Frequently Asked Car Rental Questions


Little confused?  We understand.

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There’s an overwhelming amount of traveler advice out there — especially when planning a vacation to another country.

We all need guidance at some point, so that’s why we’ve created this list of the most asked questions.

If we’ve missed one, please let us know in the comments section below and we’ll post the answer straight away!

1.  How old do I have to be?

Minimum age for all drivers is 18 years.  We have no set maximum age for senior drivers; as long as you are in good health and confident driving in a foreign country, then go for it!

However if you, or any authorized drivers, are between 18 and 21 years old, the Basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) deductible is doubled ($1,950) and the Full CDW (zero deductible) option is unavailable.  Return To Contents

2.  How much is the deposit?

Vehicles in Costa Rica are more expensive than most other industrialized countries due to the high import tariffs.  As such, rental deposits may seem higher.

Depending upon the selected insurance (which may be viewed here), either a $100 (minimum), $750 or $2,000 (maximum) rental deposit will be placed on your credit card.  This credit card will not be charged until you pick up the vehicle.

This amount will be refunded upon the safe return of the vehicle; typically within 2 to 3 days.  Return To Contents

Payment Chart

3.  What types of payments do you accept?

The method of payment available to the customer depends on the coverage options selected.

If the customer decides to waive in-house CDW with a proof of coverage letter from their credit card supplier, then the credit card CDW is only valid if the customer pays both the deposit and final payment on the same credit card.  Only one car rental per card holder is allowed in this case.

If the customer chooses to purchase CDW coverage from the car rental agency, then although the deposit must be made with a credit card, the final payment may be made with a debit card or even cash.  In this case, multiple vehicle rentals may be made by a card holder just as long as the available balance can cover both the deposits and final bills for the combined rental cars. Return To Contents

4.  Which credit cards do you accept?

Vamos accepts VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Discover.

Some of these companies also offer rental car protection plans which include a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).  Please see our Credit Card Insurance Programs summary for more information.  Return To Contents

5.  Can the rental deposit be placed on a credit card that is different from the credit card used for payment?

According to American Express’ documentation, part of the requirement for obtaining CDW coverage in the first place is that the deposit AND the final bill will appear on the SAME credit card.  We cannot speak for all credit card companies, so please contact yours prior to reserving a vehicle.

It also goes without saying that the ‘driver’ is the card holder.  If that is not the case, then make sure the one who will be operating the vehicle is added to the rental agreement as an additional driver.  Return To Contents

6.  Can I put the deposit on my debit card?

The short answer is that we used to, but due to the nature of debit cards, we no longer do.

Since most of them do not offer a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) as a member benefit, renters needed to purchase our insurance in order to have more coverage than just the country’s mandatory minimum.

Furthermore, it may take the bank up to twelve (12) weeks to release a deposit, making its use impractical.  This is considerably longer than the 2 to 3 business days for a credit card hold to be released.  This is not how we’d like to be treated, so we’ve moved away from using these cards as part of our deposit process.

One may pay the final bill using a debit card — just not the rental deposit.  For a full explanation, please see the accepted payments section for more information.  Return To Contents

7.  Can I Rent Multiple Cars?

There’s two answers, Yes and No, depending on the CDW chosen.

If the renter elects to use the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) that their credit card offers, then only one car rental per person is allowed — since the ‘driver’, as defined by the CDW, is the card holder.

If the renter chooses to utilize the in-house CDW, and since Vamos is assuming the responsibility for the damages, then multiple vehicles may be rented by the same person, using the same credit card — as long as the available credit limit is sufficient to cover both the deposit ($750 for Basic CDW and $100 for Full CDW) and final bill for the combined total amount of rented cars.  Return To Contents

8.  Can We Split the Cost of a Car?

“Yes, but…” is typically our answer. It’s not us, but the insurance that determines the hows and whys.

A vehicle needs to have a (1) Collision Damage Waiver (either from a credit card company or one of our in-house versions [Basic/Full]), along with the country’s (2) Mandatory Insurance, normally referred to Third Party Liability (TPL) or Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI).  These two parts are required.

Furthermore, a car has one primary driver and a credit card is required for the deposit.

If a credit card CDW is used, the name of the driver AND the final method of payment must be made with the same card used for the rental deposit.  The perk of the credit card company’s CDW is reliant on the card paying for the rental — in its entirety.  Two persons cannot be listed as the primary driver so that they can claim CDW coverage via their credit cards.  No spilt payments are possible with Vamos, but the two parties can make whatever arrangements they wish in order to reimburse the other.

