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Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

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Monument, Colorado
posts: 3
reviews: 48
Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

Its been a while since our trip, but finally getting around to writing some reviews of the places we stayed in Costa Rica.

I haven't found a place to rate Hertz, so I will put this info in the forum, hoping the info will help others who are looking to rent a car in San Jose Costa Rica from the Airport Hertz office.

A couple of things, Hertz has a single guy in a small space at the airport. He will look up your reservation and give you a name tag and point you to the right door. Out the door, a Hertz driver will load you and your bags into a mini-van and take you to the location where you actually pick up your car. The driver was helpful and pointed out some details of which direction we should be going based on our stated destination, and some tips about not speeding and what the speed limits were and explaining bus lanes that will get you a ticket in San Jose.

The place where you pick up/drop off your car is a bit like a tiny fortress, and if you were thinking that you would be able to drop your car off after hours and just drop the keys and a contract in a box and be on your way to the airport, you would be sorely mistaken. Even when occupied the large gates are closed by default.

There was a bit of a wait for the car, they pushed the GPS option hard, but we had brought our own (with Costa Rican map chip), which happened to be the same model that they were renting. The GPS road info isn't as precise as the US (It will try to take you down non-existant roads, wrong way on one ways etc) I would highly recommend getting a GPS as it really gives you confidence as you are driving in Costa Rica.

There were several insurance options, I would recommend seriously considering the insurance if you had seen the drivers and roads in Costa Rica. I think we selected a medium deductable to keep our costs resonable though.

We had a 4x4 manual Daihatsu Terios w AC reserved.

They gave us an older Daihatsu BeGo that looks roughly the same as the Terios, I'm not sure what the difference was. It is a very SMALL SUV by US standards. Considering the roads and other drivers, a big SUV's wouldn't necisarily be a plus, but it would be bad if you brought alot of people and luggage and expected it to all fit. Our car had several dings in it already which they dutifully marked on our contract. The AC did work great. They were adament that they show you that all the tools and spare were present and in good shape. They warn there were some scams of flattening rental car tires and people stopping to help, which was a scam where they robbed you. Always change your own flat in San Jose.

The car didn't ride particularly well, as most roads in Costa Rica are in tough shape except for the new freeway. The car was horribly underpowered, I had to shift all the way to first for one paved hill in Manuel Antonio area and there were only two of us in the car. I would hate to see 4-5 people and luggage trying to drive this sluggish thing. For being so underpowered, you tend to have to keep your foot it in more, and that results in not so great gas mileage. Gas was expensive, but full service in Costa Rica.

We were staying at the hampton inn hotel at the airport, and techncially it wouldnt' have been too hard a walk back to the hotel after returning the car (since we dropped the luggage off already), but I don't think they would have advised that, and they offered to take us the couple of blocks and drop us off at the hotel with the airport shuttle (as it was right on the way).

The thing that really irritated me out of the whole thing was that we reserved a 4wd car. When I almost got stuck I got out and looked, and realized there were no front axles, so I only had a 2wd SUV instead, this limited our ability to go certain places. When I complained when I returned the car, they told me that only some of the cars have (4wd) switches on the dash, the rest are automatic (I think he means they are full time 4wd). I told him I know this, but it was still a 2wd car. He asked if we got stuck, and I said almost. As far as he was concerned the conversation was over at that point and suddenly his english got alot worse.

Contacted Hertz when we got back and they could have cared less either about not having 4wd and that we would get no money back on our rental or even an apology.

So if you believe that renting from a name brand in Costa rica will give you leverage when you get home, don't think that it will help that much as it is just a franchise and not a corporate location.

If I were doing this again, I would probably arrange for a San Jose (non-airport) car rental location to drop off my car at the hotel where I would carefully check it before accepting it. This would eliminate the high airport tax, and probably be easier than going to the rental agency near the airport.

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 7,819
reviews: 57
1. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

Good advice to get a rental car delivered at hotel. This way one can start her/his self-driving vacations after a good night sleep, and having ample time to inspect or even decline the car offered. Almost all hotels around SJO airport will help you arrange a new rental car.

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 43,114
2. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

Good report...and I love the description of our roads...many of my clients said all the time...that most of our roads are even better than some in USA...Canada or England...well every body is entitled to a good opinon...


Monument, Colorado
posts: 3
reviews: 48
3. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

road advisor,

Many of your roads are in great condition especially considering the amount of rain they have to endure every year, but there are also more unexpected suprises than most people in the US are use to. There were several locations that if you weren't paying attention, a mudslide, a washout, an enormous pothole could have heavily damaged our light SUV or dumped us in a ditch. Or having oncoming traffic swerve into your lane to miss such obsticles can be frightening for people who aren't expecting it.

In europe where many of the secondary roads are narrow, you see smaller Semi-trailers delivering goods, where in Costa Rica, I saw the same Semi's and trailers that they use in the US, which can be intimidating when they are coming around a bend on a narrow road.

