Last Updated on July 10, 2023
Renting a car in Puerto Rico
Renting a car and going on a Puerto Rico road trip can be a great way to explore the island. It can give you the liberty to travel at your own pace, while it also allows you to explore some off-the-beaten-path destinations in Puerto Rico without any hassle.
Although public transportation in Puerto Rico is available, the option for it is pretty limited as the available routes mostly only cover the area in the northern part of the island. If you plan to only stay in one place to explore big cities in Puerto Rico like San Juan, then you can use public transportation there.
In the capital city, you can use the Metro transit system which includes the buses and light trail (the Tren Urbano). But if you want to travel beyond the capital city, renting cars in Puerto Rico is probably a better way to explore Puerto Rico!
We’ve compiled some top tips to guide you on renting a car in Puerto Rico. What do you need to know before renting a car in Puerto Rico? How much is the average car rental in Puerto Rico? What do you expect from a rental car in Puerto Rico? Let’s find out!
Jump to your most important questions about renting a car in Puerto Rico using the TOC links
What to Know Before Renting a Car in Puerto Rico
Renting a car in Puerto Rico isn’t difficult, but you also need to be aware of what to expect from the car rental companies in terms of the payment, any additional fees, or some other requirements you need to rent a car in Puerto Rico. Here’s what you need to know before renting a car on the island!
While most car rental companies in Puerto Rico also cover the renters with insurance, you can also check your credit card benefits to see if you’re covered for the collision damage waiver for car rentals. Credit cards like Capital One Venture X usually protect you from any damages and theft of your rental vehicle for up to 31 days.
Car Rental in Puerto Rico
While you can book through third-party websites like Kayak or Expedia, there is an alternative choice in Discover Cars for renting a car in Puerto Rico that will help you make the best rental choice. And the best way to do it is to rent a car in San Juan.
San Juan has more options for car rentals in Puerto Rico, and most car rental companies in San Juan also offer the best pricing. There are also numerous local car rental companies in San Juan, but you should be aware of some additional terms and conditions that may be applied when you use their service.
Due to the high demand for cars to rent in Puerto Rico, it is recommended to book in advance to avoid any hassles in finding a rental car on the island.
Make your rental car choice easily from this box and reserve now!
Payment Requirements for Car Rental in Puerto Rico
Most car rental companies in Puerto Rico will require a credit card in the name of the primary driver for payment. However, the payment policy may vary depending on the companies, as some rental companies also accept debit cards or cash. So, make sure to confirm with your rental company ahead of time to avoid any misunderstanding when it comes to payment settlement.
When you pick up the rental car in Puerto Rico, the company typically requires a deposit to cover the rental cost and any additional charges. The deposit amount may differ for each company, but it can range between $500 to $1,000, depending on the type of car you rent.
While most car rental companies in Puerto Rico also cover the renters with insurance, you can also check your credit card benefits to see if you’re covered for the collision damage waiver for car rentals.
Driver’s License for Car Rental in Puerto Rico
If you’re a US resident, you only need your valid US driver’s license to rent a car in Puerto Rico. Otherwise, your car rental company may require an international driver’s license.
There’s also a minimum age requirement for renting a car in Puerto Rico, as most car rental companies require renters to be at least 25 years old. Some companies also allow anyone over 21 years old with a valid driver’s permit for an additional charge.
Your Full Guide for Car Rental in Puerto Rico
Now that you’ve got everything you need to know before renting a car in Puerto Rico, let’s hit the road with a rental car on the island!
Apart from pricing and rental policies, there are other things you can consider when choosing a car rental company in Puerto Rico. More often than not, rental cars in Puerto Rico aren’t always available on demand, so securing a car to rent in advance is strongly recommended.
Some online car rental websites like DiscoverCars enable you to compare all the pricing and perks from each car rental company in Puerto Rico before booking. Alternatively, you can also book directly on some car rental company websites. Just make sure to always double-check your car rental contracts to avoid any misunderstanding when renting a car in Puerto Rico.
Another thing to consider is if you want to leave the mainland and travel with your rented car. Most car rental companies in Puerto Rico have restrictions on leaving the mainland and taking their vehicles on ferries. Typically, ferry services to Culebra and Vieques are restricted to residents’ vehicles only.
Hitting the highways in Puerto Rico will be more convenient and faster. If you decide to take this route, it’s important to note that all the main highways in Puerto Rico have now been integrated with an electronic toll system called AutoExpreso. All rental cars in Puerto Rico must use this electronic system, so don’t forget to confirm with your car rental company whether there will be an additional fee.
The type of rental cars in Puerto Rico
The price for car rentals in Puerto Rico varies from $50 to $500 per day, depending on the type of cars you rent. Most rental cars in Puerto Rico are automatic, so you can pick the best car rental suitable to your budget and traveling style.
