Renting a Car in Mexico: Things to Know & How to Avoid Hidden Costs

I’ve been living in Mexico for over 4 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 car rental in Mexico, as they were too afraid to drive in a foreign country.

Why? Because of many articles that tell you it’s way too dangerous to do this. It is not. Let me clear your doubts here: it’s safe and particularly safe if you’re renting a car in Cancun area.

Renting a Car in Mexican Yucatan Peninsula

Cancun car rental

Is it Safe to Rent a Car in Mexico?

Renting a car anywhere in the world comes with a bit of risk, even in your home country. 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 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 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.

Driving in Riviera Maya

There are a few things to know about when driving in the area.

  1. Pedestrians don’t have the right of the way.
  2. Don’t wait too long to enter the highway, everyone will honk at you (see photos above)
  3. Prepare to shake your head immediately at intersections, unless you want your window cleaned and have a few coins to guys these guys.
  4. It’s really not as crazy as it may seem at first 😉
Cleaning windows at intersections, quick shows or selling nuts and candies is fairly common. Prepare to give a few coins for the service.

Renting a Car in Mexico Online & Hidden Costs

If you look online you’ll likely be impressed with the rental car rates in Cancun: $10 a day, $15 a day, and even less than $25 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, but it’s not technically their fault.

It’s up to the actual rental agency to decide what they’re going to do and frankly if you look like a tourist and don’t speak Spanish there’s a big chance you’ll be charged extra costs.

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 MOST car rental companies in Mexico require you to purchase basic Personal Liability Insurance, which is, at it’s cheapest, about $15-20 per day. While there is a way out of it, there are a few things you need to know.

Don’t even bother booking insurance online from a third-party website or even the company website. While these websites are great, their insurance works in other countries, it doesn’t in Mexico (it actually doesn’t always work in France either based on my experience).

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.

renting a car in Mexico

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 options on their credit cards.

Random tree in the middle of the road because why not 🙂

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

In my experience, it all depends on the person renting you a car and your Spanish skills. Quite often I was being offered a better rate including 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.

The best site to book your car is Discover Cars. They offer competitive rates as it searches all the big car rental companies and finds the best price. However, also read the temporary announcement below:


In 2020 Mexican tourism increased enormously and it’s suspected to raise up to 60% since 2019 in 2021. Lots of people are coming to Mexico and staying long term and many Americans pick Mexico as well, as they have nowhere else to go. That said:

Prices for renting a car increased enormously and more importantly rental cars are always sold out. Over Christmas 2020 prices raised up to $150 per day and the cars were still oversold. If you book through a third-party website and worse – last minute, there’s an 80% chance that your reservation will simply mean nothing and you’ll get a call saying “sorry, no cars available”.

As I’m living in Mexico once again and I ended up renting a car, I Here are some tips I can give you guys for renting a car NOW until the situation calms down again:

  1. Book directly on the car rental website or on Discover Cars (I’ve been in direct contact with them and they specifically work with only those providers who will give you the car you booked). Do it at least a month in advance and also call the office to ask if they actually have a car available for you if you want to be triple sure.
  2. You cannot afford to be picky anymore. Manual, automatic, Kia or SUV – take whatever is available. The day I rented my car recently I was told the agency had 10 people coming and had to send all these people away because they had no cars for them at all and RentalCars and Orbitz didn’t register the availability correctly.
  3. Expect to pay minimum $30-35 per day. Nobody can give you a deal anymore because every employee has to call the head office to check on the car and the head office sends back the price. In fact, the guy I rented from wanted to give me a deal as he knew me from before, but got refused by his boss.
Renting a Car in Cozumel
Driving a buggy around Cozumel. I actually don’t recommend a buggy, they always break down. Once the shifter broke, not even kidding. Do yourself a favor an rent a regular car in Cozumel.

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. There’s no way around it.

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.

If you park at a wrong spot the police will give you a ticket and take one of your license plates to make sure you pay the bill.

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 to?

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.

Honest gas stations will have this sign.

