See our Advertiser Disclosure here.
Earlier this year, I wrote a post about how we were struggling with the decision to rent a car in Costa Rica during our upcoming stay at Andaz Papagayo (see Wrestling Over Car Rental Decision in Costa Rica). We had reserved a rental car through Vamos, thinking we would use it for excursions and going out to eat. Many readers who have rented cars in Costa Rica weighed in on the decision in the comments section. I was also surprised to receive several private emails on the subject from travelers with bad experiences.
Last week, I made the decision to cancel the rental car. Several factors came into play.
We’re Only There 4 Full Days
While we’re staying five nights at the resort, we will arrive late in the afternoon. So, we really only have four full days. We had already planned to enjoy the resort for two of those days (riding bikes, going to the beach club, playing tennis, kids’ club, etc.) The rental car would only be used for two days.
We Found Cheaper Excursions
Based on recommendations from past Andaz guests, I found a family-owned tour company with very reasonable prices for airport pickup and excursions. We’re using them for airport transfers (including a stop at Walmart for some groceries) and a full-day trip down the coast to visit five beaches (plus surfing lessons for my boys). For the zip lining excursion, we booked one that is only 10 minutes from the resort with free transportation. The total cost of transportation for these things is about $200 less than the rental car.
The Closest Restaurants are 90-Minutes Round-Trip
If we want to leave the peninsula for other restaurants, the closest ones are 30-45 minutes each way. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, my kids are horrible car passengers. I’m not sure the restaurant would be worth enduring the drive with my kids.
Relaxing is Priority #1
The biggest factor in canceling the rental car is that we really want this to be a relaxing vacation. Some vacations are meant for exploring (like our Australia/New Zealand trip last summer), and some are meant to be relaxing. My kids have even said, “We will have plenty of time to just chill at the beach, right?” Yes, we will prioritize that. We’re all ready for a break.
Will we regret this decision to cancel the rental car? I hope not. But, I’ll let you know the honest answer when we get back.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW VARIOUS CREDIT CARDS AND AVAILABLE SIGN-UP BONUSES
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.
Just wanted to say that we used the Chase Portal for insurance / peace of mind reasons and selected Thrifty near the airport for $137.70 for a WEEK in 2012. The experience was flawless minus the slow check in (did NOT force us to upgrade to their insurance, covered by Chase Card) and the Garmin GPS we used was great for getting around.
This lead us to explore the more ‘off the cut’ places in CR, and could leisurely stroll and visit beaches and random stop offs as needed.
That being said, its different going as a family staying at a resrt so I see your point.
Hi Nancy can I get the name of your tour company also .
Hi there – same here – would like the name of the tour company you are using. THX!
Can you please email me with the name of the private tour company your have found. Thank you. Looking forward to your review,
We are thinking about doing the same with our rental car there in a couple weeks as I think due to all the corona virus outbreaks I think we are just going to hang out at the Andaz for most of our trip now, Can you tell me what local travel company you decided to use for you airport transfers and excursions now?
@Diana I’ll send it to you via email.
Rusty Shackleford says
Hi Nancy, we’re heading to CR in June, did you check out Vamos rental car? I’ve read pretty positive things about them and they seem to be family friendly, free car seats, etc. Supposed to be no pressure sales tactics and affordable additional coverage if you desire beyond the govt mandated junk.
Your tour sounds awesome, will you please do a follow up with your experience?
@Rusty Yes, Vamos is the company we originally rented with. I’ve heard good things about them, but we’re still going to skip it this time.