Costa Rica 4x4 Rentals


Subject: Re: Do you have any information?
Date: Sunday, March 14, 1999 1:42 AM

I have been to Costa Rica 3 times. The very last time, I rented a vehicle, which overheated and we had to nurse to Liberia. Unfortunately we had to leave it there (but had notified the rental company and awaited their call for advise). Ex----- Car Rental Co. (now Tall--- FICA) posted the money we owed for the rental on the credit card (plus one day we didn't use) and very quickly posted the deposit of c330,000 colones ($1229.32) to the account as well, even though the car had been returned and accepted. To make a long story short, if our friends in CR had not been as tenacious as they were and if they had not been assisted by their attorney, we would have been another theft story. I can only imagine how many people have been taken advantage by Mr.Exo---Scum-bag. So there you go . . . Thank you again for a reference on a car rental company. My tendency would be to use an american name. What do you think?

Our Reply:
from Harold <
Subject: Re: Do you have any information on car rental companies reputations

Date: Sunday, March 14, 1999 11:19 AM

Flat Rates Travel handled over 2700 reservations last year. We only use the 3 rental car companies out of the 100 or so as I explained to you in last message. We give them so much business that they pay attention immediately to any complaints from us. The complaints have been few and far between but the ones I remember best in last 3 years were as follows.

1.Ants in car---I got an adjustment

2.The tercel had only 4 seat belts not five--could not overcome this one

3.One tourist thought he should only pay for a week although he kept the car 7 days and 8 hours-------given policies in other countries this was ridiculous

4.Several complain about the required insurance but gold cards and amex only reduce or eliminate the deductible here. They do not cover liability although they will pay you back in the states I understand. Unlike most countries the government of costa rica owns the only insurance company here and sets the rules

5.We have yet to have an obvious ripoff similar to yours from any of our rentals although the local english language newspaper lists that as number one complaint of tourists who complain of rip offs


The last question about renting from some company that has an american brand name is a little tricky. Many car rental companies here will use a brand name you are familar with and which may or may not have any connection to the same name american brand name car rental company. Almost without any exception however the rental company here is not a division or branch of any american brand name. One of the companies we use which is absolutely first rate pays for the use of an american brand name but i assure you the ownership is completely separate.

From: Nick Fogler
Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 8:59 AM
Subject: Re: Drop off charge...


Can confirm that the $50 was credited to my account on the 27th. Thanks
again for your follow up. Will not hesitate to recommend.

Cheers, Nick

On Sat, 24 February 2001, "Harold at Orbit" wrote:

i have spoken with the director of the rental car co
not only does he agree that we have it in writing that the chrage was $30
but he claims a service person got fired for this
as well as reversing the $50 on your card

only you can tell us if this is true
we rely on feedback positive or negative to know that our promises are not

when you recieve this credit on next bill we would appreciate your writing
immediately since we will want to use you as proof we do keep our

From: Nick Fogler
Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 1:12 PM
Subject: Drop off charge...

Hi Harold,

We returned our rental car on the 15th as planned, but they charged us $80
for the drop off charge - $50 more than you said it would be. They said
there was nothing they could do. I'm obviously a little upset, as the
overall price ended up being significantly higher than promised, and we
booked through you largely because it looked like a good deal. Anything you
can do?

Thanks, Nick


From: hugh pettit <
To: Harold <
Date: Wednesday, August 25, 1999 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: Car Rental Request

Service was good - no problems. We really didn't need the 4X4 capability, however highly recommend a 4X4 to future customers as the axle clearance allows easier access over the dirt and rock roads. My brother-in-law was with us during part of are visit and had to "crawl" at a very slow speed in a Nissan stationwagon over CR's dirt & rock roads to avoid undercarriage damage
Hugh Pettit
San Francisco

From: Edward Gorman jr. <
To: Harold at Orbit <
Date: Saturday, March 17, 2001 9:16 AM

