Home / Punta Cana Guide / Renting A Car In Punta Cana And The Dominican Republic, Essential Tips
Punta Cana Guide | Travel Tips

Renting A Car In Punta Cana And The Dominican Republic, Essential Tips

Renting a car in the Dominican Republic or Punta Cana is something 100% recommended if for various reasons, if you really want to explore the wonders of the country you can discover incredible areas (parking in the middle of beaches) and visit spectacular places that are unknown even to the natives, the only thing you have to do so that nothing happens is to drive concentrated on the journey and follow some tips that I will tell you below depending on the areas where you are going to move.

If you decide to rent a car in the Dominican Republic or Punta Cana, even if you have enough experience you could find yourself in some complicated situations, the asphalt of the highways in general is quite good, the last few years the country has been involved in a process of re-asphalting and the payment highways like the road from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana are in excellent condition. 

The problem comes when you approach the rural towns where one exists a great amount of motorcycles of low cylinder capacity, in terrible state its majority and loaded with several occupants, besides diverse tools including gas bottles take possession of the asphalt and are crossed by all sides.

In these communities there are few traffic signs and the few traffic lights are not always respected, especially for those on two wheels, another thing to keep in mind when driving in rural communities, often crossing animals such as cows, sometimes come out of nowhere from the sidewalks to the middle of the road, you must pay close attention to slow down or stop when you see animals on the road, honking the horn will not help you at all.

The minimum age at most car rental offices in Punta Cana is 25 years for all vehicle groups, and the maximum age is 70 years for all vehicle groups, In DR you can use your driver’s license from your country of residence, or you can show a passport with the name of the driver.

Should you rent a car in Punta Cana?

Renting a car in Punta Cana is recommended as long as you are aware of the road conditions and the way of driving in the area and also because it is the best way to get to know places where the buses cannot reach. The price of a taxi in tourist areas of the DR is usually quite high compared to renting a car or using public transport.

Where to rent a car in Punta Cana?

At the Punta Cana airport In the Arrivals Halls there are counters of:
Ameri Rent, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, Sixt, Thrifty, all these companies also have websites, the credit card is essential to cover eventual damages or crashes depending on the risk coverage in charge of the customer.

Avis, Budget and Hertz are among the most recommended companies to rent a car in Punta Cana.

© courtesy of Doug Massey- flickr.com

Is it safe to drive around Punta Cana?

Driving in Punta Cana is safe, but you should be aware of how you drive in the Dominican Republic and the difficulties you may encounter, renting a car in the D.R. and Punta Cana, being the first time you visit the country, is not the most advisable thing to do since you are not used to the fatal way of driving of most people in the D.R. and to the condition of many roads, there are good roads but many are full of potholes. 

I do not recommend it being the first time that you will be in the country, but if you decide to do it, be careful with the potholes between Higüey and La Romana, many cars have had accidents because of them and only the drivers used to that area know where they are.

Be careful of approaching vehicles and overtaking on blind curves and hills. The rule here is the larger vehicle has the right of way, even if that means pushing off the road to pass, I advise you to move around in taxis for the first few days and then decide if you feel able to rent a car and drive yourself.

Rent a car in Punta Cana to visit Santo Domingo?

Santo Domingo is a very interesting city to visit, but renting a car in Punta Cana to visit Santo Domingo may not be the most recommended, the problem is that renting a car say for a day, you can get to Santo Domingo from Punta Cana in 2.10 hours, but upon arrival in Santo Domingo and depending on the time you will be attacked in much traffic.

To be honest, from my point of view the traffic is the most unpleasant thing in Santo Domingo, living in this city I always try to avoid the peak hours, it is extremely stressful and nothing enjoy driving in the city, if your intention is to come to Santo Domingo for tourism for 1 day, you can find a super stressful day with the traffic of the capital.

It is advisable to get to Santo Domingo by bus and from here move around using Uber, I wrote a whole topic on how to use Uber easily and safely, in Santo Domingo is an excellent option for transportation.

Useful tips before renting a car in Punta Cana

• Select the right car:

If your displacement in Punta Cana is going to be in mountainous areas and beaches, the best thing will be an all-terrain vehicle, on the other hand, if you are going to move through the city you might want to rent a small car that economizes on fuel, I remind you that the price of fuel in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic is not very cheap.

• Do you come with child passengers?

If you come with children to Punta Cana, make sure that the rental company provides the approved child restraint system. Consider that they can increase the price for the child seat, but some companies will include it in their offers.

• Check the vehicle:

When you choose a vehicle, check it very carefully. This way, if there is any damage or scratch you can indicate it in the contract and you will not run the risk of being accused of causing it when you return the car, with the extra cost that this would entail.

Take pictures in case you find any defect at the time of renting, also check the brakes, are one of the parts that often give problems in rented vehicles, also is the guarantee of your safety.

• Fuel Clause:

It is essential to read all clauses of the contract carefully, without overlooking the small print that is a constant risk. You will find the type of insurance of the vehicle, the required taxes to be paid and the fuel requirements.

One of the most essential points is the fuel policy. Most of the companies will demand that you return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel, obliging you to pay a sanction in case that you don’t do it; others will prefer the tank to be returned empty; and some others give the client the option of selecting the modality that he prefers. The contract must specify precisely how the company’s fuel policy is and what exact amount the tank must have when you deliver the vehicle.

• Roadside assistance:

It is also essential that you check in the contract if it includes the road assistance service, because if it does not and there is a problem with the car, you will have to pay the bill for the tow truck.

In Dominican Republic a free road assistance service has been implemented, it is very efficient, it works in most of the important highways of the country including Punta Cana/Santo Domingo.

Keep this Punta Cana road assistance phone number, (809) 455-3735.

• Deposits and guarantees:

When booking the vehicle, two requirements are normally met: credit card information and a guarantee or deposit, which is discounted at the time of payment. Both of these requests are in case you return the car with damages or if you do not return it when you should.

When renting the car online, the companies generally have discounts, but make sure you confirm the availability of the car and the office hours before your trip, so that you don’t get any surprises.