Recommended Rental Car Companies in Cancun & Riviera Maya in Mexico

The best site to book your car at is Discover Cars. They offer competitive rates as it searches all the big car rental companies and finds the best price. Also check:

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 to arrange health insurance before heading to Mexico. The easiest and the most reliable travel insurance is Safety Wing (especially since it includes covid coverage now!). Get it before your trip to skip unnecessary troubles that might ruin your holidays!

renting a car in Mexico
Bat crossing sign when driving in Mexico.

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.

194 thoughts on “Renting a Car in Mexico: Things to Know & How to Avoid Hidden Costs”

  1. 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.

        • Its a great drive I have made 8 times with no issues with several rental car agencies. You will have to buy additional Liability for about 20$ a day, if u have AMEX they offer a premium rental car policy for damage to the rental car itself for 25$ for up to 42 days, I had a break in the rental car and they covered my loss as well as car damage, every cent. Far better that BA and MC coverage in my opinion. Stop in Vallodolid for a day, both revolutions begin in this colonial historic city. enjoy the cenotes along the way and hit Coba and its underground centoes as well.

          • Hi, great info! Love your articles about Mexico.
            I am planning a trip to the Yucatan peninsula and I would like to know your opinion about parking around:is it safe, how expensive is is, best parking places for the major sights etc.
            I am travelling in May, with my boyfriend and we want to rent a car for 2 weeks and visit as much as possible of the peninsula and maybe spend 1-2 days in Cozumel. Is there a parking near the ferry towards Cozumel?
            I would love to hear any advice from you for our trip. ❤️

        • 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!

        • Just came back from Yucatan Mexico and had no issues renting a car for 2 weeks. We used American car rental and the price for all insurance in was $300 for the 2 weeks. We travelled from Cancun to Valladolid, Merida, Progreso, Akumal, Plays del Carmen and back to Cancun. Paid a few tolls, Passed a few police checks, once they see you are tourist they just wave you through. If you want to see many places in limited time, a rental is so easyand the way to go. That being said our car was parked for many days. Next time I would avoid the commercial Myan Riviera and fly into Merida and just Uber or Taxi around.

          • Hi Kerry,

            My boyfriend and I are traveling to Merida soon – wanted to know if you think renting a car for two days would be worth it or should we just Uber everywhere? My sister had a bad Uber experience and would we’d like to optimize our short time there by getting a car.


          • Uber isn’t supposed to operate there and this is probably why your sister ran into many issues as they don’t do it without problems since it’s not always so easy as in the US. The question is where do you want to go?

  2. 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. 🙂

    • Hi Anna,
      My husband and I are heading to Grand Sunset Princess in February. We would like to get a car rental as the excursions take all day and we want to see more then offered. Any suggestions as to where we should rent one from? Our original plan was to rent one from the airport and use it for two days then hangout at the resort. We would love to have someone show us around but have been told it’s not safe.

      • What’s not safe? Playa del Carmen is very safe. Don’t buy into these Americans who’ve never left the country but go around telling you that you cannot leave the resort. It’s safer there than in many American cities, you’ll be fine 🙂

  3. 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?


    • 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).

          • 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!

          • 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 -> . 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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 …

    • Their insurance. Don’t buy any insurance online.

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

  8. 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.

    • 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.

      • Hi Anna,
        We’re planning on driving from Mexico City to Guadalajara. Any tips on which car rental company to use or a good location to get out of the city since traffic is so crazy? Thanks

        • My tip would be: remember that rules rarely apply when driving in DF and be prepared that you might need to miss your turn on a few occasions sometimes 😉 I only used Hertz there and I can say that I had no issues with them.

  9. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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

  10. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

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

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

    • 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 :/

  16. 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.

  17. 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) 🙂

    • 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.

  18. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?


        • 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.

  19. 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:




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

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


  21. 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

  22. 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?

  23. 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? (


    • 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…

  24. 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.


    • 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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!!

    • 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

  31. 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)

    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 ?

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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!!!

