Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Mexico

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I’ve been living in Mexico for over 3 years. I’ve rented a car numerous times in the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico City, so I feel like I’m a qualified person to tell you what’s the best rental car company in the area, and whether renting a car in Mexico is manageable.

I’ve had readers asking me numerous times if they should rent a car in Cancun or not. Some were even simply saying no to a car rental, as they were too afraid to drive in a foreign country. Why?

Because of articles like this one on NYT that tell you it’s way too dangerous to do this. Some even went that far and said to hire a driver, as ‘taking the risk of driving yourself amid all that corruption is a bad choice’. Let me clear your doubts here.

Renting a Car in Mexican Yucatan Peninsula


Is it Safe to Rent a Car in Mexico?

Renting a car anywhere in the world comes with a bit of risk. It’s important to drive with caution and be prepared for different traffic regulations, as it’s a foreign country. Speed limits are clearly marked and road signs are easy to follow.

Many travelers are afraid of being stopped by a corrupted police, but while you can get stopped, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula where Cancun is located, it’s just like any other control.  No, you won’t get kidnapped and carjacking isn’t common – these are some things uninformed people tend to say without having an actual knowledge.

Also, places like Playa del Carmen or Tulum are extremely safe. Don’t panic if you get stopped by the police as random patrols are fairly common in the area. They can ask you a few questions, such as where are you going and where are you coming from, and let you go. Unless you’re obviously speeding, talking on the phone, or breaking some other rules.


Renting a Car in Mexico Online & Hidden Costs

If you look online you’ll likely be impressed with the rental car rates in Cancun: $6 a day, $8 a day, and even less than $20 a day for an SUV. It seems perfect. But…

The problem is booking online. Once you walk to the counter to pick up your car, you’ll suddenly be bombed with an additional cost of compulsory insurance, service fees, and other things.

Many major online travel booking sites will deceive you when it comes to Mexican Liability Insurance. I saw quotes such as ‘car rentals in Mexico form$5/day’ everywhere.


READ MORE: Road Trip in Yucatan Peninsula


Many times I had a car booked for $5 online that came up to $200 upon arrival. Why?

Because ALL car rental companies in Mexico require you to purchase basic Personal Liability Insurance, which is, at it’s cheapest, about $20 per day. While there is a way out of it, there are a few things you need to know.

Don’t even bother booking an insurance online from Orbitz, RentalCars.com or another website. While their insurance works in other countries, it doesn’t in Mexico. Mexico also does not accept liability coverage from credit card insurance. There’s no problem as long as nothing happens, but if you get a flat tire or get into an accident, then you’ll be looking at a lot of additional payments.

I was once facing a lot of additional payments after someone made a dent in my car standing in a parking lot in Chichen Itza. It obviously wasn’t my fault, but there was nothing I could do about it since the person who did it appeared to have left the scene before I got back to the car.

But don’t be discouraged. Issues with online websites are unavoidable, no matter where you are in the world. I actually recently experienced an issue at Boston Airport as my husband and I booked a car on RentalCars.com. As we were visiting Poland at the time, their website switched to Polish site making us pay in PLN – it didn’t give us any other option unless we had a VPN.

We didn’t think much of it, until we arrived in Boston, only to find out that was required to have a Polish driver’s license as we booked the car from Poland. The provider said that they’re not responsible for the content of RentalCars.com and we’ll need to pay almost double to drive the car in the US with the US driver’s license. Ridiculous, I know. But I’m telling you this story to let you know that the problem isn’t just in Mexico, but with websites offering car rentals.

What Happens if You Decline Car Insurance?

If you choose to decline the additional insurance that, you’ll stumble upon another issue. Most companies to decline all additional insurances this is a $2,500 USD or more (or the equivalent in Mexican Pesos). While for some Americans it’s not an issue, many Europeans don’t have such option on their credit cards.


Is it Better to Book a Car in Person Upon Arrival?

In my experience, it all depends on the person renting you a car. Quite often I was being offered a better rate, including an additional insurance, when I just walked in than if I booked online. However, you want to avoid not having a car when landing in Mexico during high seasons like during Christmas and Easter week.

Renting a Car in Mexico


Laws Tourists Should Know When Renting a Car in Mexico

Renting a car in Mexico is much the same as renting in the United States, and you’ll find most of the major players — Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty, etc. Make sure to read the fine print.

Rental agencies at airports will be way more expensive than renting from an off-site agency and tend to charge more fees.

Most cars have an automatic transmission unless it’s a dune buggy or jeep.

Unlike in the US, the second driver fee should be included in your rental price already.

