Car Rental San Jose

✓ No Hidden Costs ✓ No Booking Fees ✓ Free Cancellation
Driver's country of residence is United States of America (USA) and age is 30-65
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30 - 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 68
  • 69
  • 70
  • 71
  • 72
  • 73
  • 74
  • 75
  • 76
  • 77
  • 78
  • 79
  • 80+
500+ Trusted Providers:

Cheapest Car Rental Rates

San Jose, Downtown Car Rental
Compact
Toyota Yaris or similar
Toyota Yaris
  • 4x
  • 2x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Auto.
Ace Rent a car
$26.31 / per day
San Jose, Downtown Car Rental
Economy
Toyota Yaris or similar
Toyota Yaris
  • 4x
  • 2x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Man.
Ace Rent a car
$26.31 / per day
San Jose, Downtown Car Rental
Economy
Toyota Yaris or similar
Toyota Yaris
  • 4x
  • 2x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Auto.
Ace Rent a car
$26.31 / per day
San Jose, Downtown Car Rental
Full-size
Toyota Corolla or similar
Toyota Corolla
  • 5x
  • 4x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Auto.
Ace Rent a car
$26.31 / per day

Most Popular Car Rental Offers

San Jose, Downtown Car Rental
Standard
Toyota Corolla or similar
Toyota Corolla
  • 5x
  • 2x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Auto.
Ace Rent a car
$26.31 / per day
Juan Santamaria International Airport (San José Airport) Car Rental
Compact
Toyota Yaris or similar
Toyota Yaris
  • 5x
  • 2x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Man.
GreenMotion
$27.89 / per day
San Jose, Downtown Car Rental
Mini
Hyundai i10 or similar
Hyundai i10
  • 4x
  • 1x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Man.
Economy rent a car
$28.63 / per day
Juan Santamaria International Airport (San José Airport) Car Rental
Mini
BYD F0 or similar
BYD F0
  • 4x
  • 1x
  • 4x
  • Yes
  • Man.
Thrifty
$29.72 / per day
The above prices are only approximate and were last updated at 09:06 on 2019-11-13. Prices may vary based on the booking dates, length of rental, and car class.

Travel Information

Language
Spanish,
English
Currency
CRC
Country code
506
Average car rental length
7 days
Economy car rental price
$46.63 / per day
Traffic direction
Right-hand
Speed limit out of town
40 - 60 km/h
25 - 37 mi/h
Speed limit within town
40 km/h
25 mi/h
Acceptable limit of BAC
0.02%
Rating
8.0

Why rent a car in San Jose?

San Jose is a great place to explore by car. Although Costa Rica is more famous for its beautiful coastline, volcanic landscapes, and tropical nature reserves, the capital city also has plenty to offer from fascinating museums focusing on the region’s pre-Columbian past to colorful neighborhoods and some of the best restaurants in the country. San Jose is located in the central part of Costa Rica which means that both the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts, as well as all the other main attractions, are easily reached from here.

San Jose Car Rental

Top ways to enter San Jose

  • Juan Santamaria Airport: Named after a Costa Rican national hero and sometimes simply called San Jose Airport, it serves more than 5 million travelers every year. Served by more than 20 airlines, it offers flights to and from destinations in North, Central, and South America as well as the Caribbean Islands. Located 17km (11 miles) northwest of the city center, the airport can be reached in about 20 minutes.
  • Tobías Bolaños International Airport: The other airport serving the capital city, San Jose-Tobias Bolaños only serves domestic routes of as July 2019, connecting the capital city to many destinations in all four corners of the country. International flights have been scheduled before and there are plans for doing so again in the near future. Located just 8km (5 miles) north of the city center, the airport can be reached in about 15 minutes.
  • Liberia Airport: Also known as Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport after Costa Rica’s former president, the airport is located near the border with Nicaragua in the northern part of the country near the Pacific Coast. It hosts flights to and from many destinations in the Americas and also serves a route to London in the United Kingdom. Located 220km (136 miles) northwest of San Jose, the airport can be reached in about 3 hours and 15 minutes. The airport should not be confused with Monrovia International Airport in Liberia, a country in West Africa, which is sometimes also called Liberia Airport.
  • Limon Airport: Located on the Caribbean coast, Limon Airport serves the city of the same name. As of July 2019, it only hosts domestic flights, but there are plans for starting to serve some international routes in the near future. Limon Airport is 160km (100 miles) east of San Jose and can be reached in about three hours.

