Renting A Car In Puerto Rico (2023) – All You Need To Know

Renting a car is essential when visiting Puerto Rico.

If you’re looking to explore outside the San Juan metropolitan area, your best and most cost-effective option is to rent a car. 

I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years, so I know that you need to rent a car to visit the best spots outside of San Juan.

In this article, I will cover everything that you need to know about renting a car in Puerto Rico:

Is renting a car necessary in Puerto Rico?
Is driving in Puerto Rico tricky?
Is it safe to drive in Puerto Rico?
Are car rentals expensive in Puerto Rico?
How old do you have to be to rent a car in Puerto Rico?
Where should you rent a car from?
How do electronic tolls work?
What is parking like in Puerto Rico?
What are the requirements to rent a car in Puerto Rico?
How are distance and speed measured while driving in Puerto Rico?
What are some safety tips to remember while renting a car in Puerto Rico?
Is it cost-beneficial to rely on Uber’s in Puerto Rico?
Other Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is renting a car necessary in Puerto Rico?

Renting a car is the best way to move around the island.

Although it’s unnecessary, and you can Uber around San Juan, you’re mostly limited to the San Juan area. This all depends on what your plans are. 

image of a car on sunrise
If you want to explore areas outside of San Juan, renting a car will be very important.

If you’re an adventurer and love to explore, rent a car when coming to Puerto Rico. You’ll have the flexibility to go wherever, whenever you want. 

If you’re staying at a resort, or mainly in the San Juan metro area, you may not need a rental car to get around. 

It’s also more cost-effective than always paying for a taxi when visiting long distances or even waiting for tours you booked to pick you up at their pick-up places.

There are also many places and things to do in Puerto Rico that public transportation cannot reach; therefore, renting a car allows you to break those barriers.

If you are wondering more about road tripping in Puerto Rico, read our article How Long Does It Take To Drive Around Puerto Rico?

 

Is driving in Puerto Rico tricky?

Driving rules in Puerto Rico are almost the same as those in the US.

But as a resident living in Puerto Rico, driving can be a bit challenging.

image of the main highway
Turn signals are less common in Puerto Rico then other parts of the world.

Puerto Rican drivers are known for driving fast and cutting you off, so always be aware when going, especially on the highway. 

You need to get insurance when renting a car in Puerto Rico. 

Driving is the only way to get around in Puerto Rico. If you plan wisely, you can avoid the traffic jam and other peak hours of the days when you’ll encounter the most drivers.

Avoid driving to San Juan from 6AM – 9AM, and you want to avoid being on the road between 4PM – 7PM. Traffic jams can take up to an hour to only travel 12 miles!

Your best bet is to drive defensively and always be alert to the other drivers. 

It’s common to find drivers that don’t use their turn signals, U-turns on red lights, people running the yellow light, etc.

 

Is it safe to drive in Puerto Rico?

Driving in Puerto Rico can be scary for foreigners.

Puerto Rico is a safe driving place if you take the necessary precautions and you’re driving by the rules.

image of a traffic street sign
Traffic signs are in Spanish in Puerto Rico.

However, make sure to rent a car, as driving yourself is the best way to explore the beautiful Island.

Something to remember is that Puerto Rican drivers are aggressive on the roads. 

They’ll honk at you, cut in front of you, and change lanes in front of you without turn signals, you should always be on the defense.

Most of the roads in Puerto Rico are wide and paved, except for the streets in some neighborhoods up in the mountains.

But overall, It’s pretty easy and safe to drive in Puerto Rico. Most streets are in good condition; highway signs are the same as in most countries worldwide, and everyone goes on the right side of the road.

You’ll be safe if you take standard precautions and keep your eyes on the road.

 

Are car rentals expensive in Puerto Rico?

Car rentals can cost between $15 and $150 per day.

Although they seem affordable, prices for your rental car can increase with daily insurance fees.

image of a car rental service
Car rentals can be expensive if you don’t book far enough in advance.

If you have a credit card, they will most likely offer rental car insurance without having to pay extra. Always check with your credit card company before booking a rental car.

Other factors like auto production shortage and limited supplies can contribute to an expensive renting rate, taxes, annual inflation, and the model of the car you’re going to rent.

Make sure to bring a copy of your insurance information that contains the company name, phone number, and policy number and that you’re covered for accidents in Puerto Rico. 

 

How old do you have to be to rent a car in Puerto Rico?

Some car rental companies like Avis, Routes, and Sixt let you rent a car at 21! 

But don’t be surprised when you have to pay additional insurance fees and costs to rent a car.

image of a key that is being passed
Like most places in the world, your rental rates decrease with age.

On average, the minimum age to rent a car in Puerto Rico is 25. 

This is because drivers under 25 are statistically more likely to be involved in auto accidents than drivers over 25, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Where should you rent a car from?

Before renting a car, you should always check with your credit card company first.

You’ll be surprised at the amount of money you’ll save with the benefits and features your credit card company provides for travelers.

image of an airport
There are many options for car rentals at San Juan airport, but be sure to check in advance with your credit card company for any deals they may have.

You might find a great deal, excellent insurance coverage, or even both!

Checking places like Kayak, Enterprise, Charlie Car Rental, Rentalcars.com, and other sites are fantastic car rental choices.

Remember to book your reservation from home before traveling for the best deals and ease of mind when landing in Puerto Rico.

 

How do electronic tolls work?

In Puerto Rico, the electronic tolling system is called “AutoExpreso.” This is familiar to the E-Z Pass if you’re from the states.

You’ll find this electronic toll system regularly on the main highways. I recommend getting it if you can pay an additional transponder fee.

image of AutoExpreso
AutoExpreso works similar to EZ Pass in the states.

