This put up 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 if you happen to’ve by no means carried out it. In spite of everything, driving in another country comes with its personal units of guidelines, security considerations, and potential scams. It doesn’t should be a frightening concept, although. It’s truly surprisingly straightforward to hire a automotive in Mexico, and this information will enable you to keep protected whereas avoiding getting ripped off.
Advantages of Renting a Automotive in Mexico
You will have 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 put or excursions that solely permit a sure period of time at every cease.
Once I drove to the coast of Oaxaca from Oaxaca Metropolis, I liked having the ability to cease within the little villages alongside the way in which. I had the liberty to do what I wished, which I wouldn’t have been capable of if I had taken a bus.
You may get off the crushed path.
Particularly if you happen to’ll be flying into vacationer hotspots resembling Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, or Cabo San Lucas, it could 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 crushed path in Mexico, a rental automotive is perhaps needed.
Renting a automotive permits you the mobility to get to smaller cities and cities that may in any other case be a ache to achieve through public transportation. It’s also possible to entry secret seashores, secluded cenotes, and different pure areas which can be far much less crowded.
Take the Riviera Maya, for instance. In case you have a rental automotive, you will get to locations like Xpu-ha, Punta Allen, and different small seaside cities that different vacationers don’t go to as a lot.
You’ll be able to see extra of Mexico.
If you wish to journey from one metropolis to a different, renting a automotive is a superb possibility, as a result of buses that journey lengthy distances typically take a number of extra hours than driving by yourself would. Renting a automotive lets you go additional, faster. You’ll be capable of see extra in a shorter period of time, taking in every second and actually savoring the magic of Mexico.
My absolute favourite street journeys have all been in Mexico. I like how the terrain right here modifications drastically, making for a stimulating street journey whether or not you’re with a associate, associates, or solo. When you’re open to journey, you’re certain to search out loads of spontaneous stops alongside the way in which. You would possibly encounter a roadside elote stand, a nature protect, or a pueblo mágico (“magic city”).
With a rental automotive, you get to really benefit from the journey with out a lot concentrate on the vacation spot, which is such a enjoyable approach to expertise Mexico.
Drawbacks of Renting a Automotive in Mexico
It may be dear.
Particularly if you happen to go for full-coverage insurance coverage with no deductible (extra on this later), the day by day price to hire a automotive in Mexico can get fairly costly. Tack on the ever-fluctuating worth of gasoline and it could even be tough to foretell how a lot you’re more likely to spend on a rental automotive.
Neglect about metropolis driving.
I don’t suggest renting a automotive in Mexico Metropolis if you happen to plan to make use of it throughout the metropolis. The visitors is totally insane, and driving there may be not solely traumatic however can truly take longer than hopping on the metro. It’s additionally fairly harmful to navigate Mexico Metropolis if you happen to’ve by no means pushed there earlier than, as many drivers don’t observe visitors guidelines. It sound traumatic as a result of it is traumatic.
Smaller cities like Oaxaca and Mérida are way more drivable, however except you might be planning to depart the town, a automotive isn’t completely needed as a result of most small cities in Mexico have first rate public transportation.
You’re restricted to driving solely through the day.
For security causes, it’s not a fantastic concept to drive your rental automotive at evening in Mexico. There’s no regulation or express rule that claims you’ll be able to’t, however I don’t suggest risking it.
For instance, the freeway between Tulum and Bacalar turns into harmful at evening, as organized crime teams are identified to create blockades and extort drivers. This occurs in different elements of Mexico as properly, totally on poorly lit highways and in areas the place there is no such thing as a cell reception.
Inside a metropolis or city, it’s most likely no massive deal, however keep away from highways as a lot as attainable if you happen to completely should drive after darkish.
Avoiding Hidden Charges
When you Googled “rental automobiles in Mexico” and noticed firms 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 web site. That $5/day fee doesn’t embrace any insurance coverage (which is obligatory in Mexico) or different charges. When you fall for this, you’ll doubtless arrive to choose up the automotive you reserved on-line and be slapped with a invoice a lot greater than you imagined.
The minimal you’ll be able to count on 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 simply too good to be true?
To keep away from falling for this rip-off, take a look at varied firms 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 Hire a Automotive in Mexico
One respected web site that’s nice for looking and reserving rental automobiles is Uncover Automobiles. There you’ll get a full image of what you’re paying for, with no hidden charges. The positioning lets you see choices from a number of firms, making evaluating them simpler than ever.
A candy function of Uncover Automobiles is that you could partially pay while you e book, and pay the remainder while you decide the automotive up on the airport or on the town. (This function isn’t obtainable 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 commonly the very best place. Not solely do you’ve got a number of firms in a single location for straightforward comparability, however you additionally received’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 best choice to avoid wasting money and time.
One other perk of ready to get to the airport is having the ability to speak to an precise individual when deciding what automotive to hire, which insurance coverage to buy, and so forth. Most staff at these firms within the airport areas converse English as properly and may reply any questions you’ve got.
Firms I’ve used
I’ve rented automobiles in Mexico via Alamo, Avis, and Europcar with no issues in any respect. I discovered all three of those firms to be equally as useful and simple.