Useful city facts

  • A tropical destination with wet and dry seasons, San Jose is a very warm place year-round. Temperature differences are minimal between the seasons - the average high temperature is 30°C  (87°F) in April, the warmest month, and 27°C  (81°F) in October, the coldest. The rainy season lasts roughly from May to October; in the dry season from January to March, there is almost no precipitation.
  • The population of San Jose itself is only 330,000, but around 1.8 million more people live in the city’s larger metropolitan area. This means that nearly every second inhabitant of Costa Rica lives in on around San Jose. The city is made up of 11 different cantons or districts, each of which is further divided into barrios. A person from San Jose is called a Josefino or Josefina, while Costa Ricans, in general, are sometimes informally known as Ticos.

Top destinations and activities

  • The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. One of the most specialized and interesting museums in Latin America, it consists of more than 1,600 golden artifacts that were found in Costa Rica. Some relics date back to as early as the year 500 AD. Not only are the golden objects on display, but the museum also does a good job at telling the story of the gold’s production and of its social and religious significance to the pre-Columbian civilizations of the region. Buying the ticket for the museum also allows you to visit the adjoining Numismatic Museum and the temporary exhibition galleries.
  • Church of Our Lady la Soledad. A neoclassical church built a little more than 100 years ago, it is one of the most popular (and most photographed) buildings in San Jose. The church is best known for its colorful glass windows. Not only a tourism object, it still fulfills its original role for the local community. The church is located near San Jose’s Chinatown, an interesting part of the city to explore if you’re in the area.
  • The National Museum. In 1948, Costa Rica became one of the first countries in the world to completely abolish its army. Since that year, the old and impressive Fort Cuartel Bellavista has hosted the country’s largest museum. With exhibitions of pre-Columbian stone tables, artifacts from the colonial times, and a large butterfly garden, it’s a truly interesting place to visit. 

Traffic and parking tips

  • Costa Rica drives on the right side of the road. Vehicles with the steering wheel on the right side are not permitted in Costa Rica.
  • Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limit is 120km/h (74 mph) on national highways, 60km/h (37 mph) on most secondary and countryside roads, 40km/h (24 mph) inside urban and built-up areas, and 25km/h (15 mph) around hospitals and schools.
  • Drivers are not allowed to cross yellow lines.
  • Many places in Costa Rica, even some neighborhoods of San Jose, do not have a unified house numbering system. Many places can only be found in relation to the nearest landmark. The road signs might also be lacking. Because of this, it’s a good idea to get a rental car with a GPS system.
  • Most national highways in Costa Rica are in good shape, but the secondary roads and roads crossing protected areas can be of varying quality. Some are not paved, might have potholes, lack adequate lighting, and have no sections for pedestrians. There’s plenty of animals in Costa Rica, so both cattle or wildlife crossing the road can also be an issue. Mudslides and floods happen, too. Because of this, it’s important to drive very carefully, especially after dark, and to plan your route in advance.
  • For driving in San Jose, getting a smaller or medium-sized car is a good choice. However, if you plan to drive in rural or natural areas, getting a 4WD is a good idea. 
  • The legal alcohol limit is 0.05%. The laws are actively enforced and exceeding the limit can lead to fines, a license ban, or even deportation or imprisonment. 
  • Proof of insurance and the documentation of the car need to be in it whenever you’re driving.
  • When driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
  • The nation-wide, general emergency number is 911. You can also call 117 for police, 118 for the fire department and paramedics, and 128 for an ambulance. 

Toll roads

There are many toll roads in Costa Rica, some of them starting or ending in San Jose.

Most toll roads have three types of lanes - manual, voluntary, and Quick Pass. The toll booths in the manual lanes only accept cash. It’s a good idea to have coins and lower denomination notes, otherwise getting change back might be an issue.

In the voluntary lanes, the fee is slightly higher than in the manual ones and the toll booths only accept exact change. The idea is that the voluntary lanes generally tend to move faster than the manual ones. For tourists, it’s only worth taking them if you are in a rush.

