It is not easy to rent a car in Abkhazia. Abkhazia is a partially recognized republic (recognized by Russia, some small countries and neighboring unrecognized republics) with all the problems that come with it.
The first problem is legal entry into the country. If you plan to visit Georgia then, it may be a problem. All the risks are described in the article "How to get to Abkhazia."
The second major problem for not local road-users is safety. Actually, it doesn’t matter whether you drive your own car or a leased one, you get in the risk group. Traffic police pays closer attention to you and your vehicle which can provoke car break-in or theft. Learn more about such dangers in the article "Safety in Abkhazia."
If you are still reading the article, then you probably are not afraid of Georgian severe border guards, but eager to see Abkhazian wildlife despite all the problems and hardship of this republic. So, let us tell you how and where you can rent a car there.
Car rent in Abkhazia
There are a few car rental companies in Abkhazia. You can make a reservation by your mobile phone or by email. But the market is still undeveloped like any other market in this country. You should be ready to that rented cars are not insured, so any possible damage will be at your expense.
But a rented Abkhazian car has its undeniable advantage: a local license plate number, so the traffic police will not pay too much attention to it. And it is very unlikely that such a car could be stolen: in Abkhazia, like in any other criminal country, any business is patronized by criminals. So, if a car rental company works successfully, it means that it is admitted to operate, and you will have no problems with criminals.
I give no list of Abkhazian car-rental websites and phone numbers here because I do not want to advertise them. Of course, did not check all of them and don`t want to be an involuntary accomplice in case of any problems.
Car rent in Russia for a trip to Abkhazia
To rent a car in Sochi for an Abkhazia trip is a bit more expensive. By now only two car rental companies allow their vehicles to travel to Abkhazia: Rentmotors and UrentCar:
You can check car availability in the following form if you specify city as Sochi (Russia) and Sochi International Airport as a place of receipt:
Rentalcars broker offers all the rental companies in Sochi, but you should choose Rentmotors or UrentCar. Other rental companies may not allow their cars to Abkhazia. In 2016, I phoned all Sochi car rental companies, so my information is actual as of today.
Entry into Abkhazia by car will cost you extra 5000 rubles. All vehicles are insured. But you should contact the rental company and verify all the details while booking.
You should ask for a proxy notice for the right to cross the Abkhazian border in the rented car. Otherwise, without such authorization you will not be able to travel outside the Russian territory.
Road quality in Abkhazia
The Sukhumi highway and roads to the main tourist places (Gagra, Pitsunda, New Athos, Sukhumi, Lake Ritsa, etc.) are good. The Russian government is engaged in expensive road repairs as a part of its assistance to the country.
Other roads may be of poor quality, and country roads are unpaved. But if you don’t speed up, they will not be a problem even for low suspension cars.
In conclusion one more thing you have to consider while planning your trip: crossing the border takes some time. In the peak tourist season there are lots of vehicles at the Psou border crossing point, and you may spend hours waiting. So, try to cross the border early in the morning: the flow of tourists is little at that time.
Have a good trip!