Last Updated on April 13, 2023
Camping in Costa Rica is one of the best ways to explore the country and experience Costa Rica in the true Pura Vida style. Costa Rica offers endless beaches and jungle locations for camping, as well as more waterfalls, hikes, and other stunning locations than you can count. Renting a campervan from Pura Van allows you to fly in, and pick up a fully outfitted SUV with kitchen and rooftop tent for your camping adventure. Each one of the Pura Van Costa Rica campervans are thoughtfully designed, easy to use, and have a special Costa Rican flair with their colorful graphics.
We worked with Pura Van Campervans and they provided us with a Costa Rica campervan for us to enjoy Costa Rica. We are excited to share our experience with you and all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!
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Pura Van Costa Rica Campervan Rental Pickup and Dropoff
The Pura Van offices are located about a 15-minute drive from Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) near San José. This is the main international airport in Costa Rica, and likely the one you will arrive at. The other international airport is located near Liberia, in the northwest area of the country, about a four-hour drive from San José. One of the great things about Pura Van is that pickup and dropoff from SJO airport is included. When you arrive at the Pura Van location, you will be introduced to your vehicle for your Costa Rica campervan adventure.
After completing the required paperwork, you will be given a thorough tour of your campervan from tips on how to drive the vehicle, all of the features of the campervan, and how to set up and take down the rooftop tent. It’s a great time to check out all of the equipment and ask questions of anything that you might be unsure of. Plan to spend at least an hour here to complete the forms, tour of your campervan, and transfer your luggage into the campervan.
If you have never traveled in a campervan before, no need to worry the Pura Van is very intuitive and setting everything up is super easy.
When your Pura Van experience comes to an end, it is easy to drive back to the Pura Van location and drop off the campervan. You will unload your luggage and go through a quick checklist before being on your way back to the SJO airport to catch your flight home! If you have a late arrival or an early flight leaving San José, Pura Van also allows you to camp at their location to make everything a bit easier. The whole process of pickup and dropoff is entirely seamless.
Pura Van Suretka Campervan Features
Each one of Pura Van’s campervans is unique, it is a must for your Costa Rica bucket list! They are based upon various SUV’s of different sizes so that you can pick the size and capability that fits your needs whether it is for two people traveling light, or you and your five best friends. The Suretka campervan fits into the middle of the campervans on offer with seating for three, and is based upon a Mitsubishi Montero with four-wheel drive, and an automatic transmission.
All Pura Van campervans feature rooftop tents for sleeping. If you haven’t used a rooftop tent before, it is essentially a large tent that quickly unfolds located on the top of the vehicle. The set-up and take-down of the tent becomes second nature, and can easily be completed in ten minutes or less.
Once set-up, you access the tent via the built-in ladder. The sleeping area is large, with a foam mattress, and many screened windows that can be opened or closed as necessary for air circulation. Sleeping in a rooftop tent provides you with greater security and safety compared to a ground tent, allows for more camp location flexibility, and the set-up and take-down is much quicker.
The kitchen of the Suretka campervan is located in the rear of the SUV, accessed when the rear hatch is open. Everything is stored and secured in place so that it does not move around when driving. The many features in the kitchen are:
- Cooler for storing food
- Water jug for drinking and washing
- Basin for washing dishes
- Tabletop for preparing food
- Tray with spices for cooking
- Camp stove for cooking
- Bin including all plates, cups, cutlery, and cooking items
- Chorreador to prepare authentic Costa Rican coffee
Other features included with the campervan are an externally mounted water tank for showering or cleaning off after spending time hiking or at the beach. You may also enjoy the roof-mounted awning for shade, or camp chairs and camp table when relaxing around your campsite.
Also included with every Pura Van Costa Rica campervan rental is unlimited mileage, 24/7 assistance, and the mandatory rental insurance that is required by the Costa Rica government. If you would like to have additional insurance, that is also available for purchase.