Please feel free to use me for reference as it was most helpful to not have to leave a non-refundable deposit when we had no idea if we would be able to make the flight. But that is the downside to traveling for free. YOU WENT BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY TO HELP US GET THE 4 RUNNER AND THE SERVICE WAS GOOD AND THE CAR WAS IN GOOD CONDITION AS PROMISED . Once again thanks for your help.
Ed Gorman

Date: Thursday, March 02, 2000
7:49 PM
Subject: vacation

Hi Harold

I would like to thank you for the way you handled all our travel requirements while we visited Costa Rica this winter, all arrangements hotels, car rentals and tours were first rate. We certainly would recommend Flat Rates Travel to other travelers
Ed Forster
St. Albert Alberta, Canada

From: Susan Degress
To: harold at orbit
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 5:30 AM
Subject: Re: Question about hours

**** I'd like add to my original message, and I hope you'll post it to your
website after my reviews of the hotels:

"Harold helped me a great deal by acting as a mediator when I had trouble
with a rentacar company. He was able to work out a deal for me with a
company that tried overcharging me. He went above and beyond the call of
duty, and I would recommend his services to anyone traveling to Costa Rica.
With Harold on your side, you can't go wrong."

Many thanks,


From: Loraw, Ron <
To: 'harold at orbit' <
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2001 8:27 AM
Subject: RE: Car Rental

All of your staff have been very accommodating
through out the entire continuum of my visit.
It has been a pleasurable experience, and I look
forward to seeing you again on my next visit to
Costa Rica which can not be too soon.
Be well.

Thank you,
Ron Loraw
Director Materials Mgmt
1-818-843-5111 X 7090

Sent: Monday, April 09, 2001 7:09 AM
Subject: RE: rental cars

Harold, the truck was great, nice advice on the Toyota Hilux, what a truck!
Great price also.
You've got yourself a pretty nice country there, great people.
Ted Ferguson

From: Shari S. Kaplan
To: harold at orbit <
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: Car Rental

Hi Harold,

I already sent you a note from my home e-mail, however, here goes:

The trip was great. The car worked out very well (albeit over $600 after
insurance) and we were happy we had it for the week. Manual Antonio was the
perfect spot for a family with 2 small kids-we never ran out of things to
do. Costa Rica is a very special country--it is beautiful, the people are
lovely and there is so much to do there. We would definitely return on
another vacation. Thanks for all your help.

Shari Kaplan Shedrofsky

From: Renee Richardson Kling
To: harold at orbit
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 5:46 AM
Subject: RE: Car Rental in Costa Rica

Car rental went great.

Thank you

Renee Richardson
Richardson Kleiber Walter
635 S. Orange Ave., Suite 16
Sarsota, Fl. 34236
Ph: 941-953-9772
Fax: 941-365-9493

From: Martin Rader
To: harold at orbit
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 4:30 AM
Subject: Re: Car rental

Wonderfully! Seth had no trouble with either the car or the service. He was able to pick up the rental when he needed it. Everyone was courteous, well organized and helpful.

Martin Rader

Hola David -
I'll forward this to Harold from  in San Jose, CR to get you a good 4wd - it's dry season so the roads and rivers won't be that bad, but the best truck to rent for 2-3 people is the Hilux, for 4 people, the Fourrunner. The Rav4 is a trooper, but has less clearance and smaller tires.
For a surf trip to Witch's, try Carlos or let Orbit contact him. Both can also drop you off for an overnight camping trip.
Other spots south of Tamarindo would be Langosta, where the rivermouth has surf even when it's small. Avellanas is a wide open empty beachbreak with offshore rocks - shallow and hollow at lower tides. And my favorite right point is Playa Negra, about 40 minutes south of Tamarindo. There are other ! spots, too, which you get to discover on your own.
Have a fun trip. Send some pics when you get back!

