Q: I’ve heard that renting a car in Haiti is hard, is it true?
A: Well come on Amigos, Let’s find out! *Dora Explorer Voice*
Say you pick a company like Avis to rent a car in Haiti: You can get a reservation online and have your car waiting for you as soon as your plane lands! Their office is right next to the Toussaint Louverture Airport (listed as Mais Gate Airport (PAP) on their site). Prices to rent a car range from $50 up to $150 a day depending on the type of car and availability. A car rental in the US that you could easily get for $25 a day, could cost you $72 in Haiti but this is still a good deal considering it used to be more expensive.
The Bad, The Crazy and The Plain Outrageous
So now that your reservation is done, you make the assumption that you can just walk into Avis’ office and get your keys and be on your merry way? No. No. No. To actually be able to receive your rental, you have the following ‘choices’:
Option #1: If you paid the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and the Additional Liability insurance (ALI) while putting your reservation online, you are asked to make a deposit that can be as high as $1500 to secure the car. Your deposit must be cleared by the bank before you receive your rental. Even if you have a car insurance that covers you Globally, the company in Haiti will take the money directly from your deposit and you will be left to deal with your insurance afterwards on your own.
Option #2: If you did NOT get the LDW and ALI coverage, you are asked to pay a deposit of $5000 that will of course need to be cleared by your bank before you receive the car. Just when you thought you could save that extra $31 a day right? pats shoulders, shakes head And if you decide to pay the $5000 in cash, you are asked to also entrust your passport to the company. Which means no traveling outside of Haiti for you, until you return the car that is.
Warning: The insurance offered only covers collision. It does not cover theft or anything else. A friend of mine had his lights stolen from his rental and had to pay out of pocket to get it fixed.
And might I also add that fuel costs a bit more here than it does in the United States: around $4 per gallon . Which doesn’t sound too bad but when you realize that most people who work here don’t get paid in US dollars or should I say don’t get paid even close to what a “lower class” person makes in the States; Then you can really comprehend how expensive it is to rent a car and/or drive a car in Haiti.
Nevertheless, if you can afford it, it allows you great freedom to roam the streets at your own leisure and take traveling into your own hands. Of course there are other ways (cheaper ways) to get around Haiti, but that’s not what this post is about, is it? 😛
Catch you on the next one !
Keep Greening 😉