If you are planning to travel to Mexico and considering renting a car while there, this article has helpful tips to guide you through the process.
This is what we are going to cover:
- Should you rent a car in Mexico?
- Pros and Cons of renting a car in Mexico
- Is it easy to rent a car in Mexico?
- Best car rentals in Mexico
- Car rental insurance tips when renting a car in Mexico
Should you rent a car in Mexico?
You have probably read or heard various mixed opinions from travelers who have rented a car while in Mexico.
When it comes to renting a car in Mexico, I believe that the decision to rent or not will largely depend on an individual.
To help you decide whether you should rent or not, we are going to look at the pros and cons of renting a car in Mexico.
Is it worth renting a car in Mexico?
Renting a car in Mexico will not be worth it if you will be staying at a hotel zone, downtown, or in an all-inclusive hotel.
On the other hand, renting a car in Mexico will be worth it if you plan on staying on Airbnb, plan to visit cenotes, parks, ruins, and many other places like the small local towns in Mexico.
You may also like:
Pros and Cons of renting a car in Mexico
NOTE: Some of these pros and cons are based on my experiences renting a car in Mexico.
1. The Police
Most people will not rent a car in Mexico because of the police. Some tourists have reported being stopped by the police for DWG (Driving while Gringo).
Most of the time they will ask you for cash and this can make a vacation feel ruined, especially if they keep stopping you many times a day.
However, I remember my first time renting a car in Mexico, almost everyone had warned me about the police.
But the entire time I was there, I was not pulled over or stopped by the police. Maybe I was lucky, but I tried as much as possible not to give them a reason to do so.
The car rental company had also given me some tips on the roads to avoid.
But I have friends who have not had a great experience with the police when renting a car in Mexico.
2. Driving in Mexico may be very different from what you’re used to
Personally, driving in Mexico was very different from what I’m used to in the states.
I had to be comfortable, confident, and careful while driving because there were areas with many speed bumps(topes) that did not have marked lines (faded), U-turns, large roundabouts, and turn-ins than what I am used to back at home.
Note: The speed bumps(topes) can be nearly invisible because they have faded paints. And when you go over them at high speeds (too fast), they may end up popping your tires.
Therefore, you will need to be keen and confident when driving for the first time in Mexico.
3. Renting is better than using a taxi or local transportation
The first time I was in Mexico, I was using taxis and local transportation to move from one place to another. The experience felt a bit tiring even though I got to interact more with the locals.
However, the next time I was there I rented a car, and that was when it made more sense because I could easily plan and travel around. That was the best decision.
See also: Read This Before Renting A Car In Costa Rica.
Is it easy to rent a car in Mexico?
It should be easy to rent a car in Mexico but you will need to do more research beforehand.
For instance, when it comes to pricing, you could easily be scammed or pay more for a rental if you have not done a good amount of prior research.
The following are some money-saving tips when renting a car in Mexico:
- If you are booking the rental car online then you need to be aware that the quoted price usually does not match the actual price.
The actual price may double or even more than double the quoted online price. For example, you could be quoted $300 and end up paying $500 to $800.
This is because most quotes don’t include mandatory insurance and other fees.
The price per day may also be very cheap but insurance per day is very expensive. Therefore, always research and ask questions beyond the given quote.
I have also seen travelers paying almost 8 times what they would have paid because they went for the rental companies with the cheapest rates. Ones that tend to be too good to be true. So you need to be careful.
- Find the best rental company in Mexico
Knowing some of the best rental companies in Mexico can save you more money than you may think. This is because of the following reasons:
- You will avoid getting scammed, especially when you are booking online. Some rental companies also usually have hidden fees.
- Some good rental companies offer helpful tips on the roads to avoid and e.t.c.
Best car rentals in Mexico
Note: This is based on my experience and the recommendations of other travelers who have been to Mexico.
Easy Way Car Rental and ISIS Car Rental are one of the best car rental companies in Mexico.
When traveling to Mexico, I used Easy Way Car Rental and it was a good experience because everything was smooth, they were honest and very helpful.
ISIS Car Rental also came highly recommended by many travelers who have been to Mexico.
These rental companies will also give you tips on roads to avoid in order to minimize the probability of being stopped by the police, and also tips on the road condition. Additionally, they will give you parking tips while in Mexico.
I highly recommend, staying away from third-party car rental companies when booking a rental car in Mexico to avoid the extra costs and the inconveniences.
Car rental insurance tips when renting a car in Mexico
When renting a car in Mexico you need to be aware that Mexico has very different insurance policies from the USA, Canada, and other countries.
The following are main insurance tips when renting a car in Mexico based on my experience:
- Rental car companies in Mexico make more money selling rental car insurance. Therefore, I would recommend that you know what’s included in the insurance cover.
For instance, some rental companies will tell you that the insurance you purchase will provide a full cover, but in most cases, that’s not the case.
Be sure to go through what is covered because some will state that the full cover only covers minor damages but do not define them.
Additionally, the full coverage may not cover the tires and windows. So, you may end up getting another insurance cover for that.
- Do not rely solely on the online sources that talk about insurance coverage when renting a car in Mexico. Instead, I would recommend calling the rental company for inquiries.
This is because the information could either be outdated or different from the rental company’s policy.
For example, some rental car companies in Mexico will refuse to rent you a car in Mexico if you do not purchase the basic insurance from them.
If you can, phone the rental company and ask all the insurance questions you have to avoid bad surprises upon arrival.
All the Best!