david wermuth wrote:

yo... me llamo david, and i was checking out your ideas and getting ready for a trip to costa rica in april.  you layed out a bunch of beaches to check out, and i am pumped.  i am planning on flying into liberia, and driving south to flamingo beach and tamarindo.  last time i was in costa rica, i got to rip A SOLID 6-8 FT. SWELL AT TAMARINDO, AND BOdY SURFED SOME MASSIVE CLOSEOUTS AT FLAMINGO.  it was awesome.  this time i want to check out those spots again, and then a few more. my friend and i just want to cruise the coastline, check out ! waves, and stay in many different places... maybe even a boat trip to witches rock and ollies.  i want to camp out on the beach... is this allowed/safe?  i also saw you recommend rentals with orbit... we want a four wheel, but nothing fancy.  last year i bombed thru a few rivers in a little piece of shit car, and almost stalled the thing.  don't want that again.  does orbit rent in liberia?  or can you help me out there?  also, where do you recommend we go after flamingo beach and tamarindo.  that is as far south as i know.  thanks a lot... gracias amigos...

David (from northern california where the water is muy frio) 


From: Sandi Resnik
To: harold at orbit
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2002 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: reconfirmation of car rental

dear harold,
thanks for your help with our rav4. we had a great time and things went very smoothly with the car.
sandi and bhrian resnik
santa barbara, california

From: Laurent Roux <
To: harold at orbit <
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 7:12 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Fw:


everything went perfect, the car was there at the ferry and we had noproblem
whatsoever driving it to Monteverde and Tamarindo.

Laurent Roux
Embassy of France
French Counsel
88 Kearny Street
San Francisco, California - email
1-415-430-2191 x1223 - voicemail/fax

From: Ron Raymond <
To: harold at orbit <
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 6:36 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: car rental

Thank you for your help. Everything went fine while we were in Costa Rica.

Ron Raymond
6880 Rose Acres Lane
Felton, CA 95018 USA
Fax #: 831-335-0628

From: Klappauf, Don <
To: 'harold at orbit' <
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2001 6:21 AM
Subject: RE: Car Rental - Costa Rica

Everything went great. Got the car with no hassles and the car worked out
well for us. We would certainly use you again.


Don Klappauf

Your assumption is correct it is the American Bar Association.
Have a great Day!


From: CJ Conant
Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2001 8:08 AM
Subject: Re: rental reservation


You might remember me, last February-March I rented a 12-pax Toyota minivan from you guys but I was terribly paranoid about renting from you just because it was over the internet. Furthermore it was my first time to Costa Rica and I had serious concerns about renting a car because of all the horror stories I had heard. When we arrived at the airport everything was in order and when we returned the vehicle there were no surprises about what we owed. Also I am so glad we rented a new vehicle because those roads in Costa Rica do terrible things to vehicles in a short time. The only problem we had was a flat tire which we were able get patched for just three dollars.

Now I am looking to travel to Costa Rica with my wife and I wouldn't feel comfortable renting from anyone else.


Christopher J. Conant

Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2001 6:39 AM
Subject: re[2]: Rental car reservation

Dear Harold,

Everything that you arranged for us worked out great. Thanks for your help.

All the best

Klaus Bierwagen
Dometek Inc.
PO Box 885, 95 Crisci St.
Leominster, MA 01453
Ph: 978-840-8181
Fax: 978-840-8182

Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 5:21 AM
Subject: Re: Alquiler 4x4 TOYOTA 4 RUNNER

Sorry you didn't receive it but I sent a note back upon return from our trip.
Our experience with the car rental was excellent. We were picked up perfectly at the airport, were given an excellent car which made our many
miles driven a pleasure, and were quickly and efficiently checked out upon return. I also believe the rate was good compared to cars of similar quality so I thank you much for that. Not much else to say......

