A Guide To Car Rental in Playas del Coco Costa Rica

Renting a car in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica, is one of the most convenient and flexible ways for you to explore the beautiful Guanacaste region. Playas del Coco is a popular beach town that will serve as an excellent base for your adventure, allowing you to experience the best of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

Whenever my husband Tim and I travel to Costa Rica, we rent a car from Enterprise or Alamo. Renting a car has several advantages for us, including the freedom to explore at our own pace and the convenience of visiting off-the-beaten-path locations that public transport doesn’t easily reach. The flexibility to make spontaneous stops and the privacy and comfort of having our own vehicle make our trips more enjoyable and tailored to our interests.

However, there are also some downsides to renting a car in Costa Rica. The road conditions can be challenging, especially in rural areas with potholes and unpaved sections, making it necessary to rent a 4×4 vehicle at times. Additionally, the costs can add up quickly with mandatory insurance, fuel prices, and potential extra charges for GPS. We’ve also encountered stress with paperwork, understanding local driving laws, and navigating unfamiliar roads​

Despite these challenges, the overall convenience and flexibility usually outweigh the cons for us. If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica and considering renting a car, keep reading, as I will break down everything you need to know to help you make the best decision.

Key Takeaways From This Article

Most companies can deliver the car to the airport when you book in advance. All you have to do is provide the flight information, such as the airline, estimated arrival time, flight number, and the airport. Here are my key takeaways on car rental in Playa del Coco. 

  • Car rentals help you save money when visiting Playas del Coco with family or in a group. However, you might not need a rental car if you stay at a resort, and the furthest you want to go is to the beach. 
  • Rental charges will depend on the type of car and the season. Renting a car during the rainy season is cheaper than during the dry season. 
  • Car rental companies require you to show your driver’s license (valid for two years) and passport. You’ll also need a credit card to make the deposit. Only a few companies accept cash.
  • Ensure that the Liability Protection cover is in your quote. It is a requirement for anyone renting a car in Costa Rica. 

Is Renting A Car Necessary In Playas del Coco? 

If you are traveling with family or friends, consider a car rental. Renting a car would help me save on individual fares, which would be cheaper and more convenient. Also, I would not have to carry the younger kids in my arms as we traveled to different places. Bundling everyone into the car is much easier than controlling them at a bus station. 

Consider renting a car if your schedule involves going outside Playas del Coco. Most of the fun activities are on the outskirts of Playas del Coco, so it would be ideal to have a rental car. Remember that you also have bags and other items. Plus, the roads in Costa Rica are rough.

A rental car also gives you flexibility. You can go to unique destinations; public transport might not reach those places. Choosing the areas you want to visit and the time will also be possible. It’s also more comfortable when traveling in a private car, especially for long journeys. You can take breaks along the way to buy snacks or go sightseeing. 

Car Rental Cost

Car rental rates vary depending on the type of car, the season/dates, and when you book. Booking in advance during the low season is cheaper than renting during the peak tourist season (December to April). 

Cost According To Car Type

Each car rental company charges different rates for its cars. You should compare rates between various companies to get the most favorable rate. Other charges will apply depending on the type of car you choose. In the table below, I compare the charges of different car rental companies in Playas del Coco. 

Car Rental CompanyEconomy ($-daily rate): 2 adultsFull-size SUV ($-daily rate): 5 adults
Alamo2025
Budget1018
Enterprise1323
National1623
Avis1525

 

Due to the rough roads during the rainy season, it is ideal to rent a four-wheel drive. It is especially true when visiting most of Playas del Coco’s outskirts, such as Nicoya Peninsula, Monteverde, and Osa Peninsula. 

Cost According To Season

Car rental charges will be lower during the off-peak season compared to the busy tourist season. July to November have the lowest car rental charges, as the demand is lower. 

Prices will also be higher during the dry season as demand increases.

Rental charges are higher from December to late April. They also peak during the Christmas and Easter holidays. You might not get a car to rent during those holidays, as they are all booked out. Making your reservations several months early is ideal. 

