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.