Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Caribbean Car Rental Tips and Rates

Rentals by Destination
BarbadosCancun Cayman Is.
St. LuciaSt. KittsSt. Maarten
St. Thomas

Caribbean car rentals often make sense for cruise and hotel visitors who want the freedom to explore.

We have several starting tips based on many trips to the Caribbean. Some of them were cruises and others were hotel stays.

  1. Cruise visitors may want to rent cars on larger islands for the sake of seeing multiple attractions spread out over a wide area. This approach is usually less expensive than booking multiple shore excursions from a cruise line.
  2. Hotel and resort visitors should compare the cost of a taxi or shuttle that goes from the airport to the hotel with a car rental at the airport.
  3. In some cases, the destination isn’t safe enough to justify driving around. That’s why Jamaica and Dominican Republic are so popular with all-inclusive resorts.

Caribbean car rental agencies are typically located at airports, cruise ports and hotels and resorts for most destinations.

Agencies usually will provide pickup and dropoff if a visitor is at a villa, hotel or resort without a nearby agency.

Average Rental Rates

Grenada photo
Active people will find that rentals
make sense; © Grenada Board of Tourism

Rates tend to be highest in the winter, drop in the spring and early summer and drop even more in the fall and early winter.

All rates should include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), but some agencies charge it separately.

Rates vary from one destination to the next.

But a rough guide is about $40-45 a day U.S. dollars for a two-door with automatic transmission, about $50-60 a day for a four-door sedan, about $70-80 a day for a mid-sized to large sedan and up to $100 or more for a minivan.

Some two-doors with standard transmission are available for $30-40.

Cars with prices lower than these often don’t include the CDW.

Tips on Extra Fees

An international credit card or substantial cash deposit is usually required. Inquire for special rates for rentals of a week or longer.

Be aware of local taxes and surcharges depending on the destination. Examples include:

Here are a few more tips based on experience:

When to Rent a Car

On a trip to Riviera Maya, between Cancun and Playa del Carmen near Cozumel, we had to fly into the Cancun airport. The resort had a shuttle service that would cost $50 one way and a taxi would cost more.

We also knew that we wanted to visit Playa del Carmen, which had a good reputation for dining and especially for shopping. It would have required a car rental.

The obvious choice was renting a car at the Cancun airport.

Although it cost more than $200 after taxes, fees and insurance, the total cost was only a little more than renting for one day and paying for the shuttle. And it was more convenient.

Car Rental Requirements

The following requirements are common: