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Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

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Cottonwood, AZ
Level Contributor
27 posts
3 reviews
Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

My family is arriving in San Jose in early May and driving to MA area. Based on what I have read here on tripadvisor it seems the best / most cost effective plan would be to rent at a location near the airport. I've look at Alamo, Toyota and another one (forgetting which) and they only give me the SJO option (which means another 13% in tax). Can someone help me with a good car rental company that would be close to the airport to avoid the extra fees? Also we land early (5:30am or so) - if we rent off airport will that require that we wait alot longer as the offices may not be open on a Saturday at that early hour?

Thanks so much!

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,656 posts
26 reviews
1. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

Take a look at Adobe, Service, Solid, Wild Rider, National, Budget. I don't think it matters that it is Saturday - but when you check on rentals, you could take a look at their hours.

It will take you 45 minutes to an hour to get out of the airport. If you are still too early, you could perhaps take a taxi and head for a nearby restaurant for some breakfast. Two that come to mind are Rosti Pollo and Calalu. Calalu is a great small restaurant with authentic Costa Rican food. There is also a Denny's that should be open at that hour. Any of these are close to most of the agencies' offices.

Dearborn, Michigan
Level Contributor
583 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

FYI, in my experience, DO NOT trust the hours on the web site. The folks at the car rental location don't look at the web site...

Call to confirm if you're showing up somewhere late (or early). Better yet, call twice...


New York City, New...
6 posts
3. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

OK, HattieCR, you seem to know quite a lot about the rental car companies in CR, so, in your opinion, which one (or 2 or 3) is best* for a 3 week rental of a large (luxury) 4x4 SUV, like a Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban or similar?

(*Best = newest vehicles, most professional, most trustable, 24 hr. roadside service, etc...)

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,656 posts
26 reviews
4. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

See my answer to your other post.

Level Contributor
3 posts
15 reviews
5. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

We also just returned from a 10 day trip to CR and rented a diahatsu from Wild Riders. Nothing but praise from this Florida girl. Thorsten had Jose meet us at the airport and we ended up back at the office for paperwork then we were off. The car had no issues and took us everywhere we needed to go.........up hills, down hills, through rocky roads and the GPS made life SO easy. Their prices are very reasonable compared to others I checked out. They were friendly, down to earth people running a legit business. They gave us great advice and tips which we used and so glad they filled us in on what we needed to know while we were out traveling this beautiful country. Had an appointment to meet them back at the airport to drop off the car before our flight and they were there on time. They have better reviews than most of the big name rental companies. I will definitely use them again when we go back.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
1 post
13 reviews
6. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

Alert to early morning travelers - the Alamo rental location near the San Jose Airport in Alejuala does not open until 5 am! We had a flight at 6 am and tried to drop the car off at 4 am. Couldn't get in the gate - no way to make a late/early key drop. We also were not given a proper receipt after successfully returning the car at 5 am. Had to hustle to make our flight with this inconvenience.

Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,656 posts
26 reviews
7. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

Most car rental agencies do not open really early. If you have an early flight, it's best to return your car the night before and take a taxi to the airport in the morning.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
44,965 posts
28 reviews
8. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

When you rent your car...ask the car to be deliver OUTSIDE SJO...not at airport premises...and that will avoid the 13% ripp off tax charge by the airport administtation...

Avis...Hertz...Alamo...NAtional...Toyota...Budget---among the best to deal with avoid Economy or Thrifty!


Orlando, Florida
4 posts
9. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

Be VERY careful if you are thinking of renting a vehicle from HOLA RENT A CAR in San Jose, Costa Rica near the airport.

When renting a car from Hola in July, their manager told us that we did not need to worry about returning the cars full, because gasoline would cost the same whether we refueled the cars or Hola refilled the cars upon return. We confirmed this agreement again on 6 August before we had the Hola guys return the car from Adventure Inn. The men even made a phone call and confirmed that there would not be a fee beyond normal fuel prices. Otherwise, we would have refueled the car ourselves.

Some agreement! Hola Rent A Car went right ahead and charged us $90 for just over a half tank of fuel. They have refused to correct this problem. I will never go back there.

Lyons, IL
3 posts
10. Re: Car Rental NEAR San Jose Airport, Costa Rica

Just don't rent your car from Economy in Costa Rica! Specifically the one at SJP airport. We had reservations for 3 cars over Christmas for $1665 total. Not only did they not have the cars we reserved, they first tried to blame us for not being there within 1 hour of our flight landing. Not only were we there within one hour of our flight landing, but our email confirmation stated that we only needed to be there within 2 hours of our flight landing to honor the reservation. Once it was established that this was not a valid argument, we were finally told the truth that they were just out of cars because they had oversold themselves.

After more than 2 hours, we were eventually extorted to pay over $3,000.00, yes, DOUBLE the original price for ONE 1989 12-passenger diesel van with a manual transmission and a battery that had to be replaced 5 days into our vacation. (We were nearly stranded at a beach at 7pm on New Year's Eve.) This was "all they had" and the"best they could do". They had no other cars. We called every other car rental place in Costa Rica. They had no cars. We were stuck, in a foreign country, with 9 people and 2 infants, and they knew it. So Economy capitalized on us. To top it off, we paid extra for a GPS, only to learn a couple hours later when the battery needed to be charged, that the cigarette charge in the van did not work either. (We eventually named the comically van EstaVAN, after the ridiculous, criminal, "manager" Esteban)

Before we go any further, let me say that I work in hospitality. I understand revenue management. I understand that you need to oversell inventory in order to maximize profits. I teach a class on this concept at two Chicago universities. I am not at all offended by the fact that Economy made a mistake in their forecasting and oversold their inventory. What Economy doesn't seem to understand is how you are supposed to respond in this situation. At hotels, when you don't accurately calculate no-shows or cancellations and you do not have a room for someone who shows up at the front desk, the hotel will make you reservations at another comparable hotel free of charge and pay for your transportation to/from the other hotel. When an airplane oversells seats, they take volunteers to take the next flight with free travel vouchers as an incentive. The burden is placed on the company who made the error in overselling their product, NOT extorted from the customer by forcing them to pay double the price for something they did not reserve and providing no other options. It might as well have been highway robbery.

Please readers, beware, and do NOT book Economy Rent A Car. Maybe other locations are better, but it's worth paying a higher price to book elsewhere in San Jose Costa Rica, because at least that price will be honored.