Dotted with impressive vistas, small towns, stunning beaches and lush jungles, a road trip across Costa Rica is the perfect way to get off the beaten track and see the real sights of this Central American paradise. Make the most of your next visit by following these expert tips to planning the perfect road trip.

Choose a reputable car rental service

Rent your car from a company that has an international reputation to uphold, these larger, more international companies are less likely to cause you any problems. They also often have better channels for reporting, complaints and 24 hour help lines for if anything does go wrong.  Some recommended international agencies operating in Costa Rica are Avis, Thrifty, Hertz, Payless, National, and Budget. They also offer the added benefit of being able to book your car online before you arrive, an often cheaper and certainly more convenient way of renting a car.

Take an active role in the inspection process

When renting a car, you should always inspect the car, and point out to the customer services representative every dent, scratch tear or minor damage that you spot, so that it can be noted down. It can be all too common for a car-rental company to claim you owe payment for minor repairs when damage is found on return. Protect yourself (and your budget) by making sure every pre-existing nick and scratch is accounted for before you pull out of the lot and set out exploring.

Get away from the tourists & discover your own Costa Rica

Taking a car means you get to escape the over run tourist hot spots where all the buses stop. Having a rental car means you can get away from it all – so take this opportunity with open arms!  From the wild and rather remote Osa Penninsula, to the scenic and rural Orosí Valley (an easy day trip from San Jose), take the time and spoil yourself with some of the lesser known Costa Rican destinations. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the serene and postcard-worthy places you can have all to yourself when you take your own transport.

Pack a Picnic

Costa Rican’s just love picnics, and why wouldn’t you? With the abundant sunshine and gorgeous nature it would seem a shame to ruin a perfect afternoon road trip by having to find the right place to eat. So why not do as the locals do and pull over next time you find a lovely view and pull out some home made gallo pinto or casado to munch on.

Costa Rica is an adventurer’s paradise full of natural and architectural jewels just waiting to be explored. Road trips are fantastic for getting you off the tour buses and into the real nature of a country. Traveling by car is a truly versatile way to see the sights, and can be as simple as a day trip out, or you can go all out and take the time to explore the full length of the country.