Many tourists believe, thanks to the resort-style community that Punta Cana is known for, that renting a car is unnecessary. This is true for those who plan to spend their days relaxing on the beach and lounging at their hotels, but there are a large number of visitors who will prefer to keep busy, exploring all of the area's attractions. For these people, it may make more sense to rent a car as their main source of transportation.
In Punta Cana, you'll find car rental agencies at the airport, throughout town, and at some resorts such as Punta Cana Bavaro. If you decide to wait a few days and rent a car for some a few days into your getaway, contact your agency to see if they offer vehicle delivery. This option is often available for free in the area, allowing visitors to stay at their hotel and have the rental brought right to them.
Requirements for renting a car here are minimal. You have to be over the age of 21, you'll need a valid driver's license, and the agency will want to see your passport as well. Some places will also require that in addition to the daily charge, you have enough money to cover a vehicle deposit available on your credit card. The deposit will be refunded once the vehicle is returned, but it will affect the amount you have available on that card during your vacation, so make sure to plan accordingly.
The cost of a rental here is anywhere from $55 to $125(USD) a day, and although hunting for deals is an important part of planning a vacation, tourists traveling here a warned not to cut corners. Rent with a company you know of and feel confident can handle any problems that arise, and always make sure to say yes to the optional insurance.
Take a look at this table which identifies the many local vehicle rental agencies.
|Avis Bavaro||(809) 688-1354||Friusa|
|Avis Punta Cana International Airport||(809) 688-1354||Punta Cana International Airport - 2.1 mi. (3.3 km) North of Punta Cana|
|(809) 813-9111||4.3 mi. (6.9 km) Southeast of Friusa|
|National Rent Car||(809) 562-1444||Bavaro Punta Cana Int Ap - 4.7 mi. (7.6 km) Southeast of Friusa|
|Thrifty Punta Cana||(809) 466-2046||Punta Cana International Airport - 2.1 mi. (3.3 km) North of Punta Cana|
The tables below provide a general feel for local rental rates. The low rates in the tables are usually only available from the least costly local firms during the off season. The high end of the range is what you can expect during the high season.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Compact Car||$ 22.00||$ 26.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 26.00||$ 38.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 38.00||$ 78.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 95.00||$ 130.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Compact Car||$ 132.00||$ 175.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 180.00||$ 185.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 210.00||$ 550.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 662.00||$ 920.00|
...give directions by noting landmarks...
Road conditions are often the biggest concern for drivers renting a car in Punta Cana. Throughout the Dominican Republic, there is a system of connecting highways that are modern, paved, and kept up fairly well. Within Punta Cana, you'll mostly encounter paved roads that have plenty of pot holes and cracks, two-way traffic but no dividing lines, and very few traffic signs. Locals typically give directions by noting landmarks rather than street names because of this inefficiency. What you will see on these roads is speed limit signs in which the speed is listed in kilometers per hour rather than miles. Highways see speeds of around 100 kilometers per hour, while in town it will be around 60. Another common road-type is the unpaved road. These roads are basically dirt or sand paths, and are especially common near beaches, by natural landmarks, and in rural areas.
In town, you shouldn't have to worry about finding parking spots or gas stations, but you will have to worry about traffic jams and aggressive drivers. The best way to handle driving here is to ignore the aggression of other drivers and simply drive as safely as you can at the appropriate pace. Note that driving is done on the right side of the road like in the United States, street lamps are non-existent and make driving at night difficult, and that people and livestock are commonly found walking down the road.
If you plan on exploring the country outside of Punta Cana, take a look at the chart below for typical travel times.
|Puerto Plata||6 hours|
|Santiago De Los Caballeros
|Boca Chica||2 1/2 hour|
|Juan Dolio||2 hours 15 minutes|
|La Romana||1 hour|
|Samana||3 1/2 hours|
Always be sure to fill up the gas tank before you go so you don't end up stranded on the side of the road out of gas and in an area of the country that has very few refill stations.
Since you may encounter issues locating gas stations, take a look at the table that follows for an orientation of where some can be found.
|Lotificacion Veron Punta Cana|
Knowing about what it takes to rent a car and drive in Punta Cana is an important part of the planning process. Now that you've learned both of these things you're ready to decide once and for all if renting a car is the right choice for you.
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