On Christmas Eve the Michael W Travels family took off on our winter trip to Costa Rica.
With a limited amount of time during our visit, Kim and I decided that we’d limit our visit to one other area outside the capital, San Jose. After some long debates we settled on the area around Manuel Antonio National Park.
We originally considered flying to maximize the things we could do but this would not work due to the cost of flights but more so due to luggage weight restrictions on the two local airlines.
Since Theo isn’t a fan of long car rides, we hoped to avoid long trips in the car but this would not be possible.
When I initially looked into rental cars the prices were a bit ridiculous. I then turned to Autoslash who found some better deals. The day after I booked our car (it was booked with Alamo Rent A Car), Autoslash e-mailed me with a car rental option around $60 cheaper than the original price.
I was really impressed that Autoslash found such a great deal which was quite a bit cheaper than what was offered by reserving a car directly with Alamo.
And now to how Alamo almost ruined our trip…
After spending a night in Dallas, we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around 7:00 PM on Christmas Day.
Kim and I were impressed with how the customs officials opened a lane for us due to traveling with young children. The customs officer that checked us into the country was also very friendly which was nice.
After quickly collecting our luggage we headed to the Alamo rental desk. The man took our name and highlighted it on his printout. We were then told to wait for a shuttle to the rental area right outside.
We waited and waited but no shuttle showed up. About 20 minutes later another family (about 10 people) came to the waiting area. Then 10 minutes after that the shuttle arrived- outside of where we were told to wait!
The family ran over and tried to get in the van but I wasn’t having it. I mentioned to the driver that we were waiting for a half hour and they just arrived. After a second complaint, the family told us to go ahead. Thanks I guess…
The shuttle ride took around 10 minutes and even had WiFi inside.
Once we got to the rental office Theo needed to be fed. I went inside to get our car. This is where the really interesting stuff happened.
The agent greeted me with his name and a handshake. I then handed him my passport, drivers license and a credit card. Copies were made and he then mentioned that he would go check on the car.
I’d say under one minute later, he told me there were no cars! WTF
If there are no cars, why did the guy at the airport desk have us wait and take a shuttle?And, why did you copy my info and check on a car you do not have?
I got some bullshit response about how he will try to solve the problem.
I was offered a shuttle ride to our hotel which was close by and then shuttle tickets to our destination near Manuel Antonio N.P.- Quepos.
My response was what good will that do? What do we do with a ride to Quepos without having a car to get around. (We also are planning to visit places 30 minutes – 1 hour away.)
Now I have to be honest, quite a bit of what I said was not polite. I dropped quite a few F-Bombs and also called him a few choice names… I was pissed and he sure knew it…
I asked him why Alamo would rent out cars they do not have and ruin people’s trips. (Everyone that showed up in the shuttles were sent away without a car including the line-cutting family.)
He then promised me he would have a car delivered to my hotel in the morning. Did I believe ? No!
As we were about to get in the shuttle to our hotel, another agent said something in Spanish (I understand very little) and I had a feeling we were getting a car.
Sure enough, they had one car now but it needed to be washed. Umm ok, I guess we can wait….
I was told 25 minutes which became over an hour but in the end (about 2.5 hours from when we got to the shuttle pick up area) we drove off in some small piece of crap 4X4. Oh and yes we made it to Manuel Antonio safely!
Thanks Alamo for almost ruining our trip to Costa Rica…