If our in-house CDW is chosen, the final payment may be billed separately using two credit cards, etc., but the deposit starts and stays attached to one person’s credit card.  There’s no way around this point.

We can put both names on the rental agreement, but one will still be the primary, while the other will be listed as an ‘additional driver’.

TL;DR If you want to split the bill, then select one of our in-house CDW options.  Return To Contents

9.  What is Express Check-In?

If you provide us with the information needed to prepare the rental agreement in advance, you may depart right away towards your next destination.  Start your rental — and vacation — even faster!  Return To Contents

10.  How Much Luggage Can I Fit?

The amount of accommodated luggage is referenced with our numbered baggage icons for each vehicle — look for the x # notation.  As the number of bags allowed per airline differs, along with your variable amount of carry-on items, please take this often overlooked ‘total’ into consideration when planning an appropriate car size.

For those clients who need seating for seven passengers in our Premium SUVs, our staff advises them to pack light or to take advantage of our free roof racks to transport their additional luggage.  If so, please request these roof racks in advance so that your departure is not delayed unnecessarily.  Return To Contents

11.  Do you allow pets?

Yes we do and with no additional fees — provided all goes well.

You’re going on vacay and your pets are just as much a part of your life as your children (sometimes more), so it’s understandable to want to share the experience with them.

Pets are welcome to ride in the car, doggie heads sticking out of the windows and all, but be aware that pet owners of all sorts may incur additional charges due to glass smears, shedding, accidents and/or interior damage from claws or teeth caused by their animals.

This is why Vamos strongly recommends the use of pet carriers or crates as much as possible to avoid any extra cleaning fees or damages to the car since, ultimately, it’s the renter’s responsibility and not covered by any insurance plan.  Return To Contents

12.  Is there a cleaning fee?

Typically no, because our clients are mindful.  However, accidents do happen.

We have an average range for clean-ups, depending if it’s a $20 ‘got sand on the seats and floor’ occurrence to a $100+ deep cleaning caused by an overturned fish cooler…  It’s happened.

This policy applies to pets as well.  Vehicles should be returned free of pet hair and clean to avoid any further fees.

Furthermore, our vehicles are all non-smoking in keeping with Costa Rican law, so do light up outside the vehicle — the dashboard ashtrays are purely decorative.  Charges will be incurred if a vehicle’s interior smells of smoke on return.

You don’t want to pay it and we don’t want to clean it up, so treat our cars with a little love — and shake out those beach towels pretty please.  Return To Contents

13.  How can I pick up my rented car?

Pick up arrangements may be made for either the San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR) airports.  We offer this service free of charge.  One of our representatives, holding a sign displaying your name, will “Meet and Greet” you outside the Arrival terminal.  Please inform us of your flight information during the reservation process.  From this info, we’ll monitor the airport schedules for your arrival date.

Alternatively, you may take a taxi to either of our office locations.  Our main office in Alajuela is approximately 3-5 minutes away from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) and the Liberian branch office is 5 minutes away from the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR).  You will be responsible for the taxi fare.  Return To Contents

14.  What happens when our airplane lands somewhere else?

In the slight chance that your flight has been diverted to another airport due to volcanic activity, storms, etc., don’t worry, we’ll generally know what’s happening on the ground before you do!

Nevertheless, we’d certainly appreciate a quick call, text or email letting us know of your new arrival.  Like a worried parent, we’d like to know that you’re alright.

In the past, the airline has bused the passengers down to the appropriate locale.

No matter how you eventually get here, your reservation will remain open and your vehicle will be waiting.  Return To Contents

15.  Do you have an office in Liberia?

Yes, we do have an office in Liberia.  Please see the section, “How can I pick up my rented car?” for more information.  Return To Contents

16.  Do you have an airport location?

The simple answer is no, we do not.  The reason why is because maintaining offices at the airports would require us to raise our rates due to the 12% airport tax.  Our clients like saving money and we bet you do too!

The solution:  we arrange to meet you there.  Please see the section, “How can I pick up my rented car?” for more information.  Return To Contents

17.  Can Vamos Rent-A-Car deliver the car to me?

Yes, we can deliver the vehicle to all regions of the country for a reasonably priced fee.

Please see the Vehicle Delivery Fee Table at the bottom of this page for typical destinations and corresponding rates.

Whether it’s your hotel, bed and breakfast or vacation home, we will prepare all your paperwork in advance.  Take possession of your car right away, all without having to wait!  No lines, no hassles.  Return To Contents

18.  Can I return the car to a different location than where I picked it up?

Yes.  You may receive the rental vehicle at one location and return it to a different location, although separate fees may apply.

