Flights & Cars
Most flights to Costa Rica arrive through Juan Santamaría International Airport, which is located 10 minutes from San José in Alejuela. During the high season (December through April), the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, located in the province of Guanacaste near Liberia, becomes a popular hub for international charter flights. To access the various international and domestic carriers that provide service to Costa Rica, use the sidebar to your left.
If you want to tour Costa Rica at your own pace, then renting a vehicle is your ticket to freedom. In spite of the challenging terrain, the aggressive drivers, and roads that are sometimes riddled with potholes, having a vehicle at your disposal can be a great way to experience all of Costa Rica.
A driver's license and passport must be presented when renting a car. A valid foreign driver's license is good for three months in Costa Rica, after which time you will need to apply for a Costa Rican license. For more information about applying for a license, please refer to Automobile Needs in our Retiring in Costa Rica section.
The minimum age for rental is 21 to 23 years, depending on who will be accompanying the renting driver. When receiving the car, a security deposit must be made by credit card. When the car is returned (undamaged), the deposit will be credited to the driver's account. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club are all accepted. If you do not have a credit card, a deposit of about $1000 is required.
Pickup and drop-off of rental vehicles may vary by the particular agency. Some agencies may allow you to leave the vehicle at your hotel (if in the downtown area) or at the international airport.
Car rental rates are around US$55 per day, or US$250-$300 per week. Four-wheel
drive vehicles average between US$75 to $115 per day, or US$350-$500 per week.
Rates usually include the mileage and insurance. While local companies are
quite consistent with their rates, discounts of up to 30% may be available
during the off-season. Also, keep in mind that you can usually receive a discounted
rate for reserving a car before you enter the country. If you are already
in Costa Rica, reserve a car as far in advance as possible, especially during
the tourist season.