You need a credit card to rent a car.

You don’t need an international driver’s license to rent a car in Mexico.

Check all the dents and take pictures of them before leaving the agency. Some agencies tend to make money on dents that have been there before.


How Old Do You Have To Be to Rent a Car In Mexico?

The legal driving age in Mexico is 18, but many cars hire suppliers will only rent to people aged 25. Some companies might do an exception for a person over 21, but absolutely not under 21.


Scams to Avoid in Mexico When Renting a Car

Be careful when you’re filling your car at the gas station. Unlike in the US, you won’t get out of your car in Mexico as they have workers filling your car for you. You’ll also pay them instead of the machine, so have cash with you. What should you pay attention you?

Make sure that you check the gas meter before the attendant starts filling your tank. Some attendants tend to not reset the meter, making you pay more than you’re getting. Since this scam has become well known, many honest attendants will point at zeros to you before they start pumping.

Another thing to avoid is to make sure which bills are you handing to your attendant. People tend to swap bills, claiming you gave them let’s say 50 Pesos note instead of 500 Pesos note, so make sure to pay attention. If this happens to you, be firm and tell them NO. Most people will handle you back your charge after you make a scene.

bat crossing road

Bat crossing!


Recommended Rental Car Companies in Cancun & Riviera Maya in Mexico

Playa del Carmen Car Rental – Hertz (10th Av) & MEX Rent A Car (5th Av)

Cozumel Car Rental – HTL Rentals

Cancun Car Rental – Enterprise & America Car Rental


 DON’T FORGET ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE

Don’t forget to arrange a health insurance before heading to Mexico. The easiest and the most reliable travel insurance is World Nomads Travel Insurance. Get it before your trip to skip unnecessary troubles that might ruin your holidays!

Why Rent a Car in Mexico?

While there are many options for group tours everywhere and buses, that will take you to see all the main sights, there are also many places you can’t see without a car. Having a vehicle can you give freedom to explore as and when you want to, and avoid crowds during peak hours.

See my sample itinerary for a 2-week road trip around Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

Renting a Car in Mexico

Any questions? Don’t be afraid to ask me anything in the comments below!

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91 Comments

  1. Apr 2, 2017 / 11:48 am

    Great tips Anna, sounds like you have heaps of knowledge about renting a car in Mexico or elsewhere. We love hiring a car or motorbike when we go away, we just love the freedom that it gives you.

  2. Danica
    Apr 11, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    hey, great tips, but do you have any rental car company tips for Merida?

    • Apr 11, 2017 / 9:33 pm

      Haven’t been to Merida yet, but will be going this month so will report back!

      • Danica
        Jun 15, 2017 / 2:41 am

        How’d you go in Merida?

      • jo
        Nov 7, 2017 / 9:39 pm

        Hi Anna! What companies do you recommend for renting cars in Merida? Going this month!

      • Tony
        Jan 5, 2018 / 11:18 pm

        Any update on good car rental agency on Merida?

        • Jan 5, 2018 / 11:27 pm

          Unfortunately nope. I haven’t been back to Mexico since then since I’ve been living in California. Hoping someone else will reply to you!

  3. Tabitha Walton
    May 18, 2017 / 6:14 am

    Hello! About how much a day does it come out to when renting a compact from a PDR rental car agency like Hertz? We were thinking about getting around via colectivo but I also like the idea of having our own vehicle. 🙂

    • May 18, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      Yeah I totally get it since colectivo doesn’t go everywhere. During high season between $25-50 per day, low season around $25.

  4. Chris
    May 25, 2017 / 12:56 am

    Nice tips, I will be in PDC next month and I would like to visit las coloradas, I saw a story of your boyfriend talking about this, can you tell me how to get there? any advice and stops along the way?

    Thanks,

    • May 25, 2017 / 2:18 am

      Getting to Las Coloradas without a car is tough and honestly VERY pricy. That’s why I’d always say car, but if you really don’t want to drive then… You’d have to take a bus to Tizim (there are like one of two per day only, so don’t miss it). From there you’d have to ask for a taxi to Rio Lagartos. Then you’d have to take a boat to Las Coloradas. The taxi alone would be like $75 at least one way (unless you can haggle a bit in Spanish, but either way there are not many options) – I met some people who did it. I don’t recommend taking a taxi to Las Coloradas directly, as once the taxi drops you off you won’t be able to find a new one (it’s really a tiny town).

  5. Vanessa
    Jun 8, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    Any tips on renting a car when traveling to Tulum

    • Jun 9, 2017 / 1:20 am

      Do you mean a particular rental company in Tulum?

