Renting a Car in Costa Rica

Renting a car in Costa Rica provides flexibility, especially when you're still getting to know the country. Here's how to go about it:

Choose a Reputable Rental Company: Opt for well-established rental companies and read reviews to avoid hidden fees.

Required Documents: You’ll typically need a valid driver’s license from your home country, a passport, and a credit card for deposits. Some agencies may require an international driver’s permit (IDP).

Insurance is Key: Ensure you have coverage for liability, collision, and theft, often available at the rental counter.

Reserve in Advance: Book your rental car online in advance for the best rates and availability.

Vehicle Type: Consider your destination and the road conditions when choosing the type of vehicle.

Driving Conditions: Be prepared for varying road conditions, from highways to bumpy dirt roads.

Fuel Costs: Gasoline can be expensive, so budget accordingly.

Buying a Car in Costa Rica

If you plan to stay long-term or prefer the independence of owning a car, here’s how to buy one:

Financing options: Some financing options and insurance may require you to have a residency card.

Research the Market: Explore the local car market through online classifieds, dealerships, and expat forums.

Inspection: Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase, there are companies that offer inspections specifically when buying a car.

Legal Process: Once you are ready to buy, you need to get in contact with a lawyer who is a public notary. Make sure to discuss with your attorney if you should put the car in your personal name or under a corporation name. For your safety, we recommend that you choose the notary that will draft the transfer deed document and submit it to the public registry, avoid using the seller’s attorney as they will represent the seller’s interest. Both parties, seller and buyer, have to sign the transfer deed at the same time before the Public Notary or they can grant a power of attorney so that someone else signs the document. The title can be ready in one week, it can be digital or physical, your attorney should send it. “Once you are ready to buy, you need to get in contact with a lawyer who is a public notary and make sure to always carry it in your vehicle or with you.

Ownership Transfer: Ensure proper transfer of ownership documents.

Insurance: Secure coverage for your vehicle is recommended, however it is not mandatory in Costa Rica. Please know that you can find many cars driving in costarrican roads without insurance, therefore we highly recommend to get one.


Navigating Costa Rica’s roads is an exciting part of your journey. Whether you rent for flexibility or buy for long-term convenience, research and compliance with local requirements are essential. . With the right vehicle, right legal guidance, you can explore this beautiful country comfortably and make your Costa Rican experience unforgettable. I hope you have Safe travels and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

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