Car rental is a hot topic for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Recent research conducted by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) indicates that, after accommodations, renting a car is the largest expense, averaging $ 702 for an eleven-day vacation. The Internet is buzzing with negative reviews discussing overcharging, poor customer service and mechanical breakdowns. You might have even written one yourself! A typical midsize (3 - 4 adults) 4X4 rental runs between $ 58 and $ 65 daily with third party insurance and rates can vary as much as 20 percent among car rental companies, so reading a quick review will be time well spent once you calculate the savings . So the question is;? Which rental company offers the best balance of fair price, capable customer service and reliable vehicles I've researched it all for you, so keep reading! Disclosure: This research was conducted in May - July 2013. The following companies were selected because they are the most widely used in Costa Rica Some are local companies; others are international franchises of recognized brand names Comparisons include: customer service, pricing and.. the reservation process. The companies are listed alphabetically and not based on personal or online preferences. One of the biggest causes for complaints is from the stack of unforeseen charges presented to the renter once standing at the rental company's counter. Vacationers are typically tired after a long flight and then are confronted by costs that were not anticipated, explained or budgeted. According to Costa Rican law, every driver is required to carry liability coverage to insure against injuries to third parties. Car rental companies generally refrain from disclosing the cost of this policy in the quoted rental rate to appear more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can sometimes be as much as double the vehicle's rental cost. The only guarantee against insurance confusion is to inquire if your estimate includes the third party insurance and insist on a written quotation. Expect to pay between $ 12 and $ 15 daily for this insurance, depending on the make and model of the rented vehicle and the rental car agency. This is a legal condition of your rental agreement and is generally not covered by credit cards and can not be waived. It's a fact of renting a car in Costa Rica.