      • Vanessa
        Jun 9, 2017 / 2:20 am

        Yes. And do you recommend renting in cancun airport, or is it better renting once in Tulum

        • Jun 9, 2017 / 7:25 am

          Definitely not at the airport. It’s the worst place to rent. They charge some hidden fees and ridiculous deposit.

          • Megan Meyers
            Oct 8, 2017 / 5:34 am

            Hey there, I will be going to Cancun this November… you sold me on renting a car. I am hoping to go to Akumal and Tulum each for 3-4 nights. I have two questions: 1) where do you recommend getting a car if not at the airport? I assume its best to get one while I am in Cancun so I don’t have to pay for transport to Tulum or Akumal, and 2) is there anywhere along the way or near there that is a must see? Just a couple suggestions would be great (either in terms of towns or specific must sees along the way!) Thanks so much!

          • Oct 8, 2017 / 10:09 pm

            1) I’d say anywhere apart from the airport. I mean, it’s not like the car will be bad from the airport, but it’s usually more economical.
            2) There’s plenty to see on the way. You can easily spend a few days alone in Puerto Morelos’ Ruta de los Cenotes (Cenotes Route). Some of them are touristy with ziplines and ropes, others haven’t seen tourists in a while. You can see some in my cenotes guide -> http://annaeverywhere.com/best-cenotes-tulum/ . You should also stop at Yal-Ku Lagoon, beautiful place (I actually just posted a photo from there on my Instagram). Do a day trip to Cozumel by ferry and rent a car or dune buggy to drive around the island. It has one of the world’s best diving and snorkeling.

  6. Pradeep
    Jun 16, 2017 / 6:35 am

    Hi Anna,
    Do you have any tips on renting a car in Valldolid?

    • Jun 16, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      Not really. You need to get to Valladolid, so it’d be more convenient to rent a car elsewhere. But it’s possible 🙂

  7. Nancy
    Jun 20, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    Hello! I will be coming to PDC arriving from the cozumel ferry end of june and need to rent a car in playa for 6 days dropping in cancun on the 6th day. any advice?

    • Jun 22, 2017 / 2:26 am

      Try the agencies I recommended – MEX Rent a Car for instance 🙂

  8. John Amelia
    Jul 3, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    I just like the valuable information you provide to your articles. I will bookmark your blog and take a look at again right here frequently. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

  9. Trisha
    Jul 8, 2017 / 9:08 am

    Do you possibly have any honest car rental recommendations in the Cozumel cruise port area yet?

  10. Warren
    Jul 14, 2017 / 12:05 am

    Great article Anna, you have covered so much of the ground rules which I wish I had read before my trip. First time driving in Mexico, I rented online with carrental8, I took the basic insurance for 10 days and came to approx $280CDN. Rental verification was sent and mentioned they would be asking me for upgrades which they did at the counter when I arrived in Cancun. I declined with no additional pressure. One word of caution…don’t swim with the keys in your pocket! If you do something as silly as I did, remove battery and have it blown out with air nozzle. Two infractions, going down one way street in Tulum (bribed officer to return licence) and parking too close to intersection in playa 5th ave section (paid quickly, half price) I am so much smarter now!

  11. Jon Reich
    Jul 18, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    Hi Anna, Will be in Playa in August . Looking to rent a car , have you heard anything about American rental at airport . Just what insurance , do you have to have and take ? Very confusing …
    Thx
    Jon

    • Jul 18, 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Their insurance. Don’t buy any insurance online.

      Never rented from American Rental at the airport, but I generally avoided renting from the airport.

  12. Christi
    Jul 18, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    Hello Anna,
    Do you have a company you recommend in Mexico City for car rental? We are arriving at Juarez airport, but know it is more expensive to rent there. Any advice, I am travelling with hubby and 2 kids. We speak.Spanish.

    • Jul 19, 2017 / 2:45 am

      I’ve never driven a car in Mexico City (despite living there for 2,5 years), since because I’m still a bit too afraid. Driving in Mexico City is no joke, as people drive very aggressively, or at night people drive on the wrong side of the roundabout, just because 😉 When I rented a car when my friend decided to drive, we had to miss our turn 4 times because he was too afraid to turn with all the cars just pushing. So unless you’re a VERY experienced driver don’t do it. The traffic is also horrible, so often you’d be better off hopping on a Metro or Metrobus.

  13. Danica
    Jul 19, 2017 / 12:10 am

    How did you go in Merida? I will be there in a months time. Did you suss out any car rental tips?

