Which Costa Rican Car Company Is Best?

Renting a Car in Costa Rica? Which company should you choose?

There are so many rent-a-car companies to choose from in Costa Rica – from the large international firms to the smaller national agencies. Reviews on the internet invariably either damn or sing the praises of each company to the extent of being almost useless. So how do you choose the best place to hire a car for your trip?

Many tourists that rent vehicles in Costa Rica complain that they have been ripped off when they realize the extra cost of insurance they are obliged to pay or that they have been charged a dollar rate that reflected the currency rate and not the quoted rate. Understanding the insurance laws and charges that bind the Costa Rican car rental companies may help you to ask the right questions when you are reserving your vehicle and avoid a nasty shock upon arrival. If a company is not upfront about its additional costs; you may wish to consider whether it is a company that you choose to take your business to.

I have worked within the tourism industry in Costa Rica for the last six years and have lived here since 2000. I am familiar with the feelings that many visitors to the country experience when dealing with rent-a-car companies. These can range from delight to discomfort to outright fury; sometimes due to the inefficiency, or even dishonesty of the rental agency, but also due to the renter’s lack of understanding of the legally binding restrictions within which Costa Rican car rental firms must work. I hope that while this article won’t guarantee you trouble-free vehicle rental; it might make you a more knowledgeable customer.

Insurance needs, additional costs in rental and surcharges are considered in more detail below:


Basic insurance is mandatory. Costa Rican law is very clear on this and your rental car company cannot allow you to leave with their car without having agreed to pay it. Expect to pay somewhere between $9 and $20 per day on top of your car rental rate. An honest, car rental agency will make this very clear in their pricing. If it is not clear whether the insurance is included in the rental cost; ask for clarification and be aware of other potentially unstated costs.

Check whether your insurance policy covers you to drive in Costa Rica. Some policies include Collision Damage Waivers and will cover Central America. If you are covered, bring proof (in writing) for your vehicle rental company. If not, consider whether you would be safer to pay the extra cost of this additional coverage. This part is not mandatory.

Zero liability is offered by rent-a-car companies. You may wish to consider whether you would feel more at ease knowing that you would not be liable for any costs should something occur while you are renting their vehicle. You are not obliged to buy this supplemental insurance.

Additional Fees:

Many car rental companies will charge additional fees for a child/baby seat, an additional driver, luggage racks or cooler. You can expect to pay up to $8 daily for each of these extras. Although by shopping around, you can find companies that will offer some or all for a lower price, or even free.

With Costa Rican roads being notoriously poorly signposted and the whole country operating on an address system based on landmarks rather than road names or numbers, a GPS is essential for many car renters. You will usually pay between $8 and $15 a day for this service. It is fairly common practice to allow renters to use one of their cell phones for the duration, but if you wish to use it for your own calls; you’ll obviously be charged.


Some rental car companies incorporate taxes and additional fees into their rental cost; others don’t. Make sure you know what you will be charged for on top of your rental fee. Airport fees can be charged at 13% of your rental cost which is a sizable fee to pay in addition to an agreed rental charge. You may also be charged a license plate charge, environmental fee and/or any other charge that the rental car company has to meet (or pocket).

Prices for the rental will be given in US dollars, but as the local currency is colones, you should understand that exchange rates change daily and what you are charged on your credit card on the day of payment may vary slightly from what you were quoted.

Criteria for Rating Car Rental Companies:

For this article, three (3) main points were considered for each company:

1) Value: Is the rental rate competitive?

2) Efficiency: How fast do they respond to the needs of the client?

3) Transparency: How clear is the information provided by the company?

You may have your own criteria, but based on complaints from previous customers on community websites like Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, etc., the requirements of those clients seemed mainly based around these three basic areas.

The companies surveyed below are a mix of local and international firms. Each company was researched based on a week’s rental of a Daihutsu Bego with mandatory insurance.

Dollar Rent-A-Car:


- $300+ USD.

- Extras are at average prices.


- They have 3 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within 24 hours.


- The prices for rental vehicles are displayed on site but a side box contains a ‘Daily RA’ with dollar amount. This is the mandatory insurance.

- Reservation price is listed as ‘Base rate’ and doesn’t include insurance.

- Dollar has received mixed reviews in sites such as Trip Advisor.

- A toll-free number is available.

Vamos Rent-A-Car:


- $300+ USD.

- Only GPS and cell phone use are charged. All other extras such as child seats are free.


- They have 3 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour.


- The website clearly states prices and insurance.

- Toll-free number and live chat are provided.

Wild Rider:


- $300+ USD.

- Additional driver is free.


- Email inquiry returned within 2 hours.


- Prices are displayed very clearly onsite and include insurance.

