Why You Should Rent a Car in Central America

When I’m in a new country in Central America for a few days, the last thing I want to do is pay for a $30 taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. Conversely, there goes another $30 taxi ride from the hotel to the airport. There is no viable form of public transportation in developing countries such as Belize, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, and El Salvador.

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Renting a car in Central America also relieves you from taking taxis everywhere within the country once you’re at your hotel which can add up quite a bit to your vacation budget. Here are some reasons why you should rent a car in Central America.

1. Renting a Car is Inexpensive – Rates are as low as $4 per day if you search on orbitz.com. It’s really inexpensive to rent a car in Central America. It’s better than paying taxi after taxi after taxi which can do some serious damage to your wallet.


2. It allows you to unlock the country – Do you really want to stay at your “bubble” hotel and just visit the surrounding neighborhood within your hotel? Central America is vastly beautiful with access to hidden beaches, lakes, volcanoes, rainforests, quaint towns, and the countryside.


3. Say no to packaged tours – I really dislike packaged tours that come with a driver, lunch, and a tour guide. These things are expensive and you must do it within a specific time frame which can be rushed. Some have 2 person minimums and is out of the question for solo travelers like myself. In addition, they will expect a big fat tip as well. It’s best to do research and do your own self-guided tour. You might be surprised that some activities have free guides once you’re on site.


Continue to Car Rental Tips for Driving in Central America.


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Points Summary
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2 Comments on "Why You Should Rent a Car in Central America"

  1. Sorry, but I have to disagree. I just returned from Costa Rica and I’m glad we did transports from the tour company. We landed in LIR and had a transfer to the Hyatt Papagayo. Once there, we didn’t leave, except to go once to the 4S.

    Then, the transfer to our hotel in La Fortuna was handled. I wouldn’t on a bet drive at night in Costa Rica. The signage is terrible to begin with and there are many speed bumps that you can’t see, even in daylight. If you want to drive during the day, you cut down on your vacation time. Our driver was very professional and drove partly in the dark.

    Furthermore, there are some countries like Costa Rica where they make you get certain insurance. And you want to rent a GPS…so no way to get $4/day. Also, how much is gas?

    Once we were in La Fortuna, the tour company picked us up and dropped us off – all included as part of our tour.

    I’m so glad that I didn’t rent a car. And I have rented cars in Europe and don’t even mind driving in NYC. Just not Costa Rica!

    • I agree with you that renting a car is not for everyone. I explained more about that today on Car Rental Tips for Driving in Central America. I’m glad you had a great time in Costa Rica despite having a hired guide.

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