0 deductible.
- Car Protection: This insurance covers damages of the rented car in an accident, collision or roll over. In case of total or partial theft of the rented car, the Car Protection also covers any financial losses due to the theft. You can decline this insurance with your credit card insurance. To decline, you must present a letter from your credit card company stating they will cover the damages. You have to check your credit card’s coverage however, to make sure they will cover your rental, number of passengers, type of car and car rental period. My Chase Sapphire credit card covers this insurance so I can use it to save some money but at the same time, I understand what I will be responsible for in case of an incident.
- Extended Protection: The cost of this insurance is around $17-25 USD a day and it goes on top of the Liability Protection. This one is completely optional. With this insurance, it will cover the 20% deductible of the Liability Protection so you will have a 0 deductible. It also covers windows, vandalism, road assistance 24/7, tow truck and damaged tires (FLAT TIRES NOT INCLUDED). It also covers 100% of damages including 3rd party up to $4 million USD.
- TPW: The cost of this insurance is $9.99 USD a day and it is offered ONLY in person by the Adobe agent when the client collects the car. This is for clients who decline Car Protection insurance and purchase only Liability. The TPW insurance is 100% optional. It increases your third party (Liability) coverage to $4 million USD from $20,000 USD. The Liability deductible goes down to $0 USD from 20%.
For most of their cars they require a security deposit of $1000 USD. Mytanfeet readers get a $750 USD deposit by default and $500 USD if all 3 insurances are purchase (one of our perks).
Adobe vs Economy
After checking the cost of the same car for the same time period with FULL coverage (0 deductible), the price with Economy was $548.45 USD and with Adobe $438 USD (- $110.45 with Adobe).
On top of that, with Adobe all Mytanfeet readers get two free second drivers, free booster/baby seats, a free SIM card, GPS with more than half off ($15 USD vs $6 USD) and most importantly, there are no hidden fees or “secret options.”
So if you try to make a reservation online with Economy, it will look very cheap like in our example it seemed like my reservation was only $71.99 USD. However, at the end the final rate with full coverage was $548.45 USD. With Adobe it is what it is you see online and that’s it.
My Thoughts About Adobe rent a car Insurance
I like that their insurances were well laid out and easy to understand. To read further about their insurance, check this post detailing each Adobe Rent a Car insurance here.
Alamo rent a car Insurance Policies
Another well-known company is Alamo rent a car. I went to their online reservation system and looked for the same car for the same dates.
They didn’t have a Hyundai i10 in their fleet so I chose a Toyota Yaris hatchback which is similar to the one I used for Economy and Adobe.
Again, I called Alamo and went over all the different insurance options their online system offered me with their representative.
This is how Alamo’s insurance works:
- Primary Liability Insurance: This costs $11.95 USD a day and it is mandatory. It covers 80% of total damages to third party’s property (you pay 20%).
- Collision Damage Waiver – Theft Protection: This costs $12.95 USD and it covers the rental car damage. This insurance along with the Primary Liability Insurance are mandatory and it has a $2000 USD deductible. So in case of an accident, you will have to pay the first $2000 USD for the rental car and insurance will take care of the rest.
- Deductible Protection: For an extra $20.95 USD per day, you get 0 deductible in case of any accident. If you get this insurance, you will not pay the 20% for third parties damages and the $2000 USD deductible for the rental car.
On top on that, even if you have all the 3 insurances above they will charge $5 USD a day for road assistance and $5.95 for tire and windshield protection.
Thoughts about Alamo rent a car insurance program
In my opinion Alamo is very expensive when you purchase all of the insurances and road side assistance. The cost of the same car with FULL coverage and all the extra services went up to $768.30 USD which is extremely expensive, maybe the brand of the car is a little bit better but the price is almost double compared with Adobe.
Avis rent a car Insurance policies
I tried to get in contact with one of their agents but I couldn’t. I called 3 times in order to get someone to talk to about insurance! When I finally got a representative, their answer was “You can read online everything about insurances.” Then they hung up.
This is the worst service I received so far from all the companies I called. I am not saying the whole company is like this but they lost me as a client. I unfortunately was not able to get their insurance information.
Conclusion and recommendations
I will be keeping adding more companies to this post as I continue my research but by now, you should now have a good idea of how Costa Rica car rental insurance works. If you’re renting a car, you know what to look for when it comes to extra fees and insurance.
We hope this post helped clarify questions you had about renting a car in Costa Rica. And don’t forget to take advantage of our discount! Get our car rental discount and extra benefits. Click here to get your Costa Rica car rental discount.
For more tips on driving and renting a car in Costa Rica, check out these posts.
Includes information about who can rent a car, advice on what kind of car you need for particular routes, what to look out for in rental car companies and how to stay safe.
Information about road signs, road conditions in both city and rural areas, how Ticos drive, what to do in case of emergency and tips for staying safe on the road
What to know about getting gas in Costa Rica: prices, payment, etc.
I thought I had everything covered before renting from Europcar at SJO airport. I planned on buying mandatory SLI insurance only and declining all other coverages (CDW/LDW), as they are covered by my credit card. I also had a letter from my credit card company. However, once I provided ALL these details to Europcar upon pickup, they told me that they had to put a $30,000 (THIRTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS!) block on my credit card as a security deposit. I didn’t have that kind of credit limit on my card, so I offered to charge the security deposit to two different cards, but they were adamant that the security deposit must be charged to one single card. OK, one more thing to take care of for my next trip to CR — have a much higher credit limit on my credit card.
kiki berg says
That is ridiculous. I pulled the Deposit Amount by Country right from Europcar and it is total rental estimate + $1600 US. They were using a scare tactic into you buying. I bring their POLICY with me.
what will the Extended Protection now cover since your website indicates “As per 2020 all Mytanfeet readers have 0% deductible on Liability, up to $20,000 USD.”.
I know the Extended Protection is optional, but what benefit would it include since
Hi Steve, you can read this post for more detailed information regarding the Adobe’s insurances: Adobe Rent a Car insurance.
Mark Dante says
Great info! Thanks for the heads up on auto insurance! I do have a question. My auto insurance provider says I am covered when I rent a car, even in Costa Rica. Do you know if Adobe will accept that as the coverage?
Thanks so much!
Regarding the Car Protection insurance, you can decline the basic car protection (CDW) with your credit card insurance. To decline, you must present a letter from your credit card company stating they will cover the damages. As far as I know, Adobe only accepts insurance coverage from credit card companies but if you can get a letter from your auto insurance saying they will cover the CDW, please send via email so we can check with Adobe.
Great info on car rental insurance.
Visiting in Oct. and was wondering if Adobe will accept
the Collision Damage Waiver included with the Trawick travel insurance in place of the car protection insurance.
Thanks for your time.
Hello Mike, we sent you an email but Adobe can only accept car rental insurance offered through credit cards, they cannot accept the Trawick insurance.
Hello Dacia, you can use the widget on this booking page here: Costa Rica Car Rental booking page (no promo code needed).
The booking page has the information about our extra benefits and other important things to know as well.
Hi there how can I get the adobe discount?
This blog has been very helpful, thanks for writing.
If I rent a car through your link to Adobe picking up and dropping off at San Jose Airport (SJO), I am wondering how late in the day or how early the next morning can I drop the car off? The way our trip is planned it could be either.
