I get asked all the time about reliable car hire in Uruguay and I am going to give an unashamed shout-out to a local car hire company, Mariño Sport, which has offices in Montevideo (Pocitos and near the airport) and Punta del Este.
Why? Because they deserve it!
I have recommended them to clients and my own visiting friends and family since 2010 and I have been consistently impressed by their great service and personal touch.
They treat clients like real human beings
Back a few years ago, I had a French client whose rental car window got broken by an opportunistic thief. She was pretty upset – not only because of the unwelcome complication but she was naturally worried about the repair charges.
Not only did Mariño come to sort out the damage immediately but they did not even charge her! How many big companies would take that attitude? Mariño is just COOL.
Free drop-off and pick-up on request
This is really a great part of the service. You can arrange to have them meet you at the airport, the port or your hotel and then they will pick the car up from you wherever you decide in Montevideo and Punta del Este.
What a relaxing start and end to your holiday. It can also save you money too as a taxi from the airport to the centre of Montevideo can set you back 40 USD.
Note there’s a forty dollar charge for drop-offs out of office hours ie before 8.30am and after 7.30pm Sunday through Friday and after 5.30pm on Saturdays.
Honest and no hidden extras
The rate they quote you will include:
- all taxes
- full insurance*
- additional drivers for free
- unlimited mileage during high season (December-February)
- 350 kilometre per day limit (eg Punta del Este is 132 km from Montevideo)—and lower rates—the rest of the year
- full 24-hour mechanical assistance throughout Uruguay.
My clients who’ve gone with cheaper companies have been messed around regarding how much gas was in the car to start with and other such annoying tricks. I have never known Mariño to mess around.
* You will be asked to sign a credit card voucher for the value of 1000 USD (for a compact car, more for a larger car) which is called a “deductible”. The insurance covers you for everything except the first 1000 USD-worth of damage. This is standard practice for Uruguayan car rentals. The voucher will be ripped up at the end of your rental.
As they have their own repair shop, their cars are well-maintained. This may seem a basic requirement, but I have heard enough stories of rental cars in Uruguay breaking down to know that this is not a given.
Mariño was founded in 2002 as a motor repair shop and started renting cars two years later. They are the official service representatives for Nissan, Hyundai and Renault in Uruguay.
They rent automatics
Not many companies do in Uruguay and people typically drive stick shift. Mariño tells me they have the largest fleet of small and medium size automatic cars in Uruguay.
They rent vans
If you have a larger group or lots of luggage, they have a large range of passenger vans for 7 and 9 people.
Why Mariño might not be for you
If you are just after the cheapest deal then Mariño is not for you.
Their rates are not quite as competitive as some other the international car companies however for the reasons above mean that I would choose them any day.
And remember that when you hire a car using an international credit card the 22% VAT is automatically deducted from the rental price.
How do I book and claim 10% off?
Send an email to email@example.com quoting offer code Guru’Guay for a 10% discount.
Write “Guru’Guay car rental: your name” in your subject line. Don’t forget to mention your rental dates and Mariño will write back to you.
Don’t be put off by their terrible written English, you will work things out. [Supposedly they are working on improving this, including hiring new English-speaking staff—but I will revise my opinion when I see the evidence—ha!]
More reading on driving in Uruguay
- Is it worth hiring a car while I am in Montevideo? The Guru says no. Distances are short, public transport is great and taxis cheap. Only vineyards are further afield, and Uruguay has a zero-tolerance drink-driving policy
- What’s the traffic like in Uruguay? This article sums it up pretty well and made me laugh
- Driving in the Uruguay countryside Excellent pointers!
- Tipping parking guys Who the hell are these people? And should I pay them??
[Article first published: Feb 12, 2015. Last updated: See date above]
Hi Karen, we were thinking of coming to Uruguay for a month in 2024, I was wondering whether renting a RV is possible for travelling around.
Would it be safe to sleep in various places along the way?
