Costa Rica

Car Rental at San Jose International Airport: The Best Companies

by Scott Dylan  |  Published January 18, 2019

Landing in San Jose International Airport (SJO) in Costa Rica and need a rental car? If so, you have 15 rental car companies to choose from: Alamo, Apex, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Easycar, Enterprise, Europcar, Green Motion, Keddy, Mex, National, Payless, Sixt and Thrifty.

San Jose International Airport (Photo_: GothPhil via Flickr)

Officially known as Juan Santamaría International Airport, SJO is Costa Rica’s main airport and is an ideal jumping-off point to explore Costa Rica’s many attractions. Costa Rica’s highways are well-maintained, and traveling the country by car is a relaxing and rewarding experience.

The biggest challenge is picking the right car rental company for your needs. To determine the best rental car companies at SJO, reviewed prices, vehicle choices and customer feedback and ranked them into three categories: most affordable, best luxury option and best luxury option. Here’s what we found.


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Alamo is the best company to find cheap car rentals at Juan Santamaría International Airport. Alamo is also the second highest-ranked rental car company at SJO, after Sixt. Renters approved of quick dropoff times, the helpfulness of the counter staff and the cleanliness of the vehicles. Alamo’s SJO fleet includes many Toyota, Suzuki and Daihatsu sedans and SUVs. The downside is that you have to take a shuttle bus to get to the pickup area, but the shuttle is easy to find.


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Dollar is a family’s best option for a rental car out of SJO. Dollar gets high marks for the condition and cleanliness of its vehicles and the helpfulness of its staff. Dollar’s fleet covers all the bases, from compact economy cars and full-sized sedans and SUVs to behemoth people carriers capable of seating up to 12 passengers and pickups suitable for exploring Costa Rica’s less-traveled backroads. Booster seats for children from 4 to 11 and baby seats for 1 to 3 year-olds are available for just $5.00 USD per day. You can also get a GPS unit for $12.00 USD daily.


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Not only is Sixt the highest-ranked rental car company at Juan Santamaría International Airport by customer satisfaction, it also has one of the best selections of luxury rental cars. You can get a BMV X1 or X5 4×2 SUV/sedan or, if you’re planning on going off-road in style, a Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4×4. Sixt’s base price is not cheap, but it does include all the insurance, liability coverage and extras upfront.