Review of "Cabrera Medina"
I have been to Lanzarote several times with my family but went away for the first time this year with my fiancé. I cannot drive so was really pleased when my partner said that he would be willing to hire a car and drive over the Island. Lanzarote is a small island so really it can be explored in 2-3 days. In the past I have learned that by hiring a car we can save a lot of money. The excursions are expensive and do not allow enough freedom to stop at the side of the road and appreciate the true beauty.
Police are very strict on the Canary Islands and such offences as speeding or drink driving are taken very seriously, if caught you will be issued with an on-the-spot fine. There is also an on the spot fine for people not wearing seatbelts.
The most obvious difference between driving abroad (The Canary Islands) and in the UK is the fact that driving is on the right hand side of the road. When hiring a car the driver must carry the full driving license, passport and car hire agreement in case stopped by the police (Guardia Civil).
Most petrol stations only accept cash (Euros) so make sure you carry cash when driving. The car is usually topped up with petrol by an assistant. Make sure you know what petrol you need to top up with and that you can speak a little Spanish. Petrol is cheap on the Canary Islands we filled the tank with little under 20 euros. To get the car back up to a quarter tank we used 5 Euros and it went above the mark, so it is quite cheap to drive abroad!
THINGS YOU WILL NEED TO HIRE A CAR
You will usually have to be over 21 years old to hire a car on the Canary Islands. Some companies will expect you top have a clean license. My partner was lucky enough to have a clean license so we didn't get to find out if Cabrera Medina required clean licenses. You will need your full license and passport.
Despite the company starting out on Lanzarote they have expanded and now there are Cabrera Medina car hire centres dotted over all of the Canary Islands.
Cabrera Medina is a hire car company based on the Canary Islands. The company was founded in 1967 by Mamerto Cabrera Medina on the Island of Lanzarote. The company started out with only six cars and was designed to cater for the developing tourist industry on the island. The Cabrera Medina logo (see photo 1) was designed by the famous artist Cesar Manrique.
Despite its small size Lanzarote is still the best place to hire a Cabrera Medina car. There are 16 offices on the main tourist region of Puerto del Carmen and 6 on the popular tourist town of Costa Teguise. There are two offices at the airport. There are also offices in Playa Honda, Playa Blanca and the Capital city Arrecife.Fuerteventura has 9 Cabrera Medina offices on the Island and these are situated in main tourist areas such as the capital city Correlejo, Costa Calma, Puerto de Jandia and the airport.
Tenerife has 7 offices. There is a Cabrera Medina office at both airports (North and South) and at the tourist spots such as Muelle Ribera, Los Cristianos, Playa de Santiago and Puerto de la Cruz.There are only 5 offices on the Island of Gran Canaria, despite its huge size. There is an office at the airport and the main tourist spots such as Las Palmas, Playa del Ingles and Puerto de Agaete.
On the island of la Gomera there are three offices situated at the airport and San Sabastian de La Gomera.La Palma has 3 offices situated at the airport and on the tourist region of Santa Cruz de La Palma.
On the small Island of El Hierro there is only one office situated at the airport.
We visited the local Cabrera Medina office to order our car. We had visited several hire car places in Lanzarote and struggled to find a car at a good price. Many hire car centres will place the basic price outside the shop giving the tourist the impression that the hire centre is very cheap. We were dragged in by a few of these centres and ended up declining when we realised that with insurance, wear and tear and other extras the price was extensively increased.
We noticed Cabrera Medina dotted around the town centre. We decided to look in their window one night and could see on the small print that the prices are inclusive of all charges and insurance). The price was very good so we decided to pop in and book a car for the following day.The lady behind the counter spoke little English but luckily armed with my electronic translator I was able to communicate with her. We managed to get a free upgrade from an Opel (European version of Vauxhall) Corsa to an Opel Astra. The upgrade meant that we could have a brand new, air conditioned, four door car for the price of an older, non air conditioned car.
My partner had to fill a form out with details of local (holiday) address and home address. The lady took a photocopy of his passport and drivers licence. She gave us a slip to bring back when collecting the car.Cars can also be booked online at http://online.cabreramedina.com. The website is available in English so it is easy to follow. If you plan to have a car from the airport for the duration of the holiday then booking online is probably a good idea. You can also book a car from your local resort if you plan to take it out for touring the island. It is not hard to get a hire car in Lanzarote and they rarely 'sell out' so I wouldn't recommend dealing with it over the net its just as easy to pop in on your hols.
My partner had to sign another sheet to say that he understood the agreement (basically to look after the car etc). The man in the office explained that the car had a quarter tank of petrol and we needed to return it with this amount. We had to leave a 9 Euro deposit for the petrol. We were told that when we returned the car with a quarter tank of petrol we would get the 9 Euros back. We were fine with this as unfortunately not all people can be trusted to return with the right amount of petrol.
PICKING THE CAR UP
On the morning we had to pick the car up we collected together all the documents and my partner took two pairs of shoes just in case. Prior top booking the car we had picked up a selection of road maps, as well as the ones we had brought from home. Cabrera Medina however have their own maps with clear directions to the major tourist attractions.
The first 30 minutes in the car was a bit scary, my partner had never driven a left hand drive car and kept forgetting the gear stick was on his right. He also struggled to see how far from the edge of the road we were on my side and I was gripping on quite tight. He soon got used to the car however and loved driving it. He did complain that changing gears was tricky as the gear stick felt very stiff and kept getting 'stuck', although I think this is a case of getting used to a new car.
We did have a slight problem at first as the man had parked the car on an illegal spot. On our way out to get the car the police drove past and signalled for us to move it. We hopped in and without anytime to get used to the controls my partner kangaroo hopped up the high street until he could find somewhere to pull over. He did complain at first about the lack of leg room. Despite trying to move the seat back he couldn't and although he got used to it others may dislike this feature.
We struggled to park the car at night as the police can be strict about parking, luckily we hired it on a Sunday so could park the car outside our apartment. This however may be something you need to think about carefully before hiring as parking tickets could work out expensive.The controls in the car were easy to use and we soon found the British radio channel. I loved the air conditioning and the comfortable seats (although the leather did get a bit sticky in the heat).
RETURNING THE CAR
Returning the car was as easy as picking it up. We parked it outside the office and informed the man on the counter that we were returning the car. We paid for the two days and managed to get our 9 Euros back. The man gave us our receipt, we said Gracias and left. Hiring a car was so easy and stress free. It worked out very cheap for us at only 50 Euros for two days we were very impressed. We really missed the car after we took it back as we missed the radio.
If you are planning to hire a car on one of the Canary Islands keep this company in mind. We were very impressed with the service and the staff were very efficient. The language barrier is no issue as we found and the service throughout is helpful and friendly. The cost was very low and this included all taxes, fully comprehensive insurance cover, mileage and wear and tear. I would definitely recommend this company.
Product Information : Cabrera Medina
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 10/09/2007