If you’re planning a trip to Punta Cana, you’ve most likely already reserved a flight and a resort room or villa. But should you rent a car in Punta Cana? Unfortunately, many people book their car rental without even considering if it’s the right choice or if they need it!
The question of renting or not renting a car in Punta Cana can be easily answered by considering these three factors – driving conditions, costs, and convenience.
This article will help you make an informed decision about whether or not Punta Cana car rentals are worth it.
Three Reasons Why Renting a Car in Punta Cana Will Add to Your Vacation
Although they’re often a hassle, car rental services might just add a touch of fun to your tranquil getaway.
1. You’ll Be Able to Take a Scenic Drive
While you can do the standard Punta Cana tours and activities like zip lining, Monkeyland, and visiting places like Hoyo Azul cenote at Scape Park there are other ways to enjoy yourself in Punta Cana.
The Dominican Republic’s landscape and culture are so appealing that if you are willing to drive your own car, you will have a lot to see and do.
You can spend a few hours visiting downtown Punta Cana or San Juan Plaza. Determining whether any of the eateries or entertainment options pique your interest.
You can visit a secluded beach such as Macao Beach. Or, you can hit the road and go to the nearby Boca de Yuma village for a scenic drive. These are some of the options that are a good fit for experienced drivers.
2. It will enhance your all-inclusive stay
With average temperatures around 85 °F, walking around Punta Cana is a pleasure in and of itself. But, it is not always a practical solution, especially if you are in a hurry and need a snack or some groceries.
So, unless you’re willing to splurge on a stay at an all-inclusive resort, you’ll need to leave your hotel quite often.
Plus, some accommodations can be far from entertainment hubs, and you’ll need multiple rides pretty much every day. In that case, renting a car can come in handy.
3. You’ll Get to Explore Punta Cana at Your Own Pace
This time around, you might want to take things at your own pace, and renting a car will help you do just that!
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The Pros of Renting a Car in Punta Cana
Asides from adding fun twists to your vacation, there are a few other pros to the car rental process in Punta Cana.
Let’s take a closer look.
You won’t have to wait around for an Uber pickup.
There has been quite a racket between Uber and cab drivers in Punta Cana. While it’s been resolved in April, you might want to distance yourself from the trouble and drive around.
There are plenty of options.
From Europcar to Alamo, there’s a huge selection of car rentals in Punta Cana. So, you can rest assured that you’ll find something suitable for your needs.
You don’t need special paperwork.
Your own (US) driving license will do just fine for the duration of your stay without needing international or visitor’s licensing.
3 Dos and Don’ts While Renting a Car in the Dominican Republic
If this is your first time renting cars as a tourist in Punta Cana, you need some pointers on what to do and what to avoid.
The Dos of Renting a Car in Punta Cana:
Here are a few tips and tricks to try:
Check the Punta Cana Rental Service Reviews
Although there are a lot of reputable car rentals in Punta Cana, you probably don’t want to sign up with the first one that comes your way.
So, you might want to look at what other tourists had to say about each service on review platforms, like kayak, to pick the highest-rated one.
Plus, it’s also helpful to go with an agency that has a location near your hotel or resort.
Ask if the Service Will Deliver the Car to You
Sometimes, you’ll need to head to the car rental office to sign the contract and receive the vehicle.
However, if you want to make your life easier, call ahead and ask if they can deliver the car to your hotel or resort, where you can sign the contract. Maybe they can send a pickup if providing the vehicle to you is out of the question.
Prepare Your Payment Method
Some gas stations and rentals could accept foreign currencies in cash, but you might get the short end of the exchange rate. So, it might be safer to carry Dominican pesos.
Alternatively, you can finish the payment using your credit card if you’re using an online car rental service. This can also help you with insurance, but we’ll get to that in a minute!
The don’ts of Renting a Car in Punta Cana:
Now, let’s move on to some critical tips on what to avoid before renting a car in Punta Cana.
Don’t Overbook or Book Last Minute
Suppose you only need the car for a day trip to Boca de Yuma. In that case, try to schedule the pickup and drop-off on the same day instead of keeping it overnight.
It might mean you’ll need to get up an hour or so earlier to get things in order, but you’ll also save some bucks in exchange.
Make sure you book in advance to avoid paying extra for forced upgrades.
Don’t Push Your Driving Skills
Depending on where you live, you might find the driving experience in Punta Cana a little disorienting.
For one, people accustomed to quiet suburbs might find that the traffic here is a bit much, especially around the high season from March through May.
So if you’re new to driving or your skills are rusty, limiting your driving to necessities may be safer. Avoid rush hours, and always have a GPS/map on hand. You should also avoid driving at night.
Don’t Wander Far Off
It could be too challenging to use a rental car to get to or from Santo Domingo; the drive is too long, and traffic is usually overloaded.
However, some tourists must take this trip if their flight lands at Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport (SDQ). We highly recommend our Santo Domingo City tour if you wish to visit Santo Domingo city.
In such cases, it may be more convenient to use our airport transportation service. Scheduling an airport transfer service will help you cut the hassle and ensure that your vacation does not begin with a stressful drive!
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How to Not Get Scammed When Renting a Car?
As a tourist in a foreign country, it’s easy to fall prey to scams, especially when it comes to car rentals.
Here are a couple of factors you’ll need to keep in mind:
While a few insurance coverages work in your favor, it’s also not unheard of for rental companies and agents to try and upsell a higher package if the renter seems willing.
Most people opt for a plan that covers liability insurance, theft protection, and collision damage waivers without deductibles. However, you also don’t want to pay for any extras until you know precisely what they cover. If you deem the addition necessary, go for it.
Meanwhile, in some cases, it could feel like overkill, mainly if your credit card already covers international car rental insurance. So, contact your provider first to decide what plans you need from the rental agency.
It’s helpful to record the car’s condition inside and out on camera before you drive it and before you turn it back in for the drop-off. This ensures that the company won’t push you into shouldering damages that weren’t caused during your rental period.
Just make sure to park the car in a well-lit area and take pictures (or even videos) that cover every nook and cranny, from the dashboard to the trunk. Then you can email them to yourself as time-stamped proof.
This way, you’ll have a solid ground to stand on if you ever need to decline claims.
While it’s crucial to cover the minute details of your trip, transport shouldn’t be a burden. So, only rent a car if it adds to your experience.
Otherwise, you can save time and money by booking our guided tours, airport transportation, and all-inclusive stays.
After all, there’s way too much to explore in Punta Cana to waste time on the details of a car rental contract!