Car rental in Puerto Rico

If you are planning on seeing as much of the island as possible then car rental in Puerto Rico is essential. Whether you book in advance or on arrival, we show you how to get the best deals.

Why rent a car?

On the road - car rental in Puerto RicoUnless you’re based in a resort – or if you are Old San Juan and have no intention of seeing anywhere else – then a car is an absolute must.

San Juan metropolitan area is huge and with limited public transport a car will open up your possibilities massively – although there is a bus service, many routes pass through neighborhoods that are best avoided.

If you are serious about getting out of town then you really have no choice – there are no railroads in Puerto Rico other than San Juan’s Tren Urbano and that too is limited.

A note to European visitors

European visitors to Puerto Rico are likely to be in for a nice surprise – gas prices are similar to the US, which are much, much cheaper than in Europe.

Also, gas pumps are a little different from Europe – after removing the nozel from the pump you need to engage a lever before you it will dispense any gas.

How to find the best deal

There are many companies that offer car rental in Puerto Rico – in addition to the usual big names at San Juan airport there are also locally owned rental businesses. Your choice of company may depend on your age too – Avis and Hertz will only rent you a car if you are 25 or older.

Car rental companies

Online travel sites

If you are looking to book before you arrive then the Internet is an obvious place to look.

A good reason to pre-book is so you can view model availability – they may not have any available if you leave it until your arrival.

Above we’ve listed the big car rental agencies and the major online travel agents that offer car rental in Puerto Rico – they often negotiate big discounts with the rental companies and it is worth comparing current deals.

Finally, don’t discount you local travel agent – they may have access to special offers that just aren’t available online.

A rental car by a mangrove swamp in Puerto Rico

Top driving tips

  • Distances are in kilometers
  • Speeds are in miles per hour
  • Always carry a map – it’s easy to get lost

Arranging car rental in Puerto Rico

If you do decide upon car rental in Puerto Rico after you’ve arrived then you need to stop at one of the rental desks at the airport.

You must do this before before going through to the arrivals lounge though – although we do know that the security guards will sometimes let you back through into what is supposed to be a high security area.

Now is when you need your map – after picking up your rental car you are likely to see much more of San Juan than you possibly planned unless you do have one in the car.

Our own experience

We hired a Toyota Corolla from Avis at the airport. The trunk space was more than adequate for carrying beach gear, as well as snorkeling and scuba equipment.

Although we negotiated a good price at the airport there was one hitch – as we wanted the car for more than a month we were told we had to rent it for one month and extend the contract after that period.

When we phoned to extend the contract we were unable to – we were told that we should have rented it for the entire period and would have to visit the Avis rental office at San Juan airport – we were on Vieques island at the time.

Two days later we did exactly that. Luckily the person who dealt with us was extraordinarily helpful and extended our contract to the required period and for the exact price we’d been quoted.

Maps of Puerto Rico
One absolute necessity when touring the island are Puerto Rico maps – as is the case for any unfamiliar territory.

Maps of San Juan
Looking for a map of San Juan? Buy one online.

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