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Car rental in Costa Rica?

ValHam

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I am thinking of renting a car in Costa Rica. How is it driving to the sights close to San Jose? I would like to drive from San Jose to Arenal and was wandering what the roads were like? Does anyone know how long it takes to drive from Arenol to Monteverde? Thanks
 

ripshion

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ValHam said:
I am thinking of renting a car in Costa Rica. How is it driving to the sights close to San Jose? I would like to drive from San Jose to Arenal and was wandering what the roads were like? Does anyone know how long it takes to drive from Arenol to Monteverde? Thanks

If my memory serves me correctly the rental car in Costa Rica was very, very expensive and the drive to Arenal was about 3 1/2 hrs from San Jose. There is 1 toll booth that you have to pass through, other then that the roads were pretty good. We rented a 4x4 Suzuki jeep which we unfortunately got stuck in the back country of Lake Arenal. A local came with his 2 bulls to pull us out, I have the pictures to prove it :eek: Have a good time!
 

JeffV

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Be sure to take full coverage, my nephew's rent car in Costa Rica caught fire while driving and burned to the ground.
 

Canuck

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The bus

Public transit in Costa Rica is great, cheap, safe, and runs on time (most days). I would feel safer on the bus then in a rental car. It is also worth checking out "tourist" buses. Not sure if they have them in Costa Rica but they did in Guatemala and they were worth the extra money (still cheaper and safer then driving/renting a car).
 

glenn1000

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When we visited we were advised to rent a 4-wheel drive. I would definitley recommend it too as the road conditions vary greatly. I think that we booked on Orbitz and it was not really any different than renting anywhere else. Having your own transportation lets you get around more than relying on other means.
 

DebBrown

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We rented a 4-wheel drive as well. Generally speaking, the road conditions are horrible. There is only one paved highway in Costa Rica. Some of the side roads are partially paved but many are gravel (read "big rocks") and pot-holed. The area around Monteverde and Arenal have the best roads in the country.

If you are just driving for a day and sticking to main routes, you may be OK with a regular car. Just be prepared for travel to take a long time. The coastal area where we stayed was all gravel/rock roads. We even had to ford rivers to get to nearby towns.

Deb
 

DebBrown

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I don't remember any trouble parking anywhere. Whatever you do, do NOT leave your luggage in your car. If you stop to eat, get gas, etc., always keep your car in view. There is very little crime against people in CR but I understand that luggage theft is relatively common.

Have fun!

Deb
 

Malane

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I know this is a very late reply, but I thought it might be useful to someone else. I just did the drive trip through Costa Rica in the Fall of last year - we stayed in Jaco Beach and drove up and down the country. While it is not for everyone, I don't think I would have wanted to be without a car in Costa Rica. (FYI- There were reports of a few thieves targeting car rental customers in San Jose by throwing down tack strips and pretending to help you change a tire while robbing you blind, but we didn't not encounter any.)

I have many suggestions for getting around and highly recommend buying a very detailed road map prior to leaving - the roads are not well marked. Yes, everyone here is also speaking the truth when they say there are pot holes the size of your car, and the little 4-wheel drives you rent sometimes have trouble getting up the hills. The drive to Arenal is winding but do-able and fairly smooth by comparison to others. Monteverde is a little more difficult. Everything on the map looks very close, but remember that you are going to be driving on narrow roads and will often be behind large trucks you cannot pass going 15-25 MPH. Budget HOURS of time to go 50-70 miles. The main highway is painfully slow because of the same trucks.

If you would like any more information, feel free to send me a private message. I really love Costa Rica and I bet you'll have a great time.
 
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