  35. Hi Anna, I’m planning a trip to Tulum and your page has definitely been very helpful! Do you know anything about 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!

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

  37. Hi! Do you know if I’d be able to rent a car in Tehuacán and drop it off in Oaxaca? I want to visit the cactus reserve (which I believe to the Biosphere Tehuacán-Cuicatlán) while on my way from Puebla to Oaxaca, and Rome2Rio claims that there’s no bus that goes near the reserve (except through Tehuacán itself, which is about an hour away) and a taxi ride would cost at least $50 each way.

      • Great! Do you know how much about the “different cities” fee tend to run in Mexico? I ask because even taxi prices seem to change depending on the region (e.g. according to Rome2Rio, it’s only $40-55 to go from Kalamul to Chetumal, and that’s over a 3 hour drive, while an hour drive elsewhere might be $60 or more!).

        • Prices change depending on the driver, your ability to speak Spanish, haggling, and most importantly the route. Not many people go to Calakmul and live or stay in a nearby village, so naturally, taxis will be hard to find and very expensive. In Riviera Maya drivers don’t use meters, you just discuss the price when you get in the taxi.

  38. It really helped when you said that we should take pictures of the vehicle before renting it to have a record of the dents that might be already there to avoid paying for it. I will share this tip with my sister who needs to rent a car when she visits the family of his boyfriend since it is in a rural area which is hard to reach through commuting. You did a great job in explaining the things that we should do before renting a car to have a smooth transaction in the end. Thanks!

  39. Great post, you have shared a good information. My experiences in Mexico were amazing and a guide Oscar Cancun Shuttle service helped me to travel from one place to another. I am going to plan again with my family.

  40. HI Anna- your posts are really helpful. We are a family of 6 adults traveling to Cancun in January for 2 nights, then I think the easiest is the ADO to Valladolid. After that we go to Tulum for 3-4 nights and was wondering if for that many people if renting a car is best to see all the things around Tulum. After that our last night will be in Puerto Morelos where I think they can get us to the Cancun airport. Any suggestions for 6 people as in car vs ADO? thanks so much

    • I would definitely suggest renting. ADO is painless (and very immersive!) to use, but with a group, you’ll have way more freedom to hop around to all the cenotes in your own car. The other ways to get around Tulum are bike, taxi, and collective taxi. That will add up quickly $$ and if you want to take a day/half-day trip to Coba, etc.- you’ll still need to buy your transportation there and back. Also, in my experience, with such a short trip, having the flexibility and accessibility of renting allows you to move at your own pace which definitely has an impact on time management. Also to mention, unless you are stying on the beach in Tulum, taxis are pretty much the only way to get back and forth from town. Have fun!

  41. Hi Anna,
    We plan to drive from Cancun, stay in Tulum, then carry on down in to Belize, to go out to one of the Cayes. Any advice on this? How easy is it to cross the border?

    • Pretty much no car rental company will let you bring a car to Belize. They have many people stealing cars by driving to Belize, so I was told on multiple occasions that they don’t do this anymore. Rent a car around Mexico, then take the ADO bus to Chetumal 🙂

    • Thanks Anna- are there a lot of car rentals in Tulum? Valladolid? is it safe to drive around there? I know that’s kind of a dumb question but ? We are arriving in Cancun and departing from there so perhaps a car in Cancun when we go to valladolid, tulum and end up in Puerto Morelos. Thanks again, Cheri

  42. I’m travelling to Mexico for the first time, and I find these car renting rates very affordable. I’ve been to many countries, this is still one of the most affordable.

  43. I don’t know if this is the best spot to ask but we are going to Oaxaca Oct. 29th , 5 people and was wondering about taxi or van from airport to hotel victoria that night? I see that Cancun has a Canadian transfer shuttle service that seems reasonable but can’t find anything for Oaxaca? any suggestions or just 2 taxis? thanks Cheri

  44. Awesome post! thanks for sharing such an informative and useful article. it is really such an amazing.the points you have shared here there really educative.