Hi Spencer, the Adobe office starts receiving cars around 4:50 AM and the San Jose Airport office counter is open until 10 PM but if your flight is at a super weird hour and you need to drop off the car after 10 PM and before 5 AM, just let us know in the comments of the reservation and we’ll help arrange the return.
Hi- Wife and I will be flying into SJO in Oct. and will drive to Montezuma, we need to rent a 4×4. What is a good rental from Adobe? Also, are all taxes included in price soon?
Thanks! Love your blog!
Hi Tony, we just sent you an email but the prices on Adobe reservations include all taxes and fees. Let me know if you didn’t get our email and thank you for the nice comments on the blog.
Hi! I have a rental for January 2020. I just noticed one of the benefits mentions two “extra” free drivers. Does this mean you can have three drivers in total with no additional cost, or is this including the primary driver of the vehicle?
Thanks in advance,
Hello Felicia! Yes that is correct, you have 3 drivers total with no extra cost: 1 is the primary driver, 2 are the additional drivers.
Hi Monica, we work with Adobe Rent a Car and they have an office in Liberia. You can read more about Adobe here and we offer discounts and freebies with them which you can check quotes here
Adobe opens their office and starts receiving cars around 4:50 AM so you can return it at that time, and they will shuttle you to the LIR Airport after returning the car. You can read more about this drop off here
Very helpful information!!! We will be there Dec 17-29. Flying in and out of Liberia. We will land at 1 pm so obviously pick up then but our fight out leaves at 8am. Will most companies have an early drop off plan that morning? Which companies to you suggest in Liberia?
Thanks so much,
We are two retired couples going to Costa Rica in Dec for two weeks. We did this trip 3 years ago with my daughter. We have totally scheduled on our own and were ecstatic to find your website as we are a little nervous. My question on car rental- we are arriving at 9 pm in San Jose and staying overnight at a hotel 1 night and then want to be on our way as early as possible the next morning. Not sure how or when the car pick up would work as their hours don’t mesh. I am going to reserve through your site but just wanted to have all my info before I do. Thanks so much for your wonderful site- can’t wait to explore it further.
Hello Beth! So for Adobe, you can get your car delivered to your hotel for free and the earliest they can do that is 830 AM. If you would like the car earlier, you can get the car when you arrive at the airport the night before at 9 PM, they will be open and you can get the car when you arrive.
Another option is if you don’t want the car when you arrive, you can go to the San Jose Airport office as early as 5 AM (no free hotel delivery, you have to go to the office on your own) and get the car at that time.
Brigette Bayles says
Hi! I love reading all your posts. We are coming to Costa Rica in just over a week and are planning on renting a car for just two days during our trip. Does Adobe drop off AND pick up from your hotel (we are staying at the Occidental Papagayo)? When I filled out the form to get a quote, it looked like they deliver to your hotel but you have to drop off at the airport?
Hi Brigette, they can pick up the car at Occidental Papagayo too. For the return, you’ll have to select Liberia Airport and in the comment section, just write that you’d like the car picked up at Occidental Papagayo and the time (hours are 830 AM to 430 PM).
I am looking at renting from Sixit for 11 days. I have CDW insurance on my credit card and travel insurance. Third party insurance is included in the price. Do i need then loss damage waiver and supplemental liability insurance? Love your blog so helpful.
Hello Sabine! Loss damage waiver is the mandatory insurance that is not able to remove. You can use your credit card car rental insurance to remove the insurance that covers the rented vehicle. Let me know if you have other questions!
Very informative. I clicked on the Adobe link and the price for the 10 days is around $230 while Dollar is $75. But you are saying if I go with Adobe, in the end, the overall cost will be less expensive? We’re picking up in February from SJO and going to Jaco for the week and then returning. Do all the car companies, and Adobe, have shuttles? Thanks.
Hi Mark, unfortunately this is one of the cases where Dollar is not listing all their taxes, fees and insurances so when you go to pick up the car, you’ll find out allllll the hidden fees and things about insurance. What I recommend is to check the Dollar Costa Rica specific site to see what all the other extras will cost you because that will be the actual price, definitely not $75 and then you can compare costs between Dollar and Adobe and check their policies. All car rental companies have shuttles, but not all are free. Adobe offers a complimentary shuttle for their clients.
Thomas Sheehy says
Thank you very much for your informative blog. So very helpful. My questions have to do with a one-way rental car. (4X4)
We would pick up a rental in Alajuela, drive to San Gerardo de Dota, then to Uvita, then we plan to go to Sierpe & boat to Drake Bay. Since a car is of no use to us in the Drake Bay area, I would like to leave it in Sierpe or Palmar Norte, or Sur. Does Adobe have an office in this region?
We would then fly from Drake Bay back to San Jose at Easter time. Also how reliable are the scheduled flights from Drake Bay around the Easter Holiday?
Hi Thomas, you can definitely rent with Adobe and they can pick up the car at Sierpe (for a fee) so you won’t have to worry about it after that.
Flights are pretty on time during Easter, since it’s a very busy time there are usually more schedules as well. Let me know if you have other questions!
Patricia Holobow says
Thanks for the great post! Would you be able to do a comparison from Adobe to Enterprise. What have you heard about Enterprise? Thanks for your help!
Hi Patricia, we haven’t done one with Enterprise yet but you can talk to their customer service to see what they offer. Enterprise, Alamo and National are all owned by the same company and are huge. We personally have heard some bad things about Alamo, nothing yet about Enterprise.
Do you have any recommendations for renting a car in Puerto Jimenez? We are hoping to fly into Puerto Jimenez via Sansa Air, visit Corcovado for a few days, and then drive back up the coast to Santa Teresa. We will end in San Jose and fly back to the US from there. Thank you!
Hi Sierra! I know Alamo and Solid have car rental offices there, I think those are the only ones.
Jill Latondress says
Hi I booked a car from your blog site and they sent me a confirmation ( they did not ask for any credit card info so I didn’t enter it ) and now I was going to make sure and finale and it can’t be found. The only cars available are for only 4 people and we have 4 with a baby. Please help! Número de Reservación / Reservation Number: 549192
Nombre / Your Name : JILL
Teléfono / Phone :
Correo Electrónico / EMail :
País / Country : Costa Rica
Vehículo Seleccionado / Selected Vehicle : Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD AT or similar / Group H
Recoger vehículo en / The location specified for pickup is : LIB
Aerolínea / Airline :
Vuelo / Flight :
Oficina de Salida / Rental Office : Aeropuerto Liberia [LIR]
Oficina de Retorno / Returning Office : Aeropuerto Liberia [LIR]
Entregar Vehículo en / Returning Place : LIB
Fecha Inicial / Rental Date (dd/MM/yyyy) : 02/11/2018 13:00
Fecha Final / Returning Date (dd/MM/yyyy) : 30/11/2018 12:30
Tarifa / Selected Fare : MY TAN FEET 22
Hi Jill! I just sent you the confirmation via email. Please let me know if you have received it!
Hello Gordon, some of our readers have used Allianz worldwide car rental insurance before but we have to re-confirm with Adobe their policy for accepting it as they have changed.
Thank you for reading our blog 🙂
I am going to Costa Rica for a month in Jan 2019
I have an out of country auto insurance plan that is WORLDWIDE
I pay extra for it every year.
The car rental companies do not get it. I am not using a credit card. Ever heard of this problem.??? I even have a letter from my insurance company to submit to them.
