How to rent a car in Costa Rica (Rental guide)

Actualizado: 12 de sep de 2018


There are thousands and thousands of histories about rent a car experiences in Costa Rica.

Some of them are good and others... not so good and them, the worse ones.


Here you can find some good advises and clarifications of many questions you may have.


But now, how to rent a car in Costa Rica? The first thing you ave to do is, reserve the car, (of course) but also, try to get a reservation confirmation via email, this is just in case the rent a car doesn't find your reservation in the system or to have something handy (in writing) in case of any discrepancy.


The process of renting a car in Costa Rica

Every rent a car company has their differences in their process but there are some common factors that we will mention here:

  • Car rental meet and greet, Airport Pick up:

Most of the rental car companies in Costa Rica will have a meet and greet agent at the airport of San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR), located after customs, after migration.

There will be an agent waiting for you (with your name in a board) who will greet you and shuttle you over to the rent a car facility. Hertz rent a car offices are located no more than 1 or 2 miles form the major airports in Costa Rica, a 5 minutes drive.

Hertz will pick you up in 3 minutes.

  • Rental process ''Paperwork''

At the rental office, the agent will start processing the paperwork, showing the selected car and coverage options (you can read about car rental insurance in Costa Rica, here) This process takes no more than 10 minutes depending on the customers questions. But 10 minutes is the average. Original Driver license, passport and credit card will be require. Rent a Car company will make a copy of those for their files.

At this point is important to ask any question you may have, As mentioned on another post; Costa Rica its a different country there are different requirements than other places.

When you travel to Costa Rica, you will find that the rental process takes a few more signatures than other countries.


  • Car rental inspection

The rental car agent will walk around the car with you, make sure to mark every preexisting damage, at this moment, if you like to take pictures, photos, go ahead.

If you like to have a paper copy of the inspection, the rent a car company in Costa Rica shouldn't give you any excuses.


Hertz Costa Rica, don't count on normal wear and tear, these are the normal damages of a car rental. but if you want the agent to noted in the inspection form, you are on your right to requested.

Touring Costa Rica by car is a great experience. That's why renting a car in Costa Rica should be always an option.


  • Are Debit Cards Accepted?

  • What Credit Cards Can I Use?

  • Security Deposit?

  • Hold On The Credit Card? How Much? Why?

Hertz accept debit cards in some cases and depends in the office manager to accepted or not.

But the Debit are not accepted by some companies.

The main problem with the debit cards is because debit cards don't provide rent a car coverage in Costa Rica. The other issue is that a debit card is a savings account, so virtually speaking if the credit card is run, even if is run as a credit card it will be taken as a debit.

Now, in Costa Rica to Rent A Car, a security deposit is require; if this deposit is run on a debit card most of the time it take it as an actual charge. This hold or deposit will take longer to be release and the customer will have to contact the issued bank.


When you hire a car in Costa Rica all mayor Credit Cards are accepted.

Some companies wont accept Credit Cards if they don't have raised numbers. Hertz will accept credit cards without raised numbers.


The reason for security deposit or hold on the credit card if to reserve some money as a pre-authorization in case of accidents or damages to the car and third party properties, in case of traffic tickets, and others.

The amount hold on it is $1.200 if CDW is purchase and $3.000 to $5.000 if CDW is decline. See more information about this topic here

Returning your rent a car in Costa Rica


  • How early I need to return the car so I don't miss my flight home?

Every company has their own rules but what really matters is how early you have to be at the airport.

Some airlines suggest you to be hours before.


*Make sure about the rent a car company office hours if you have an early flight, for example, most of Hertz Rent A Car offices opens at 5:00 am and closes at 21:00.

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