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I highly recommend renting a car for your Costa Rica trip- especially when you are traveling with kids. It ends up giving you so much freedom at a fraction of the cost of private transport. Don’t worry a ton about driving in Costa Rica because our guide will answer all of your questions.
I’ve partnered with Adobe Rental Car, as I think it’s the absolute best Costa Rica car rental agency. The prices are transparent, the fleet always has super new cars, and the customer service is second to none. And did I mention it’s Costa Rican-owned? Keep reading to find out how you can get a 10-20% discount on your Costa Rican rental car.
Get the Costa Rica Car Rental Discount
To get the discount, click on this Adobe Rental Car discount link. To find out more about why we love Adobe, and to get answers to your frequently asked questions, keep reading.
Looking for private transport? Adobe offers that as well! Simply email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know what you need- I’ll get you set up!
How The Discount Works
To get the discount, follow these steps:
- Click here to be taken to the Adobe Rental car widget. You can also click on the image below. You’ll fill in your dates and the type of car that you want. Simply going to the widget will give you the discount, you don’t need a special promo code. Note that the date appears as day, month, and year. So if you are renting on March 2, 2023, you’ll actually put in 2/3/23.
- Once you fill in the parameters of your rental, you will be taken to a new page where you can choose your vehicle type. Tip: Give yourself enough time to drop off the car and get on the shuttle to be at the airport 2-3 hours early.
- You’ll then be taken to a page where you can choose the insurance and extras that you want, and fill in your name and passport information.
- VERY IMPORTANT: Once you have completed the above steps, you have only told the system you want the car. In order to actually reserve the car, you will need to provide credit card info. This is done separately. You will receive an email with instructions on how to reserve with your credit card through a secure page. Your card WILL NOT BE CHARGED until you are at your rental location.
Rental Car Discount Extras From Pura Vida Moms
As a reader of Pura Vida Moms, you will receive extra benefits in your Costa Rica car rental- beyond the discount listed above. The extras include:
- Free car seats and boosters for your kids (see below)
- Up to 2 free additional drivers
- Free cooler
- Free airport shuttle (to and from the airport)
- Free door-to-door delivery (Adobe will drop your car off at your hotel within a 12-mile radius of the airports)
Car Seats In Costa Rica
If you are wondering if you should use the car seats provided by Adobe, I would probably say no. There are a couple of reasons why- one is that the car seats at Adobe are pretty old and worn. They withstand a lot of heat and humidity in the cars in Costa Rica, and Adobe isn’t really changing them out very much.
Secondly- the car seats Adobe has are three-point harnesses, not 5-point like we are used to using in the United States. Finally, the boosters aren’t US standard either. So if you have the option to bring your own car seats to Costa Rica, that’s what I think you should do.
About Adobe Rental Car
Adobe Rental Car is the second largest rental car company in Costa Rica, and it’s 100% Costa Rican owned. They have 14 locations in Costa Rica, making it easy both to rent a car for part of your trip if you need it and to get assistance in the major tourist areas if you need it.
What I love about Adobe is how transparent their rates are. While major multinational chains will seemingly give you a better deal, there is required car insurance in Costa Rica that your international credit card won’t cover. Adobe adds that insurance cost onto the quote they give you so there are no surprises when you arrive to rent your car. Other car rental companies will often omit that insurance to make their prices look lower- which seems kind of scammy to me.
I also just love Adobe because of its customer service. Everyone you will meet is friendly, and excited for you to have a great time in Costa Rica, and the service agents are all totally bilingual. This makes it easy for you to ask questions at the time of rental, and to get clear answers.
About Costa Rican Car Insurance
There are three types of car insurance you need to be aware of when you are renting a car in Costa Rica: Liability Protection, Car Protection, and Extended Protection.
The Liability Insurance is $13.56 a day at the time of writing, and it is required by Costa Rican law. Your credit card will not cover that insurance for you.
The Car Protection is $16.95 a day and may be covered by your credit card. This coverage is for direct car damages, total or partial theft of the rental car, and basic third-party coverage up to $200,000.
In order to decline that coverage, you would need to contact your credit card company and get a letter from them stating that the card already covers the Car Protection. Make sure you bring the printed copy of the letter with you when you arrive at the rental car office.
The Extended Protection is completely optional- at the time of writing it costs $20.34 per day. It comes with the following benefits:
- Direct car damages, collisions, and rollovers
- Total or partial theft of rental car
- Windows, car lights, vandalism damages, license plates, tow trucks, and roadside assistance.
- Increased coverage for third parties, up to $2 million.
Which Car Type Do I Need?
The million-dollar question! Over and over I hear people recommend a 4×4 car for Costa Rica, as road conditions can be hairy during the rainy season. That’s what people say, anyway.
But I totally disagree. If you are heading to the main tourist attractions. you shouldn’t need anything more than a 4×2 or small SUV. If you are touring around the Central Valley, you can get away with a sedan.
So Christa, when do you need a 4×4? I’d say if you are heading to Nosara, definitely. Anytime you need to cross a river you need a 4×4. We’ve also stayed in hotels that strongly recommend a 4×4 in the rainy season, so you can also check with your accommodations to see if you need one. Otherwise, I say save your money.
How old do I have to be to rent a car in Costa Rica?
You’ll need to be at least 23 years of age to rent with Adobe Rental Car.
Do I need an international driver’s license to drive in Costa Rica?
No. You must have a valid driver’s license from your home country.
Which side of the road do I drive on in Costa Rica?
You’ll drive on the right side of the road in Costa Rica.
Is driving dangerous in Costa Rica?
Driving in Costa Rica is similar to driving in most countries. You’ll need to obey the traffic signs and speed limits to stay safe. Many roads are two-lane roads and back roads are not always marked with the center line or the sidelines. You will want to avoid driving at night if you are unsure of your route or are in a very rural area. For more information on this, you can refer to our Driving in Costa Rica post.
Can I rent a car with a debit card?
You can pay for the rental car with a debit card, but you will need a credit card to pay for your security deposit.
What type of car do I need in Costa Rica?
This depends on where you are going and what you plan to do. If you are spending time in the city, a sedan will work just fine. If you are planning to go on dirt roads in the dry season, a 4×2 will be enough. If you want to cross rivers or go on steep dirt roads in the rainy seasons, you would want to consider a 4×4 SUV rental in Costa Rica.
Does Adobe Rental Car offer long-term rentals?
Yes- if you are renting for over a month please contact me directly and I will help you get the best deal on a long-term rental. You can find me puravidamoms (at) gmail (dot) com
Which credit card can I use to decline the rental car insurance?
This varies by credit card company and specific credit card. The best advice I can give you is to call your specific credit card company and ask what their policies are for Costa Rica.
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Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by