Robin T says
We have rented a car with adobe on your site. We chose the Liability Protection and the Extended Protection. We will use our credit card for the Car Protection. How much should the deposit be?
Hi Robin, if you got Extended Protection the deposit will be $500 (extra benefit for Mytanfeet readers).
Your blog is very helpful! Thank you for all the great info.
I am planning on taking a speedboat taxi from Jaco to Manzanillo, Is ther a closer Adobe rental office on that side of town? the closest I was able to find was in Tamarindo, unless i didn’t search correctly.
If there is a closer one that would be super helpful!
Hi Edwin, do you mean Montezuma? THere isn’t an Adobe office in the Nicoya peninsula unfortunately, the closest is Tamarindo.
Luke Duncan says
I really appreciate your blog. You helped me out on another question about a driving route and your blog has been a great help!
I just cancelled our Budget car rental (read A LOT of bad reviews) and went with Adobe after reading this page. I booked through your link and it is allowing me too designate the drop off at SJO. I am searching google maps and cannot find the location for Adobe at SJO (I am picking up in Liberia, and ending our trip in San Jose).
Is there a dropoff point at SJO for Adobe?
Also do you have any information on getting the insurance from our credit card (AMEX) and how to get this so called “letter” others are talking about?
Have a great weekend,
Hi Luke! I sent an email but just in case, here is the answer to your questions.
Here is the Adobe SJO Airport office on Google Maps (it is called Adobe Rent a Car Alajuela since the airport is actually in Alajuela, not San Jose): https://www.google.com/maps/place/Adobe+Rent+a+Car+-+Alajuelaemail@example.com,-84.2112667,12z/data=!4m8!1m2!2m1!1sadobe+rent+a+car+san+jose+airport+costa+rica!3m4!1s0x8fa0f9890c5c8171:0xaa6deea4cabe485f!8m2!3d10.0023001!4d-84.1876518
For the return process, you’ll drive to their Airport office to drop off the car and Adobe will take you to the airport via their complimentary shuttle.
For picking up in Liberia, Adobe will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to their airport office via complimentary shuttle as well. We made a video so you can see what this process at LIR Airport is like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l30fexyzYZ0
For the credit card insurance, you can use it to decline the Car Protection Insurance. You will need to bring a printed letter from your credit card company stating that they will cover this insurance and also has the company information, your first and last name and the last four digits of the credit card number.
Dave G says
I am looking at booking a rental car for May 1 to May 9 out of Liberia. I’ve looked at booking through CAA here in Canada, the price with insurance is around $350-380 CAD, this doesn’t sound right to me as most I’ve checked are around $630-650 CAD. Could you possibly shed some light on this scenario?
First of all I would like to thank you for reading our blog and leaving your comment.
One of the most common complaints we get from our readers when it comes to renting a car in Costa Rica is pretty much what you are seeing right now. When they are at home planning their trip they see very cheap prices in places like Expedia, Car Rentals, or using some points or miles at any rewards website, etc. And when they show up in Costa Rica, the company will add more charges to the reservation.
My advice is to see which car rental company is going to provide the service (Enterprice, Alamo, Budget, etc) once you know the name of the company email them and ask if the rate you have in your confirmation will be the final amount, and if it is, then that you would like to have a confirmation via email saying that you won’t pay more than that and make sure to ask for level of insurance you are getting and if there are mandatory insurances.
This is one of the reasons why we partnered with Adobe rent a car, a 100% Costa Rican company because we can guarantee our readers that they won’t have any extra charges. Whatever you see in the confirmation is final (plus all our reader’s exclusive benefits).
I am so glad I came across your site- extremely helpful!
I am traveling to Costa Rica at the end of May for a week with my husband and 5 yr old and 1 yr old flying into Liberia staying at a hotel in Herradura area. Will be looking into booking Adobe too! Who can pass on free booster and car seat?!
Any recommendations for family friendly tours? How are the roads from the airport to Herradura?
Thanks in advance.
Hi Ally, from LIR, the drive to Herradura is around 4 hours if it’s the Herradura by Jaco in the Central Pacific. It’s on all paved roads.
That area isn’t the most family friendly place but we did a sunset sail with a family which was super nice out of Herradura with Kayak Jaco. Since you’ll have a car, we also recommend going down to Manuel Antonio National Park for nice beaches and Carara National Park for easy hiking.
The GPS will help you mostly on roads, if you are planning to take it our of the car to do some hiking I would recommend you better to get a WiFi device so you can use Waze or google maps. Samantha has a t-mobile plan and she gets free data here in Costa rica and she can use all the apps on her phone, maybe you can check with your phone provider and check maybe it’s cheaper to get an international data plan during the time you will be here than get the GPS or WiFi.
The free cell phone rental comes with a simple phone (not smart) and 1 hour of credit for local calls.
Do you recommend adding the GPS if we plan on doing a bit of sightseeing? Is it just a handheld device? I read Costa Rica doesn’t have many street signs, etc. What are the details about the FREE cell phone?
*coming April 1
We are considering a rental car for our trip in April. We will be flying into San Jose, going to La Fortuna for 5 nights, Monteverde for 1 night and then Manuel Antonio for 5 nights and then back to San Jose to fly out. Does this sound doable? Should we be concerned that we do not speak much Spanish (I speak so basics and can read some a little better than speaking, but definitely not fluent) as far as reading road signs etc. ? Also we plan to get international service through our cell company Verizon, so we can have data and phone service to use GPS. Any thoughts on how internet service would be with Verizon for GPS? And lastly with ADOBE, is their deposit higher if you use your credit cards insurance or is it $1000 no matter what? Thanks for your help, your blog has been very helpful in planning our trip!
Hi Leslie, you can definitely drive that route, it’s a very common itinerary. The only thing is that I do recommend a high car for Monteverde since the roads around there are not in good conditions. And then Monteverde to Manuel Antonio is a bit of a far drive so expect around 5 hours driving for that day.
Costa Rica receives many travelers every year from North America and most don’t speak much Spanish but since Costa Rica is very touristic, many of the COsta Ricans speak a degree of English and those who work in tourism usually speak very good English. The fact that you know some basics and can read is actually much more than a lot of people and locals are super nice (especially if you try to speak Spanish to them) if you need to ask questions. Usually they can tell if you’re a foreigner and even if you ask them a question in Spanish, they’ll answer back in English if they can.
I don’t have Verizon (I have TMobile) and Tmobile here works but is pretty slow. I am able to use Waze (GPS app) with it though but it just takes a little patience. I recommend opening up Waze and letting it download all the languages and maps before you get to Costa Rica when you’re on good Wi-Fi. When you’re already using Waze, even if you lose signal for a few minutes, it’ll still keep working because it’s already downloaded the map so don’t close the app and it’ll reconnect when it finds service again.
For Adobe, the deposit is $1000 (for Mytanfeet readers) no matter what, I know some companies will have a higher or lower deposit depending on which insurance you get but Adobe Mytanfeet readers always have a $1000 deposit.
Hi there! We are a group of 8 landing in Liberia on February 5, 2018. We will be driving to the Nosara area and exploring from there. What type of vehicle do you recommend?
Also, I can purchase private car insurance ahead of time that is as good or better than the rental companies offer, will that be accepted? Or is it just easiest to buy their insurance?