- The company has almost 100% positive reviews, but with a fleet of only 30 vehicles and one central office; it may be difficult to help clients who are in difficulty outside the capital.

- They cannot provide a vehicle for the Liberia airport, just San Jose.



- $400+ USD.

- Extra charges for baby seat, additional driver etc.


- The company has 9 offices nationwide.


- No prices displayed with vehicles information.

- Budget has received mixed reviews.

- Surprisingly for a large company, it provides no live chat or toll-free number for clients in the USA.

Service Car Rental:


- $400+ USD including mandatory insurance and taxes.

- Extras such as additional driver and child seat are charged, but at cheaper rates than most companies.


- The company has 5 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour.


- Their rates are clearly shown on site.

- Service has received mainly positive reviews.

National Car Rental:


- $400+ USD.

- Extras are priced a little above average.


- They have 23 office locations, although some are Alamo.


- Price estimates online do not include insurance or additional charges; however, they are displayed in the full quotation.

- They have received mixed reviews.

- Both live chat and a toll-free number are provided.

Economy Rent-A-Car:


- $200+ USD, but it seems possible to reserve a vehicle without inclusion of any insurance.

- Extras are average in price.


- They have 12 offices nationwide.

- Email inquiry returned within an hour, but email inquiring about insurance was not returned.


- Website does not make mandatory insurance clear.

- Economy has numerous negative reviews.

- Both live chat and toll-free number are provided.

Hertz Costa Rica:


- $400+ USD, but actual rental price is not made clear.

- Extras are pricey.


- 6 offices nationwide.

- No contact email.

- Telephone numbers are available for different offices around the country.


- Very confusing quotation system. Two rates are offered for a vehicle and chosen dates. The cheaper option does not include mandatory insurance and it is in very small print under the final quotation price. The more expensive option includes non-mandatory insurance along with mandatory.

- Mixed reviews.

- Both live chat and toll-free number are provided.

Adobe Rent-A-Car:


- $400+ USD.

- Extras are at low prices.


- The company has 9 offices nationwide.


- Online estimate includes insurance.

- Adobe has received mixed reviews.

- A toll-free number is provided.

Tricolor Car Rental:


- $300+ USD.

- No charge for pick-up or airport fees.

- Extras aren’t listed or provided in quotation email, although cell phone price is given.


- 3 offices nationwide.

- Email returned within 2 hours.


- Website is not very user friendly.

- Reviews are mixed.

- Toll-free number is provided.

Finalizing the Three Criteria:

Economy, at first, appear to be the cheapest company to rent from, but unfortunately this is due to their failure to declare all costs incurred by the renter, rather than a genuine, good deal. For real value, Dollar, Vamos, Wild Rider and Tricolor come out on top for competitive pricing for the basic rental fee, plus mandatory insurance. Vamos is noticed for being the only firm that does not charge for extras such as a child seat or surcharges. Adobe and Service have low cost extras, whereas Hertz has the most expensive rates for extras. Wild Rider does not charge for an additional driver.

Only Economy failed to respond to email inquiry. All other companies responded quickly and with clear answers to inquiries. Wild Rider, as the smallest firm, cannot offer nationwide service, but reviews suggest that they have met customer needs to date. All other companies can offer services from offices in locations outside of the capital city — increasing their ability to serve clients effectively.

Adobe, Wild Rider, Vamos and Service have websites that clearly show rental prices and insurance. Economy and Hertz somehow seems to be deliberately misleading on their websites. The other companies’ websites provide the required information – even if it can take some time in hunting it down.


This brief survey would suggest that Vamos, Service, Tricolor and Wild Rider would be the best companies to begin your rental research, whereas Economy would be best to avoid.

Now you know as much as I do! The information here is supposed to be your starting point and not the end point. Hopefully, you will know the right questions to ask when you’re looking for a rental vehicle to ensure that your dream vacation begins smoothly without any nasty shocks, like hefty extra charges when you land. Enjoy the drive!

Motor Insurance Quotes – Are Motor Insurance Quotes Legally Binding?

Q: Are the motor insurance quotes I receive from insurance companies binding? If so for how long?

A: The answer to that is yes and no. Let us explain. If you receive motor insurance quotes from an insurance company – then that is the price they are going to charge you. However, they are not legally bound to quote you the same price if you call them back three days later.

It is likely you will receive the same quote from the same company provided there were no incidents from when you first received the quote, but just because it is likely doesn’t mean that the company is bound to stand to by the earlier quote.

A good way to find out how long the quoted rate is good for is to ask the agent or representative who is giving you the quote. Be wary of a hard sell at this point however as the agent is going to realize you will be requesting quotes from other companies.