  45. Hi Anna,

    Do you know if it’s possible to buy a general 3rd party liability policy (monthly or annual) in Mexico that we could use when renting a car? My wife is from Mexico, so it could be a possibility to do it through her.

  46. Hi Anna

    A family of 3 are traveling to Tulum arrivaling in Cancun Airport this Oct for 9 days. As per your advice, best to book online without insurance. Should we book pick up at the airport? If not, where can we pick up the vehicle? And how do we get there ? Any car rental company recommend by Cancun Airport?

    We will also like to try out all inclusive hotel for 2-3 days before heading home but unable to find anything reasonable, cost $100 CND per day per person, even for a 9 years old, any suggestions?



    • You can pick up a car anywhere in Cancun or Tulum. There are rental agencies everywhere. You can’t really avoid the insurance at most places unless you’re willing to risk it.

      These days it’s hard to find an all-inclusive place in Tulum for this price. Tulum is not really a place for your typical all-inclusive resorts (look in Cancun or around Playa del Carmen), but for the eco-beach resorts with bamboo cabanas, glamping tents, and beach huts, all very rustic on purpose. Beach resorts are usually $150-800 per night, but it doesn’t include food or drinks. Look at Habitas, Papaya Playa Project, Nomade. These might be in your price range and on the beach.

  47. Hello Anna, great article thanks!
    I am planning to come to mexico for a wedding in PLaya del Carmen in January and after the wedding we would like to go to tulum and then to Bacalar and back to Cancun to fly back home.
    We are thinking of renting a car but also: will it be cheaper to take a taxi from each places (Cancun-PLaya Del Carmen-Tulum-Bacalar-Tulum-Cancun, or to get a car? We would also get a taxi to go to see stuff around so lets say 2 taxi a day min. Our friends were saying it is pretty cheap the taxis over there but not sure if it will be cheaper to rent a car or taxi everywhere.
    Thanks a lot for your help

    • Hi Alex,
      I think it might be cheaper to get a car. You could take ADO buses between all those places and that would be cheaper than a car though.

  48. Hi Anna,
    I just rented a car through Dollar in the hotel zone in Cancun.
    I’ve been there many times but only rented a car once. Do you recommend avoiding the additional insurance and going with the $2,500 deposit? Have you ever heard of problems with this deposit? Or should I option the additional $12 per day for the 1st option insurance which should avoid the $2,500 deposit? I could not tell from what the finer points are here.
    I still have time to cancel and rebook.

    • Personally, I hate putting the deposit so I take the insurance, because it takes time to unlock it later. However, I have friends who don’t mind it. It really depends if you need to use your credit card for other purchases right after.

      • Thank you!
        I’m not concerned with the timing of the money on the card, just worried I might get some run around with the rental location about the credit of the deposit. Is Dollar trustworthy in Mexico? Do you think I have anything to worry about in that regard?

        • Every agency is technically trustworthy, but you know – there can always be this one employee who isn’t. There are some stories that an employee might slash your tires or scratch the car knowing you have no insurance when you’re on a parking lot, but it can be fine. Nothing is guaranteed in Mexico I’m afraid and that’s why I prefer to be on a safe side and buy their insurance 😉
          And same goes for tourists – for instance, the reason they don’t let you take the car across the border to Guatemala is that many were stealing cars and selling them there.

  49. Hi! I’m traveling from Mexico City to Oaxaca ( to zocalo for day of dead) Oct 31st… would you recommend riding the bus or renting? I’m not sure on safety .. or which rental company is best ?!

    • How experienced driver are you? Unless you’re VERY experienced and have driven in busy cities in Latin America then don’t drive in Mexico City. Bus is perfectly safe too, but you could also fly for cheap.

  50. Can I rent a car in Leon Mexico or in San Miguel de Allende I’m 69 years old and want it for 30 or more days give me a idea on cost also if I drive my car across the border any ideal on cost for six months it’s a 2014 Chev 4 door

  51. You said if you use a American Express car rental is a lot cheaper than Master Card can you give me a approximate cost per day on rental car in Leon Mexico on or off airport I want to see San Miguel and a few other towns in that area

  52. Hi there,

    Very informative……thanks for the info,

    We are traveling to Mexico during Easter week for a wedding and plan to rent a car and drive to Hotel Mirage in Queretaro. On our way there we would like to stop and have and early dinner at La Gruta in Teotihuacán.