The most popular car rental is the compact sedan as it’s suitable for small family traveling in Puerto Rico. It’s affordable but still convenient for 3-4 people traveling together.
Medium cars are also a great option for car rentals in Puerto Rico, especially if you travel with a bigger family with more bags. If you feel more adventurous, rent a four-wheel drive vehicle in Puerto Rico to explore El Yunque Rainforest and beyond!
Another reason it’s more convenient to book your car rental online for your Puerto Rico trip is that you can adjust your pick-up and drop-off location upon booking.
As we planned to drive around Puerto Rico for the whole trip, we chose the same location for pick up and drop off at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan. It is the best way to go, as you won’t have to worry about airport transfer from the moment you land on the mainland!
Alternatively, you can also choose a pick-up location near your hotel. Some car rental companies in Puerto Rico also provide pick-up locations near the cute hotels in Old San Juan, so it’s also convenient to choose the location near your accommodation if you stay in this area.
What You Need to Know While Driving a Rental Car in Puerto Rico
Before you hit the road, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations when it comes to driving in Puerto Rico. So, what do you need to know before driving a car in Puerto Rico?
The road rules in Puerto Rico are similar to the ones in the United States, so you should be prepared to drive on the right side of the road. Some universal road rules also apply here, so seatbelts are mandatory and kids under 12 years old are not allowed to sit in the front. Car seats are also required if you have small kids under 9.
While driving on the main roads in Puerto Rico is fairly convenient, be aware of some potholes here and there to ensure you can drive safely wherever you go.
All road signs are the same as the ones used in the United States; the only difference is the language since all the road signs are in Spanish. Once you understand the basics, it’s pretty seamless to drive in Puerto with your rental car!
Stoplights in Puerto Rico
Stopping at lights between 12-5 am: STOP, LOOK , then slowly proceed. It’s allowed, so proceed with caution.
Taking the highway is the most convenient way to travel around Puerto Rico, as it’s faster and relatively affordable, with various fees ranging from 35 cents to $5.
Depending on your travel plan in Puerto Rico, some of these roads have highways that can connect you to your destination:
- PR-5 – Connects PR-22 with Baymón.
- PR-17 – Connects PR-26 with PR-20.
- PR-20 – Connects PR-1 to PR-2 (north).
- PR-22 – Connects San Juan to Hatillo.
- PR-52 – Connects Río Piedras with Ponce.
- PR-53 – Connects Fajardo to Salinas.
- PR-66 – Connects Carolina to Río Grande.
Almost all toll roads in Puerto Rico only accept cashless payments with AutoExpreso. So, settling it with your car rental company is important to ensure your car is equipped with the system. Depending on the company, some charge a fixed rate for using Autoexpreso by calculating the length of your car rental in Puerto Rico, while others only calculate it based on your usage.
On our recent trip, we paid a small amount for pre-paid tolls and it was a breeze just driving by all the toll plazas!
While cash lanes are still available on some toll roads in Puerto Rico, avoid them at all costs since car rentals are not supposed to use these cash toll booths. Otherwise, you may end up paying extra for the tolls.
Speed Traps in Puerto Rico
The tricky part about driving in Puerto Rico is the different systems used in the road signs and speed limits. While the speed limits in Puerto Rico follow the United States with miles per hour, all the road signs are in kilometers. So, make sure to familiarize yourself with the mph to kph calculation before you hit the road!
In general, the standard speed limit in Puerto Rico is as the following:
- 25 MPH in urban areas.
- 15 MPH in school zones.
- 45 MPH in rural areas.
- 65 MPH on the highways.
If you’re planning to travel across the other islands like Vieques or Culebra, chances are you can’t transport your rental car across the island. However, don’t let this stop you from exploring Puerto Rico outside the mainland!
We had a chance to visit Culebra on a day trip, and we parked our rental car near Ceiba ferry terminal. As soon as we arrive at Culebra, we also rent a golf cart to get around. It’s a convenient way to travel, as we enjoyed the scenic road trip from San Juan to Ceiba, then spent the whole day exploring Culebra afterward!
The same thing can also be applied if you plan to travel to Vieques from mainland Puerto Rico. All the ferry boats to the island depart from Ceiba, and you can use public transportation knowns as Publicos to travel around Vieques. Renting a car or scooter in Vieques is also a great way to make the most of your trip to the island!
Why You Should Rent a Car in Puerto Rico
Renting a car in Puerto Rico is the best way to explore the mainland, as it allows you to explore the off-the-beaten-path destinations of the country. What’s a better way to have an authentic experience than hitting the road and stopping by some restaurants to taste some of the best Puerto Rican food?
While it requires some advanced planning, using a car rental in Puerto Rico shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re familiar with the essentials of renting a car and driving in Puerto Rico. Now that you’ve got the guide to renting a car in Puerto Rico, are you ready to get on a road trip and explore the best destinations in Puerto Rico?
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