One of the things we advice the most to our guest while in the island is renting a motor vehicle to explore what San Andres has to offer.
THIS IS A NEW ARTICLE, ONGOING WORK
As of November 2019 the police started asking for driving licence seldomly to tourist, it doesn't need to be an international drivers license and it can be a car license even if you are driving a scooter, if you are sharing a car, make sure the driver has a drivers license with them ot a photo, otherwise they make you run back to the hostel to get it.
By some strange reason helmets are not compulsory, is not like there's no helmet law, in fact there is one and it gets applied in all of mainland Colombia, but by a lack of -who knows what- gets ignored here in the island. From time to time the police tries to enforce it, but is rare that they do and most locals revolt everytime they do.
however If you still want a helmet we can try to get you one, but make absolutely no guarantees we can.
Type of Vehicles
Most scooters rented in the island are Yamaha's BWS they are 125CC, they are fully automatic and have a compartment where you can keep your stuff, however these compartment are easy to break into, so we don't recommend leaving valuables stored in them.
There's a particular trend among all rental scooters and is that breaks are quite long, this is because some of the pavement in the island is very slippery.
On a side note, BWS are high scooters so they are not recommended for short people.
Back in early 2000s the island was swarmed with golf carts, yes, the same ones you see in a golf course, these cars are slow by nature and can't do hills properly, the rental of these types of cars has been slowly dying, nowadays is pretty rare that a rental place offers only golf carts and the few that have them have them in a very bad shape.
In 2019 we decided to start discouraging people from renting these type of golf carts as to often they would break in the middle of nowhere causing a nuisance for our guests and for us.
Some people call the Mules golf carts, but this is very far from the truth, the original use for mule is an all terrain vehicle, most brands found in the island are Kawazaki Mules or Ranger Polaris.
We get asked a lot about the possibility to rent real motorcycles with gears, but none of the rental places rent these types of bikes. From time to time we ask a friend of ours to rent his bike, if you are interesed let us know prior and we will see what we can do.
There are a couple of places downtown that rent fancy cars from convertibles to humvees, we don't provide any information about these, because to be hones in 10 years running the hostel nobody has been rent or ask us for help renting one.
This is a bit tricky, sometimes what looks like a perfectly good place to park, turn out not to be one, the best way is to ask any local that's around if its permitted to park even if you see other motorcycles parked in there. Sometimes the toll truck comes and pics up to 20 bikes in less than 1 hour, so by the time you come back your bike might be gone and believe, is a pain in the ass to get them out of the "bike jail".
Sometimes you will see a lot of bikes parked in an area where is clearly not allowed, but most locals know this and inform each other through whatsapp groups when the toll truck comes.
In Colombia every motor vehicle has to have and insurance called SOAT, this is obligatory and covers medical bills for accidents for you and third parties, keep in mind that it doesn't cover damages to vehicles. All the rental places' vehicles we use at the hostel must have this insurance, otherwise we refused refer them customers.
If you get into an accident or fall in a motorcycle you will need to cash out for any damages or repairs, most places already have a "menu" of common damages with prices, make sure you take a photo of the bike before using it, that way you can have peace of mind you are not getting ripped off. Also keep in mind that any damages done to you by a third party while the bike is under your care are your full resposibility
Although we are in a small island, unfortunately there's still motorcycle theft, most stolen bikes end up being dismantled for parts, also there's a not-so-common problem of people taking bikes for joy rides as sometimes renters forget the keys on the ignition.
Areas to avoid