Miscellaneous Information

Renting a car in Nicaragua

Rental car tips. I am not going to imply that the rental car agencies are dishonest but they have been known to try to stick you with the damage that is not yours and they did not get repaired. They should go over the car with you and mark any damage but double check and especially note scuff marks on the tires, one of their favorites to get you to buy new tires or wheel covers.

A second biggie is a windshield. Look for any chips, cracks, stone bruises and scratches and make sure they note them. On the interior look for stains on the seats or floor carpet, and any tears. Don’t let them convince you these are normal wear and tear and make sure the things they are saying is normal wear and tear are recorded on the checkout sheet. I like to whip out my digital camera, set the date and time so it time stamps the photos and be sure to take that set off or your vacation photos won’t be a nice as you want them.

Usually, when they see the camera they are more careful to make sure all pre-existing damage is recorded. Pop the trunk and check for spare and necessary tools and safety equipment. Sometimes these get legs and disappear but you need to pay for the replacement. The law for normal cars, I don’t know if it is different for rentals, requires a set of safety triangles and a fire extinguisher.

Pop the hood and get a couple of photos of the engine and make sure one clearly shows the battery. They have been known to replace the battery and then when you come back they say “where is this car’s original battery?” I also shoot some photos of the entire car making sure the license number shows and if possible snap one of the person checking or renting the car to you.

We would never think about all this in the US but this is an entirely different culture and the world and if they think they can get away with something they will try.