    Do you have a car rental reference in Mexico City that we can use?

    Any infomation would be so helpful and appreciated!



  53. Thanks for the info. I was a little confused about the section called “What Happens if You Decline Car Insurance?” Could you provide more info? Thank you!

  54. Hey Anna,

    Thanks for all the tips. We are traveling to Tulum for are one year anniversary at the end of this month. Unfortunately, it will be a short trip for 3 days/nights. If you had a choice between your top 3-4 cenotes of the list you provided, which ones would you say are a must. Thinking Dos Ojos, Caldavera, Gran Cenote.

    Also, in terms of car rental, when you say don’t bother purchasing the rental insurance on sites like Orbitz, does that include the site you recommended – Discover Car Hire.

    Any recs on restaurants that are a must? We are staying at Alma Hotel.


    • For Mexico I’d say many companies don’t honor the pre-booked insurance, but they might these days since Tulum has become even more touristy over the past year.
      When you’re at Calavera cenote you might as well stop by Carwash since it’s nearby 🙂
      I’d recommend Kin Toh at Azulik for the romantic ambiance. Plus I have more local recommendations in this post:

  55. This is an amazing post!! Thank you so much, Anna! I am going to Cancun, Rivera Maya, and Tulum in about a month. I wanted to rent a car from Tulum to Chichen Itza – but some people are telling me im crazy and its super unsafe. This post is making me feel better about my decision.

    Do you recommend renting a car in Rivera Maya to drive to Tulum? I planned to take a car service from Rivera Maya to Tulum but now thinking I should just rent the whole time. Any other advice is super helpful! Thank you!

    • Many people think Mexico is too unsafe to go to. I drove to Chichen Itza a few times and around the area all the time – nothing unsafe about it don’t worry!

  56. Where is the best place to rent a car in Cancun? I know that no at the airport, but which location is the easiest to get from airport? I don’t speaker spanish. It will be a big problem to rent a car?

  57. Hello, thanks so much! For driving from Oaxaca to the coast- is it better to rent an SUV (better handling on those difficult roads) or a compact car (smaller size on roads that are often very narrow) any advice appreciated! Andros

  58. Hey Anna! I love this article! I’ve been hearing a lot of horror stories about corrupt police and a lot of people telling me to avoid car rental, but since you have lived in Mexico I guess you’re the expert! Are any of the horror stories true? I’m a little nervous!

    • To be honest a horror story can happen anywhere in the world. I’ve rented many times without any issues, but I knew that some people got scammed. You should be fine though, you’re less likely to get scammed on a car rental than on a taxi 😀

  59. Hello, Anna!

    Great Information.

    I saw you recommend a rental company. Is this rental company found in Merida? We are going for two weeks and need to rent a car but, per your post, renting at the airport seems not advisable. Would love to rent a car in Merida instead.

    Any advice?

  60. Hi Anna,

    I love all of your articles!

    Regarding car insurance. This is our first time plan to rent a car in Cancun and we do have car insurance from Credit Card. I saw another person’s tip saying
    “you MUST purchase additional liability insurance upon arrival. If you get in a fender bender in Mexico without liability insurance, you could be taken directly to jail“
    Do I need to buy additional can insurance from car rental company or not? I am a bit confuse. Thank you in advance…

    • I wouldn’t go as far to say you’ll be taken to jail 😛 But the insurance from your credit card most likely won’t be accepted in Mexico, it never is.

      • I’m thinking the same thing as Diana, I’d rather save the extra $30 a day on the rental companies insurance, since my credit card has claimed, and sent me an email to verify, that their insurance will cover Mexican rentals if I decline additional coverage. It’s not a big deal to have a hold on my credit card, I can always contest any charge they put on it when I get back home. I’ve read other places online that they never accept the insurance when renting in Cancun. Have you ever tried renting without it and just having the hold on your card?