Motor insurance quotes are liable to change suddenly due to market changes, new insurance legislation, or a driving offense that may have occurred. To avoid this we recommend doing all of your insurance shopping over a one or two day span. This will ensure you get the price that was quoted to you.

Lastly, we strongly recommend that you take comparison shopping seriously when it comes to finding the best deal on auto insurance. While it may sound like common sense, there are many drivers who don’t take the time to compare quotes from different companies and end up overpaying for their coverage as a result.

Types of Restaurants and Their Characteristics

A restaurant is a place where food & beverages are sold & served to customers. There are different types of restaurants that have evolved to meet the dynamic demands of consumers. The following are some well-known types of restaurants & their special characteristics:

Bistro: it is a small restaurant that serves simple, moderately priced meals & wine. Braised meets are typical dishes that are provided in a bistro. It may not have printed menus.

Brasserie: formal restaurant which serves drinks, single dishes & other meals. The waiters are in traditional uniform of long apron & waistcoats.

Coffee shop: mainly serves snacks & beverages 24 hours a day; however it may serve all the three meals. This concept has come from the USA. A ‘cover’ is a term referring to a place setting with necessary cutlery, crockery & glassware required at the beginning of the service for one person. Though the main feature is 24-hour operation, some coffee shops may close early, depending on their location.

Specialty Restaurant: it serves specialty dishes which are its strength & contribute to the brand image. It operates during luncheon & dinner hours, between noon & 3 PM & between 7 PM & 11 PM. The ambience & décor of the restaurant reflect the theme of the specialty restaurant. The dishes of a particular region of a country or a particular set of people are also termed as ethnic cuisine.

Fine Dining Restaurant: this kind of restaurant primarily caters to the requirement of the affluent market segment which wants to experience fine dining. The restaurant may either offer dishes of one particular region or country or exotic dishes from various cuisines, wines, spirits & digestives. It opens mostly during dinner time. The ambience & décor of the restaurant will be elegant & rich. The wait staff employed is skilled & has a sound knowledge of the dishes served. The restaurant employs sommeliers to serve wines & other alcoholic beverages.

Popular Restaurant: this type of restaurant is informal, yet hygienically kept & it is located in a busy area such as bus stands, railway stations, shopping area & so on, catering to the requirements of the middle class & the customers who are in a hurry. The menu may either be displayed on a board at a prominent place or printed & laminated. It operates from 7 AM to 11 PM. The food is plated in the kitchen & carried to the table on a tray & served. The service standards are low & informal. Space is utilized to the maximum to accommodate more covers. The seat turnover is very high but the average revenue per cover is low.

During busy lunch hours, these restaurants serve business lunch, mini-lunch, & thali meals in a separate area to speed up service.

Dhaba: it is a roadside food stall found on national & state highways, mainly catering to the requirements of heavy vehicle crew. It specializes in ounjabi cuisine & tandoor cooking, serving very limited dishes, which are freshly prepared. The service is very informal & there is hardly any cutlery used. The dishes served here are inexpensive & taste like home-made food.

Fast food joint: the fast food concept was first introduced in the USA & now it has become popular around the world. It is characterized by the speed of service & the affordable price of the menu items. Changes in eating habits, non-availability of time to wait at the table & eat, increase in the number of working women, advancement in food processing technology, growth of teenage market, & so on, have contributed to the success of fast food operations. It is located in very busy area.

Rotisserie: this type of restaurant specializes in grilled or roast meat, poultry, & fish, which are prepared in front of the guests.

Barbeque restaurant: the marinated pieces of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, paneer, & so on, are inserted into skewers & cooked over live charcoal or electric griller. It is generally located near a swimming pool, roof top, lawn, sea side, & so on, & is open during evening hours.

Night club: it operates during the night & offers dinner, dance, & live entertainment. Cabarets or floor shows are the main attraction of the night club. Guests are required to wear formal wear.

Night clubs levy an entry fee.

Discotheque: it operates during night hours. It provides a dance floor for guest to dance on. Special sound & lightning effect is created for an appropriate ambience. Drinks, especially beer, & snacks are made available during the operations. The service is very informal. It is patronized mostly by the youth & couples. The entry is limited to a certain number of guests according to the floor/room capacity & an entry fee is levied.

Ice Cream parlor: it serves different kinds of ice creams-sundae, coupe, bombe, cassata, & so on. These ice creams are stored in ice cream containers & are kept in refrigerated displays with see through glass. The parlors may either be a franchisee or an independent one making its own varieties of ice creams. The seating arrangements & service are very informal. Guests may either eat in the premises or have it packed & carry.

