Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica – Reviews and Guide

Costa Rica, a land of breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife, is waiting to be explored. Thanks to budget car rental in Costa Rica, you can embark on the adventure of a lifetime without breaking the bank. Read on to find out how to rent a car from Budget in Costa Rica, get the best deals, and uncover valuable tips to make the most of your trip.

This is all based on my 23 years living in Costa Rica and being a perpetual tourist in the years I’ve spent more time in the United States, so you are getting this information right from the horse’s mouth.

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Key Takeaways

  • Book Budget Car Rental at SJO & LIR Airports in Costa Rica for competitive rates and excellent customer service.
  • Choose from economy cars, SUVs and 4x4s with extra insurance policies to ensure peace of mind during your trip.
  • Save money by booking ahead, selecting the right car class and avoiding unnecessary fees!

Budget Car Rental at Costa Rica Airports

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Upon arrival in Costa Rica, you will notice Budget Car Rental’s convenient locations at major airports, paving the way for a smooth journey. They offer services at San Jose Juan Santamaria Intl. This international airport provides a variety of services to passengers. (SJO) and Daniel Oduber Quirós International (LIR) airports, covering both the central and northwestern regions of the country.

A vast array of vehicles is at your disposal, enabling you to pick up the ideal car for your needs, all with a full tank.

SJO Airport – San Jose Juan Santamaria Intl.

On touching down at San Jose Juan Santamaria Intl. Airport (SJO), you’ll find the Budget Car Rental counter conveniently located onsite, awaiting your arrival. Located in the heart of the country, SJO Airport is an excellent starting point for your Costa Rican adventure. With a wide variety of car rental companies to choose from, Budget stands out with its competitive rates and excellent customer service.

At SJO Airport, renting a car with Budget is a breeze. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Anyone aged 18 or older can rent a car
  • Military and government employees on official orders are exempt from paying the young driver’s fee
  • Simply present a valid driver’s license and credit card, and you’re good to go.

The vast array of rental cars and car rental choices ensures you’ll discover a vehicle that aligns with your needs and preferences.

LIR Airport – Daniel Oduber Quirós International

For those flying into the stunning Guanacaste region, Budget Car Rental is also at your service at Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR). This airport serves as a gateway to the pristine beaches and lush rainforests of northwestern Costa Rica. With Budget’s diverse selection of cars, including economy, SUVs, and 4x4s, you’ll find the perfect vehicle to explore this beautiful area.

At LIR Airport, the rental cost from Budget is determined by the vehicle type and rental duration. To ensure peace of mind during your trip, Budget offers both mandatory and optional extra insurance policies, covering everything from damage to the rental car to personal belongings and roadside assistance. So, whether you’re planning to visit the stunning beaches or traverse the rugged terrain, Budget has you covered.

Popular Car Models and Prices from Budget in Costa Rica

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This is a popular vehicle in Costa Rica.

Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica offers a range of popular car models to suit every traveler’s needs. Some of the most sought-after vehicles include the Ford Figo, Toyota Corolla, and Toyota Raize.

Prices vary depending on the vehicle and rental duration, with the Ford Figo starting at $25 a day, the Toyota Corolla at $30 a day, and the Toyota Raize at $35 a day.

Economy Cars

In Costa Rica, Budget Car Rental boasts an impressive array of economy cars, ideal for those mindful of their budget. Models such as the Kia Rio and the Hyundai Grand i10 provide excellent fuel efficiency without compromising on comfort. These vehicles come equipped with essential features like air conditioning, power steering, and automatic transmission, ensuring a pleasant driving experience.

The cost of renting an economy car from Budget in Costa Rica varies depending on the specific model and rental duration. However, with their competitive pricing and fuel-efficient options, economy cars are an attractive choice for travelers looking to save money while exploring this incredible country.

SUVs and 4×4 Vehicles

For adventurers seeking to conquer Costa Rica’s rugged terrain, Budget features a variety of SUVs and 4×4 vehicles including the Toyota Prado Premium 4×4 and the Toyota Raize. These vehicles provide ample space, power, and advanced safety features, making them perfect for families or groups of travelers.

With 24-hour roadside assistance and top-notch quality and customer service, Budget ensures that your SUV or 4×4 rental experience is hassle-free. Whether you plan to drive along the coast or venture into the mountains, an SUV or 4×4 from Budget will ensure you can tackle any adventure with ease.

Budget Car Rental Insurance Policies in Costa Rica

costa rica car insurance

Securing insurance is a vital part of car rentals in Costa Rica, and Budget Car Rental mandates that all customers purchase insurance, offering coverage for both rental vehicle damages and third-party liability.

Additionally, Budget offers optional extra insurance for those who want added protection, such as Supplemental Liability Protection (SLI), Super Collision Damage Waiver (LDW), and Personal Accident coverage.

Mandatory Insurance

Mandatory insurance is a requirement when renting a car from Budget in Costa Rica. This insurance includes basic liability coverage and costs $19.99 per day. It is essential to note that mandatory insurance is a legal requirement in Costa Rica, ensuring that you have the necessary protection while on the road.

Mandatory insurance covers damage to the rental vehicle and third-party liability. This coverage provides peace of mind, knowing that you are protected in case of an accident. While it may seem like an added expense, mandatory insurance ensures that you can enjoy your Costa Rican adventure with confidence.