For instance, if you wanted to receive the car at our San Jose office, but at the end of the rental, return the car in Liberia (or the other way around), the fee would be $50 (as seen on the following chart).  Return To Contents

19.  Are there any special rental restrictions for ferry crossings?

Nope.  River crossings performed by professional services, such as the ferry at Puntarenas, are fine.  And in which case, we suggest being at that port at least 45 minutes before the ferry’s departure in order to purchase a ticket — and to secure a spot onboard.

What we do have issues with are those drivers who take it upon themselves to navigate water using local assistance…or worse, on their own.  If you’d like to void your insurance and become 100% responsible for the well-being of the vehicle, then go right ahead.  Otherwise, keep the wheels out of the running water!  Return To Contents

20.  Can the car leave the country?

Generally rental cars cannot be taken out of Costa Rica without serious repercussions.  Latin America is not like the European Union; our neighboring countries don’t allow uncontrolled exchanges.

One renter drove a car into Panama where it was seized.  This is considered negligence and voids all insurance; thus, they were financially responsible for the vehicle.  Normally, that’s doesn’t sound too bad, but all the red tape didn’t allow the car to be recovered quickly — all the while, the meter was still running — until the car returned to the office.

So if you don’t mind paying for a car that you’ll probably never see again, then by all means.  Go right ahead and see how far you get, but if you’d like to save forty grand or so…you might want to heed our advice and don’t do it.  Return To Contents

21.  What if the rental vehicle experiences mechanical difficulties?

Our in-house mechanics perform a thorough, pre-rental inspection on every car, so our meticulously maintained vehicles are safe and reliable, but things can happen.

If your rental vehicle does experience mechanical issues, just contact us with the supplied cell phone (from anywhere there is cell phone coverage) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

We will either dispatch a replacement vehicle or have a mechanic resolve the issue on the spot.  Our main goal is to get you back on the road as fast as possible.  Return To Contents

22.  Vehicle Delivery Fee Table :: Liberia and San Jose areas

We deliver all over Costa Rica!  If you do not see your destination on this reference table below, please contact us and our friendly staff will gladly assist you.

Deliveries (or returns) outside of our regular office hours will incur an additional $20 fee, each way, to cover staff overtime.

One-way drop-offs between our Liberia and San Jose branches:  $50
Deliveries (or returns) of rental vehicle to San Jose area hotels (including Heredia & Alajuela):  $9

Destinations Delivery Cost Destinations Delivery Cost
From Our Nearest
Office to:
Charges are
From Our Nearest
Office to:
Charges are
Arenal $ 75 Playa Carillo $ 60
Atenas $ 25 Playa Conchal $ 35
Buenos Aires $ 90 Playa Esterillos $ 50
Cabo Matapalo $ 150 Playa Flamingo $ 35
Cahuita $ 120 Playa Garza $ 50
Cañas $ 40 Playa Grande $ 35
Cartago $ 35 Playa Guiones $ 50
Ciudad Quesada $ 60 Playa Hermosa $ 30
Corcovado $ 175 Playa Junquillal $ 35
Dominical $ 150 Playa Langosta $ 35
Drake Bay $ 175 Playa Naranjo $ 50
Golfito $ 125 Playa Nosara $ 75
Grecia $ 35 Playa Ocotal $ 30
Guacimo $ 40 Playa Panama $ 20
Guapiles $ 40 Playa Pan de Azucar $ 35
Hacienda Pinilla $ 35 Playa Potrero $ 35
La Cruz $ 50 Playa Samara $ 75
La Fortuna $ 75 Playa Tamarindo $ 35
La Paz-Waterfall $ 60 Playas del Coco $ 20
Liberia Airport $ FREE Poas $ 30
Limon $ 60 Punta Islita $ 120
Los Chiles $ 150 Puntarenas $ 50
Mal País $ 160 Puerto Jiménez $ 150
Monteverde $ 75 Punta Leona $ 50
Montezuma $ 150 Punta Uvita $ 150
Naranjo $ 50 Puerto Viejo $ 130
Nicoya $ 50 Puerto Viejo, Sarapiqui $ 75
Orotina $ 30 Quepos $ 110
Palmar Norte $ 100 Santa Cruz $ 75
Papagayo $ 35 Santa Teresa $ 160
Paso Canoas $ 150 Siquirres $ 50
Peñas Blancas $ 75 Sixaola $ 150
Playa Avellana $ 35 Tambor $ 90
Playa Brasilito $ 35 Turrialba $ 75

  Return To Contents

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Ricardo Vargas

Webmaster at Vamos Rent-A-Car
Delivering your vehicle wherever and whenever you desire is a priority for Ricardo and Vamos.
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