Tips for renting a car in the Caribbean

If you book a holiday in Cuba — or anywhere else in the Caribbean — you may be wondering whether or not you should hire a car. The answer really depends on the sort of Caribbean islands vacation experience you’re looking for, and how confident you are as a driver, navigating foreign roads.

Why Hire a Car in the Caribbean?

If you’re not planning on venturing too far from your Caribbean holiday rental, then you will probably be able to manage just fine on foot, or using local transport. However, if you’d like to visit some of the more out-of-the-way places in the Caribbean, such as Coco Beach in Puerto Rico, Cole Bay in St. Maarten, or Sulphur Springs in St. Lucia, then having your own vehicle really can be much easier and enjoyable.

Legal Requirements

The legal requirements of Caribbean car hire vary between the different islands. Some will rent a car to travellers as young as 18 years of age, like St. Maarten, while others, such as St. Lucia, often impose a strict 25 year minimum age. For all islands, you’ll need to hold a full driving licence from your home country, although you may also be required to obtain an International Driving Licence prior to travel, or purchase a local driving licence at the time of hire, which is usually somewhere between 20 and 30 USD.

What Side of the Road?

It’s very important to check what side of the road they drive on in your chosen destination. If you’re booking a villa in Cuba, if you rent a house in the Dominican Republic, or if you’re visiting St. Maarten or Puerto Rico, then you’ll drive on the right. However, if you’re visiting St. Lucia or St. Kitts & Nevis, you’ll be driving on the left! It can be confusing, so make sure you stay alert on the roads at all times.

Car Hire Tips 

One of the best tips for car hire in the Caribbean is to book early. Just like booking a Caribbean holiday rental, you’ll have a much larger choice if you make arrangements in advance, prior to travelling. If you leave it too late, you may have a car that you’re not entirely comfortable with, or no car at all!

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