Optional Extra Insurance

Beyond mandatory insurance, Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica also provides optional extra insurance for enhanced coverage. These insurance options include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and Liability Waiver. These coverage plans provide protection against damage, theft, and liability for an additional daily charge.

Purchasing optional extra insurance can provide you with peace of mind during your trip. While it is not legally required, it can help protect you against unforeseen circumstances. Whether you’re exploring the bustling city of San Jose or discovering the hidden gems of the Guanacaste region, optional extra insurance ensures that you can enjoy your Costa Rican adventure worry-free.

Tips to Save Money on Budget Car Rentals in Costa Rica

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You can employ several strategies to cut costs on Budget Car Rentals in Costa Rica. By booking in advance, choosing the right car class, and avoiding unnecessary fees, you can secure the best deals and keep your rental costs low.

Booking in Advance

Booking your rental car in advance is an effective way to save money. By reserving your vehicle at least three or four months before your trip, you can take advantage of better prices and ensure the availability of your preferred car model. Booking in advance also provides peace of mind, knowing that your transportation needs are all set for your trip to Costa Rica.

Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica makes booking in advance easy and convenient. Here are some key features of their booking process:

  • You can reserve your car online or by phone.
  • Their flexible cancellation policy allows you to cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before the start of your rental period without any fees.
  • Payment can be made using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal, ensuring a seamless booking process.

Choosing the Right Car Class

Another cost-saving strategy is to choose a car class that fits your needs. Consider factors such as the number of passengers, luggage capacity, and the type of terrain you’ll be traversing when making your decision. For smaller groups or solo travelers, a compact or mid-size car might be more suitable, while larger groups may benefit from the additional space provided by an SUV or full-size car.

Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica offers a range of car classes to choose from, including compact cars, SUVs, and 4×4 vehicles. By selecting the right car class based on your needs and preferences, you can ensure a comfortable and cost-effective rental experience.

Avoiding Unnecessary Fees

Minimizing unnecessary fees is yet another method to save on your Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica. Here are some tips to avoid extra charges:

  • Return your car on time to avoid late return fees.
  • Return your car in the same condition as when you rented it to avoid additional charges.
  • Check the rental agreement for any additional driver fees and consider whether you really need to add an extra driver.

By following these tips, you can secure the best price and keep the overall cost of your easy drop rental down.

To avoid extra driver fees, ensure that only the drivers listed on the rental agreement are added. By being mindful of these fees and taking steps to avoid them, you can keep your rental costs low and make the most of your Costa Rican adventure.

Budget Car Rental Customer Reviews in Costa Rica


Customer reviews offer insightful perspectives on the service quality, car options, and overall satisfaction with Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica. While some customers have had positive experiences with Budget, others have encountered issues such as unresponsiveness and scams.

By doing your due diligence and reading reviews before making a decision, you can make an informed choice and ensure a smooth rental experience.

Exploring Costa Rica with a Budget Rental Car

A rental car from Budget in Costa Rica provides the following benefits:

  • Freedom to explore the country’s stunning landscapes, beaches, and attractions at your leisure
  • Wide variety of car options to choose from
  • Competitive pricing
  • Comprehensive insurance policies

Budget provides everything you need to make your Costa Rican adventure unforgettable.

Whether you’re planning a leisurely drive along the Pacific coastline or an off-road adventure through the lush rainforests, Budget Car Rental has the perfect vehicle to suit your needs. By following the tips and advice shared in this guide, you can enjoy a hassle-free car rental experience and focus on creating lasting memories in the stunning paradise that is Costa Rica.


In conclusion, Budget Car Rental in Costa Rica offers a variety of car options, competitive pricing, and comprehensive insurance policies to help you explore this magnificent country. By booking in advance, choosing the right car class, and avoiding unnecessary fees, you can ensure a smooth and budget-friendly rental experience. So why wait? Start planning your Costa Rican adventure today and discover the wonders of this beautiful country with a Budget rental car!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average price to rent a car in Costa Rica?

The average cost to rent a car in Costa Rica is around $129 – $400 per week, depending on the season and vehicle type. Prices range from $9 per day for a budget option, such as a Nissan March, to up to $1400 per week for a mid-size 4WD SUV during high season.

Is renting a car recommended in Costa Rica?

Renting a car in Costa Rica can be a great way to explore the country and its scenery at your own pace. Be aware that road conditions are different from what you may be used to and that rates might be higher during high season. Also keep in mind mandatory insurance, fuel, and potential road tolls. Overall, renting a car is a recommended option if you want to have the flexibility to plan your own trip.

Can I rent a car in Costa Rica with a US driver’s license?

Yes, you can rent a car in Costa Rica with a US driver’s license. An international driver’s license is only needed if the US license is written in a different alphabet.

Is it easy to drive a rental car in Costa Rica?

Driving in Costa Rica can be a safe experience when you take precautionary measures, such as using WAZE or Google Maps and avoiding night navigation. However, you should expect road conditions to be challenging, with steep inclines, winding roads, fog, rain, potholes, and narrow roads.

What airports in Costa Rica have Budget Car Rental services?

Budget Car Rental services are available at San Jose Juan Santamaria Intl. (SJO) and Daniel Oduber Quirós International (LIR) airports in Costa Rica, making it easy for you to explore the country. With Budget Car Rental, you can choose from a variety of vehicles to suit your needs, from economy cars to luxury SUVs. You can also take advantage of their special offers

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Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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