Rafael Hernandez Airport Car Rental

Rafael Hernández International Airport Background…

For decades the commercial aircraft operations on the island in Puerto Rico where the airport now stands took place through the Ramey Air Force Base. Rafael Hernández Airport didn’t start coming about until 1988 when the jets at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, the busiest airport in Puerto Rico, needed an alternate landing surface for emergency situations. A couple years after it was built, in the 1990s, the first local Puerto Rican flight took place with the assistance of Rafael Hernández Airport.

In 2004 the airport saw its first renovation and expansion operation that created a new parking area and enlarged the terminal. The expansion was completed by 2005. Since 2001, the airport has seen an incredible increase in the number of passengers it’s provided service to. In 2001 it only served about seventy-five thousand, while in 2011 the airport served more than four hundred and fifty thousand. The rate of growth suggests that the airport will need to undergo another expansion in the near future.

Ticket counter at BQN

Rafael Hernández International Airport Car Rentals…

There are five car rental companies that make their services available to all the passengers of Rafael Hernández International Airport. The list includes nationally acclaimed American companies Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, and Hertz. All five companies are on-site and have counters located near the baggage claim area within the main terminal. Should a renovation or expansion cause the counters to be moved, check one of the directories scattered throughout the airport or ask a nearby employee for assistance locating the company you prefer most. Once you’ve received the key to your vehicle, i.e. sufficiently filled out all the proper paperwork, you’ll be directed to the parking space in the rental lot just outside the terminal where your rental awaits your arrival.

Puerto Rico is a United States territory, meaning you don’t have to have a passport or any other form of international transportation to fly from within the United States to Puerto Rico. It’s one of the most developed and populated islands in the world and even has a major city that serves almost like a state capital, San Juan. There are so many roads in Puerto Rico that finding a direct route from point A to point B is a possibility for almost every destination. All you have to do is figure out the proper complicated twists and turns that will get you to where you want to be.

Start by heading right on Hangar Rd or Cliff Rd and turning onto Puerto Rico 110. Follow 110 and you’ll eventually come out onto County Road 2. Turn left and follow the county road as it turns into County Road 22 and leads you to where it intersects with County Road 1. Head left towards the water on County Road 1 and it will take you to the small island just off the coast from the main island that serves as the downtown area for San Juan.

To get anywhere else on the island you can follow County Road 2 in a big loop that nearly goes around the entire perimeter. A smaller, secondary loop made by County Road 53 will take you around the eastern side of Puerto Rico that the main loop skips. The secondary loop is where El Yunque National Forest (see picture below), the biggest protected forest area on the island, can be found.

El Yunque Rainforest

Car Rental Returns...

On the corner of Puerto Rico 110 and Cliff Rd you’ll find the closest gas station for refueling before returning your rental car. For the next closest you’d have to drive down County Road 2 a bit, making the option right next to the airport the best by far. Regardless of price I’d recommend refueling there.

Other Car Rental Options at Rafael Hernández International Airport…

Can the area be navigated without a GPS system? Yes, but it’ll take you a lot longer to do so. For only ten or fifteen more dollars a day you can navigate Puerto Rico like a pro and avoid using the main roads altogether. The time and gas money you’d save will more than make up for the cost. Each company offers its own GPS system too, so you aren’t forced to choose one company over another. 

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