Rent A Hoopty

All inclusive resorts are really not our thing. We are driven to explore, see, experience. Sitting in the same hotel for three days, eating from the buffet, drinking cheap beer from 4 oz plastic cups isn’t something we normally sign up for. But, like we discussed in our last post, we had a credit at SunWing and thought we could make Punta Cana fun. When we got there, they still had Presidente on tap, but by the second day, they were pouring Bohemia Light from bottles into the little 4 oz plastic cups. That was the signal to start looking for an escape.

There was a sign in the lobby advertising rental cars for $50 USD/day. The sign was for Prestige. Keep that in mind. We had an idea that we would go see the cathedral in Higuey, about an hour away. So, we discussed it with the gentleman behind the desk. And our adventure began…

The desk clerk said they had a deal and if we rented for two days it they’d drop the price to $90. Not bad. So he called the company and we waited for a representative to show up. The rep showed up in a old beat up Mazda. “We have to go to the office to do sign the contract” he said. “Does this have AC?” Bella asked. “Of course…”

So we piled in and he started driving through town, pointing out gas stations and banks. Bella had a strange feeling and asked him at least twice if this piece of crap car with the steering wheel off by 90 degrees was the car we were renting and the driver reassured us “no no”.

He turned down a dirt road, being careful to slow down and avoid the huge pot holes as much as possible. I began to plan how I would react if something untoward were to happen, wishing for the flashlight I left in the hotel. I was relieved when we pulled into a housing complex with some storefronts, including one that had a car rental name.

We got out and our driver’s partner (wearing a shirt with the word “Hustle” on the front) took my driver license and went inside while the driver told us to look over the car. Wait, what? Where’s the rental? You mean this? It doesn’t even have a license plate. We looked it over until the second guy came out with the contract.

Yet another company name at the top and the rate hand written at the bottom. “Sign here!” Hold on a minute! Bella handled the negotiations. She objected to the few little marks to indicate damage to the car. “You have to scribble the whole outline” Bella told him. Then he told her they only take cash. We wanted to use the Amex to ensure we’d have their excellent insurance in case something happened to the car (as if they would be able to tell the difference). “It’s insured” he said. “We don’t have that much cash”. “You can pay us tomorrow”.

That was enough to set our Spidey Senses off. We asked to be driven back to the area of our hotel. That didn’t turn out to be a problem. Bella asked the driver if he would drive us to Higuey but he wouldn’t do if for less than $200, so he dropped us off close to our hotel so we could find a restaurant for lunch.

After negotiating with no less than four cab different cab drivers we determined the going rate of $80 round trip for a cab was the best option so we hired one of them. We found an awesome pickup truck on the road:

Saw the cathedral:


And found a really nice upgrade to a scooter:


All in all, we had fun. And we have another story to tell.



I'm an engineer, a veteran, and an avid traveler. I agree with Robert Louis Stevenson - "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."

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