What do I need to know about renting a car in PV?

Old Nov 11th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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What do I need to know about renting a car in PV?

I would appreciate any tips from anyone who has rented a car at the PVR airport. Are there some companies to rent from or just go with the best deal we can get? Are there hidden fees that are mandatory when we get to the counter that were not part of the estimated charges that we should be aware of? Do we need an international driving license?

I read that there is a car rental available at the resort we are staying at. I have thought about whether we should instead plan to rent it where we are staying for a few days and then of course we would have to pay for a ride from the airport to our resort. Not knowing what the charges will be for rental for a few days from the resort and the airport transportation charges, it's kind of hard to really get a good idea what is going to make the most sense financially. We will want a car for drives up and down the coast, maybe to restaurants not available on foot, to a market for water, snacks, etc for our timeshare unit.

Thanks for your input.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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We've rented cars in Mexico many times, the last time we rented in Vallarta was last December.

Are there hidden fees that are mandatory when we get to the counter that were not part of the estimated charges that we should be aware of?

There's a base daily/weekly fee, then you add insurance, then the total of this is taxed at a high rate. The misleading companies will quote just the base fee and then you're hit with the insurance and taxes at the counter, but the legit companies will spell all charges out for you up front. The taxes and insurance seem to almost double the daily rate on small or mid-sized cars.

We've had good luck with National in Mexico, you can reserve from their web site and they include all three fees, with options for the insurance costs that are explained well. Last time we rented from them the final cost was exactly what he had signed up for on the 'net. http://www.nationalcar.com.mx/

They are not exactly AT the airport, they have a desk there and then you are shuttled to the place with the cars, maybe half a mile away.

Do we need an international driving license?

We just had a US license. Dunno about other countries.

I read that there is a car rental available at the resort we are staying at.

If you just want a car for a couple of days this could work out well, so long as you are clear about ALL the charges up front. Run a sample rental thru the National site and you'll have a feel for the baseline costs.

Bill
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Old Nov 12th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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It depends where your resort is located. If you are staying within Puerto Vallarta, you can easily get around by taxi or bus from/to the airport, to the grocery store, etc.

Personally I would never recommend a car rental for a 1st trip to PV. Driving into downtown for restaurants is not really practical because parking and traffic can be pretty intimidating to the uninitiated!

You might want to visit the Puerto Vallarta board over at the Trip Advisor 'forums' section (different from the hotel reviews). There are lots of regular posters and people living in PV, with lots of experience specific who can help you with details.

My general impression is you would be better off renting for just a few days, and not thru your hotel or at the airport. But this thought is only from reading the posts of others. I know Gekko is a car rental place that gets good comments, for example.

I've spent a lot of time in Vallarta (18 trips to date), but had never rented a car myself (and likely never will as it simply looks way too crazy). Now if I was living there full-time, I'd have to give in and get the hang of it.

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Old Nov 12th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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Thanks Bill and Suze - you've offered some good advise. When we were in Costa Rica my husband really enjoyed driving there and most people on Trip Advisor and Fodors discouraged it. I think my husband doesn't get intimidated too easily - maybe it's driving in Boston all our lives. We tend to really like being able to just pick up and go and explore where we are.

We will be staying at Buganvilias resort vacation club (part of the Sheraton)which I think is in walking distance to a lot. I am sure we won't use a car a lot but it could be close to the same cost to rent for a few days and have to pay to get back and forth to the airport in addition.

Bill - it sounds like National is reliable. We are going to price it through them.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 03:07 AM
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Juldie, we stayed at the Sheraton once and just used taxis, but we usually only went out twice a day. It's not far from the beginning of the malecon, the seaside walkway that will take you to old town, the heart of Vallarta, though this is a bit too much of a walk for most if the weather is humid.

We got the rental when staying much further north of Vallarta, where cabs were not as good an option.

Bill
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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From the Sheraton you likely won't use your car to go into downtown for dinner, as example. You probably can't park much closer that the hotel -lol! But sure if you like it for day trips to get outside of town, I understand.
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