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Private transportation or car rental? The price comparison

by | Jul 25, 2012

Are private transfers more expensive than renting a car?

The purpose of this post is to compare the costs of Costa Rica Private Transportation with the cost of renting a car.  Only prices for both options are compared and nothing else.

Let’s start by saying that rental car prices are a lot like plane tickets, in the sense that both are dependent on supply/demand and things like dates, car models, availability in remote locations and many other factors invisible to us mortals.

With that being said, we’ll take the real price quoted this week, July 24, 2012, for a standard SUV, manual transmission.  Most rental car companies in Costa Rica will use the Daihatsu BEGO, in the picture below.

Compare Costa Rica private transportation price with renting this Daihatsu BEGO 2012

The most popular rental car in Costa Rica

We’ll compare the cost of the BEGO with the private transfers needed for a week-long vacation.  Let’s say you’ll want to go from the airport to Arenal Volcano, then to Manuel Antonio and back to the airport.  We’ll add the cost of a few taxi rides for evening meals outside the hotel plus the cost of parking, fuel and insurance.

Rent a Car cost:

  • One week rental fee $235 USD
  • 7 days full insurance @ $25 US = $175
  • Average $15 per day in fuel $105
  • Highway tolls for $10
  • Parking and “cuida-carros” fees for $20
  • Total $545 USD

Private Transfers cost:

  • San Jose Airport to Arenal $125
  • Arenal to Manuel Antonio $205
  • Manuel Antonio back to San Jose airport $175
  • Taxis to dinner and other $40
  • Total $545 USD


I didn’t tweak the numbers.  I swear.  They just matched!

The conclusion:  price is irrelevant to this decision.  Stick to considerations about your own style of travel, safety and whatever makes your vacation more enjoyable.

And if you need help or have questions about Costa Rica private transportation, please drop us a quick email to [email protected]

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Logo de Destino Tropical. Sitio web para itinerarios personalizados y tours en Costa Rica
Destino Tropical es un sitio web donde creamos itinerarios personalizados para viajeros independientes en Costa Rica, con una gran diversidad de tours y atracciones
Logo de Destino Tropical. Sitio web para itinerarios personalizados y tours en Costa Rica