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Planes,Trains and Automobiles

5 posts
Planes,Trains and Automobiles

My wife, daughter (9) and I will be flying into San Jose June 20th and renting a vehicle for a trip to Arenal. I've visited CR on many occasions but not recently (10 years). This is also my first trip to Arenal. I enjoy researching these adventures and appreciate all the good info I've received on this forum. My questions (finally) are about my arrival logistics. It will be late afternoon and I have no desire to head into the mountains in the dark. Honestly all the rental car hi-jinks I've seen posted have me a little freaked out. I have driven from Cahuita to Playa Flamingo to Manuel Antonio. It is incredible. Oh yeah, the questions! What is the most reputable car rental? And what mid to upper tier hotel or BB would offer the most seamless transfer the morning we leave. I have little interest in driving around San Jose. I'm assuming I could reverse the protocol when we come back. Turn the car in the evening before our flight. CR is my favorite exotic destination and my 9 year old is fearless. Any and all suggestions about the La Fortuna area are appreciated. During the off season I usually show up without reservations, you can actually SEE what you are renting, there are so many choices.

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
9,397 posts
69 reviews
1. Re: Planes,Trains and Automobiles

Search the forum - there are a lot of recent discussions on the recommended (and not) car rental Cos and the auto insurance / quotes.

List of hotels near SJO - www.twoweeksincostarica.com/hotels-near-sjo/ . We stayed in the 2 nd one on that list, they are about 10 min drive from SJO and include free airport shuttle. They also offer car rentals - https://www.adventure-inn.com/cars/ .

However, while close to SJO, they r not in the direction of Arenal (we were going to S. Caribbean, so it was good for us), but still close.

Good site for Arenal trip planning - twoweeksincostarica.com/la-fortuna-what-to-e… , you may to look through the comments at the end, too.

5 posts
2. Re: Planes,Trains and Automobiles

Thank you.

between Dominical...
Level Contributor
34 posts
31 reviews
3. Re: Planes,Trains and Automobiles

I am a resident in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica and have stayed at The Pura Vida Hotel in Alajuela many times when I have business (or pleasure) in the Central Valley and have watched Berni, the owner in action on more than one occasion. He works the breakfast himself and he has more knowledge (and visual aids) of Costa Rica than anyone (Tico or Gringo) that I know and can fill you in on not only the Arenal Area but any other area in which you may find yourself. I have also seen tourists come and go and and thus watched as the rental car company reps deliver the rental car within a few feet of their breakfast table (!) while doing the paperwork while they eat. I can't tell you how that contrasts to the nightmare situations that I have heard of at the rental car agencies. Upon returning for the flight out, they just leave the car in the parking lot at the hotel and take a taxi for the 10 minute ride to the airport. In my twenty years of living in this country I have never seen anything so seamless, efficient and even entertaining. This is the answer to all of your questions.

Playa Guiones...
Destination Expert
for Nosara
Level Contributor
2,554 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Planes,Trains and Automobiles

I like Adobe Rental Cars. They will deliver the car to your hotel of choice. I like to stay at Xandari. It's about 20 minutes from SJO Airport but feels like a million miles. It's very pretty. You might also want to consider taking a transfer service to/from Arenal and then renting a car while there.

5 posts
5. Re: Planes,Trains and Automobiles

And the winner is....drum roll please....Bernie @ POO-rah VEE-da. I do hope I pronounced that right. With an Adobe rental car. Thank you all so much for taking the time to answer my query. I love hearing from people who have "been there, done that." Reading some of the reviews is comical and at times sad. I have worked in the travel industry for 35 years. Dealing with unhappy customers is challenging. But the people who find a rainbow no matter how bad the storm make it all worth while. When I was younger I always used Bill at Casa Maria because they were one of the few who had the free airport transfer. Note: Allylam, my wife would never forgive me for not making the drive to Arenal. Our first trip together we drove to Manuel Antonio and we still talk about driving through the countryside, stopping at a little coffee plantation for lunch. The Toucan's were chirping in the trees as we ate our Casado. As we checked out we got to chatting with the Maitre d and discovered she was from Saginaw Tx. About 10 minutes from us. (yes, we get a little chatty with folks, we love it, I guess that's obvious) Thanks again all.

6. Re: Planes,Trains and Automobiles

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