Is Alamo car rental in Costa Rica any good? Today I’ll share with you my personal experience using Alamo Costa Rica for car rentals and even show you a cheaper way to rent a car.
I’ve visited Costa Rica for 23 years (and counting) and lived there for many years, so I know my way around and have done a lot in my home away from home, so you are getting actual information from someone who has been there, and done that, as it pertains to renting cars in Costa Rica.
Alamo Costa Rica – My Review
Table of Contents
Having a rental car in Costa Rica is essential if you want to get the most out of your visit. Over the years, I’ve rented cars just about everywhere in the country, from my first time doing so at the San Jose airport, to most recently, in Liberia. For the most part, it’s the same process for most renters wishing to pick up a car.
You first choose a rental company, then you choose your vehicle, and then visit the car rental agency at their airport location and off you go. However, with many of the Costa Rica car rental agreements you’ll run into, you’ll see there is an additional cost waiting behind every corner.
Like all other agencies, they will present to you many different types of insurance. Not all of them have the same rate, and some get astronomically higher then others, while others are just flat out over-charging. Costa Rica is a third world country that lives off of tourism for the most part, so any time you are in Costa Rica, you could encounter some bad apples that will do anything from charging more for insurance, to a vehicle exchange fee, and much more.
In my experience with Alamo costa rica, I can only say good things. The cost was fair to rent a car, but after using Alamo rent for my car rental needs, I ended up using a different company. Not because Alamo wasn’t good, or didn’t offer that many locations, it’s just that I found a much better service for cars that is not only budget friendly, but also a much more simple process.
Alamo Rental Cars – The Pro’s
Alamo Costa Rica has many locations, including:
- San Jose
- Play Flamingo
And many more. There are many in the capital city of San Jose, and while that’s a pro if you are looking for availability, that leads me right into the cons.
Alamo Rent a Car – The Con’s
You can peruse TripAdvisor and see there are many unhappy rental car customers.
I’ve found each location in Costa Rica varies greatly in user experience, and with so many locations, it’s hard not to run into Alamo when you are looking for Costa Rica car rental.
Each of these Costa Rica car rental companies, unless they are a local one, is some sort of a franchise. Don’t expect the same treatment and options you have in the USA or Canada. Again, I’ve seen outrageous fees being charged for cars as well as mayhem at the airport if you are trying to book directly there.
Costa Rica Car Rental – What You Should Know
You have many options for renting cars in Costa Rica, but after you read this, you’ll have a clear understanding of which agency to use, even if it leads you to Alamo!
For starters, car rental is easy as long as you book in advance and have a valid drivers license. You will not be able to legally rent a car in Costa Rica without a valid license.
Second, know that the number of cars greatly varies from dealer to dealer, location to location. It’s not like the United States where you land at an airport and see 100’s of vehicles to choose from, and even the option to do a vehicle exchange if the one you booked doesn’t suit your needs.
Instead, it’s really a roll of the dice and I’ve been let down a lot. Not just by Alamo, but all companies. It’s something you have to expect in advance of your next trip, just so you are mentally prepared.
As I stated earlier, the rental can be a huge nightmare if you aren’t organized. Everything from dealing with the sometime underhanded reps trying to overcharge for insurance, all the way down to not finding your reservation can be chaotic. Always bring your travel itinerary and proof of booking with you no matter who you use to rent a car with.
Anywhere you fly into, you’ll have to meet one of their reps, who will guide you to a shuttle to an off-premises lot. This is typical in most major places in the world, but in Costa Rica, it’s just the norm. Whether you fly into the San Jose airport, or somewhere else, allow 10-15 minutes to be transported to the office to pick up your car before you officially begin your vacation or business trip.
The airport can be a zoo, with lots of people and confusion, especially in San Jose. Get your luggage, and head right to the signs leading to Alamo or whatever agency you rent through. You want to rush there, as you may have to wait in long lines if many flights arrive at the same time.
Hopefully I’m not scaring you away with that information, but I tell it like it is.
Best Way to Rent Cars in Costa Rica
A few years ago while on a vacation to Costa Rica, I opted to use a third party booking service called Discover Cars. They had incredible reviews on the Internet so I had to check them out. What they do is act as not only your concierge (kind of like Amex Travel), but also a booking engine that sifts through all prices of available vehicles and shows you who has the best prices. Even going a step further, the site offers reviews of actual cars, and trust me when I tell you, you won’t recognize a lot of the brands and models offered, so you’ll want to read these.
Taking my first plunge with Discover Cars, I booked a car that I could pick u after a flight to San José. San José is the capital city of Costa Rica and I had business there, so I used the engine and entered the San José airport and saw something like this:
The best part about this car rental service is that it’s a one stop shop where you can find the best priced rental which will save you a lot of money versus booking direct. You also have the luxury of getting all of your insurance taken care of through them directly, so there will be no games or hassle when you pick up you rental car. You simply present your voucher and off you go!
To me, I’m an impatient person and I hate hidden fees. DiscoverCars takes all of this out of the equation while offering better prices due to their relationships with global and local car rental companies in Costa Rica, and beyond . The service works in over 145 countries at the time of publishing this, so they service locations globally, not just Cost Rica.
Again, type in your date, which airport you are flying into, and the time you need your rental and you can book directly. I usually take my time and read reviews as well, just to know that I’m aware of the exact vehicle I’m getting before I enter the contract. Take advantage of the lower prices offered, don’t waste time with an unruly agent at any car rental counter, and make your vacation much more relaxing from the get go. Simply print your reservation voucher and be ready to show it to whatever company you book through once you get your luggage and make an exit from the airport and head towards pick up. It could not be any easier of a rental experience!
My last booking brought me to Amigo rent a car, which was a Liberia airport car rental that I needed during this August vacation. I ended up with a Toyota Rush and was very pleased with it as we explored beaches and even went to the Arenal volcano.
Whether your booking experience leads you to Alamo Costa Rica, or another agency, you won’t find an easier and more cost efficient way to book Costa Rica car rentals then Discover Cars.
Where can I find Alamo car rentals at San José Juan Santamaria Intl Airport?
You’ll encounter Alamo’s San Jose airport office just beyond baggage claim prior to exiting the airport.
Which Cost Rica Rental Car Agencies are the Best?
I made an article covering that topic, which you can read here. There isn’t one that I recommend more than others, because if there are any issues, DiscoverCars handles them for you, making your experience much more relaxing as you can step aside and enjoy your travels.