  14. Margie
    Jul 27, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    Hello Anna,
    Great blog, very useful. Can you recommend also a rental in Puerto Morelos. We will be arriving however around 20hr in Cancun, so I guess best would be to take a taxi to Puerto Morelos, and next day go for the car.
    Thanks
    Margie

    • Jul 27, 2017 / 5:09 pm

      Hi Margie!

      I know there’s Europcar in Puerto Morelos, but I don’t have a first-hand experience with any car rental companies there.

      • Irene
        Jan 6, 2018 / 8:29 pm

        Hi Margie og Anna. Any new recommendation regarding car rental in Puerto Morelos? I arrive around 21 in Cancun airport and was also thinking about getting a taxi to go to PM and then hire a car when I move on a couple of days later instead of hire at the airport. But very few car rentals in PM, so I Wonder if I need to book a head. Thank you so much for sharing all the information. Best regards Irene

  15. Jodie
    Aug 4, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    Hi, our family of will be arriving at Cancun Airport in Dec. We have rented a condo in Akumal for 2 weeks. I am looking at renting a car at the airport (Fox) to drive to Akumal and get around for the time we are there.
    I am concerned about the “extra” charges that I keep reading people are forced to pay when renting cars in Mexico. I am aware that my car insurance in Canada and coverage through my credit card are not applicable in Mexico. I also know that I will need to pay for additional liability insurance at the time of rental as well as physical damage protection for the rental car. What I am having trouble with is determining exactly how much this will all cost? In the end will it be have been financially worth it to have rented a car as opposed to a car service to get to & from the airport to the condo and then buses and cabs from there?
    There is so much fine print online when I am on the rental site – pretty tuff to pinpoint the totals.
    Your thoughts?

    • Aug 4, 2017 / 6:08 pm

      To be completely honest, the cost depends on the car rental company and the person renting you the car. On various occasions I was asked to pay a certain number and when I said to give me a normal price as I rented with them before, the number suddenly dropped by half.
      In terms whether it would be cheaper to use cabs, it depends where do you want to go and what do you want to do. Some places (for instance the pink lake) aren’t really accessible without a car unless you’d throw approx. $150 if not more and might get stranded on the way.

      • Jodie
        Aug 4, 2017 / 6:40 pm

        Through Expedia I am looking at renting a car with FOX. The total for the car is $250 CAD including tax.
        Based on the fine print I think I will pay $15.99USD/day for SLI and $24.99USD/day for LDW2 “plus applicable taxes”.
        After $$ conversion the car rental and insurance (before taxes) that will be about $971 CAD for the 2 weeks – plus taxes on the additional insurances. Any ideas what the additional taxes would be? And is SLI and LDW2 that all of the insurance they will “require” me to carry?
        We would use the car to get to and from airport/Akumal, grocery store trips, trips to Play Del Carmen, Xel Ha, Xcarat, maybe some ruins. Things like that.
        My husband will be the driver – he has no concerns about driving there. I just want to be sure we choose the most sensible option.
        I am also investigating the cost of a private car getting us to & from Akumal from the airport and then just cab and buses.

        • Aug 5, 2017 / 12:23 am

          A cab from the airport to Akumal should be approx. $75. It’s a rip off in Mexico but these days it’s impossible to haggle with them. The cheapest option is the ADO bus to Playa and then a cab.

          The most important thing about booking a car would be not booking ANY insurance online, as they aren’t really valid in Mexico. You can ask for a car without the insurance but then your credit card deposit will be high (last time I asked they quoted me $2500 at the airport). The price they gave you is fine, you should probably reach no more than $30-50 per day with taxes.

          You can easily get to all these parks, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and cenotes with a local ‘colectivo’. It’ll cost you 25-50 pesos per person. Chichen Itza ruins are the only place that can’t be reached with a colectivo and you’d need a tour bus or a car. However, if your accommodation is deep in Akumal you will have to walk for a while to get to the highway to get a taxi or colectivo, so it’d be easier to have a car.

          • Jodie
            Aug 5, 2017 / 2:17 pm

            Thank you so much for the info!

  16. Jess
    Aug 4, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    Hi Anna,

    do you recommend booking online a week before?
    And do you know a good rental place in tulum?

    • Aug 5, 2017 / 12:14 am

      If you’re going there during high-season or any long weekends the yes, definitely. If not, you can just show up. The price depends on your ability to haggle in Spanish, your level of Spanish, the person assisting you etc. But it shouldn’t be more than $30-45 a day including insurance.

  17. gaby
    Aug 7, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    Any reliable rental finds in Merida?