Hi Marie, I’ve not seen RVs for rent here in Uruguay. Let us know if you find a place that does! Best, Karen
Our experience with them was fantastic. While the car wasn’t exactly what we asked for, it worked fine. The drop-off was great and the vehicle worked well until the morning we were driving back to Montevideo from Punta. The valet brought the car around to show us that a back tire was flat from a large screw. When we informed the concierge that the car was from Marino Sport she said “We work with them all the time!” and hurried off to make a phone call. Their guys from Punta arrived about 5 minutes later, put the spare on, and showed us the way to a tire repair place in Maldonado. Thirty minutes and 280 pesos later, we were on our way! This could have been a real disaster, but it was made easy.
I found your website to be very informative. Thanks for keeping it up, it is very helpful.
I am planning a short trip to Uruguay in December. While looking at car rental options I found your blog. Marino Sport sounds like a great option but I am wondering how exactly the airport pickup and drop off work since they don’t have an office in MVD. Would they drive us all the way to Montevideo office to pick up the car? How long does it take? What about returning a car back at the airport?
Hi Alex, Marinio does have an office in Montevideo in Pocitos and a second one close to the airport. They will meet you at the airport with your car, and you can drop it off there too. Contact them soon as there’s lots of demand in December! All the best, Karen
thank you for your wonderful Website!
My partner and I are planing a trip to Uruguay for a month, starting in Montevideo.
I looked up your information about `Marino Sport` Car rental – do you know by any chance – if it is possible to rent a car for an entire month?
Or do you have any further recommendation?
We are arriving around the 17th of august and leaving about the same time in September.
I appreciate your help!
P.S.: I couldn’t sent you an email directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org I tried about 3 times and every time I got a notification from Mail Delivery Subsystem.
Hi Svetlana, so glad you have found the site useful! It is totally possible to rent a car for a month, especially in low season I am sure they will make you a deal! All the best, Karen
I had a wonderful experience with Marino. I would definitely use them again and I cannot recommend them enough!
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I tried contacting Marino Sport but have not gotten a response. Based on your recommendation and the fact that I would much rather support a smaller, local business I am still hoping that I may hear from them. I know I am late in trying to rent. We are getting to Montevideo on December 27, but I’ve been having a hard time finding a car rental. I hope that I hear from them soon. If they have nothing available, can you make another recommendation?
Dear Mary Ellen, I just called Marinio and Mirelma tells me that she has responded to you. Did you check your spam? All the best Karen
Alright, based off of your recommendation my family will be using Marino Sport for our car rental while in Uruguay. We just made the rental confirmation with Lorena and so far it’s worked out great. I have a friend in Montevideo that was shopping around for us and found some that were a little cheaper (multicar, for example) but we told him that we were supporting the local business.
Wish us luck!
Hey Robb, you are not going to regret it – and yes, I am fully with you – it’s really important to support local business!
I highly recommend Marino for a car rental! They were super helpful.
When they dropped off the car at Casa Sarandi (Karen’s guesthouse, casasarandi.com), I noticed that they brought a manual. I showed them my original email where I had requested an automatic (check the confirmation they send in advance, which I didn’t). I was anxious to start my road trip around Uruguay and a bit disappointed. I absolutely don’t know how to drive manual, so that wouldn’t have been an option. The very helpful and patient staffperson (I didn’t catch her name) assured me that they would find a solution. She called her office, sorted it out, and an automatic magically arrived in 20 minutes. And they didn’t charge me extra!
Later in my trip, I wanted to extend my reservation to add one night AND to change the pick up location. A local friend helped me send them an email in Spanish, and they had no problem making either change. Yay!
Finally, when I returned to Montevideo and was keeping the car for an extra night, I stupidly left the lights on overnight (the car doesn’t beep if you leave them on). So, the next morning, the car wouldn’t start. I called Karen for help, who called Marino and assured me they have emergency service. Sure enough, 20 minutes later, they arrived and jumpstarted the car!
Wonderful service, always polite. Better experience than with rental car companies in the U.S. Highly recommended!
Everyone drives stick-shifts in South America so an automatic car is usually more expensive. So you got extra-special treatment, Pooja! I am sure in part it was because you had contacted them via Guru’GUAY 😉
But seriously, your story illustrates (in several ways) why Marinio is such a great company and really worth using. Plus I totally believe in supporting local businesses. Why use a big multinational when you can be taken care of like this, right? Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your experience.