I have seen some people say that they would never drive in Costa Rica, I think that is an over-reaction. As long as you are paying attention, driving is not that difficult, and you get to explore more of the country and an opportunity to stop in a small town that might not be on the tourist trail.

As in accidently proved, 4wd on most roads in the dry season isn't required, but the extra inch or two clearance the small SUV provided was nice for some of the rougher roads or a pothole that I might have missed seeing. The only reason I almost got stuck was I was following a muddly little one lane path near the beach at Lake Arenal, and decided to turn around rather than continuing to follow it. Frankly most tourists won't find themselves on that little mud path. Of course, when I determined I didn't have 4wd, we ruled out driving to Mounteverde to see that area as it is always reported to the tourists as needing a 4wd. That may be an exageration at least in the dry season, but as a tourist I don't really have any way of knowing.

I'm just trying to give someone as much information as possible so they can make the best choices and reduce thier stress while on vacation.

I can't wait to come back and visit your beutiful country again.

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 43,114
4. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

Thank you for you candid answer to my post...nothing better in this life than a decent answer...GRACIAS!

Thank you once again!


Montreal, Canada
posts: 2
reviews: 67
5. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

We have rented a 2X4 Daihatsu from Hertz SJO. It was not a pleasant experience and service. The car was more than 40 thousand km with several mark of rust and the interior was not very clean. There was also a lot of rattling noise from the back of the car which is very annoying.

What was most disturbing and posed a safety risk, was the fact that all four tires mounted on the car are of different brands/types and at an advanced stage of wear. The two tires on the passenger side were worn beyond the level or mark for normal replacement causing the rear tire to slip on wet pavement or dirt roads (very common in Costa Rica). After two days driving this car, we stopped at a repair shop and changed the rear tire passenger side, in order to improve traction and safety. This was much more convenient than returning all the way to Hertz.

Another bothering issue, is that Hertz SJO quoted and completed the contract in US dollars. Upon returning the car they billed the cost in local currency using an exchange rate higher than market. Whence the credit card converts back to dollars we end up around 7 to 8% higher cost. Most hotels and restaurants in Costa Rica have their prices in US dollars and they produce the bill in US dollars. Whether paying in cash or credit card we pay exactly the amount posted. It does seem that Hertz SJO uses this currency exchange tactic at the last moment to benefit from using a higher than market exchange rate.

We met many other tourists that have rented cars from other companies especially Toyota and in general the cars were in much better shape, lower mileage, newer cars and at a lower rental cost.

I rent more than 20 times a year from Hertz worldwide and in general I am very satisfied. I cannot say this about Hertz SJO.

Boulder, Colorado
posts: 4
reviews: 29
6. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

We had a good experience renting a Terios from Wild-Rider for two weeks. Met us at the airport, but no airport car rental surcharge because they don't have an office in the airport. It was the cheapest rate I found.

Oddly I thought it had plenty of power to climb and pass. The 4x4 was good going up step bumpy dirt roads such as to the Biological Station at Monteverde. Terios is a bumpy ride on dirt! Must go much slower than a normal sedan. On pavement it is fine. The back cargo space just barely holds 4 22 inch carry-on suitcases. No room for anything else. We are small and had two kids in the back seat so it worked for us.

Portland, Oregon
posts: 4
reviews: 2
7. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4


Thanks for your report, we (family of 6 adults) are planning a trip down in December. Now, you mentioned: "they pushed the GPS option hard, but we had brought our own (with Costa Rican map chip), which happened to be the same model that they were renting", where did you find the Costa Rican maps? I have a Garmin that I planned to take but noticed Garmin doesn't have maps of Costa Rica available that I can see. Garmin does list a contact for a Costa Rica office and I was thinking to buy the map file from them but at $85 it seems high so I thought I would compare it to renting a car with a GPS.

Curious about your experience.


Boulder, Colorado
posts: 4
reviews: 29
8. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

I bought a GPS map for Garvin Nuvi from http://www.navsatcr.com/ It worked well. I wouldn't drive in CR without a GPS.

San Ramon
posts: 1
reviews: 1
9. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

Thanks so much for this excellent review. Have two kids and really want to be knowledgeable and your review was very helpful.

Montrose, Colorado
posts: 136
reviews: 13
10. Re: Hertz SJO Costa Rica Daihatsu Terios/Bego report, No 4x4

We rented a Terios 4WD from WildRider and it was perfect for 3 of us. Yes, it doesn't have much power, but we had no problems, including Monteverde and Manuel Antonio.

I don't really think you can blame Hertz for the size or the power of the car. It sounds like you knew you had the Terios reserved. Do a little homework and look it up if you aren't familiar with it. They weren't imported into the states, but there are plenty of websites with descriptions of them.

Anytime you go to rent a vehicle you aren't familiar with, do yourself a favor and look it up. Even if you aren't real car savvy, even Wikipedia has pictures and descriptions that are fairly basic, so you'll at least know what you're getting.