  18. Matt
    Sep 9, 2017 / 12:23 am

    Hi Anna,
    Do you have any recommendations for renting a car in Mexico City to drive to Pachuca in Hidalgo? Thank you!

  19. Erica
    Sep 27, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    Any good suggestion to rent once landing in cancun? Only renting for 3 days and returning back to cancun airport. My spanish is good but you can tell I have an accent. Rough estimate would be nice so I know what is fair.

    • Sep 28, 2017 / 12:16 am

      There’s not much arguing with car rental guys at Cancun airport. You can always stick to the price online and refuse the insurance, but keep in mind that the deposit on your credit card will be around $2000.

  20. Juli
    Oct 13, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    Hi, I would like to rent a car in Cancun with my boyfriend. Im 26, he’s 24 – he has a driving licence and im about to get it (but im stressed, that i would not make it till the trip to mexico). I’ve heard that if he’s younger (not 25–26 at least??) it would cost much more… is it true? Thanks, Juli

    • Oct 14, 2017 / 5:56 am

      Yes, you’ll pay slightly more for insurance.

      • Juli
        Oct 15, 2017 / 12:17 pm

        Thank you! Do you know how much?

  21. Suzanne
    Oct 16, 2017 / 11:30 pm

    Hi
    Any advice on whether it is best to rent a car or hire a driver to take us Loreto to St Ignatius lagoon.
    Thanks Suzanne

  22. averie
    Oct 18, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    your post confused me….are you saying its better to rent online or when you get there?
    we are going to cancun and travelling to tulum and are looking to rent a car. should we take a shuttle to an offsite car rental that we see online and not buy insurance online and accept the charges when we approach the counter on our credit card? i have also read to book online but in pesos, not USD as they can try to charge you more if they see you paid in USD

    • Oct 19, 2017 / 12:32 am

      It’s always better to book upon arrival. Ideally also not at the airport. From my experience every time I booked at the airport (either in person or online) they were trying to make me pay extra charges that I knew I wasn’t supposed to pay.
      Whichever insurance you buy online won’t matter in Mexico.
      It won’t really matter which currency you book the car in. Online most cars are advertised as a $1 or $4 per day, as even as a Mexican in touristy areas like Riviera Maya they’ll quote you a price in dollars. If you ask to pay in pesos they’ll simply convert the price in dollars.
      I’d actually advice against prepaying for cars in foreign currencies, especially on CarRentals(dot)com. My husband booked us a car for and since we were visiting Poland at the time of the booking it charged us in Polish Zloty. Upon arrival in we found out that they won’t rent a car to us because the website was supposed to ask us for a Polish Driver’s License since we paid in Polish currency. So yeah :/

  23. Cynthia Hernandez
    Oct 20, 2017 / 11:50 pm

    Hi Anna,
    Very helpful post as I will be arriving in Cancun this Sunday. I have a question as far as renting a car, you say to not rent one at the airport. Is there a nearby car rental agency I can easily get to from the airport. Help! Thanks.

    • Oct 21, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      Are you staying in Cancun? There are many rental agencies there.

  24. Ewa
    Oct 25, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    Hi Anna, I got a bit different question :). Do you know where I can rent an electric bike close to Cancun, Tulum or Izamul. Me, my husband with two small kids (5 years old and 1.5 years old) we plan to travel by bikes. My husband will carry children in the trailer so I thaought it will be good idea to rent a regular bike for me and electric one for my husband. Can you advise on that? Thank you very much Anna!!! Greetings from Poland (Krakow) 🙂

    • Oct 25, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      That’s a good question. I don’t think I personally saw any in Tulum, but I know that you can rent them in Playa del Carmen at the store next to BioNatural Cafe on the 10th Av.

  25. John Marcin
    Oct 26, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    We are staying at the ahilton Los Cabo’s soon. Any suggestions as to rent down there?

    • Oct 27, 2017 / 12:49 am

      I’ve never been to Los Cabos. But maybe someone else will know 🙂

  26. Martin Kaskla
    Nov 12, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    Good, simple guide to renting a car in Mexico. Props for that!

    I’m curious, do rental companies usually require a deposit and if then how large? I’ve seen some up to 2,500 USD. Could you confirm? Now if that deposit is taken from your credit card, how long would it take to get this deposit back to you?

    I’m planning a part of my trip to Tuxtla and taking a rental car from there to Palenque and back.

    • Nov 13, 2017 / 12:37 am

      It really depends per company. In Riviera Maya they take $2000-2500. They should unblock it within a week, but sometimes it might take longer.