Cheers, Ricardo Ramirez
Caracas, Venezuela

From: Ramirez, Ricardo

Date: Thursday, March 09, 2000 2:49 AM
Subject: Feedback

Thank you for organising the requested bookings. The trip was excellent and I really appreciated the Rav 4 advice. I would consider this mandatory for the Monteverde/Arenal route and it made the whole trip more pleasant. Most of the Guanacaste roads could really use a 4 wheel drive too and certainly the more interesting routes. I few little updates. The trip from Arenal to Monteverde is a good 4 hrs and Monteverde to Samara 6 hrs. The Flamingo Marina is NE facing, has no reasonable beach and is a real wind corridor. It is probably OK for a boat mooring, but was not what I was looking for and has seen better days. The beach to the south of the peninsular is very good if anyone is in the area. The El Ocotal has a dangerous beach and is posted as such, and has neither sunrise not sunset, facing north. The bungalows have bright furnishings, but the ants have made a home in the rooms and turn over would appear to be low, so maintenance is less. The restaurant has a nice terrace, but on this occasion the wind was incredibly strong and took the edge off it. El Sapo Dorado trails are too close to development/farmland to be rich in wildlife, but the location is fine and the new Skywalk through the forest canopy a few to the north km (not in the Monteverde park), even in the torrential rain, is magnificent and a must for anyone in the area. The comments are just to help with advice for others - trip was really good and I thank you again for arranging the bookings.

Regards, Dr. Peter J. Turner

From: Bob Frieden <
To: Harold at Orbit <
Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 6:55 PM
Subject: RE: Car rental


Everything went well. Costa Rica is a beautiful country filled with very
nice people.

The car rental people were very helpful and professional and the land
cruiser was what we needed. I will recommend you to my friends and would be
happy to serve as a reference.
Thanx for your help.


Dear Flat Rates Travel

Sept. 24

Back to the real world. It was wonderful and Costa Rica is beautiful and the Tulemar was fantastic selection for our honeymoon. The white water rafting and the crocodile tours you selected for us were great with first class guides.

We now completely understand what you meant by being careful about renting cars in Costa Rica and we suggest to anyone who rents a car to have a third party like Flat Rates Travel there to stand up for the tourists if the rental car company tries to give you a poor quality car.

Thanks for all your help.

Cathy and Rusell Ahern

Haverhill, Massachusetts

P.S. Tulemar was great. Gilbert at the front desk was extremely helpful and pleasant and went out of his way to help us find things. Rooms were perfect and spotless. Tara had view of top of the world. Cathy.

From: Carolyn Swartz

To: harold/Flat Rates Travelcostarica

Date: Wednesday, April 05, 2000
5:45 PM Subject:

Re: March 20th Sorry it's taken me so long.

I still feel like we got back yesterday -- it's just been one very long week of playing catch up. First -- it was great meeting you and thanks very much for your help. We had a great time and no question, we'll be back. Now that I've been there, I realize how much hand-picking you've done -- and how narrowing the field to the really good places is really a valuable service. Each of the places we stayed was really nice. Parador was actually better than I expected. It's really a restful and relaxed atmosphere with the sprawling grounds, the large area by the pool (compared, say, to Mariposa.) If there was a casino or disco, I never saw or heard it. It's in the specs but either it's not in use or not there (which was good.) Needless to say, I was relieved that the place was as low key and disco-less as it was. Xandari is really, really cool and we want to go back. They've really thought of everything. (Apparently, Leona Helmsley is not the only one who believes in plenty of big fluffy towels and terry robes.) You're right -- all we needed was more time. Although Julian started having Nintendo withdrawal symptoms by the end. (I did plan too much road time the first three days -- to Arenal on Day Two, to Manuel Antonio Day Three.) But the drives were plenty gorgeous. Anyway -- we'll be in touch and hope to see you again next year same time. And if you ever need/want to use me as a reference, feel free.

bPictures Production New York City

From: Cheri
To: 'harold/Flat Rates Travelcostarica'

Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000 7:12 PM
Subject: RE: Rentar Auto

Hello Harold!! Thank you for your interest about my experience renting a car with your agency and the Toyota renta Car. I was very happy with the service every one there was very helpful and the service couldn't be better. I will continue to use your services in the future and will recomend to others using your agency. Thank you and it was a pleasure to do business with you.

Sincerely Olman E Alvarado.