Hi Daryl, for 8 people, you will need a Hyundai H1 type of van/shuttle (vehicle that holds up to 12, 9 with luggage) if you want to all be in one car. The road down to Nosara by the road around Nicoya Peninsula is paved so you don’t need a 4×4, but if you do want to explore, then I recommend renting 2 4×4 SUV’s because some of the roads down there to beaches are not in great shape (Ostional area). The H1 vans are not good for those kinds of roads so 2 SUV’s would be much better.
Hi Diana! I’m sorry to hear you have had such bad experiences with renting a car in Costa Rica but that is exactly why we made our partnership with Adobe Rent a Car. First, they’re 100% Costa Rican and they have absolutely no hidden fees or extra taxes, what you see on your reservation is what you pay and their service is excellent. All our readers get a discount and extra benefits which you can check and make a reservation on this page: Costa Rica car rental discount and when you book through the widget, just leave a note in the comments you would like a car seat but the price should be at $0. If for some reason it isn’t, just leave a note and Adobe will adjust it. Please let us know if you have any other questions!
Diana Rowland says
I am from Costa Rica but live in the US I don’t go often back home but when I do I always rent a car. The 3 times we have gone we have been getting ripped off and awful experiences. We book our trip in Feb this time with my husband and our toddler son. Renting a car is a must as we love to explore and be able to move around. Been researching a lot more this time around. Can you help me out ? Once we have landed and pick the car up we get so many hidden fees and terrible service. I am also needing a car seat I noticed you said in some comments that is free with Adobe but when I went to try to book one it says there is a charge.
Hi Jane, it does not need to specifically say Costa Rica, Worldwide will work. For picking up the car, it depends on which company you rent through. Some companies do have a fee and with our car rental discount with Adobe REnt a Car, Mytanfeet readers get free delivery and pick up to nearby hotels in San Jose (but you do need to find your own transportation to the hotel) or you can take the free airport shuttle which they pick you up and take you back to Adobe’s office to get the car.
And for your routes, you can perfectly rent a sedan, you don’t need a 4×4 or suv if you don’t have that many people.
Thanks so much, used your linked and received a ‘quoting of rental service” thru my husbands email Mario. So Adobe should be picking us up 7/26 for our rental. Flying in thru Jetblue.
Hello Jane, thank you for the nice words we just resend you the car rental confirmation, please let us know if you have any questions and thank you for reading Mytanfeet!
Does the letter to waive insurance have to specifically say ‘Costa Rica’? Our credit card company sent me a letter/email showing ‘Worldwide Car Rental Insurance’ if we decline the rental company’s collision loss/damage insurance. If so, than we just pay for 3rd party liability and probably GPS.
Also, If we pick up at or around SJO and when we come back to San Jose is there a fee if I have car picked up at local hotel around SJO that has airport transfer? I have not made either hotel or car reservations yet.
Lastly, we will be driving from San Jose to San Ramon UCR, than to Arenal area, and lastly Taramindo, any car type recommendations going from Arenal to Taramindo?
My wife and I will be flying in to Liberia next Saturday. This will be our second trip to Costa Rica. I first reserved a car with Budget , but had a change of heart after reading the reviews. I decided on Avis, a little more expensive, but very close to the airport. I always decline the insurance options. I bring with me a letter from the credit card company, just in case. Two questions. You continue to recommend Adobe rental car. Do they have an office at the Liberia airport? Also, we plan to drive the Monkey Trail over to Potrero. Good idea or not?
Hi James, Adobe does have an office at LIR airport, it’s only a 5 minute drive away and they have free shuttles to pick you up from LIR airport to their office to pick up the car. The reason why we recommend Adobe and partner with them is that they are 100% transparent about their fees, taxes and price unlike many car rentals in Costa Rica who tend to present their car rental prices differently and people end up with a surprise when they get to the airport. With Adobe, you know exactly how much you’re paying the moment you make a reservation online and we offer our readers many awesome benefits with Adobe such as two free drivers (usually $5-7 a day per person), free local cell phone, 33% off GPS, free cooler, free surf racks, and free baby/booster seats. You can also decline one of the insurances with Adobe with a letter as well.
The Monkey Trail route to Portrero is in pretty horrendous shape, unless you have a 4×4 SUV, I don’t recommend it (and even with the SUV I don’t recommend it as there are no signs and if it starts raining or you’re driving in the dark, it’s not a good idea). It will actually be faster and more safe to go through the paved road inside from the airport to Santa Cruz/Huaca and then Portrero.
We hope you are doing great! Here are the answers for your questions.
1) You don’t necessarily need to get both insurances, the Car Protection and the Total Protection. I you decide to get only the Total Protection and decline the Car Protection, the 0% deductible and and extended coverage up to $5 Million will apply only to third parties´ property, injury or death of third persons (normally is $100k). The reason why will not cover the car is because your credit card company is the one providing the insurance for the car.
2)No problem at all, Adobe is referring to new drivers. As long as you have had a drivers license for more than 2 years, you are 100% OK.
Please let us know if you have any questions and have a nice Sunday.
I have two questions, wonder if you might know the answer:
1. If I go with Adobe insurance and want to choose maximum protection, do I have to buy both “Car protection” and “Total protection”, or just “total” and it includes and covers everything?
2. Adobe website mentions that driver has to be licensed 2+ years. The thing is that while I am licensed for 15+ years now, state of NY sends new card every 5-8 years and technically it says on the card “Issued 02/2016” and doesn’t mention anywhere “initially since 2002”. Am I going to have a problem with renting? I mean, how can I prove being licensed 15+ experience?
Thanks in advance for any info
Giancarlo Aimone says
Hello, I am looking into Budget Costa Rica for a trip from November 5-16, 2017… I was quoted at US $ 271.51 for a “Group G – SUZUKI JIMNY or similar”. I got the Third Party Liability insurance that is mandatory and have my CC that covers the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), therefore, I did not select it.
Does this seem fishy or does it make sense? Will there be hidden fees?
Thank you for reading our blog! There will be no hidden fees at all, that is 100% guarantee, just make sure to bring a letter from your credit car company saying that you are cover and that’s it. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Hi Herman, thank you for reading our blog and glad it has been helpful! For Monteverde, it is highly highly recommended to get a 4×4 since the roads there are unpaved, windy and steep. You can read more about the Monteverde road conditions and see pictures/videos here as to why a 4×4 is required: Monteverde road conditions.
Glad I found your site,
2 adults, 2 young adult children
Flying into SJO July 29, 2017- arrival 1940. Plan on spending the night @ Marriott Costa Rica, apparently only 15 minutes away from airport.
Leaving next AM to La Fortuna for 3 days, then Monteverde Cloud Forest for 2 days then back to Marriott August 4, 2017
August 5, 2017 -0800 flt back to US
Questions given above route, I initially rented a mid size Toyota corolla type car from Alamo but after reading your extensive blog will be canceling and renting through Adobe.
With our route, I imagine a regular sedan should be fine?
Thanks in advance
We drove to Monteverde Cloud Forest from Liberia in April and the roads were VERY rough. We had a 4×4 and were so grateful. Maybe the route from SJO is different but for us…we would not have wanted to do this climb in a sedan. The Cloud Forest is truly wonderful. Pay for the guided tour. So worth it!!