      The route from Tuxtla to Palenque isn’t always the safest and things have been happening there for a while. When I was there 2 years ago things were bad. Locals strongly advised me against renting a car in that area and taking a public bus instead. That said you might be completely fine, but I feel obliged to say this.

      • Martin Kaskla
        Nov 13, 2017 / 2:25 am

        Oh, that’s unexpected to hear. Was not aware of that. Judging by google street seems like a really scenic drive though.

        But if renting a car in Yucatan, would you recommend taking that damage or collision waiver (CDW or sth) as in to avoid any scams like charging you for a damage that was already there?

        Thanks!

        • Nov 13, 2017 / 2:49 am

          I’d just double check the situation right before you go.

          In Yucatan I usually do take their insurance, because then instead of $2000-2500 credit card blockade they only block $100. It actually rescued me once when we accidentally got a flat tire on a highway after driving on a small screw that somehow ended up there and I didn’t have to pay a thing. No matter what, always take photos on your phone of the vehicle and every small scratch you see before driving away from the car rental place.

  27. Charlie
    Nov 28, 2017 / 11:32 pm

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for all of the great info/recommendations. I’d like to get your opinion/understanding of the following response from EasyWay for a 3 day rental car quote:

    ALI COVER THIRD PARTY YOUR DEDUCTIBLE IS 100%

    WE HAVE THE CDW AND THE DEDUCTIBLE IS 10% OF THE CAR VALUE

    THE PRICE WITH THE ALI AND CDW INSURANCE IS $140

    If you’re able to, can you explain what that means and does that seem like a reasonable price?

  28. Robyn Vanderveen
    Dec 24, 2017 / 4:47 pm

    Hi Anna,
    Quick question – do you have to put down a large deposit on the car when you rent ?
    Thanks !

    Robyn

    • Dec 24, 2017 / 11:19 pm

      Unless you rent from the airport, nope.

  29. Mimi
    Jan 2, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    Anna… we are going to Cabo st. Lucas the end of January. The place we are staying at is a good drive from the airport so we were thinking about a rental car. If we didn’t want to do a lot of exploring during the week I would probably not rent one but we will use it a lot. It looks quite inexpensive to rent a car online but I know that’s deceiving with the liability insurance that needs to be added. Is there any ones that you know in that area that we could contact before we leave? Thanks! Mimi

  30. Keti
    Jan 3, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    I live in Mexico with my Mexican husband and I am a permanent resident (although American by birth). We both have our licenses and he has a credit card. Is it possible to evade the extra insurance charge?

  31. KC
    Jan 5, 2018 / 5:01 am

    Hi Anna,
    Thanks for all the advice. I have a question regarding my travel to Tulum. I’ll be arriving at the airport Cancun, which I heard is the closest, is this correct. If so do you think it’s necessary to rent a car for 1 week? How do I get from Cancun to Tulum? Is there a car agency in Cancun that is easy to get to from the airport in Cancun to rent a car from, then head down to Tulum? What do you think the estimated cost should be for renting basic required insurance for the week? Also, do you recommend renting a car from a local agency the day I arrive and not online?
    Do you know what insurance is mandatory, I read somewhere that basic liability is mandatory but by law is included in the in the rental price of the car? (http://www.sfgate.com/mexico/mexicomix/article/Renting-a-car-in-Mexico-What-you-need-to-know-3787891.php)

    Cheers
    KC

    • Jan 5, 2018 / 10:19 pm

      It all depends on what do you want to do and see. Some places can be easily reached by colectivos or ADO buses, some aren’t. The article you referenced it’s from 2012 though…

  32. Jan 9, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    Hey Anna,

    thanks for your blogpost. I was wondering if there is the possibility to rent out an older car. Something that is not so new and does not scream tourism 😉
    Do you know of something like that? My wife and i will be traveling with 2 kids, and in South Africa we noticed something similar, what was called rent a cheapie.

    Thanks!

    • Jan 10, 2018 / 3:25 pm

      Hi! First things first, a new car doesn’t always scream tourist since there are many very rich Mexicans who own BMWs and other fancy cars. If you’re white and unless your Spanish is fluent then everyone will treat you like a tourist anyways, so it doesn’t really matter. Most rentals are semi-new 😉 If you want to explore a regular local then I suggest taking colectivos 😀
      P.S. When I rented an old car in South Africa it was cheap, but man it was an experience. I remember the doors never wanted to close and it took two people to change gears haha!

      • Henk
        Jan 10, 2018 / 7:53 pm

        Thanks for the insight!

  33. askaricars
    Jan 20, 2018 / 8:09 am

    The suggestion that you shared with your blog for getting a car rental is excellent . The information you give is very important. Nice to read your blog. Thanks for sharing the great information. Good Luck!

