We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Car Hire ( 4 x 4 ) advice / recommendations

Level Contributor
18 posts
Car Hire ( 4 x 4 ) advice / recommendations


I arrive in Costa Rica early September for 14 days. I am looking at hiring a 4 x 4 for this time and driving around. Im not looking to go 4x4 driving on serious trails. As we will be leaving the city limits I feel a small 4x4 would be better.

Could someone please advise on what insurances I require to hire a car.

Could someone recommend a local company to book with.

We arrive at (Juan Santamaría International Airport) SJO but dont mind traveling from the airport to pick up a vehicle.

Any other advise on self drive around would be Great.

Thank you for your time

3 replies to this topic
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
4,760 posts
51 reviews
11 helpful votes
1. Re: Car Hire ( 4 x 4 ) advice / recommendations

My best experiences have been with Vamos. They can provide a cell phone with Waze and excel in every other criterion.

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
4,404 posts
27 reviews
11 helpful votes
2. Re: Car Hire ( 4 x 4 ) advice / recommendations

Whichever rental company you use, do deal directly with the agency in Costa Rica to avoid surprises and misunderstandings... Not kayak, Hotwire etc. and 3rd party websites.

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
20,795 posts
62 reviews
51 helpful votes
3. Re: Car Hire ( 4 x 4 ) advice / recommendations

You will have to pay for the TPL (mandatory at any rental car company) and CDW (which some companies will let you skip if you will have a proof of another insurance that covers damages to the rental car).

A small 4x4 type of vehicle would be Daihatsu Bego or Suzuki Jimny. On average the going daily rate including TPL and basic CDW with about 1000 USD excess would cost you around 50 USD/day. If the offered price per day is less then 40 USD/day then ask again about what is included in such low rate.

I am using Wild Rider and they have never failed to impress me.

You will have to travel from the airport anyway as no company has a car depot within airport perimeter. Several companies have counter in the exit area but they are using shuttles to where the cars actually are parked. As above, direct contact in advance is best way to have a good experience when renting a car in Costa Rica.

Driving is slow, specially on main roads with big lorries. Most of the country is hilly so roads are narrow and twisty. Many bridges are only one lane, be careful to stop at CEDA (give way) sign, and if coming from the opposite direction, don’t assume the local on the other side will recognise the sign, so stop also there. Signs to attractions are still few and confusing, and be careful with using app like Google maps as it can direct you on a very local path. Always check the route given against a paper road map, provided by rental car company. Recent rains did took its tool on many roads, and repairs will took longer then usual, but most of the normal tourist locations are reachable by car. Respect speed limits signs, specially the 25 km/h near school = escuela.

Reply to: Car Hire ( 4 x 4 ) advice / recommendations
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted