This publish was written by Emily Becker, who’s a Mexico-based freelance author for BMTM.
Contemplating renting a automotive in Mexico? It may be a bit nerve-wracking should you’ve by no means achieved it. In any case, driving out of the country comes with its personal units of guidelines, security considerations, and potential scams. It doesn’t should be a frightening thought, although. It’s truly surprisingly straightforward to rent a car in Mexico, and this information will make it easier to keep secure whereas avoiding getting ripped off.
Advantages of Renting a Automobile in Mexico
You have got extra freedom to maneuver.
This nearly goes with out saying, however having a automotive in Mexico means you get to go the place you need to, when you need to. You don’t have to fret about chasing down buses to get from place to position or excursions that solely enable a sure period of time at every cease.
Once I drove to the coast of Oaxaca from Oaxaca Metropolis, I liked with the ability to cease within the little villages alongside the best way. I had the liberty to do what I needed, which I wouldn’t have been capable of if I had taken a bus.
You will get off the overwhelmed path.
Particularly should you’ll be flying into vacationer hotspots equivalent to Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, or Cabo San Lucas, it may well really feel such as you’ve simply gone to a Mexican model of the US in some locations. If you wish to get off the overwhelmed path in Mexico, a rental automotive may be needed.
Renting a automotive permits you the mobility to get to smaller cities and cities that will in any other case be a ache to achieve through public transportation. You may as well entry secret beaches, secluded cenotes, and different pure areas which might be far much less crowded.
Take the Riviera Maya, for instance. You probably have a rental automotive, you may get to locations like Xpu-ha, Punta Allen, and different small seaside cities that different vacationers don’t go to as a lot.
You possibly can see extra of Mexico.
If you wish to journey from one metropolis to a different, renting a automotive is a superb choice, as a result of buses that journey lengthy distances usually take a number of extra hours than driving by yourself would. Renting a automotive permits you to go additional, faster. You’ll be capable of see extra in a shorter period of time, taking in every second and really savoring the magic of Mexico.
My absolute favourite highway journeys have all been in Mexico. I really like how the terrain right here modifications drastically, making for a stimulating highway journey whether or not you’re with a accomplice, mates, or solo. When you’re open to journey, you’re positive to search out loads of spontaneous stops alongside the best way. You would possibly encounter a roadside elote stand, a nature protect, or a pueblo mágico (“magic city”).
With a rental automotive, you get to actually benefit from the journey with out a lot deal with the vacation spot, which is such a enjoyable technique to expertise Mexico.
Drawbacks of Renting a Automobile in Mexico
It may be expensive.
Particularly should you go for full-coverage insurance coverage with no deductible (extra on this later), the day by day price to lease a automotive in Mexico can get fairly costly. Tack on the ever-fluctuating worth of gasoline and it may well even be difficult to foretell how a lot you’re more likely to spend on a rental automotive.
Neglect about metropolis driving.
I don’t advocate renting a automotive in Mexico Metropolis should you plan to make use of it inside the metropolis. The site visitors is completely insane, and driving there’s not solely hectic however can truly take longer than hopping on the metro. It’s additionally fairly harmful to navigate Mexico Metropolis should you’ve by no means pushed there earlier than, as many drivers don’t observe site visitors guidelines. It sound hectic as a result of it is hectic.
Smaller cities like Oaxaca and Mérida are rather more drivable, however until you might be planning to go away town, a automotive isn’t completely needed as a result of most small cities in Mexico have respectable public transportation.
You’re restricted to driving solely through the day.
For security causes, it’s not an ideal thought to drive your rental automotive at evening in Mexico. There’s no regulation or specific rule that claims you possibly can’t, however I don’t advocate risking it.
For instance, the freeway between Tulum and Bacalar turns into harmful at evening, as organized crime teams are recognized to create blockades and extort drivers. This occurs in different elements of Mexico as nicely, totally on poorly lit highways and in areas the place there isn’t any cell reception.
Inside a metropolis or city, it’s most likely no massive deal, however keep away from highways as a lot as doable should you completely should drive after darkish.
Avoiding Hidden Charges
When you Googled “rental automobiles in Mexico” and noticed corporations promoting charges as little as $5/day, I promise you that it’s too good to be true. Some automotive rental companies use these low base charges to lure prospects to their website. That $5/day fee doesn’t embody any insurance coverage (which is necessary in Mexico) or different charges. When you fall for this, you’ll probably arrive to select up the automotive you reserved on-line and be slapped with a invoice a lot larger than you imagined.
The minimal you possibly can anticipate to pay per day on insurance coverage alone is $7-10 for the naked minimal protection. See why $5 a day for a rental automotive is just too good to be true?
To keep away from falling for this rip-off, take a look at numerous corporations on-line and ensure to pay shut consideration to what the day by day worth contains. Will you want an additional driver? How a lot is insurance coverage? Is there a deductible?
The place to Lease a Automobile in Mexico
One respected website that’s nice for shopping and reserving rental automobiles is Discover Cars. There you’ll get a full image of what you’re paying for, with no hidden charges. The positioning permits you to see choices from a number of corporations, making evaluating them simpler than ever.
A candy characteristic of Uncover Automobiles is which you could partially pay whenever you e book, and pay the remaining whenever you choose the automotive up on the airport or on the town. (This characteristic isn’t out there for all automobiles; some leases require full fee at time of reserving.)
On the airport
If you wish to wait till you arrive to Mexico to e book your rental automotive, the airport is usually the very best place. Not solely do you’ve gotten a number of corporations in a single location for straightforward comparability, however you additionally gained’t have to fret about transportation to and from the airport. When you’re flying in someplace like Cancún however plan to spend most of your time elsewhere, that is the most suitable choice to save lots of money and time.
One other perk of ready to get to the airport is with the ability to speak to an precise particular person when deciding what automotive to lease, which insurance coverage to buy, and so forth. Most staff at these corporations within the airport areas converse English as nicely and might reply any questions you’ve gotten.
Corporations I’ve used
I’ve rented automobiles in Mexico by way of Alamo, Avis, and Europcar with no issues in any respect. I discovered all three of those corporations to be equally as useful and easy.
I rented a automotive with Alamo in Tulum with some mates, and it was tremendous fast to select it up and drop it off. When you use Avis, I like to recommend reserving in particular person, as a result of usually individuals reserve automobiles on their web site solely to reach on the bodily location and be given a distinct (dearer) automotive. This didn’t occur to me, although, as a result of I rented on the airport in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
The final time I rented a automotive, I went by way of Europcar at a bodily location within the heart of Oaxaca. It was the very best expertise I’ve had to this point, as a result of the staff went the additional mile to stroll me by way of the prices of every part. Additionally they have been tremendous responsive once I known as to ask questions whereas I had the automotive.
Value for Renting a Automobile in Mexico
Automobile leases in Mexico sometimes begin at $30 per day for primary economic system handbook autos and the minimal insurance coverage requirement (an additional $7-10 per day). Full-coverage insurance coverage runs about $12-20 per day, relying on the car, on high of the bottom price of the automotive. Remember the fact that computerized autos price additional and are harder to return by than handbook ones. When you drive stick, that is your time to avoid wasting money!
So as to add a further driver, you possibly can anticipate to pay round $10-15 additional, per day.
Bigger and 4×4 autos begin round $50 per day with primary insurance coverage. Since small automobiles are extra fashionable, you could possibly find yourself with a big car should you don’t e book forward throughout excessive season (spring break and November to December).
Selecting the Proper Automobile
To decide on the suitable automotive on your Mexican journey, step one is deciding if you need a handbook or computerized car. Within the States, it’s a provided that the rental automobiles are computerized, however that isn’t the case in Mexico, so be sure to double-check earlier than reserving.
You also needs to have a transparent thought of the place you intend to go, as you would possibly want a 4×4 car to get to sure locations. For probably the most half, 4-wheel drive isn’t needed in locations just like the Riviera Maya (between Cancún and Tulum). Nevertheless, should you plan to discover some distant Mayan ruins or hidden seashores, you would possibly take into account it.
For a winding highway journey by way of the mountains in Oaxaca and driving from Bacalar to the ferry for Holbox, I discovered a primary economic system automotive to be simply superb. To get to a lot of the cenotes close to Tulum and Cancún, you don’t want a 4×4 both.
Rental automobiles in Mexico, just like the States, normally are newer fashions and have bluetooth, USB ports, and built-in navigation techniques. The makes and fashions of the automobiles are about the identical as you’d discover stateside as nicely.
What You Want Earlier than Renting a Automobile in Mexico
To be not less than 25 years previous
Identical to in america, you have to be 25 or older to lease a automotive in Mexico. Some corporations like Europcar and Mex Automobile will make an exception and lease to drivers between 21 and 25 for an additional payment of $10-20 per day.
There are only a few corporations that can lease a automotive to drivers between 18 and 21 years previous, however they do exist.
A legitimate driver’s license
You don’t want a world driver’s license to lease a automotive in Mexico. You possibly can simply use your legitimate driver’s license from residence and be good to go. Nevertheless, if your property nation’s official language doesn’t use the Latin alphabet, you will have a world driver’s license.
A bank card with not less than $1,000 of accessible credit score
To be able to e book your rental automotive in Mexico, the automotive rental firm will most certainly want to position a maintain of not less than $1,000 USD in your bank card. Generally you may get round this by buying full-coverage insurance coverage, although I’ve by no means tried this myself.
I’ve been capable of e book a rental automotive utilizing a debit card, however this isn’t at all times doable with each firm. It’s finest to take action with a bank card, as they are going to place a maintain relatively than pulling out the cash out of your account and reimbursing you whenever you return the automotive.
Driving in Mexico
Obtain offline maps.
Even should you resolve to seize a Mexican SIM card, there’s an opportunity you’ll drive by way of a useless zone throughout your highway journey. To keep away from getting misplaced, obtain an offline map to make use of. To do that, you possibly can open Google Maps and search the realm that you simply plan to drive.
When you’re doing an extended journey, you possibly can zoom out to obtain your complete space. Even should you don’t have cell service, you’ll be capable of see your location on the map, which is able to make it easier to navigate.
Gasoline stations and potential scams
Virtually all gasoline stations in Mexico are serviced, which means you don’t should pump your individual gasoline or depart your car should you don’t need to. One potential rip-off can occur on the gasoline station, although, should you pay with a card. I as soon as had an attendant overcharge me on the terminal by 100 pesos, pondering I wouldn’t discover. Once I noticed my receipt, I noticed the overcharge and pointed it out. He gave me my 100 pesos reluctantly, nevertheless it was an in depth name.
I’ve since heard that that is fairly frequent, so be certain that to examine the quantity earlier than you insert your card.
Generally the attendants will say that the terminals are offline, so you possibly can’t use a card. This may be true in some circumstances, so simply be sure to have sufficient money readily available to pay for gasoline on your entire journey.
Ask your lodging about parking beforehand
It’s not a provided that your Airbnb and even resort or hostel may have a delegated parking spot. Ask your host earlier than reserving to verify there’s a secure, ideally enclosed, house to park your automotive in a single day. I bumped into this challenge as a result of I didn’t ask forward of time and ended up having to park on the road, which was dangerous. Nothing occurred, nevertheless it made me nervous to go away my rental automotive on the street in a single day. Dwell and study, proper?
Pace limits are in kilometers per hour
Do not forget that Mexico makes use of the metric system. You would possibly suppose the “100” velocity restrict indicators are stunning till you notice that’s solely about 60 miles per hour.
It looks like individuals solely take these limits as a delicate suggestion, however I at all times obey them for worry of being pulled over. It’s finest to play it secure.
What occurs if I get pulled over?
Chances are high, you’ll solely be pulled over by Mexican police in case you are blatantly breaking the regulation. Sadly, bribing law enforcement officials continues to be quite common right here. When you get pulled over, the officer would possibly trace at a bribe to keep away from ticketing you, which may be very costly.
I don’t have a powerful opinion on this a method or one other, as a result of I perceive that this can be a difficult challenge world wide and never simply in Mexico. If handing over a pair hundred pesos for a bribe sounds superb, you do you. I’ve rented a automotive a number of instances right here and by no means been pulled over, so I’m unsure what I might do. Ideas?
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Able to buckle up and begin your Mexican highway journey? I hope this helps you keep secure on the highway and keep away from getting scammed.
Tell us if in case you have any extra recommendation about renting a automotive in Mexico!