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4wd Car Rental Costa Rica

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5 reasons why you need to rent a 4-wheel drive in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers some incredible landscapes to discover, but not all of them can be reached by a car. While many tourist destinations may be accessible by a regular car, those looking for the unique adventures only found in Costa Rica will want to rent a SUV or 4-wheel drive vehicle. Here’s five reasons why.


Road accidents can happen, especially when on dirt roads. If they do happen, you want to have the best protection available that only a 4WD or an SUV can provide. However, while having the bigger vehicle, fancy airbags, and extra horsepower may make you feel invincible, you can’t forget that driving off designated roads is prohibited and very dangerous.


Roads in San Jose may be smooth and paved, but the further out you go, the bumpier the ride can get. The condition of roads in Costa Rica can be very poor and having the extra space and higher clearance of an SUV can make all the difference. Renting a 4x4 is the best way to ensure you will not be limited to the towns and cities, but rather anywhere you want to explore. 

Comfort & Convenient

If you are the type of person that likes to get away from big cities and check out surfing towns like Dominical, Santa Teresa and Puerto Viejo, or the beaches and nightlife of Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Uvita, then you will want to have plenty of room to carry everything you need for your 4x4 adventure. 4 wheel drives and SUV have plenty of room to fit your camping gear, coolers, mountain bikes, surf boards, and more with room to spare. Not too mention, if you are driving with a group, those vehicles provide the most comfort and room to stretch out.

Rainy season and Floods

While even driving on paved roads during the rainy seasons of September through December, you may encounter mudslides and floods. An 4x4 can handle most of these with ease and get you where you are going safely. However, while an 4x4 can get through some of the worst conditions you may encounter on the road, it can’t cross a river, so never try it!  

Save money!

Some road trips through Costa Rica can last hours and burn a lot of gas, making your trip more expensive. While renting a car with a smaller engine may seem like the more economical option upfront, it can actually become more costly in the long run. During the rainy seasons, some quicker routes can become difficult to traverse and even damage a car, forcing smaller vehicles to take long detours, while a bigger SUV can keep on going. Plus, some SUVs with bigger engines are more efficient than cars over longer distances, costs which you can divide up between your travel companions saving you money. 

Car rental insurance in Costa Rica

Having insurance is required to drive in Costa Rica by law, however, there are many different options available. Understanding what each option is will help you decide what kind of coverage is right for you. Here is a breakdown of the most common types of insurance available for 4x4 rentals in Costa Rica.


Liability insurance is mandatory in Costa Rica and with JumboCar the minimum coverage is included in our rental prices. The legal and mandatory liability only covers body damages (not material damages) and only up to around USD 10.000.

Damage and Theft protection

All our vehicle rentals in Costa Rica include damage and theft protection in the price. However, this coverage is optional and can be removed if you choose to use your own insurance, such as through a credit card. 
The deposit is higher without Damage and Theft protection, and amounts to around the price of the vehicle.
With CDW, the deposit amounts to 600 USD and 1600 USD depending on the vehicle.

Supplemental Liability Insurance

If you would like to add an extra layer of protection, you can opt to purchase supplemental liability insurance to cover things like damages done to third parties. With supplemental liability insurance you are covered up to USD 500.000 !

Driving in Costa Rica

Driving in Costa Rica is not much different than driving elsewhere in North America. Most of the traffic laws are the same you would find in the USA or Canada, making the experience an easy adjustment for most drivers. 

If you plan to drive primarily in cities like San Jose, Liberia, or San Francisco, a regular car will do just fine. But if you really want to explore the country and visit places like the Arenal Volcano, Tamarindo, or the many amazing national parks, then a SUV or 4x4 is the way to go. 

 While manual transmissions are more common and cheaper in Costa Rica, automatics are also widely available. The best option is to choose the type of vehicle you are used to or most comfortable driving.

Minimum Age for Renting a 4WD

You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in Costa Rica. However, drivers must be 21 years old, have had a driver’s license for 2 years, and purchase additional young driver insurance in order to rent most vehicle categories from our fleet in San Jose, including 4x4 vehicles. 

Drivers above the age of 25 with at least 3 years of driving experience may rent any car from our fleet, including prestige models, and do not need to purchase additional insurance coverage.  

Best place to pick up your 4x4 rental : San Jose Airport Costa Rica

The best place to pick up your rental vehicle is at the San Jose airport. Picking your rental vehicle up here will save you time waiting for a ride on a bus and money paying for an expensive taxi.
Reaching Jumbo Car office at the airport is very convenient. Our team will be waiting for you at the exit of the terminal and take you on our complimentary shuttle to our office just a few short minutes away where most of the car rental companies are located. Picking up your rental vehicle from the international airport will also offer you the best prices and the biggest selection of models, including 4x4s. 

How much is a 4x4 rental in Costa rica ?

Jumbo Car’s prices have no hidden fees, what you see advertised is how much you pay. However, to get the lowest price, book online, book early, and pick up your rental 4x4 at San Jose airport! 
Planning a longer stay in Costa Rica than just a few days? You will need a way to get around! Ask us about a long-term rental option. If you want to really explore all the country has to offer, driving is the best way to go.