  61. Hi Anna,
    Fantastic information. So glad I found your blog. Just one question which I hope does not appear stupid. We are travelling from the UK, we have rented a car but have only changed up US dollars as the exchange rate (pound to peso) is worse than the dollar ? Do the gas stations accept US dollars or would you recommend sticking to Peso’s??

    • You’ll need pesos, but you can exchange them in Mexico. Some restaurants will take dollars but you’ll end up paying more, but gas stations and shops won’t take dollars.

  62. Hi Anna,
    I have a question about car rental in Cancun.
    I rented a car at Cancun airport in March this year. The rental was with Carflex and the booking was made through
    I paid around 2400 MXN (830 DKK) for the rental itself through RentalCars, but bought all the “extras” were paid at the counter.
    We rented the car 11 days (23 Mar – 3 Apr), bought 1 additional driver, and bought a full insurance package that eliminated excess. When my credit card was charged at the end of the rental period, Carflex had charged more than 15300 MXN (5316 DKK) in addition to the original 2400 MXN, bringing the total up to more than 17700 MXN (6146 DKK).
    The car class was “Chevrolet Aveo or similar” and there was no damage to the car.
    Is this a reasonable amount, or have they overcharged me??
    I think the price seems very steep, and don’t think I have paid that much when renting a car any other place, including Ireland and Norway (which are pretty expensive places).
    Hoping for your input.
    Krds, Siri
    Copenhagen, Denmark

      • itemized invoice, but they said they couldn’t help me by phone as they “didn’t speak English well enough”.
        When we returned the car, they said the deposit for the car+fuel would be refunded to my credit card, so I waited for week after week, but nothing has happened.
        I’ve finally gotten an email address via Messenger (I couldn’t find any online), so no I’m waiting for their answers.
        Glad I’m not completely off base thinking this is a ridiculously high price.

  63. Hello, did you ever use the America car rental in Cancun? Do you know if there’s any additional insurance I will have to pay when picking up the car? I can’t manage to figure it out on the website.

    Gray and helpful article thank you a lot!

      • There’s the LDW, CDW, Third Party Damages, Civil responsibility complement and Personal Coverage of Medical Expenses included in the price. Is that all I need normally? Thank you so much!

  64. Hello, I used Discover Cars, per your recommendation, and did not have the best experience. The “full coverage and relax” message on their website made me feel like I was covered in full. I was not covered with America Car Rental, who is the company we ended up with. So, I prepaid Discover Cars for full coverage that was NOT at all useful. America Car Rental would not let us decline insurance without a letter from our bank and a $10,000 deposit. Also, we flew in at 7:30pm and we did not drive away with our car until 10pm. They took an hour to pick us up at the airport, and an hour to wait in line and for them to go get our car.

    • Did you actually read my post before booking your car? This is exactly what I said in the post that if you decline their insurance you’ll be forced to put a giant deposit on your credit card and that you shouldn’t bother booking liability insurance online. You are covered in full with Discover Cars, but it’s up to a rental company to decide and in Mexico many don’t want to accept it – as I said in the post again. Scamming sadly happens in Mexico.
      Also, what you’re describing is not Discover Cars’ fault!! As I said in the post, again, it really depends on what kind of person is working at the desk of America Car Rental (or any other rental company) and how do they feel that day. One day they can say you can do just fine without deposit, another day they feel like scamming tourists. That’s the reality of renting in Mexico.

