Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?

We are planning our dream vacation to Costa Rica this summer! We will be bouncing around the country to see the best bits of its Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Should we rent a car to get around, or will we be better off sticking with public transportation?

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Answer provided by
Ethan Daniel Moser
Answered on Apr 26, 2022
Costa Rica is stunning in the summer—you should plan a trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forests if you haven’t already! Like with any destination, there are pros and cons to renting a car in Costa Rica. Renting a car can grant you flexibility over public transportation options, but it can also put you at risk of rental car scams and theft.
Here are a few things to consider when renting a car in Costa Rica:
  • You’ll need to read the fine print on your rental agreement and research your rental agency ahead of time to ensure that you aren’t held liable for a vehicle you can’t afford.
  • Traveling alone as a tourist in Costa Rica can be dangerous—making you a target for theft and vandalism.
  • While renting a car can offer you more flexibility than a charter bus, it also makes you liable for navigating terrain that can be very different from the US streets that you’re used to.
No matter where you’re going, if you’re renting a car, it’s vital that you invest in rental car insurance. You can do this either through your own car insurance policy or with your credit card company.
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