Hi Moriah, yes the route to Monteverde (all of them) are rough! You may have taken Las Juntas which is a bit more rough than Sardinal so from San Jose, the best and closest route is Sardinal and that one has more paved road. Glad you hada great time in Monteverde!
I am visiting CR in two weeks, for me the first time in CR. I am a 20 years old Dutch citizen and got my driving license for more than 2 years already. And have been driving a lot in Europe, also I am familiar with the driving style in CR, as I experienced the driving style of India. I have been reading websites after websites about renting cars in CR.
Till I found this website! I felt comfortable after reading your website about renting cars in CR. But there are few things still unclear about renting a 4×4 for a week via Adobe if it comes to young drivers.
What is the policy for drivers under 21? Is there a fee, and how much? Which cars am I not allowed to rent as a young driver?
Please help me out as I am willing to rent a car via Adobe.
First of all we would like to thank you for reading our blog. Regarding your question the minimum age to rent a car with Adobe rent a car is 23 years old, we have asked this several times and they always tell us that is due to the insurance company policies. I know that other international companies might let you driver if you are 21 but you will need to pay an extra high fee, most of the car rental companies have similar minimum age rental ages for example in some areas of the USA the minimum is 25.
We are very sorry about your situation and I recommend you to check with the small, start up companies I heard that they do wherever in order to rent a car, but be very careful and read the contract because you don’t want to be in an accident and don’t have coverage.
Thank you again for reading our blog and have a nice weekend.
Thanks your for your reply!! Much appreciated!
Thank you for this valuable information. My question is- is the “Car Protection” option for Adobe the same as the Collision Damage Waiver? My credit card tells me I must decline the waiver and use theirs if I want to use my travel credit to reimburse my car rental. I want to make sure I’m checking the right boxes. Thank you!
Yes the Car Protection is the Collision Damage Waiver and you can declined it by presenting a letter from your credit card company. If you credit card covers that please uncheck the box.
Thank you for reading our blog and please let us know if you have any questions.
I just reserved a car through your widget with adobe, and it does seem to be better value than other rental companies i researched for costa rica.
I am very confused about all these insurance options etc, even after reading your guide to insurance which looked at the different companies insurance structures.
With Adobe, the mandatory coverage was preselected, and so i just went with that default. Does that suffice in vast majority of cases? Also, the second option was not selected, however there was a statement that one needed some kind of paper proof to decline. Will that one be added then at pickup time in most cases?
Thanks, your blogs are very helpful for me, a first time traveller to costa rica!
Thank you for reading our blog and for commenting, I will try to answer you your questions as clear as I can and if you still have questions at the end please let me know.
The mandatory insurance is the (PLI) Liability Protection, the reason why Adobe set this insurance as mandatory is because it covers third parties involve in accidents, the PLI comes with a 20% deductible. Now most of the USA credit cards like American Express and some visa cars they provide coverage for the rented car (LDW) in Adobe rent a car they call it Car Protection so in case your credit card offers this service you do not need to get it because in case of an accident your credit card company will take care of the damages.
Most of the people declined the LDW (Car Protection) because their credit cards offers that service, but in case your credit car don’t you might need to get teh Car Protection insurance, the system will let you make the reservation without the Car Protection insurance.
Does that suffice in vast majority of cases? Over 1000 readers rented a car on 2016 rented a car with Adobe and just 9 people had little incidents nothing big, but you never know.
Adobe has a Toll Free number from the US and Canada please feel free to call 1-855-8611250 you can for Louis he is the one in charge of all Mytanfeet readers.
Loretta Lawrence says
I want to thank you for your insight regarding mandatory car insurance in Costa Rica. My friend was told “Do Not Rent A Car in Costa Rica…. It’s a scam”. I researched and found your blog which gave me the questions to ask.
I returned Sunday from a 10 day trip to costa rica and rented an Alamo Car from San Jose airport. From your info, I called them direct and asked what are the mandatory insurances. They told me the $11.95 a day is mandatory. With American Express I can waive the second Mandatory insurance. This saved me $12.95 a day. I did call American Express prior to leaving and they emailed me a letter to give to Alamo. When checking in at Alamo in San Jose they said they had worked it out with AMEX and the letter is not needed anymore.
My total fees for 10 days days for a Toyota Yaris – 4 door – ac – manual was $184 including the second driver.
We drove from the airport to Jaco around 4:00 in the afternoon on a Friday. Traffic was really bad in San Jose. The only really big issue with driving at night was they don’t keep up with painting any lines on the road and the roads are pitch black. If you have ever drove on a snow covered road, you would know how alarming it is not being able to see where road ends on either side. So you typically try to drive on the highest spot toward what you think is the middle of the road. This happened on one hill and I had lost all perspective of where I was on the road. I ended up over the middle a little too much. It was a little scary to see headlights in your face before you realized you has strayed over a little too much. All is well but it could have been very nasty. Also, please note, there are very little to no guard rails, huge gutters on the side of the road, some areas had minimal to no room to pull off a car to the side.
The roads are not well sign posted. WAZE was very helpful. Be sure you have a data plan for your phone. I have T mobile cell service that has international coverage for free.
Another piece of advice, the green traffic lights blink about 3 times before turning to Yellow. It seems that yellow is not displayed more than a nano second before it turns red. I was almost rear ended trying to stop at a light.
Many if not most of the side streets are not paved once you are out of a city.
Our other option was to get a shuttle taxi to Jaco. Since our flights were coming in too late for the $40 shuttle, it would have cost $50 for each person. That totaled $200 for two plus tip. It was basically a wash since gas was about $42. We did travel from Jaco south to Manuel Antontio Park and did other short site seeing trips. The car was convenient to pop out to the nearest large grocery stores.
In the town of Jaco, walking or biking was the best mode. You can find bike rentals (need to ask around) for $5.00 a day. Most other places on the main drag charge between $10 a day to more than $20 a day for a one speed bike.
Would I rent a car again? Yes, it would be more of a 4 wheel drive vehicle with a little more clearance.
Do your research.
Thanks for the insight.
Thank you for reading our blog and leaving us a message 🙂 Regarding your questions I personally have never heard bad comments from Vamos or Mapache (I have never heard of Trebol) our reader always have problems with Economy, National, Enterprice or Alamo. You can given them a try if you would like to and it will be awesome if you can pass us some feedback so can include it to this article.
We have been using Adobe for almost 3 years now and as you can see in the comments people Costa Rica car rental discount
Let us know if you have any questions 🙂
Someone recommended Vamos. I also recently booked some accommodations and they recommended either Mapache or Trebol. Do you have any experiences with these companies? Thanks for all the research you do! It is very helpful!
Thanks for all the great information. I am wondering if you would recommend a 4×4 with the following itinerary, or are we okay with just an intermediate car? In March we will be landing @ SJO, going to Manuel Antonio, to Arenal, to Nosara, to Tamarindo and then flying out of Liberia. We have been struggling with how we should get from point A to point B but from everything I am reading, it sounds like renting a car for the entire vacation would be the best idea. Thank-you.
