Although we have never hired a car and driver, lots of people do and are very happy with the service. Jal, my pilot, uses a compass, a map and a GPS to get around. Now, we can pretty much get anywhere. But if you don’t care for the time buses can take (not to mention learning the routes) and don’t want to waste time trying to find places in your rental car (and you can waste DAYS doing that, trust me), consider a driver. Following is an estimate of prices by a long time resident who owns a guesthouse. And contact info for two drivers recommended on the Costa Rica Living forum. I would start here:
Oscar Cascante has been a good friend of mine since 2001. I have used his services frequently for trips to the airport and to Valle del Sol golf course. He was a licensed taxi driver for many years with his own vehicle up until 2005 when he decided to sell out and buy a minivan. The reason for this was that most of his clients were established regulars and he needed a larger vehicle to accomodate the increasing demand for group transportation. Oscar is a very friendly, talkative and easy going person who is responsible and punctual. He speaks English very well, is a non-drinker and lives in a southern suburb of San Jose.
Details from his business card:
Transportes Cascante Cab Services
Trips all over country and Airport Transfers 24 hours
Oscar Cascante Bogarín
Home/fax (506) 270-3686
Cell: (506) 388-1281
P.O. Box 1968-2100
P.S. I have heard Oscar’s name over and over again!
Posted by: "paddlerkelly" 9/25/06
I have just returned from my first trip to CR and loved it. I wanted to recommend to people visiting CR for the first time to please consider hiring a driver. I traveled with my adult daughter and we had an exceptional experience using Frank Chicas of Frank Chicas tours. He is a Tico, speaks english, great sense of humor, honest, knows the area. You can get some better prices on rooms if he does the arranging for you. You can sit back enjoy the scenery and relax. He carries the luggage, makes the calls, gives invaluable suggestions, and always smiling. He doesn’t drink or smoke and is professional without being stuffy. You can reach him at 391-2030, FrankChicasTours@yahoo.com. You don’t have to deal with renting a car and the insurance, not knowing where you are going exactly. He picked us up promptly in a brand new Toyota van. He has a company with other people working for him. If you don’t use him the entire trip use him the first few days until you get your "Costa Rica" bearings.
Posted by Berni on 9/25/06
The drivers we work with have a rate that starts at about $15 an hour, which becomes $40 to $50 a 1/2 day and $100 + for the day. The "+" is the mileage/distance factor. If you noodle around the central valley doing errands it is $100 a day. If you make a beeline for Playa Avellana (what a pretty beach) in Guanacaste. If you go part way through the alphabet to Manzanillo on the Caribbean it will be $150 (esentially a gas issue). This is pretty typical. If you make it all the way through the alphabet to Zancudo it could be $200 (buckets of gas or more usually diesel).
NOTE FROM ME: Renting a car costs $50/day minimum, plus gas. Prices quoted on the internet and over the phone usually do not include mandatory insurance. When comparing prices, make sure you get the full ticket: rental price plus all taxes and required insurance.
ALSO, some credit cards will not insure a rental car in Costa Rica, so if you are relying on your credit card rental car insurance, check with them first.