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Renting a Car in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean

Rental cars enable vacationers to explore the Mexican Caribbean at their leisure

Photo credit: © the queen of subtle
Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean Rental Cars

There is much to see and and do along the coast of Mexico, and while many visitors will never leave the convenient attractions immediately surrounding their hotels or resorts, others are eager to discover all that is off the beaten path. For these independent explorers, rental cars provide the freedom to plan outings around their own schedules and interests.

Licensed drivers from North American countries are permitted to take advantage of the Mexican roadways, as are residents of Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Citizens of other nations will usually be able to drive in Mexico, though an international driver's license might be worth considering, particularly for drivers who do not have photo identification on their own license.

Although visitors in Mexico should have no problem driving on a license issued by their home country, it is absolutely imperative that anyone renting a car obtain valid, Mexican insurance. Major insurance companies that service the United States and Canada do not provide coverage for drivers in Mexico, and most credit cards fail to mention that their own insurance coverage does not apply here. Rental car agencies in Mexico are generally able to provide information on the companies and coverage plans available. When purchasing insurance, drivers should read the fine print to ensure that claims adjusters and, if necessary, lawyers are included in coverage.

Requirements and restrictions can vary. If you are concerned about minimum and maximum age restrictions, insurance requirements and the like, consider contacting each firm directly, before making a final decision.

In general, Mexico is not known for having particularly good road conditions, but travelers who stay in the Mexican Caribbean are often pleasantly surprised. The tourist presence in the area has encouraged officials to pave many of the once-dubious roadways, and meticulous upkeep prevents all major highways from falling into disrepair. Street signs, of course, will be in Spanish, but they retain the shapes and colors drivers are familiar with.

The condition of a rental car will depend upon its age and price. Many of the cars offered are Volkswagens (Mexico City being home to a large percentage of the company's production), but renters will also find a few American and Japanese makes, too. Rates will vary depending on the number of agencies in any given location. An average estimate should be approximately $40(USD) per day, however, it pays to compare prices, as companies are always trying to undersell one another. Weekly rates are often available but do not tend to offer any discounts over renting a car on a daily basis.

Rental agencies abound on the Yucatan Peninsula, and vacationers looking for affordable prices and reliable cars should have no problem finding companies to compare. Many of the major rental agencies are represented in the chart below as well as some of the larger Mexican companies. The following table provides contact information for a few of the most reputable agencies:

Company Phone Number
Alamo 800-GO-ALAMO (800-462-5266)
Budget 800-712-0324
Ecorent 999-920-2772
Hertz 800-654-3030
Thrifty 800-THRIFTY (800-847-4389)
Velor 800-712-1375

Travelers considering rental cars should not forget to factor the cost of gas into their budget. It is advisable to maintain a full tank of gas, as there are many areas of the region where gas is difficult to find. A good rule of thumb is to top an automobile off at each city and roadside station.

Driving in the Mexican Caribbean is a great way to get around the area while giving adventurous visitors a chance to experience the beautiful countryside. Favorable road conditions and affordable rental rates mean that nearly everyone should feel comfortable renting a car for a little independent exploration.


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