Right now in the dry season you can go to any of your destinations with a mid size SUV 4×2 if you would like to, you guys will be Ok. In Costa Rica renting a car is a good option because you will save time and even money during the whole trip. I will be have to help you finding out the best route from your point a to b but I am not sure if you mean from the Airport to Manuel Antonio, feel free to email us at https://mytanfeet.com/contact-us/
Very helpful post, really appreciate it! We are a group of 4 people looking at rental cars for an upcoming 9-day-trip in mid-February. We will be driving from SJO to LaFortuna, then Monteverde, Manual Antonio, Escazu, then back to SJO. We are considering renting an automatic SUV for the entire trip. 1) Can you please advise what kind of car would be suitable for us, and if a 4×2 is good/safe enough for our trip, or a 4×4 is necessary? 2) Due to an early flight, we will have to drop off the rental car at SJO around 4:30am the last day of our trip. Is your office open at that time? 3) if not, will you be able to pick up the rental car at our hotel location in Escazu San Jose the day before?
Thank you very much for your help!
Thank you for reading our blog, here are the answers for your questions.
1)The most comfortable ones are the Hyundai Tucson or the Santa FE and, if you can get one of those I think it will be the best option. A 4×2 or 4×4 SUV will be fine for your destinations there are two gravel sections a 20 km section in the way to Monteverde that and the entrance of the Arenal volcano, in this sections if you slow you will be fine with a 4×2 I used to go there with our sedan and we were fine.
2)The office opens at 5 AM, when our readers have an early flight (6:30AM or 7 AM) they usually drive to the terminal first and check in their bags then one person goes to deliver at the airport office which is located a 3-5 minutes from the terminal and then the shuttle bring the client back to the terminal.
3) Adobe rent a car can also pick you the car the day before at your hotel in Escazu, just let us know which option you would like to take and we will arrange everything for you, there no extra cost for picking up the car at your hotel in Escazu.
Let us know if you have any questions and thank you again for reading Mytanfeet
I have found that many of the 3rd party travel websites lke Orbitz will show you a cheap price for the car rental but then they stack up a ton of extra fees and taxes and of course, insurance on top so that at the end, your car rental isn’t as cheap as it seems so I would do comparison shop. There is a mandatory car rental insurance in Costa Rica. We work with a local Costa Rican company called Adobe Rent a Car because they don’t have any hidden fees or last minute taxes so what you see on your quote is what you pay. You can check it out here: Costa Rica car rental discount
Thanks for the article! How legit is renting a car through Orbitz? There are cheap prices and car coverage is $11 a day. Do you know if I would have to pay for insurance through the company in Costa Rica as well once I got there?
I reserved through the website/the my tan feet promotional deal and received confirmation number 520353 when I registered through Adobe online 4 days ago, but no email confirmation yet. Can you please confirm?
Hello Megan, your reservation it’s 100% confirmed we just resend you the confirmation please let us know if you have any questions and thank you for reading Mytanfeet.com
I will be staying in a hotel in San Juan. Will they deliver a car to my hotel? I only require one for part of my trip and dont want to get it from the airport.
Hello Ann, did you meant San Jose? if you did yes Adobe can deliver cars at not extra cost at most of the hotels in San Jose.
I’ve scheduled a rental car with Adobe using your discount code (thanks!). Just wanted to ask a couple questions because you seem to answer really well on here and I can’t find anything on their website.
1. I don’t remember an option to get a free shuttle or have them deliver the car to the airport, is there a way to schedule this with Adobe directly?
2. After dropping off the car, I am going in to San Jose for one evening. What is the best way to get there from the rental car office; does Adobe offer free shuttles to any hotels?
3. Do you recommend getting just the LDW or the full coverage? I’ve currently opted for full coverage, but have heard that there is a lot of vandalism/theft going on recently.
Here are the answers for your questions
1 – I see that you already put your flight information in the car rental reservation, an Adobe rent a car representative will be waiting for you at the arrival area he/she will be holding an Adobe rent a car sign, as soon as you find them they will take you to their shuttle (they have one every 5-10 minutes) and they will take you to their airport office located 3-5 minutes from the arrivals area. There is no need to book this shuttle it is always there.
2 – Just let the Adobe representative know that you want your car pick up at “x” hotel in San Jose, the Adobe team will pick up the car at not extra cost, in this way you will not have to drive to the airport office. Just make sure to give them the right hotel name, address and time.
3 – This is hard to say, we leave in Tamarindo (A popular beach destination in the north pacific area) and we haven’t heard of any one getting robbed or their cars broke recently there are lots of parking spaces with security, in this kind of situations you never know so if you can get it go for it, and you can’t just try to leave the car in official parking spaces and do not leave values right on top of the seats or things like that.
We wish you a great time in Costa Rica and thank you for reading Mytanfeet.com
Question about the security deposit. They will charge your credit card $1,000 upon picking up the car? That seems pretty steep. Do you immediately get this refunded after turning back in?
Hello Rachel, Yes they will pre-authorized $1000 (not charge) and it usually takes from 3 to 5 business days or less
Do they hold $1000 deposit and charge the cost of a car rental (ie. $400) so $1400 is unusable on the card? Or do they hold the deposit ($1000) and then return the deposit less the car rental ($400) when you return the vehicle (ie. 600 back on to the card)? I’ve got a large purchase I need to put on my card immediately after my trip and want to ensure I’ve got the appropriate space on my card if the deposit won’t immediately go back to the card. Thanks for your help.
Hello Shawna, Adobe will hold the full amount when you sign the contract and if you have only one card they will hold $1400. if you have two cards you can split the deposit in one card and the rental amount in another one.
Thanks for your time on this. It was very helpful to confirm that I might be getting scammed. Most places I have checked with are really cheap but now two places confirm how they hit you with airport fee’s, license fees and mandatory full insurance. Only you, really explain what’s going on. I have since found that my company has an agreement with Enterprise to get good rates with all the extra’s. Full 7 passenger full insurance and GPS for 8 days for $850. The only other thing I am left trying to research is that you can’t take your car off of paved/national roads. Is this true that you know of? One of the people that I communicated with for a rental house had told me this. We had plans to go to several places that have gravel roads. Thanks
I have read many letters from Credit card companies that provide insurances to see what it is involve, what they cover and they don’t. You of the most interesting regulations most of this companies have is that if you have an accident in a not paved or “official” road they will not cover the car damages, in Costa Rica you will find lots of gravel roads and “non official” road to get to some hidden beaches, national parks etc. Once you land some companies will ask you if you are planning to go off road and if you say yes they will add another kind of insurance.
I am not sure how Enterprice handle that here, they are own by the same National and Alamo group so I believe they have the same rules. We are not saying that this companies are bad they just make it very confused to their clients, I highly recommend you to ask all the details if you rent with them ask about vandalism, tires, off road, road attention even windshields. For this reason we send people to Adobe it is very simple and clear if you have the FULL insurance the only situation where they will not cover you is in case of negligence like driving under the influence, intentional crash and if you cross a river with the car.
The chances of an accident are very small but just in case read all the small letters. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions.
John Humleker says
First thank you for doing the leg work on renting a car in Costa Rica! We are not arriving until February 2017 and until I found your blog I spent more time researching how to rent a car then, booking our flights and condo. Your blog finally made it easy, and then the folks at Adobe have been great. I cancelled my reservation with Budget and have had to upgrade with Adobe twice (we added 2 people to our party recently and needed a larger car). So I called Adobe and they could not have been friendler and more helpful – if they are as half as nice when we arrive I will be delighted.
I feel like I can now focus on the rest of your blog and get ready for our first trip to Costa Rica! Thanks again for what you are doing, now on to watching your videos and learning more about this beautiful country.