The cars that can use the Quick Pass lanes have to be equipped with the Quick Pass electronic transponder. The payment will be made automatically and the transponder will register it by beeping. Many rental cars will come pre-equipped with a Quick Pass transponder, and some rental car providers might charge an extra fee for this service. Contact your rental car provider in advance to find out more about Quick Pass or with any other questions regarding toll roads in Costa Rica.

Ideas for a day-trip

  • Cartago. Costa Rica’s third city is not short of impressive historical places, such as the Our Lady of the Angels Basilica and the Ruins o Saint James the Apostle Parish. But there’s just as much to enjoy in the province of the same name from Lankester Botanical Gardens to one of Costa Rica’s most impressive places, Irazú Volcano. Cartago is just 27km (17 miles) east of San Jose, but because of frequently congested traffic, it can take up to one hour to get to it.
  • Orosi Valley. A large area in Cartago Province, Orosi deserves a special mention. Made up of ancient ruins, hot springs, waterfalls, coffee plantations, and Tapantí National Park, it has everything for a fun day away from the city. Located 42km (26 miles) southeast of San Jose, Orosi can be reached in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Jacó. Located in the central part of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Jacó is a surfer’s paradise. With plenty of surf shops, schools, and instructors, it’s a place that everyone from first-timers to seasoned pros can enjoy. With many great restaurants and affordable accommodation opportunities, Jacó is one of the most enjoyable places in the country. Located 98km (60 miles) southeast of the capital, it can be reached in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Most popular rental types and cars

The most popular rental car in San Jose is the Toyota Corolla. Travelers also love the Toyota Yaris and the Hyundai i10. The most popular rental car types in San Jose are standard, compact, and mini. Smaller cars are great for driving in the city (and perhaps even preferable to bigger ones because the city has its fair share of narrow streets); however, if you plan to travel to natural areas outside the capital city, renting a more powerful vehicle is a good idea. 

Further destinations

  • Arenal Volcano. A volcano surrounded by a national park, Arenal is a large nature area in the northern part of the country. The Arenal Volcano went dormant in 2010, but visitors sometimes still get to enjoy the sight of smoke coming out of it. Visitors can go on a walk through lava rocks, swim in Lake Arenal, trek through the jungle, or simply enjoy the primeval landscape. Located in Alajuela Province 160km (99 miles) north of San Jose, Arenal can be reached in about three hours.
  • Corcovado National Park. A true wildlife paradise, Corcovado’s forests and waters are home to a large number of unique and protected species. Some of the park’s inhabitants include the jaguar, puma, white-faced capuchin, American crocodile, and even bull shark. Keep in mind that Corcovado is very hard to get to - you will definitely need a 4WD vehicle and hiring a local guide is also strongly advised. The best idea is to set up a tour in advance, either from San Jose or Puerto Jimenez, a small town 373km (231 miles) southwest of the capital on the edge of the park.
  • Puerto Viejo. A coastal town on Costa Rica’s South Caribbean coast near the border with Panama, Puerto Viejo is another surfer’s paradise, only even more remote than that of Jacó. Should you ever tire of hitting those beautiful waves, the area also has wildlife refuges, rainforests, and coral reefs to explore. Puerto Viejo is 217km (135 miles) southeast of San Jose and can be reached in about four hours by car.

Car Rental Prices in San Jose

  • Large cars - from $72 per day
  • Medium cars - from $54 per day
  • People Carriers / Vans - from $90 per day
  • Small cars - from $44 per day
  • SUVs - from $80 per day

How can I save money on my rental car?

Follow these tips and land a great rental car in San Jose:

  • Compare the rates of different rental car providers
  • Book your rental car well in advance
  • Plan your route before you go
  • Know your fuel and mileage requirements
  • Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting San Jose is the cheapest in May when renting a car is about 40% cheaper than the yearly average and a whole 57% cheaper than renting a car in July.

Top Cities near San Jose

  1. Liberia Car Rentals from $28.94 per day
    169.3 km / 105.2 miles away

Top 2 Locations near San Jose

Map of Car Rental Locations

Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in San Jose?