If no option arises, then ask to add it. This will save you time and money if you’re planning on driving around the island.

Some companies include the daily rate for AutoExpreso or charge an extra fixed rate for using it. 

The average prices for our AutoExpreso tolls are usually $0.75-$3.45. 

You’ll benefit from getting the AutoExpreso tag as you avoid waiting in the cash lane lines. Many of the tolls need a cash lane.

 

What is parking like in Puerto Rico?

Parking can be a little tricky in Puerto Rico.

You can safely park your car in many parking lots when going out, but it’s not so easy in Old San Juan.

image of San Juan street
Parking in Old San Juan can be challenging.

Because the roads in Old San Juan are narrow and congested, you’re better off parking in a private parking lot than on the side of the streets, which could potentially land you a hefty ticket.

Not to mention that some on-street parking requires a permit.

Same for Condado, you’re better off parking in a private parking area and exploring on foot than driving in circles waiting for a side road parking spot to become available.

It’s best to rent the smallest car you’re comfortable in to avoid tight parking spaces. 

Parking situations get more manageable when you drive outside the San Juan area. For example, you’re more likely to find more accessible parking visiting El Yunque than visiting El Morro. 

Parking garages often charge by the hour and have a lot of spaces available. Plan to your destination an hour ahead if you’re looking for free parking on the street.

 

What are the requirements to rent a car in Puerto Rico?

There are several requirements to rent a car in Puerto Rico. These requirements are similar to renting a car in the mainland United States.

image of a woman assisting a client
Make sure to have your documents prepared before you arrive at the airport to avoid delays.

For one, you have to be 25 years or older. Second, you must have a valid driver’s license, and third, a credit card. 

Something to consider is that your driver’s license must be older than a year. If you’re coming from an international country (outside of the US), you’ll need an international driver’s permit and driver’s license.

Some rental companies allow you to rent if you’re 21, but you’ll face extra fees.

Collision Damage insurance is optional but consider it a requirement as it covers you from damage or theft done to your rental car.

Compulsory liability insurance is obligatory to add to your rental; it helps you cover any damages you cause to other cars in case you get into an accident.

 

How are distance and speed measured while driving in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico uses a mixture of imperial and metric systems simultaneously. 

Distance is measured in kilometers, and car speeds are measured in miles per hour.

image of a speed limit sign
Speed limits are measured in miles, while distance is measured in kilometers.

If you’re from an international country, Puerto Rico uses the same traffic system as the United States. 

Drivers drive on the right side of the streets, and the road signs are the same internationally but translated in Spanish.

 

What are some safety tips to remember while renting a car in Puerto Rico?

Some safety tips to remember while renting and driving and rental car in Puerto Rico is that the highways are in good condition. 

You’ll find potholes driving through residential and town roads and especially if you’re going through the countryside. 

image of a joyful indian man driving car
Be sure to honk your horn when you travel around a deep curve on country roads.

Always be careful with potholes as they can cause your tires to explode or severe damage to the car (I know this happened to me a few times).

Rural streets are narrow and have steep inclines. Be sure to honk the horn to alert drivers ahead as you drive around the curves.

Always lock your car and be aware of your surroundings. Carjacking is a street crime that happens in Puerto Rico. Make sure to leave your valuables in your vehicle, especially at the beach. 

The transportation department allows drivers to use red lights as stop signs between 12:00AM – 5:00AM. 

Refrain from smoking in your rental car, this will cost you extra money and headaches you did not anticipate. 

 

Is it cost-beneficial to rely on Uber’s in Puerto Rico?

If you skip renting a car and rely on Uber or taxis to get around, you may spend twice as much as renting a car.

San Juan is a tourist hot spot; there are a lot of surges during peak hours which could be close to $80 for a single ride.

image of an Uber driver
Uber is not your best option in Puerto Rico.

There are also limitations to explore. Uber only works in the metro area of the Island; if you’re looking to explore the south or east coast of the island, you’re better off renting a car. 

Uber is also the only ride-sharing app Puerto Rico has to offer. Other ride-sharing apps like Lyft or Juno are not in operation.

You can use Uber to move around the metro area in Bayamón, Vega Baja, San Juan, Carolina, Caguas, Cataño, Trujillo Alto, and Dorado. 

 

 

FAQ section

Should you rent a car in Puerto Rico?

If you're visiting Puerto Rico, renting a car is far more beneficial than taking taxis or Uber.

Does renting a car give you more freedom?

Renting a car in Puerto Rico allows you to explore at your own pace and time. There are a lot of limitations if you rely on public transportation or taxis.

 

Final thoughts

I recommend that you rent a car when visiting Puerto Rico. 

Unless you’re visiting a family member that can drive you around, renting a car is your best bet.

Uber is still an option in San Juan, but keep in mind that if you want to explore the rest of the island, you can’t with Uber. Also, you could spend twice as much using Uber due to surge fees during peak hours.

If you’re under 25, there are still some car rental companies that allow you to rent a car if you’re over 21 years old. If you’re under 21, then your best bet is to travel to Puerto Rico with someone who is over 21 that can rent a car with you.

If you’re budgeting for your trip, check out our article How Much Does A Vacation To Puerto Rico Cost.

I also recommend that you read our article How To Get Around Puerto Rico – All You Need To Know

Finally, if you’re looking for fun activities, then check out our article 45 Best Things To Do In Puerto Rico

Article by

Miguel Concepcion

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years and have experienced every inch of this stunning island. Growing up in Puerto Rico has helped me truly learn about the rich culture and extensive history this island has to offer. I share my local knowledge in all of the articles that I write.

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