So many reviews and different opinions. Anyone have more recent info on who's taking care of their customers these days?
All the very recent opinions are posted on these pages. Just scroll down and explore.
It's the same list that we've had for years. The top companies rarely change - nor does the worst...
Avoid like the plague:
Do NOT book via third-party sites (expedia, etc.)
Do NOT book via corporate sites, if applicable (the exception is alamo.com which may give you a better price than alamocostarica.com while still including all required insurances and fees).
DO understand insurance and CDW requirements and limitations (deductibles, exclusions, etc.)
DO understand currency conversion in being charged for your rental.
DO understand deposit amounts.Edited: 01 June 2018, 17:27
I've spent a lot of time reading through the Costa Rica forums over the past 18 months and Framptonian seems to be the "resident expert" on car rentals in Costa Rica, you should value his/her advice. That being said, we've rented twice in the past from Budget at Queopos airport and they've been great and the price has been competitive. We're using Vamos for our trip next week and at the time of booking in February they had the best prices for our dates. Since booking, they've been very responsive to questions and pleasant to deal with. I will report back about our Vamos experience after our trip.
Thanks Brandon - I do have something like 150 car rentals in CR under my belt and it's allowed me to have a bit of insight and, hopefully, perspective, too. I cannot claim to be perfect, but I strive to give the most accurate information I can.
And yes, Budget is good as well. There are others, but the ones I listed are stuck in my head as those companies that tend to get the most positive reviews. WildRider never gets any negative comments - but their cars are older and they do not serve LIR.
Vamos comes in as a close second and is straight-forward and transparent.
After those two, the field is rather broad with other companies being pretty equal in how they are perceived. Budget is certainly in that field as are others, such as Sixt.
Adobe is a notable outlier in the field - but not for any numerical deviation from the usual good/bad reviews on this forum, but for the way they provide insurance/CDW coverage. They call their approach customer friendly - but I try to withhold judgment whether that is actually the case. My initial impression was very skeptical - but my views have evolved since they introduced their set-up. It's up to individual customers to make that determination.
The low light is also consistently clear and has never changed. They have never improved but have focused their work quite diligently on ever new ways to rip off unsuspecting tourists.
I have experienced several dozens of rentals with Alamo and tend to use them.
I think it is very important to read up on the individual coverages various companies provide - they are NOT all created equal. Some companies only cover 80% of damages unless you purchase additional coverage while others cover 100% by default.
"Framptonian", I have a question about currency conversion. With Vamos, I have never seen a line item like that on my invoice and I am billed in US dollars. Is there a hidden fee somewhere?
I also wonder what you know about the connection between Fox and Avianca. Does it still exist? I rented using Fox a few times and it wasn't horrible. They directed me to Avianca. I did this because, at the time, Vamos didn't have a large enough vehicle for us.
Last question (for now) - who rents an SUV or van that can comfortably fit six adults and luggage? We've been renting the Mitsubishi Montero and really need something just a bit larger.
Currency conversion is not a line item. It's something that you are usually subjected to when you use your credit card abroad. It goes something like this - for people with US$ accounts:
1.) You reserve your car rental and are quoted a price in US$.
2.) When you pay for your car rental, the agency is often left with no choice but to charge you in the legal currency of the country (some agencies CAN charge US$ but it seems to be very rare.).
3.) The US$ amount is converted to Colones at the rate of the day - usually something that closely resembles the rate published by Banco Nacional on that day. There are Buy and Sell rates for currency - I forget which one will be used but it's the one that is NOT beneficial to you. The Colones amount is charged to your card.
4.) Your credit card bank receives a charge in Colones and will convert it to US$ - at THEIR current rate and again, at the rate that is NOT beneficial to you. Already, the amount you will pay will be different from the amount of your initial bill. The difference can be more than $100, depending on several factors like rental length, etc.
5.) Your credit card bank will also levy a fee for their wonderful (yet completely automated) service and add it to your charge.
6.) As a result, what you actually pay will be more than what you were charged in the office. Many people think they've been defrauded - but that's just the price of doing international business...
I am not familiar with the relationship between Fox and Avianca. I've never rented from Fox and I can probably count my Avianca flights on one hand.
I'll also leave the question regarding SUV size to car experts. I know the Prado is big but, like the Montero, there are two version (a small one and a big one) - or at least, that's why I seem to remember.
Nope. Vamos bills in US dollars. The invoice that they send me when I reserve is identical to what I see in their office.
The name of the CR agency linked to Vamos may not be "Avianca". It does begin with an "A" and now the name escapes me. It was not an airline. Actually, the second time we rented with Fox, we were directed to U Save, and that was OK too.
I'm wondering if Fox has their own offices in CR or if they still direct to other companies.
Like I said: "(some agencies CAN charge US$ but it seems to be very rare.)."
Alas, there's a reason why Vamos is highly regarded...Edited: 02 June 2018, 01:09
Have you had any experience with dollar rental car? I've been seeing some good reviews.
Yes, Tammy. Dollar is reputable. They always strike me as sketchy when I rent a vehicle from them but they've come through for me every single time without any issues.
I can't think of any reason not to go through them if they have a great rate and if you are familiar with what to expect.