Car Rental in Kochi
Kochi is one of India’s most popular travel destinations with lots to see and do. It's an ideal base to explore the many wonders of Kerala. Well-known for its eco-tourism villages, hidden temples and historic towns, Kochi and Kerala are best explored with your own rental car to maximize your possibilities.
Where to rent a car in Kochi
There are several car rental companies at Cochin International Airport, the main gateway into Kochi. All of the agencies available at the airport are local companies including Kerala Taxi, Meru and Taxio. If you don’t plan on getting your rental vehicle right away after landing there’s no need to worry as there are many more agencies available around Kochi. None of the usual international providers can be found in Kochi but the local car rental agencies have a good reputation and will be able to provide a reliable driver with your vehicle. It is difficult for foreign visitors to get a self-drive rental car but it is possible if you are determined to drive yourself.
Driving in Kochi
As you would expect of a busy city in India, driving in Kochi is not recommended for first-time drivers in the country. The roads are very hectic and rules are very rarely adhered to, so you can expect aggressive driving, constant horn-honking and traffic jams which last for hours. In order to drive in India you will need to have a valid International Driving Permit, and don’t forget that traffic drives on the left-hand side in the country. It is highly advisable to stay off the roads in central areas of Kochi from 07.00-09.00 and 17.00-19.00 during weekdays or you will end up stuck in traffic for hours.
Parking in Kochi
Kochi is a bustling city and is also very popular with travelers, so it is understandably difficult to find parking spots in certain areas such as around busy landmarks and in central areas. Most locals will park their cars on the streets and official parking garages are limited in the city. It is highly advisable to stay at a hotel which is able to make parking arrangements for you or you will find it difficult to park your rental vehicle each evening. One alternative is to park up near a metro station before catching the metro into the city center.
Where to go around Kochi
Kochi is split up into separate areas such as the Ernakulam Mainlan City which includes the affluent Downtown district and the CBD, while the Mattencherry and Fort Kochi areas are the main tourist hotspots situated alongside the Indian Ocean. There are a few famous ecotourism villages just a short drive from central Kochi such as the Kumbalangi Tourism Village just 15 km from Kochi and the Mastyafed Tourist Village, a shrimp farm 10 km from the city center. Further out from Kochi you can visit some of Kerala’s best towns and retreats like the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary or the unspoiled scenery of Wagamon.
* This information is correct as of December 2018