Car rental prices in San Jose vary a lot according to the time of year. This graph compares month-to-month price changes to help you find the best offer.
Average Rental Price in San Jose
$52.38
January
$43.52
February
$37.75
March
$45.25
April
$25.32
May
$34.59
June
$58.47
July
$36.95
August
$25.43
September
$34.25
October
$50.51
November
$47.61
December
The best month to rent a car in San Jose is May (when prices for an Economy class start from $25.32). This is 38% cheaper than the yearly average and 57% cheaper than renting in July (when rental prices start at $58.47 for a Compact class). Knowing this can help you find the best price.

What’s the usual rental length in San Jose?

Travel lengths vary from month to month: in January, travelers rent a car for an average of 11 days in February, the average rental period is 8 days.
Average Rental Length in San Jose
11
January
8
February
8
March
10
April
11
May
8
June
8
July
8
August
11
September
8
October
11
November
9
December

What's the most popular month to rent a car in San Jose?

While travelers visit San Jose year-round, the most popular month for renting a car is October, and the least popular is June.
San Jose Car Rental Popularity by Monthly Searches
75%
January
65%
February
48%
March
41%
April
47%
May
34%
June
42%
July
42%
August
183%
September
488%
October
60%
November
76%
December

Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers

Rental Agent Make / Model Doors Luggage Type
GreenMotion Daihatsu Bego 4 2 SUVs
GreenMotion Daihatsu Bego 4WD 4 2 SUVs
GreenMotion Daihatsu Bego 4 2 SUVs
Ace Rent a car Suzuki Jimny 3 1 SUVs
Economy rent a car Toyota RAV4 4 4 SUVs
Ace Rent a car Suzuki Jimny 4 4 SUVs
NuCarrentals Suzuki Jimny 4 1 SUVs
Economy rent a car Hyundai Creta 4 2 SUVs
Keddy Suzuki Jimny 3 1 SUVs
NuCarrentals Suzuki Jimny 3 1 SUVs

Our Customers Reviews

Belgium
Daihatsu Bego
January 14, 2019
We had been told that the roads are in bad shape and it's hard to drive. We went to the Monteverde, Arenal-area and the South Pacific area around Jaco and south to Dominical beach and had absolutely no problems with driving or the roads.

Top 13 Suppliers for San Jose in 2019

GreenMotion
GreenMotion
Exceptional 9.4
+50621053400 / +50621053466
3, Rio Segundo, Provincia de Alajuela, Alajuela, 20109
National
National
Exceptional 9.2
+50622427911
Llegadas internaciones, Aeropuerto Juan Santamaría, Provincia de Alajuela, Alajuela
Alamo
Alamo
Excellent 8.8
+50622427907
500 Meters East And 200 Meters South Of Hotel Costa Rica Marriott, San Jose
Enterprise
Enterprise
Excellent 8.8
22427900
SAN JOSE INTL AIRPORT,
SIXT
SIXT
Excellent 8.7
+50624313803
Oficentro Plaza aeropuerto C3
Europcar
Europcar
Excellent 8.6
+50625199308
MANGO PLAZA 1KM NORTH OF JUAN SANTA
Keddy
Keddy
Excellent 8.6
+50624409990
Alajuela Province, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Economy rent a car
Economy rent a car
Excellent 8.5
+50622992000
Tobias Bolanos International Airport, San Jose Province, San Jose, Costa Rica
Avis
Avis
Excellent 8.5
+50622932222
Juan Santamaria Intl Apo Alajuela Centro
Budget
Budget
Excellent 8.5
+50624362010
Juan Santamaría International Airport, Alajuela CR 20101, Alajuela Province, Río Segundo
NuCarrentals
NuCarrentals
Very good 7.6
+50622322820
Paseo Colon con 26-28th St Calle 28 San Jose San Jose CR, San José Province, 50186
RightCars
RightCars
Very good 7.3
Ace Rent a car
Ace Rent a car
Very good 7.3
+50621053466 / 50624407838
Office is located across from

Why choose us?

  • Exclusive rates from a wide range of suppliers

    Providing rental offers for over 2,000,000 cars in 150+ countries, we can find you a great car in the right location for the best price
  • High level of satisfaction

    Great Trustpilot review score – 4.6 – based on feedback from thousands of our customers
  • Personalized assistance during the reservation process

    24/7 customer support in 12 languages via your preferred channel — chat, phone, email
We use cookies in order to provide you the best and most relevant experience and optimize our website functionality. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies. Read more
Please select a pick-up location and dates