  65. Thanks Anna,
    Awesome advice and recommendations.
    Happy Travels in 2020 and forever.
    Grandmother in Toronto

  66. Hi Anna
    I’ve just booked a car rental through Expedia, for 1 week at $.62/day !?!?
    Expedia assures me there are no tricks, or hidden costs. My credit card co says it covers collision damage insurance in Mexico. I even called MEX car rentals in Mexico. She said “no additional mandatory insurance”.
    My common sense won’t let me accept this.
    Have you come across this sort of thing before?
    Is this a set up?
    Thanks in advance

    • Nope, not a set up, there are just a few things you need to remember. One, your credit card might offer collision damage insurance, but the way it works in Mexico is different. For example, if you crash or someone crashes into you, you’ll have to pay for everything upfront that day. Every single cent. If someone steals your car or the accident is bad then you’re pretty much screwed. After you pay then you can claim it back from your credit card company, but the claims aren’t instant so keep this in mind.
      Two, they will hold a giant deposit on your credit card if you decide not to buy their insurance. it’s usually about $2000-3000.
      P.S. It’s Mexico so just because someone on the phone told you one thing it doesn’t mean that the person at the counter will do the same, they might force you to buy extra coverage from them, but it’s never that much 😉

  67. Thanks for the post. Great information. I wish we had read this before we traveled to Mexico. We just returned yesterday.
    We pre-booked and paid for our car rental through our Airmiles program in Canada. There was no mention about having to pay for extra insurance once when we got our car in Mexico. The partner they use was Alamo, a well known car rental name so we didn’t think we would get ripped off.
    Once off the plane we proceeded to the Alamo rental office at the Cancun airport to pick up our vehicle. Once the agent found our booking we were told we needed to buy insurance and it would be over $1000 USD. We were shocked. He then proceeded to tell us we could get the basic coverage and scratched on a piece of paper $24 a day for 8 days ( we were only there for 7) plus 16% tax plus 18% tax plus $48.20 for gas for a total of $311 USD this is over $412 CAD plus they would process a $3000 USD deposit on our credit card. Keep in mind we already paid for the rental with 570 airmiles which would cost around $1100 or more in purchases to accumulate.
    We asked to see the paperwork or something on his computer stating these prices but he refused. He said he had nothing until after we paid. This was not acceptable to us so we tried to resolve it by calling Airmiles and our insurance company but we were unable to connect with either and reached out to them on social media. When we got off the phone and turned around the agent who we were dealing with (he had no name badge) had disappeared. When I direct messaged Alamo on twitter they told me the insurance should be $18 USD a day.
    We decided not to accept the car and deal with Airmiles after. We went to another agency who was down the street, Keddy. We paid $377 USD for a week rental including insurance. I am now in the process of dealing with Airmiles to get our unused rental airmiles returned to us. By the time we got the car we had wasted 3 hours and we were on our way in the dark on unfamiliar roads. It certainly wasn’t a great way to start our vacation.

    A few days into our vacation,to top it off, someone tried to break into the car in Playacar at the Airbnb we were staying at and bent the lock so we could not use the key in the lock. We ended up getting it fixed at the Chevy dealer prior to returning it to the rental company for $1500 pesos because we were worried they would charge us way more.
    Would we rent a car in Mexico again? I am not sure that we would but we if we did we sure would be wiser.

  68. Traveling from Playa to Tulum. We are considering renting a car in Playa but I’m a little apprehensive dealing with car rental places. It seems like a lot could go wrong.

    Once in Tulum would we really need a car? Is it easier to just take a taxi or bus to Tulum and back to Playa? Maybe just rent a car in Tulum for getting around locally. We are only there for 5 days. Probably just going to do some tours.

    Thank you for your help.

    • Few things: I was actually about to update this post as I’m living in Mexico again and lots of things have changed since covid. First of all, if you need a car book a month in advance at least and directly – otherwise all cars are sold out. You don’t need a car at all if you just want to go from Playa to Tulum, but then it depends on where are you staying in Tulum. Taxis are very expensive now because the region is back to code orange which means more restrictions so tours, buses, everything is very limited with limited occupancy allowed.

  69. This was a very informative post. I am traveling to Tulum next month and we are considering renting a car in Cancun. I have heard that at the checkpoints police will try to demand money. Do you have any experience or advice on how to handle this?

  70. Great read! What about parking? We will stay at a beach resort in Tulum and would like to know how parking tends to look/feel/cost.

