The Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car in Costa Rica


Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica and considering renting a car? You’ve come to the right place! In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about renting a car in Costa Rica. From choosing the right vehicle to understanding the local driving laws, we’ve got you covered.

Why Rent a Car in Costa Rica?

Renting a car in Costa Rica offers you the freedom and flexibility to explore this beautiful country at your own pace. While public transportation is available, having your own vehicle allows you to visit remote areas, hidden beaches, and charming towns that may not be easily accessible by bus or taxi.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

When it comes to choosing a car in Costa Rica, it’s important to consider the type of terrain you’ll be encountering. If you plan on exploring mountainous regions or venturing off the beaten path, a 4×4 SUV would be a wise choice. For city driving and shorter trips, a compact car will suffice.

Additionally, make sure to check the rental company’s policies regarding insurance coverage, mileage limits, and fuel requirements. It’s always a good idea to compare prices and read reviews to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Driving in Costa Rica

Driving in Costa Rica can be an adventure in itself. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Road Conditions

The road conditions in Costa Rica can vary greatly. While major highways are generally well-maintained, rural roads may be unpaved and bumpy. It’s important to drive cautiously, especially during the rainy season when roads can become slippery.

2. Traffic Laws

Costa Rica follows the standard traffic laws, including driving on the right side of the road. Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour, and seat belts are mandatory for all passengers. It’s also worth noting that talking on a cell phone while driving is prohibited.

3. Parking

When parking in urban areas, look for designated parking lots or street parking meters. Avoid leaving any valuables in your car, as break-ins can occur. In rural areas, you may need to park on the side of the road, but be sure to pull over safely and avoid obstructing traffic.

Exploring Costa Rica

Now that you have your rental car and are familiar with the driving rules, it’s time to explore all that Costa Rica has to offer. Here are a few must-visit destinations:

1. Arenal Volcano National Park

Visit the iconic Arenal Volcano, hike through lush rainforests, and relax in natural hot springs. Don’t forget to take a dip in the stunning La Fortuna Waterfall.

2. Manuel Antonio National Park

Discover the diverse wildlife, pristine beaches, and scenic hiking trails of Manuel Antonio National Park. Keep an eye out for monkeys, sloths, and colorful birds.

3. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve

Explore the mystical cloud forests of Monteverde and experience the thrill of walking along suspension bridges amidst the treetops. Don’t miss the chance to spot the elusive Quetzal bird.

Tips for a Smooth Rental Experience

To ensure a smooth rental experience in Costa Rica, consider the following tips:

1. Book in Advance

Reserve your rental car in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This will not only guarantee availability but also give you a better chance of securing a competitive rate.

2. Read the Fine Print

Before signing any rental agreements, carefully read the terms and conditions. Pay attention to any additional fees, insurance requirements, and cancellation policies.

3. Be Prepared

Bring your driver’s license, passport, and a credit card in the driver’s name. It’s also a good idea to have a printed copy of your reservation and the rental company’s contact information.

4. Stay Safe

Always lock your car and keep valuables out of sight. Be cautious when stopping at remote areas, and only park in well-lit, secure locations.


Renting a car in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to explore the country’s natural beauty and hidden gems. By choosing the right vehicle, familiarizing yourself with the local driving laws, and following our tips, you’ll have an unforgettable adventure. So buckle up and get ready to hit the road in Costa Rica!