I rented a automotive with Alamo in Tulum with some associates, and it was tremendous fast to choose it up and drop it off. When you use Avis, I like to recommend reserving in individual, as a result of typically individuals reserve automobiles on their web site solely to reach on the bodily location and be given a distinct (costlier) 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 via 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 via the prices of every little thing. In addition they have been tremendous responsive once I known as to ask questions whereas I had the automotive.
Price for Renting a Automotive in Mexico
Automotive leases in Mexico usually begin at $30 per day for fundamental economic system guide automobiles 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 prime of the bottom price of the automotive. Remember that computerized automobiles price further and are harder to return by than guide ones. When you drive stick, that is your time to avoid wasting money!
So as to add an extra driver, you’ll be able to count on to pay round $10-15 further, per day.
Bigger and 4×4 automobiles begin round $50 per day with fundamental insurance coverage. Since small automobiles are extra common, you may find yourself with a big car if you happen to don’t e book forward throughout excessive season (spring break and November to December).
Selecting the Proper Automotive
To decide on the appropriate automotive to your Mexican journey, step one is deciding if you’d like a guide or computerized car. Within the States, it’s a on condition that the rental automobiles are computerized, however that isn’t the case in Mexico, so be sure you double-check earlier than reserving.
You also needs to have a transparent concept of the place you intend to go, as you would possibly want a 4×4 car to get to sure locations. For essentially the most half, 4-wheel drive isn’t needed in locations just like the Riviera Maya (between Cancún and Tulum). Nonetheless, if you happen to plan to discover some distant Mayan ruins or hidden seashores, you would possibly contemplate it.
For a winding street journey via the mountains in Oaxaca and driving from Bacalar to the ferry for Holbox, I discovered a fundamental economic system automotive to be simply high quality. 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 programs. The makes and fashions of the automobiles are about the identical as you’d discover stateside as properly.
What You Want Earlier than Renting a Automotive in Mexico
To be not less than 25 years previous
Identical to in the USA, you should be 25 or older to hire a automotive in Mexico. Some firms like Europcar and Mex Automotive will make an exception and hire to drivers between 21 and 25 for an additional payment of $10-20 per day.
There are only a few firms that may hire a automotive to drivers between 18 and 21 years previous, however they do exist.
A legitimate driver’s license
You don’t want a global driver’s license to hire a automotive in Mexico. You’ll be able to simply use your legitimate driver’s license from dwelling and be good to go. Nonetheless, if your own home nation’s official language doesn’t use the Latin alphabet, you will want a global driver’s license.
A bank card with not less than $1,000 of obtainable credit score
As a way to e book your rental automotive in Mexico, the automotive rental firm will probably want to put a maintain of not less than $1,000 USD in your bank card. Typically you will 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 all the time attainable with each firm. It’s finest to take action with a bank card, as they may place a maintain reasonably than pulling out the cash out of your account and reimbursing you while you return the automotive.
Driving in Mexico
Obtain offline maps.
Even if you happen to resolve to seize a Mexican SIM card, there’s an opportunity you’ll drive via a useless zone throughout your street journey. To keep away from getting misplaced, obtain an offline map to make use of. To do that, you’ll be able to open Google Maps and search the world that you simply plan to drive.
When you’re doing a protracted journey, you’ll be able to zoom out to obtain your entire space. Even if you happen to don’t have cell service, you’ll be capable of see your location on the map, which is able to enable you to navigate.
Fuel stations and potential scams
Nearly all gasoline stations in Mexico are serviced, that means you don’t should pump your personal gasoline or go away your car if you happen to don’t need to. One potential rip-off can occur on the gasoline station, although, if you happen to pay with a card. I as soon as had an attendant overcharge me on the terminal by 100 pesos, considering I wouldn’t discover. Once I noticed my receipt, I noticed the overcharge and pointed it out. He gave me my 100 pesos reluctantly, but it surely was an in depth name.
I’ve since heard that that is fairly widespread, so be sure that to examine the quantity earlier than you insert your card.
Typically the attendants will say that the terminals are offline, so you’ll be able to’t use a card. This is perhaps true in some instances, so simply be sure you have sufficient money readily available to pay for gasoline to your entire journey.
Ask your lodging about parking beforehand
It’s not a on condition that your Airbnb and even lodge or hostel could have a chosen parking spot. Ask your host earlier than reserving to verify there’s a protected, ideally enclosed, area to park your automotive in a single day. I bumped into this difficulty 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, but it surely made me nervous to depart my rental automotive on the street in a single day. Dwell and be taught, proper?
Velocity limits are in kilometers per hour
Do not forget that Mexico makes use of the metric system. You would possibly assume the “100” velocity restrict indicators are surprising till you understand that’s solely about 60 miles per hour.
It looks as if individuals solely take these limits as a mild suggestion, however I all the time obey them for worry of being pulled over. It’s finest to play it protected.
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 remains 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 could be very costly.
I don’t have a robust opinion on this a technique or one other, as a result of I perceive that this can be a difficult difficulty all over the world and never simply in Mexico. If handing over a pair hundred pesos for a bribe sounds high quality, you do you. I’ve rented a automotive a number of instances right here and by no means been pulled over, so I’m undecided what I might do. Ideas?
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Able to buckle up and begin your Mexican street journey? I hope this helps you keep protected on the street and keep away from getting scammed.
Tell us you probably have any extra recommendation about renting a automotive in Mexico!