What to Ex­pect: Avoid­ing Rough Rental Rides

Howler Magazine - - Contents - By Howler Staff

Rent­ing a car and driv­ing in Costa Rica have their chal­lenges. Many as­sume that when they book a ve­hi­cle and re­ceive the rental fee quote, that's the to­tal amount due and all is good.

When ar­riv­ing at the car rental of­fice to pick up your ve­hi­cle, ex­pect an up­charge for in­sur­ances. Costa Rica does have a manda­tory ve­hi­cle in­surance re­quire­ment. How­ever, there are also sup­ple­men­tal full­cov­er­age in­surance op­tions that are more ex­pen­sive but cover most sit­u­a­tions. Some visi­tors as­sume they are cov­ered un­der ei­ther their reg­u­lar car in­surance from their home coun­try or the car rental in­surance that comes with many credit cards if used to book ren­tals. Well, that is not the case here.

Be sure to read your rental agree­ment care­fully to know what the in­surance does and does NOT cov­ers. The rental com­pany will charge a de­posit hold on your credit card of be­tween $500 and $2,000, to be re­leased once you re­turn the ve­hi­cle.

Se­lect­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate ve­hi­cle for the area you will be vis­it­ing in Costa Rica may make your visit more en­joy­able. My sug­ges­tion is to get some­thing with clear­ance for the pos­si­ble ad­verse road con­di­tions and rivers you might be pass­ing through. I would rec­om­mend some sort of SUV. Once you se­cure your rental, walk around the ve­hi­cle be­fore get­ting in­side. Make note of what you see and take pic­tures if nec­es­sary. Also make sure the ve­hi­cle comes with proper equip­ment to change tires.

Rent­ing a GPS with your ve­hi­cle is also a good idea. There are many cool roads to explore, and know­ing where you are at all times is im­por­tant. It's also es­sen­tial to fill up with fuel be­fore you take off on any ad­ven­ture; gas sta­tions are NOT avail­able on ev­ery corner as you would ex­pect back home.

Al­ways wear a seat­belt and drive care­fully within the speed lim­its. Fines in Costa Rica are much higher than they are back home, and the car rental com­pany will charge you for any in­curred.

Don't be sur­prised if you are waved over by a tran­sit po­lice of­fi­cer to in­spect your doc­u­ments. This is com­mon. Al­ways carry your pass­port and driver's li­cense.

The tran­sit po­lice are gen­er­ally check­ing for seat­belt use and to make sure that your doc­u­ments are in or­der. Don't panic; stop when re­quested, be nice to the of­fi­cer and you will have no prob­lems.

Al­ways drive with ex­tra care, es­pe­cially at night. Many peo­ple walk on the side of the road and may be very dif­fi­cult to see, es­pe­cially at dusk or when it's rain­ing. Cau­tion al­ways beats speed.

When tak­ing your ve­hi­cle back to the rental of­fice, be sure the at­ten­dant signs off on the re­turn. You should be present when the at­ten­dant does so af­ter con­firm­ing all the items that came with the car are still there.

Get out and see this beau­ti­ful coun­try, and have a blast!

EX­PECT Gas sta­tions are NOT avail­able on ev­ery corner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Costa Rica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.