You could certainly get by without a car in Esperanza. Within a block or two from the house is a bakery, a colmado or local grocery store, and the Malecon which is the strip of shops and restaurants facing the waterfront. Three of the best beaches on the island are in Esperanza, and all of them are within walking distance from the house. And there are “publicos” or taxies available for trips around the island. But, we would recommend renting a car - especially for your first visit. There are so many remote beaches and back roads that we never get tired of exploring the island.
The town of Isabel II, about 6 miles from Esperanza, is the central commercial district on the island. This is where you will find the ATM machine, the supermarket, and the pharmacy. Also some really fun, high quality restaurants are tucked here and there all over the island. And there are beaches, some really great beaches, that range from 5 to 10 miles away. You might as well try them all! (But it would be easier with a car.)
The rental cars range from full size Jeeps to smaller Suzuki's and Geo's like the one in the picture. It doesn't take much of a car to get around on the island, the roads are narrow and the speeds are generally in the 30's. At these slower speeds it's great to roll down the windows and enjoy the day. Coming around any corner you may find horses, cattle, goats or chickens in the middle of the road. Many roads are dirt roads, and even the paved roads have drainage “features”. So take it easy!
Here are the names of some of the rental companies on the island. Rental cost seems to run between $45.00 - $75.00 per day. If you decide to rent a car, make your auto reservation as soon as you finalize your plane reservations. Around the holidays, Christmas and Easter in particular, they often run out of cars.