Hi John! Thank you for such kind words, our goal is to help everyone travel better and stress free in Costa Rica so we are extremely happy to hear that our blog has helped plan your trip smoothly. I’m sure you will have a great time in Costa Rica and please let us know if there is anything in particular you’d like us to write about and we’ll do our best!
I just rented a mid sized SUV from Ace/Toyota at Liberia airport and feel totally scammed.
$156/wk which was a good deal but then they hit me with the mandatory LDW for Another $360/wk. I have coverage through my credit card and my home auto insurance but they have me no choice.
Is the $$350/ wk mandatory ldw fee legit? They claim it has nothing to do with them.
Hi Jordan, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. Costa Rica does have a mandatory insurance but that’s insane they charged you $360 for another week for it! Usually it’s an extra $13-17 a day but they must have made you pay full insurance which is even more, usually around $18 a day but still.
That’s why we never recommend renting at the airport because car rental companies (the international ones) like to pull this trick and it’s completely wrong. They give you a cheap car rental rate and then hit you with a hidden insurance and extra fees and since you’re at the airport, you have no way to check out other options or get the correct paperwork from your credit card company. They should give you all the options up front so you know exactly what you’re paying, this is why we work with Adobe because they give the total price up front, they don’t hit you with any surprise fees or anything. Unfortunately many international car rental companies don’t, they do what happened to you so many people have bad experiences with renting a car in Costa Rica.
Hi Tamara to be honest with you there is not such thing as airport tax, I have heard that some companies charge this but Adobe doesn’t when you request a quote or make a reservation in our blog the amount that you at the end is the final amount Adobe has no hidden weird fees. Please let us know if you have any questions and if you would like to check the rates please go here: Costa Rica car rental discount
Do you know if Adobe charges the airport tax? I read that if you pick SJO as the pick up location you get charged 13% even thought the car rental places are off airport property
We just made a reservation through your widget, but after clicking “Reserve”, it took us to a login page asking for a corporate username and password login. I’m not sure if our reservation went through – can you please help us confirm?
Hi Tim, that is weird I just checked and I dont see any reservation under your name or email address, can you please try again? If you keep having the same problems please email us the type of car you need, dates and location to our email on our contact page. Thanks!
Thanks for reading our blog, in regards to your questions for the south part of Guanacaste you can use a 4×2 if you are not thinking on going off road or anything extreme but if I always recommend a 4×4 for the areas you are going you will see even if you want to go to Avellanas that is located close from Pinilla sometimes if it rains you need a 4×4 for more safety, for your question #2 I have the perfect answer with video included here: Adobe Rent a Car Liberia Airport. and there are not extra charges at all for the shuttle and for questions #3 it’s hard to say if you can afford the Super Protection Plan get it if something happen and I mean anything, you will be 100% cover (of course not for driving under the influence or things like that) with the normal insurance if something happen you will have to pay the deductible and 100% up to you we know lots of clients that refuse the SSP and they are fine, but you never know 🙂 I hope my answers help.
We will be traveling to Costa Rica on June 2nd, 2017. Arriving in Liberia, driving to Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club, Guanacaste Province, then driving further South to Hotel Punta Islita, 160, Punta Islita. We’ll be staying for just over a week and plan to explore a bit (beaches, etc.). 3 questions: 1) is 4×2 enough or would a 4×4 make more sense in this area and I couldn’t tell from the Adobe site. 2) do we take a shuttle when we arrive to pickup the car, or is the car going to be at the airport? When I reserved the car I choose LIR as the pickup/dropoff, but want to make sure there isn’t an additional charge since the Adobe office appears to be offsite. 3) is the “Super Protection Plan Insurance” worth it? I’m leaning against getting it.
Just rented a car with Adobe, followed your directions, all went very smoothly, just as you demonstrated on the video. Thank you for your blog and your efforts!.
Only one question: there were only 3 available sizes of cars, all small, I suppose because its over New Year’s and very busy time of year, but how can I leave a message on Adobe web site that I would like to move up to a bigger car/SUV if one should become available?
Thanks for reading our blog I see your email in one of the reservations, I am going to email the operations manager at Adobe to be on top of your request. And yes most of the rent a car companies are our of cars for the Christmas and New year’s time. Let us know if you have any questions.
Thank you Vicki, you can be 100% sure that if you rent a car with Adobe a representative will be waiting for you outside the airport. You can check the rates and all the specials we have for our readers here: Costa Rica car rental discount
Hi! Great article on rental cars as we are looking into options for planning a trip this Chrismtas! Currently the best price/schedule for flight from Canada for us would have us arriving at 7am in Liberia on Christmas morning. Would there be issues with getting rental car pickup at that time do you think? As much as I would prefer not to be arriving then it may be our best option, but not if we get stuck at airport with no transportation!
Thanks for any advice
Hi Antonio, you actually commented on this post: Costa Rica car rental discount and we answered you with this reply a week ago.
Hi Antonio! We’re glad we are able to help you with your trip. As for the h1, it is a guarantee that you’ll get the h1 so no worries about that. As for the shuttle, you can choose to pick it up at the airport but they recommend taking their free shuttle to their office in case it is raining when you land. The office is actually not in Liberia, it is only a 5 minute drive from the airport so you won’t actually be losing much time at all. It is up to you whether you’d like the car ready at the airport or to be taken to their office, but since you’ll be coming around the peak of rainy season, it is recommended to go to their office because there is no roof or cover at the airport and you’ll have to do all the paperwork in the open, including everyone waiting around with their luggage, etc. because the airport doesn’t let people wait inside.
Hope this answers your question!
What about the SJO airport? What is the better option? To go to their office with the free shuttle, process the paperwork at the airport or drop off at the hotel?
Hi Chio, the San Jose office is not far from the airport either and it’s up to you whether you’d like the car delivered or picked up at the office. Now that we’re in the heart of rainy season, we are recommending visitors to get picked up by shuttle and taken to the Adobe office because it is likely to rain very hard and there is no cover at the airports, you’ll be doing the checks and paperwork in the parking lot in the rain.
Antonio Stonato says
My apologies. I just realized I was checking for the response in the wrong section. Thanks for the response.
Yes, upon further examination I did see that the office is actually on the way to our destination, Potrero, which is much better than what we had to do with Economy (go in the opposite direction towards Liberia).
No worries have a great time in Costa rica and please let us know if you have any questions
Hi Charles, you don’t need a 4×4 for that route, it is a very nice paved road. You can see it here actually in this post: Driving Guanacaste to ARenal
You don’t have to get the SPP, that is optional.
Thanks. Really appreciate all of this advice.
Antonio Stonato says
I posted a message and you folks have yet to reply. Is there a particular reason why?
Great article. I believe after reading everything here I am going to book a rental car through Adobe. I am flying into Liberia Airport, traveling to Guanacaste then back up to Arenal before returning to the airport. Do you believe I will need a 4WD or will 2WD suffice? Also, when bookign through Adobe, is it only mandatory to get the Loss Damage Waiver – Theft? Can I decline the Supplemental Protection Plan and not get any surprises at the airport?
Thanks again for the article.. so helpful.
Your website is very helpful. If we booked through you, what is the additional cost of having a 3rd (and maybe 4th) driver? Do you have any experience using enterprise? Their website mentions the insurance, but doesn’t mention the cost.