Dear Flat Rates Travel

Many thanks for making our fist trip to Costa Rica a great vacation. The first night at the Rodeo was fine and the accommodations were great. However the real Costa Rica opened up when the Suzuki Sidekick you reserved for us took us to the Tulemar in Manuel Antonio. What a jungle and beach paradise. The ultimate however was back to San Jose in the mountains at the Xandari. The Xandari is not in this world but closer to heaven.

Gary Bauer
201E 86 Street
New York, NY

From: Clive Pinder <
Subject: Thank you
Date: Saturday, January 03, 1998 7:58 PM

A brief note to thank you for helping arrange what has been a wonderful
visit to Costa Rica. The car rental went smoothly and Buena Vista and the
tour were a perfect star. Our trip to Playa Negra was excellent, despite
some excessive winds and poor surf. The Tilawa is a wonderful hotel and the
location excellent.
Harold, I will recommend your service to others.

From: michael mather, cpa <
To: Harold <
Date: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 2:41 PM
Subject: Re: costa rica

Harold - Thank you for your timely reply.

The car rental was good. No problems with the van which, did indeed, fit all 8 of us plus our luggage. Our one night stay at the Arenal observatory Lodge was great. The volcano was active, billowing smoke, and glowing red after sundown. The hotel staff and restaurant staff were courteous and helpful. The final mile of the drive to the Lodge was a workout for our fully loaded Mazda Van. I would recommend the Lodge to anyone.

The El Ocotal resort was nice...but...I walk with a cane, and I had a very hard time climbing the walkway between the lobby/restaurant and my room. The walk down to the beach was likewise a hard chore. I would not recommend this hotel to anyone with physical disability which effects the ability to walk far distances. This difficulty caused us to leave the Resort one day earlier than planned. The people at the hotel were helpful and courteous.

The Villa Teca Hotel was good fun. We were the only guests there the first night. The friendliness of the Hotel employees during our stay was excellent. would also reccomend this Hotel to future guests. The Manual Antonio area is a very special place.

I am from Phoenix, Arizona, and would gladly recommend your services to all interested parties planning a trip to Costa Rica.

Thank you again... Mike Mather CPA

From: Cawp2 <
Subject: Thanks
Date: Friday, January 02, 1998 12:33 AM

Just returned from Costa Rica this afternoon and wanted to let you know how
smoothly most everything went. As well, you asked for some impressions
Napolean- Accommodations are nice, breakfast was an added bonus.
Pines --- Rustic accommodations, but perfect for our family. Jovino and his
family are a pleasure!
Ocotal - Beautiful! The hotel is in a wonderful location. A little remote for the teenagers - but we had a wonderful time there snorkeling and going into coco.

Buena Vista - Lovely little place - charming gardens, my daughter loved the birds
that abounded, the room large and comfortable! The New Year Party was fun too!

The auto Rental - perfect - everyone was very accommodating.

All in all, you did a great job - and we appreciate your recommendations and
effort. Let me know if you would like any other info.

Wishes for a very happy and healthy New Year

From: <
To: <
Date: Saturday, September 04, 1999 5:56 AM
Subject: thanx

We just returned from a wonderful vacation and wanted to thank you immensely for all of the help you provided. The Buena Vista Hotel was perfect - Ed was there to pick us up at the airport. The Toyota Hi Lux was a perfect vehicle for us - and the price you got for us was well below all of the other places I had priced around for. We really appreciate all of your help, especially your promptness in answering our e-mails. We will definitely recommend you to others.

thanx again,
Shira Werb

From: "Kurt Zarwell" <
To: <
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2002 12:50 PM
Subject: Thanks

Hello Harold,

Thanks for the making the auto reservation and for the advice on the Rav 4.
I had a great trip and would recomend your services to anyone. I think its important to have a third party such as yourself to help negotiate if there are any problems. Thanks again and good luck.


For comments or car rental information, contact the rent a car at: San Jose, Costa Rica
© 2005 AAA 4x4s Carrental, a Costa Rican company. Drive in Costa Rica with the car of your election in our car rental.