    • Driving on this beach road in Tulum is a nightmare because there’s a ton of traffic and no sidewalk so pedestrians and bikers are trying to squeeze in along with million cars – you’ll see 😛
      The parking situation depends on the hotel – some hotels have guest parking, some don’t. There are some paid public ones but they fill up really quickly. One price I saw was 300 pesos ($15) for 24 hours.

  71. Hi Anna,
    congrats for your courage and your great life adventure!
    I am Nadia and I am planning a trip to Mexico in May. I will be travelling with my boyfriend (he is Polish too) and we would like to rent a car and visit as much as possible of Yucatan peninsula.
    I am just concerned about the ability to park in the cities, at the ruins, around the beaches etc. and how safe it is to leave the car parked somewhere. Would be great if you could give me some tips about good safe parkings.
    We are thinking to land in Merida or Cancun, rent a car for 2 weeks, do all the visiting and then fly back from Cancun. Meantime we would like to spend a couple of days in Cozumel. Any safe parking close to the ferry ?
    Thank you in advance!

    • You can always find a place to park, maybe apart from Tulum’s hotel zone because that’s just crazy haha. It’s pretty safe, just don’t leave valuables visible inside but I think people do it anywhere. If there’s street parking then you can park there, but in many spots there isn’t enough space so there are those outdoor parking spots you need to pay for but it’s not much 🙂
      There’s safe parking right in front of the mall at the ferry, but to be honest, if you’re planning on spending a few days in Cozumel bring the car. It’s impossible to explore Cozumel without a car. The ferry for Cozumel with a car leaves from Punta Venado.

      • Thank you very much for your answer, i couldn’t find it so I posted the same question again, please ignore it or delete it 😂 can’t seem to find a way to delete it either…
        I’ve read your articles about Mexico and i definitely need to plan a 2weeks vacation there every couple of years, to discover all the great places you mention!
        Have a great day ☀

  72. It’s interesting that, when renting in Tulum, the first choice of cars is always from America. In Tulum, they have a terrible reputation. My American Express card was compromised before I even got to my destination. I had read this might happen because the reviews on their site are terrible. I also read about how awful customers were treated, yet the seemingly low price drew me in, which wasn’t so low when we got done. So even though you regard the Discover Cars rental site as good, actually for Tulum, it is a terrible choice since all the first cars with the best price lead you to America. He took so long with my credit card that I suspected he was already sending the card number on to his accomplice. And that was, in fact, what happened. Try another site in Tulum.

    • What do you mean from America? What America? Do you mean the USA? I guarantee you that your card didn’t get compromised that way, because the provider doesn’t have the card details when you book through Discover Cars until you arrive. Looks like you know that since you’re saying “he took so long with my card”. Also, scams can happen anywhere and Tulum is THE most scammy place in the area, but it has nothing to do with the company you’re renting from. There are a lot of factors involved. Plus, scammers happen all over the world – whether you’re in Paris, Tulum, or literally anywhere. Sad, but true.

      • America car rental in Tulum, not America as in the US. I did not book through Discover Cars, I walked into America and rented. What I am trying to say is, America Car Rental in not reputable. Just because a person uses Discover Cars, it means nothing in terms of the company you end up with, in this case America Car Rental. Look it up.

        • Of course, however unfortunately in Mexico things don’t depend on the company but people working there and reviews of all rental companies are quite bad although it’s the same in France, Italy, anywhere really. Same with gas stations – one day you can get scammed, another day you get wonderful service. It’s the reality. I’m telling you this after years and years of living in Mexico, renting hundreds of cars from different providers. If you book through DiscoverCars your payment is protected and just the deposit would have to be paid upon arrival, so no card would be compromised to start with.

  73. I’m booking a rental car using Discover Cars. I purchased the liability insurance in advance. It mentioned collision damage waiver and theft protection is not included. I was curious if I’m going to be sold that when I pick up the car? Is that something that is needed?

    Also, I noticed even with liability insurance when I arrive they will be a 7k hold on my credit card. Do you know if that is normal?

    Thank you!
    – Alex


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