Our overall experience and thoughts on the Pura Van Costa Rica campervans are that they are thoughtfully designed to include a lot of features in a small package. The SUV is easy to drive on the Costa Rican roads, and the set-up and take-down of the rooftop tent is easy for beginners. Having a Pura Van campervan allows you to explore off the beaten path in Costa Rica, whether that is an undiscovered remote waterfall or camping on the beach to the sound of the surf.
Pura Van Costa Rica Campervan Add-Ons
If you’re looking to make your Pura Van Costa Rica campervan experience extra-special, there are a few add-ons that you can select for your trip. If you plan to spend time at the beach, you can rent snorkeling gear and boogie boards.
For additional fun around camp, Pura Van also offers a games package with beach games, table games, a ball, and hammock. Additionally, if you would like to stay more connected on your Costa Rica campervan adventure, you can rent a portable Wi-fi router to help you post those epic Instagram photos in real-time.
Camping in Costa Rica Frequently Asked Questions
Before camping in a foreign country, you should always do some research, especially related to safety, land access rights, and campgrounds. Luckily, camping is extremely popular for locals and many travelers who come to Costa Rica. That means there is a very established network of campgrounds and easy to find stores to purchase camping supplies.
Is it Safe to Camp in Costa Rica?
Yes! It is advisable to do some research before camping, to know where it is acceptable to camp. Most places are very safe, however theft is quite common in Costa Rica. For example, if you leave your shoes or camp chairs outside overnight, they may not be there when you wake up in the morning! That being said if you are mindful of not leaving items outside out of your sight or overnight, you should not have any problems.
If you have any concerns about wild camping in Costa Rica, you can also choose to stay at paid campgrounds, which also usually offer toilets, showers, sinks, and shelters. We utilized a mix of wild and paid camping during our time in Costa Rica.
Where Can You Camp in Costa Rica?
Your best bet to find a campsite in Costa Rica is by using the iOVerlander app. However, we found a number of places with outdated information, so it is advisable to also do a quick Google search of the area you are going to in addition as you might find new information or additional campsites. Many of the formal, paid campsites are not located on iOverlander, however can still be a great bet as they can be as little as 2,000 CRC ($3.25 USD) per person.
Using both Google searches, recommendations from Pura Van, and iOverlander, we never had a problem finding a campsite with our Costa Rica campervan.
Where Can I Find Camping Supplies in Costa Rica?
One of the great things about Costa Rica, is that all gas stations will also help you check the air in your tires, oil levels, or help you change a spare tire if needed. In addition, they all have readily available, and free, drinking water.
There are many grocery stores around the country in the cities and villages, but there are also so many fruit and vegetable stands that you should never have any problems finding food. If you are looking for BBQ briquettes, campstove fuel, or other more specialized items, you will never really be that far away from a slightly larger city that would have these items available.
What is it Like to Drive in Costa Rica?
Driving in Costa Rica is a little bit different than in the United States, Canada, Or Europe. The roads are generally much narrower, and contain lots of curves and steep hills, blind corners, and the road surface can change without notice. Most main roads are paved, although they typically include some potholes, and there are endless unpaved rural roads that range from smooth gravel, to rough rocks with river crossings.
The drivers themselves are mixed from those driving excruciatingly slow for no apparent reason to those driving as fast as possible and passing at every chance. There are a lot of large trucks that drive slow through the narrow turns and steep hills, which can create a lot of frustrating situations.
The best advice for driving in Costa Rica is to not speed, take your time, and don’t drive after dark. It is also best to critically evaluate where Google Maps is taking you. If the route suggested is longer and less-direct, it is most likely correct that it is the best option. If the route seems like a short-cut, it’s most likely going to take you twice as long to drive on an extremely bumpy road. You can generally expect a drive in Costa Rica to take twice as long as you think, based upon the distance traveled.
Are you Ready to Book Your Pura Van Costa Rica Campervan Experience?
Camping is one of the best ways to experience Costa Rica to fully take in the nature, stunning beaches, jungle waterfalls, and everything in between. There’s nothing like waking up in the jungle to the sounds of exotic birds, and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean from your campsite with your Pura Van campervan. If you’re ready to book your Costa Rica campervan adventure, head over to Pura Van to select your dates!
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