Insurance Costs

Apart from the daily rental charges, there are other costs that you need to consider. The fees differ depending on the car rental company you choose. I recommend asking about all the costs that a company charges upfront. Here are some insurance costs that a company might charge:. 

    • Liability Protection covers basic damages to the vehicle (up to $20,000) and third parties’ injury or death ($100,000). It is a legal requirement for everyone renting a car in Costa Rica. Always ensure the coverage is included in the quote to avoid paying more. 
    • Car Protection Insurance covers rollovers, collisions, thefts, and damages. It is also a legal requirement in Costa Rica. However, you can waive it with a letter from your credit company stating that they will cover the damages this insurance covers. 
  • Total Protection Insurance is for roadside assistance or new tires. It’s not a legal requirement. 

The Best Place To Rent A Car In Playas del Coco

A good car rental company ensures that the process is fast and easy. There should also be several car types to choose from. Compare different car companies to get one with affordable rates and no hidden fees. 

I recommend the following car rental companies in Playas del Coco: 

Alamo 

alamo
alamo cars

The company branch in Playas del Coco is on the main street opposite the Coco Beach Hotel. Their offices are open between 8 AM and 5 PM daily. However, you can make arrangements for after-hours service in advance. 

The minimum age to rent a car in Alamo is 21, and there are additional daily fees for those between the ages of 21 and 24. There is no maximum age limit. You can request vehicle pick-up or drop-off from Liberia International Airport and San Jose at no extra cost. The same applies to hotels within 20 km. 

To rent a car from the Alamo, you must present a passport and a credit card. The company accepts Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club, and American Express credit cards. Alamo only accepts cash as a form of final payment. 

Enterprise

The rental company is on the main street, in the building opposite Coco Beach Hotel. Its opening hours are between 8 AM and 5 PM, and they don’t offer after-hours services. You can request a pick-up from a non-airport point, but the company does not make car deliveries. 

Avis

Their offices are Liberia International Airport, Occidental Papagayo Hotel, and Mangroove Hotel. You can make reservations through reservations@avis.co.cr or call their number, +506 2293 2222. Avis offices are open from 8 AM to 5 PM daily. 

Adobe

Adobe car rental offices are at Liberia International Airport and Tamarindo. Their office is five minutes from the airport. When you make your reservations, give them your flight details; they will have a shuttle bus waiting for you.

However, you can request that we deliver the rental car to your accommodations in Playas del Coco. You will incur a delivery fee if the distance is more than 19 km (12 miles) from the office.

When you tick the Adobe add when making your reservation, you will receive extras such as portable Wi-Fi and child safety seats. 

Tips On Car Rentals In Playas del Coco

Renting a car for the first time might be challenging, especially in a new country. However, I highlight some tips you should consider when renting a car. 

  • Most car rental companies require a deposit, which they will charge to your credit/debit card. When you return the car without any damage, the deposit amount will be credited to your credit card within 5 days. 
  • A car rental company also requests a valid driver’s license and a passport. You can use your home license, but it must be two years old. Car rental companies do not accept a paper copy or a temporary license. However, if you stay for more than 90 days, you must get a Costa Rican driving license. 
  • You will have to pay for coverage for any damages to the vehicle or third parties before picking up the car. 
  • If you won’t be returning the vehicle to the exact place you rented, please contact the company’s agent to know if this is possible and the extra charge amount.
  • In case of any delays in returning the vehicle, contact the company agent to learn about their grace period and the extra charges that will accrue. 
  • In most cases, car rental companies will charge you for dirtying a car’s interior. 

Conclusion

Car rental services in Playas del Coco are plentiful. However, it’s good to do research and make informed reservations. Most companies will even offer to pick you up or deliver the car. My go-to car rental company when I was in Costa Rica was Adobe. It’s a local company that has more coverage. 

Did you rent a car when you vacationed in Playas del Coco? Please share your experience. 

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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