Nothing beats the freedom of jumping in a car and heading out on an adventure through Costa Rica. Many visitors choose to rent a car when they get here so they can explore everything that this amazing country has to offer. But how do you go about hiring some wheels when you've arrived? Follow these tips to get the lowdown on renting a car and hitting the open road.
Many of the major car rental companies like Hertz, Budget and Avis operate in Costa Rica. However, some of these companies don't have very good reviews, so you might want to check out one of the regional agencies such as Adobe, Europcar, Mapache and Solid. Before you settle on a company, check out the user reviews to see what other travelers thought of the service and rates.
Some tourists are surprised by how much it can cost to rent a car here. Prices can be quite high, and the deposits required to rent a vehicle can range from $750 to upward of $2,000 depending on the length of the rental period, so make sure to ask ahead of time how much it'll cost to secure a car. Some companies will accept reservations in advance and deliver a rental car directly to the airport, which can be convenient but costly. Again, ask your travel agent before you get here.
Before you set off on your travels, make sure to inspect the car thoroughly. After all, you don't want to get stung with repair costs for something that wasn't your fault! Check for dents and scratches before you accept the keys to ensure that you're not blamed for any damages when you drop the car off.
Once you've got your car, you're ready to head out on a driving adventure in Costa Rica. Depending on where you want to go, driving can be quite literally an adventure. Although many of Costa Rica's roads are well-maintained, rural areas are often served by narrower dirt roads that could prove to be a challenge for the suspension of some vehicles. It's usually best to take it steady while driving, as some of the locals can be quite bold when it comes to navigating the roads. Exercise caution!
It's not usually advisable to drive at night in Costa Rica. Between unfamiliar routes and narrow, bumpy roads, driving at night in Costa Rica can be dangerous. Unless you know the roads pretty well, it's advisable to avoid driving at night if possible.
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