  34. M.C.
    Jan 22, 2018 / 5:48 am

    Hi, I’m trying to plan a trip to Tulum in late May with my husband. We will be splitting our time in Tulum (two nights) and TRS Yucatan (halfway between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen – three nights). After reading your post, I was thinking that maybe we would take a bus from the Cancun airport to downtown Tulum and get a rental car there. This way, we can pick-up/drop off the car in Tulum and then get a taxi/bus/collectivo to the resort hotel (where we wouldn’t really be in need of a car and the resort provides transportation back to the airport). Other pros to this is that we wouldn’t be getting the car from the airport, we would save up 1.5 hours of driving where we could potentially be pulled over and scammed by crooked police, (reading other blogs and websites has scarred me a bit…) and we could save money by having the car for only a portion of the trip instead of having it for the entirety of the trip. I want to go to the Mayan Ruins, the cenotes on the way to and at Coba, and maybe the biosphere reserve if time permits while in Tulum. Do you think this make sense? And do you have a recommended rental car company in Tulum? Or do you think we should just get the car in Cancun for all 6 days? Thanks in advance!!

    • Jan 22, 2018 / 6:50 am

      To be honest stopping and scamming tourists rarely happens. In fact, I’ve lived in Playa for 2 years and drove a lot and I was maybe stopped 3 times and just asked where was I going and that’s literally it.

  35. Brigette
    Feb 8, 2018 / 1:03 am

    Hi Anna,

    This is all really helpful info, I really appreciate your concise writing and replies to questions. I will be in Tulum and PDC in the middle of March and my husband and I are hoping to rent a car for 8 days. I just want to clarify from reading your post/answers to questions that you suggest the following:

    *renting away from the airport

    *reseving online but purchasing insurance (for Mexico) at the rental agency

    *buying the rental companies insurance instead of taking the hefty hold on your credit card for $2500-3000

    *and that the total cost including the insurance should be between $30-$50 a day otherwise we’d be paying too much?

    Am reading all this correctly? Please let me know if I’m not!

    Just a side not I speak a little Spanish but not enough to do significant haggling in and my partner has a similar proficiency level.

    Thanks again!

    • Feb 8, 2018 / 1:09 am

      Yes, that’s all correct 🙂

  36. Richard Brklacich
    Feb 21, 2018 / 3:14 am

    In Mexico City, I think my deposit with Sixt was around $3,000. It wasn’t too bad.

    I had a different experience with Dollar.. they tried to sell me the “supplemental” liability insurance. I refused so he went ahead and swiped $13,000 on my credit card. It went through and I paid only $50 a week for the car. I am actually very happy with Dollar, they didn’t try to scam me or anything.

  37. Heather
    Mar 5, 2018 / 3:40 am

    First of all, thank you for this guide!!! Secondly, do you have a favorite car rental place in Tulum or Playa Del Carmen with Jeeps provided?

    • Mar 7, 2018 / 8:55 am

      The ones I mentioned provides jeeps (my husband is crazy about jeeps, so we rented them a few times haha!).

  38. Craig J.
    Mar 11, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    The same exact scam happened to me at a gas station in Playa Del Carmen. I pulled into a nice gas station to top off the tank before turning in our car and I was in a rush going through my wallet. I got out of the car and I wanted to pay with my credit card but the attendant said “Oh the credit card machine is not working.” I handed the guy a $20 bill and went digging for more. Then when I look up, he is holding just a $1 bill. I doubted myself a bit and was in a rush so it was perfect for him.
    I gave him another $20 to pay the amount and then when I got back to my hotel, I realized I got scammed.
    I was furious so I drove back to the station to confront him but I first staked out the station to see if I can catch them using the credit card machine but no luck.
    Luckily they had a station manager in the office and I was fuming. I told him what happened and he was sincerely concerned, probably because he knew his workers did this often, and we went over to the attendants. I pointed him out and he immediately handed over my $20 bill and said I dropped it on the ground. The manager was upset with them, or pretended to be and I shook his hand and thanked him. Be very careful at the gas stations. It’s their perfect opportunity to scam you there somehow.