Cafe: this is a restaurant of French origin, mainly serving coffee & snacks. The French colonies in India, but served Indian snacks such as vada, samosas, bonda, & so on, along with coffee & pastries. The customers are served at the table following the American style which increases the seat turnover, but the average revenue per cover is low due to the lower pricing of dishes.

Cafeteria: the traditional cafeteria system consists of a straight line of counters containing a variety of hot & cold dishes. The cashier who is at the end of the counter makes bills for the items selected & collects payment. This form is widely followed in institutional & industry catering establishments.

In modern ‘ free flow cafeteria’ system, the counters are segregated according to the type of dishes offered-hot or cold, appetizers, soups, breads, sandwiches, entrees, salads, pastas & so on. In most cafeteria-style operations in India, guests make payment at the counter beforehand for items they want to eat & collect them against the bill at the appropriate counters. Cafeterias are situated in railway stations, cinema halls, shopping complexes, college premises, office premises, & so on, where the guest expects quick service.

Food Court: it refers to a number of independent food stalls, each serving items of food. The customers order the food items they want to have & consume them at a common dining area. The types of dishes offered represent local cuisine & dishes that are popular globally. Food courts are found in big shopping complexes, entertainment complexes, amusement parks, airports, & so on where there is a heavy traffic of customers.

Kiosk: it is small permanent or temporary structure on a sidewalk from which items such as coffee, tea, chocolates, pastries, savories & so on, may be sold. Most kiosks do not have seating provision.

Drive-in: customers drive in, park their vehicles at a parking lot, & remain seated in their vehicles. The waiters go to the customers with menu cards, collect orders, & deliver the food items on specially designed trays & the customers remain parked while they eat.

Oyster Bar: it is a restaurant that specializes in the serving of fresh oysters. The oysters are opened or shelled behind the counter, within the sight of guests. Fresh oysters are served on a bed of crushed ice with oyster cruet, brown bread, & butter.

Pub: it mainly serves various kinds of beer, especially draught beer, & snacks.

Bars: it offers all kinds of spirits such as whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, brandy, tequila, wines, & beers. Hotels & restaurants have an additional bar in the food service area/restaurant to dispense wines, beers, & spirits during the service, called a dispense bar.

Carvery: it is restaurant serving roast meat & poultry, which are carved at the carving counter by a carver in the presence of guests. Table d’hôte menu of three or four courses with roast meat or poultry as the main course is offered.

Pros and Cons of Managed Services

Today, there are lots of business companies which prefer to tie up with any third party company to get support on IT related chores. You can rely on the managed services for technological outsourcing as this is regarded as one of the best model for the vendors and also for the outsourcing organizations if you have a business and want to expand it overnight. Use of technology is increasing at every sector. Earlier, the organizations used calendars and various physical components to carry on their job. Now-a-days, the competition is becoming very serious. You can’t afford to miss any chance to progress. Therefore, the third party companies are coming ahead to provide help on maintaining proper infrastructure of the organization. Before relying on such company you must know the pros and cons of such services.

Pros of Managed Services

Every business organization has huge burden of expanding the business now and then. They have to make strategies and proper game plans and execute those effectively. Therefore, it becomes difficult to do all necessary services by themselves or contact manage services providers to take up the responsibilities on behalf of them.

The advantages of these services are-

1. Favorable Maintenance Infrastructure- Primarily, managed hosting companies put a number of best choices and effective performances in a nutshell. It becomes challenging for the companies to choose from their myriad set of applications. But one thing is sure that if a company hires such services, it will get well-integrated result within time. They always keep you updated, mange without any dispute and offer different level of agreements which entrust you with efficient availability.

2. Cost Effective- Have you ever thought how much do you need to invest for buying new server or organizing interview sessions to appoint recruits to host a single set of work? It is always more than contacting managed service providers. Why to spend unnecessarily while you can have the benefits of these services?

3. Easy Installation- In the competitive market of business, time is money. If you can’t run faster you’ll be lagged behind. Managed services providers always keep you in the run. They can be deployed very fast and take less time to function immediately and meet new demands.

4. Expert Monitoring- The administrative department has other assignments to complete. So, it is not possible to watch over the network hardware and servers. If the IT department of a company utilize MSP, it will be easier to monitor technological performances on the basis of 24*7.

Cons of Managed Services

1. Instability- There are certain disadvantages of MSP. Actually, when an organization depends upon these services, they assume that the business will hike a lot. If the Managed Service Provider fails to meet the need of the organization, they are the one to be blamed. Such incidents can hamper their reputation.

2. Huge Pressure- It is natural that an organization may not get positive result from a MSP. When they switch to another, they have huge expectations from the new third party organization.

Overall, it can be said that managed services providers are full of benefits for any type of business organizations. If you are expanding your business, take help from them and do your chores without any tension.