Hi Mason, I called Adobe and they can only give us one free driver for the other drivers they will charge their normal rate which is $3 a day, we a sorry for that but that was our agreement with them. Regarding Enterprise we haven’t rent from them personally they are relative new here and they are the same company as National and Alamo here. We have had lots of readers complaining about their hidden fees when they pick up the car but that’s it. Have a nice trip!
Hey there, going to Liberia in a few days. Had to increase my trip budget to accommodate the actual cost you put here. So a car rental for one week in CR is greater than one week in NY? Can you drive a rental car to Nicaragua during the rental period?
Hi Jacob, I’m not sure how much a car rental in NY costs (I’m sure you can comparison shop) and rental cars aren’t allowed to cross any borders.
very nice work on laying out all these details. Very much appreciated!
I have a question about Adobe and the mandatory Loss damage Waiver:
I am covered with a premium LDW by American Express- do I have to take their
LDW on top?
Thanks for your feedback!
Hi Michael, LDW is technically mandatory here but you can talk to them about getting the insurance covered, it takes some paperwork but it’s best to contact them to get all of the details since they know every step 🙂
I have been renting in CR for roughly 10 years. I get the mandatory liability policy but waive all other insurance. I contacted my Credit Card (VISA) and they cover 100% of my insurance WITHOUT the $950 deductible. My cousin had an accident in CR and his credit card company paid the damages 100%.
One piece of advice, when doing a walk-through on the car look under the car and on the roof. At times there is damage on SUV rooftops from surfboards and damage to under-carriages. I also take photos of the vehicle to ensure there are no “missed dings”.
Lastly I think GPS is a waste. I have been all over the country with a map and horrible Spanish and have never gotten lost!
Any companies in particular you recommend? I check their link with adobe and they don’t have any SUV’s available so thought I would check and see if you have any you recommend?
Hi, Brittany can you email us the dates you need the SUV and the pick up location to our email we want to check availability
Great post guys. Thanks for all the research and analysis. Appreciate it very much.
Thanks Sonny – glad it helps!!
Is the supplemental protection plN with Adobe mandatory?
Thank you for your help!
No the spp is optional:)
Lee Covington says
Hi Yeison. Thank you for all the great advise on your site! I’ve used you extensively to plan an upcoming maiden trip to Costa Rica.
I’ve got a rental scheduled with Vamos. Their web site has some great detailed information regarding rental insurance, driving tips, etc. They go into very specific detail about each coverage and they offer both Basic and Full CDW coverage. And, that the CDW coverage also includes SLI-the 3rd party waiver. For our compact 4X4 SUV the full CDW coverage is $26.95 per day, which seems very reasonable, compared to others. But, the insurance cost will still be just about what we’re paying for the rental, so it doubles the cost. (about $645 total for 11 days, but it will be so worth it!)
They also offer GPS for $8 per day, cell phone for $3.5714 per day (?) and offer free maps, ice box & child seats. (I noticed that others charge for child seats)
So, I’ll have to let you know how our trip goes in August. See you on the beach. 🙂
Hello Lee! Great please let us know how everything went with this company our mission here is to provide the best information and I haven’t had the chance to experience vamos. Thank you and enjoy Costa Rica!
Hello James! We have heard so many stories and bad experiences from our readers about getting extra charge for insurance, I am not 100% about bingo I have never used it but most of these re sellers websites sell you an insurance that will cover “everything” but once you are here they will tell you something like “yes you have the full cover but you still need to get the basic mandatory insurance”, like I said I have never use bingo before and I have no idea about their policies and insurances, they will forward your reservation to a major car rental company same story with green motion. Thousands of our readers have use Adobe and they love it because they are no extra fees and everything is clear you can check their rates and insurances here: Costa Rica car rental discount
James Peace says
Hi guys very helpful post really appreciate it. I am currently looking at rental cars for our trip in November (well in advance I know). The best deal I have found is through bingo car rentals who are effectively a broker. But when you book a car through them you can pay £56 on top which seems to completely cover you… well they will refund anything you have to pay on credit card. I was looking at the Daihatsu Bego which would be provided by green motion?
Thijs van Schadewijk says
Super helpful post! Im now probably going to book through you guys. Few questions:
– same insurance policies in panama as far as you know? Just booked an insureqmce free car there with budget. Can I expect the same scam at the airport?
– as we’re roundtripping and coming from panama (david) we will pick up in paso canoas and drop in limon. Any issues with that?
Hi! To be honest I have never rent a car in Panama, I wish I could help you on this one. Must of the services are similar so I would recommend you to read the small letters in the rental contract.
We are renting an Adobe car. It asks three questions where you want to pick the car up. We will be arriving via the LIBERIA, D.ODUBER QUIROS INTL CR airport. Around 11 AM.
Should we pick up the car at the adobe office, the airport, or other location?
Thank you for reading our blog. You can pick up your car at the Adobe office or the airport, most people go to the Adobe office when they land. They have a free shuttle they’ll pick you up in at LIR airport to take you to their offices. Or if you want to get it delivered to your hotel, you can do that too.
Hello. I’m not sure if you guys can help me with this issue but I’ll ask anyway 🙂 My husband and I will be visiting Costa Rica for our honeymoon next week. We are hoping to rent a car from Adobe. The issue is that neither one of us have a credit card for the deposit. We have debit cards with visa logos that can be used as credit, but probably don’t work the same and the lady that I spoke to at the office didn’t seem to know either. Do you think a prepaid credit card would work or any advice? I just don’t think we will have time to open up a new credit card account and wait for it to come in the mail in less than a week! :/ I know we shouldn’t have waited til the last minute!! Thanks!!
And your blogs have been super helpful in planning our trip!!! 🙂
Hi guys, unfortunately they only accept credit cards for the deposit. I have a debit card that can be used as credit as well and they don’t accept it so I had to use my CC. Sorry guys 🙁
Are there other options for the deposit? I’m in the same boat…don’t have a credit card and would prefer not to apply for one. I have a Visa that is linked to my bank account only.
Hello Sophia, Technically you can use your debit card for the deposit but I do not recommend you to do it with any rent a car, there are many reasons but the 2 most important is that they the company will charge a little bit more it depends of the company and then it takes up to 45 days for the money to be refund it on your debit account, with a credit card the deposit it’s release as soon as the contract is over and it takes 24 to 48 hours for the credit to be available again.
Jon Simmons says
I rented with Avis on my last trip to Costa Rica at Christmas 2015. I rented for just over 2 weeks. The price of the car with insurance was more then most of my hotel stays combined while I was there. I believe these companies have an insurance racket going and are really rude about it when you say anything. Avis was not polite about their scam (and I believe it is a scam). I am returning in May and I want to find another option then Avis.
It is the only negative I have about Costa Rica in that you feel raped by the rental car companies. Wish the country would do something about it. And I wish companies that are American like Avis, did not participate in the scam.
The insurance gets VERY expensive especially the way they lay it out! Some of them, the way they are structured like Economy and Avis try to hide the fees or break it down so it doesn’t seem as much but end up costing an arm and a leg and they don’t even cover as well. That’s why we like Adobe – only two insurances on their online form, no hidden fees and very good coverage. Being 100% Tico company they want to stop this horrible practices of the international companies, which sadly I do not think they will stop ripping people off.