  39. Zohar
    Mar 27, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    Hey, great to have you. Your blogs are very helpful. We arrive in Cancun with a family in late August.
    We like to travel with a car. After reading a lot of the comments, I thought I’d go into a little more details and quote from the on-line booking site and our lease agreement with ALAMO So that readers will be able to see how it is written and with your comments we all be able to understand the gaps. (i hope it’s not to much bother)

    Included:
    1. Tax- Taxes and charges
    2. Breakdown assistance – Breakdown assistance is included with this car. In case of emergency during business hours, call the number provided by your car hire supplier and they will send help. Assistance outside of business hours may incur an extra charge. Please note that this only covers mechanical failure
    3. Collision damage waiver (CDW) – Often referred to as CDW, this partially covers damages incurred to your vehicle. Please note that you will still be liable for insurance excess (see: Not Included section below). CDW does not cover damage or loss of keys, tyres, glass or undercarriage.
    4. Theft waiver (TW) – This covers costs relating to the theft or attempted theft of the rental vehicle but does not cover the loss of personal possessions. Please note that you will still be liable for insurance excess (see below).
    5. Third party liability protection (TP)- This covers damage sustained to another driver’s car in the event of an accident caused by you.

    Not included
    1. Damage Waiver Liability- USD 1000.00 – In the event of damage to the rental vehicle, you will be liable for up to the first USD 1000.00 of costs and the standard vehicle insurance policy will cover the rest. Please note, you must have this amount available on your credit card at the time of pick up in order to pay for any damage to the rental vehicle that may occur during your rental period.
    2. Theft Waiver Liability- USD 1000.00 – In the event of theft of the rental vehicle, you will be liable for up to the first USD 1000.00 of costs and the standard vehicle insurance policy will cover the rest. Please note, you must have this amount available on your credit card at the time of pick-up in case of theft of the rental vehicle.
    3. Extra insurance- Ask at desk – You may be offered additional insurance at the car hire desk. This should be declined if you have already purchased Damage Refund Insurance or another excess insurance product. The credit card holder will still be required to leave a security deposit with the car rental company.

    My daily rate for a compact car is 25$. any idea how much it will cost me to close the gaps ?

  40. Paula Curran
    Apr 5, 2018 / 3:12 am

    Thanks for the info. My husband spent nearly two days constantly looking at whether to rent a car or not from Cancun to travel to Valladolid and then onto Coba and finally tulum. Numerous heated conversations later and we took the plunge and had a great few days driving around. No hassle from the police. Some roads are hard to work out the speed limit but we kept below the normal. We used American car rentals. We took out their full insurance and it was no where what we were led to believe on forums and websites. When we returned it, they looked over the car very carefully but we expected that and it was no problem. Think total cost for four days was $164 US dollars.

    Only time we got stopped by police was on leaving Cancun. But that was no problem. Just checked our drivers no licences and rental agreement. Asked us what we were doing and sent us on our way.

    I would say if your in two minds just do it.

  41. Apr 14, 2018 / 1:02 am

    Great post! thanks so much for sharing!

  42. Sanjay
    Apr 16, 2018 / 3:06 pm

    Hi Anna,
    great blog must say..
    Booked air ticket to go cancun this memorial weekend. Have not booked car/hotel yet. i went thru ur blog and seems airport option is not good. Shall i book online ??? they can give me pickup location from where to pick the car.

    • Apr 16, 2018 / 6:38 pm

      Since it’s Memorial Day, most cars will be booked up so you might not have a choice upon arrival.

  43. Leticia G Del Real
    Apr 20, 2018 / 1:13 pm

    Hi, do you know of any agencies in mexico that rent to drivers at age 20 ?

  44. May 7, 2018 / 10:20 pm

    Hi Anna
    I’m heading to Tulum in June and I’d like to rent a car for part of my trip. Where would you suggest renting a car in Cancun if not directly at the airport? And do you know if it’s possible to rent a car in Cancun but return it in Tulum or PDC? Since I’m not keeping the car for the entire trip I’d rather not have to drive it back to Cancun to return it. Thanks!!!

    • May 8, 2018 / 1:33 am

      It’s possible to return it in another city, but you’ll pay an extra fee.

  45. Mar
    May 8, 2018 / 3:29 am

    Hi Anna, I’m planning a trip to Tulum and your page has definitely been very helpful! Do you know anything about easywayrentacar.com? They seem to be one of the cheapest options with insurance and taxes included around $30-40/day (too good to be true!) vs. Enterprise is about $120 / day. Do you have any other car rental suggestions in-/out-side the airport that might be cheaper? Thank you!

    • May 8, 2018 / 6:03 am

      Haven’t used them so I don’t know, but it doesn’t hurt to try I guess 😉

  46. Robin
    May 9, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    Hi Anna. You mentioned earlier that the fee usually comes to 50 dollars a day or so. Does that include the liability insurance?

    • May 10, 2018 / 5:05 am

      Yes, it does 🙂

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