Mexico Driving Guide

Renting a car in Mexico and driving yourself around the country is a wonderful way to experience the land of the Maya. Here’s some advice on the best way to do that.

I love Mexico. I have lived and vacationed there for many years, spending most of my time in the Yucatan Peninsula area of ​​the country. Mexico is a huge country with so much to offer!

Whenever I visit, I always rent a car to explore on my own. It’s more fun!

Renting a car and driving yourself in Mexico can have its quirks and challenges, but they are minimal and shouldn’t deter you.

I love the freedom of road trips and planning my own travel itinerary. Mexico is such a diverse country that it makes sense to rent a car so you can stop anywhere to explore small villages, ancient Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza, and hidden beaches or secret cenotes at your own pace.

Not on some tight (less than ideal) schedule with a tour company.

Here are some important tips we learned from our many experiences Rent a car in MexicoTo help you save money and stay safe while driving across the country!

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten

I have been traveling the world for 10+ years as a professional photographer and writer. I hope you enjoy my Mexico driving tips! If you find it useful, I will earn a small commission for using my affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

How to rent a car in Mexico

1. Should you self-drive in Mexico?

Driving in Mexico for tourists

Hey, if you love those big group bus tours, by all means, go book one. It’s a perfect way to see Mexico if you don’t have a lot of time.

No planning, no driving, just sit back and let others do all the work!

But if you’re like me, you love the adventure of independent travel.

No set schedule or timetable — drive around Mexico with the freedom to stop wherever you feel cool along the way.

If you are this type of traveler, renting a car in Mexico is the way to go!

Just keep in mind that some roads in Mexico can be confusing, and some drivers are even aggressive. But with a little practice, you’ll gain the confidence to drive there!

Another nice thing about having a car was the ability to store things in the trunk, stopping in small Mexican villages with travel backpacks instead of bringing stuff everywhere.

2. Where to rent your car in Mexico

pick up your car

Some common car rental companies in Mexico include Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz, local companies called Fox Rentals, and many more.

But the best site to book your car Find a car. They search both local and international car rental companies to help you find the best possible price. This is the easiest way to rent a car in Mexico.

We often rent our cars in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. From there it’s an easy drive along the coast exploring the famous Mexican Riviera Maya.

Cancun Airport: Plan to pick up your car approximately 60 minutes after your flight arrives. When departing, try to be at the airport at least 2.5 hours before your flight departs. Because it can take up to 30 minutes to return your rental car and catch the shuttle back to the airport.

Playa del Carmen: There are many Mexican car rental companies located in downtown Playa del Carmen. You may decide to pick up your car in Playa del Carmen after dropping off the Cancun airport shuttle at your hotel. Rentals in Playa are often a bit cheaper than in Cancun.

Rent a car in Mexico

Search both domestic and international car rental companies to help you find a good deal.

3. Car rental insurance in Mexico

Some of the rumors about driving in Mexico are true, and the roads are not always well maintained, and the drivers can be somewhat aggressive. Don’t worry, I’ll share some tips for dealing with them below.

That is why I recommend getting full insurance coverage.

Many travelers book rental cars using a travel-friendly credit card that includes car rental insurance in the hopes that it will save them some money, but in Mexico they won’t accept your credit card insurance and will require you to purchase additional personal liability insurance that costs $10. – 20 USD a day.

Some Mexican car rental companies will let you decline insurance if you pay a large refundable deposit on your credit card (usually around $2500 USD). But if something happens that costs a lot more than that deposit, you’re paying out of pocket beyond that.

If it’s your first time driving in Mexico, I’d recommend getting insurance just to be safe.

4. How much does it cost to rent a car in Mexico?

Driving through Mexico’s Pink Lakes

Renting a car in Mexico will cost you around $20-$50 USD per day, depending on the car you get. Our 4 door sedan was about $30 per day.

I recommend renting a car with a real trunk (no hatchback) to hide your luggage from prying eyes. It helps prevent break-ins if thieves can’t see your stuff.

Gas prices

gas (petrol) prices Americans find it cheaper in Mexico, but remember that the rest of the world quotes gas in liters, gallons (1 gallon = 3.78 liters). Currently, the price of gas in Mexico is about $5.14 per gallon ($1.39 per liter). A diesel car will often save you some money on gas.

Automatic vs Manual

Automatic cars are more expensive to hire than manual cars and you must specify which type you want when booking. If you’ve never driven a manual car before, don’t start in Mexico! Automatic pre-booking is safer.

One-way fares

There are additional fees for one-way car rentals in Mexico, which may vary by company. For example, if you want to leave the car in a different city than where you started from.

5. Age requirements for renting a car

The minimum age for driving in Mexico is 18, although most car rental companies have their own age limit of 21 for renting a car. They also charge additional fees if you are under 24 years of age.

6. Mexican driving laws tourists should know

Driving through the beach town of Tulum

Be careful with parking tickets! If you park illegally in Mexico (such as not paying for a metered parking spot), the police will likely remove your license plate or boot the wheel of your car until you pay.

In many parts of Mexico you may occasionally encounter police roadblocks. You often drive slowly through it until an officer tells you to pull over. Don’t panic or panic, it’s standard practice.

The speed limit on local roads is usually around 90 km/h while on national highways it is around 100 km/h.

Speeding Tickets (Bribing the Police) in Mexico

If you get pulled over for speeding while driving in Mexico, Mexican police officers will usually be looking for a bribe (aka “la mordida”) from tourists. That’s just how things work. The amount is around $10 – $20 USD.

If you try to fight it, or ask for an official ticket instead, prepare to deal with a lot of hassle and paperwork that will surely ruin the rest of your day.

7. International Driver’s License

No, you do not need an international driver’s license to drive in Mexico or rent a car there. Just bring your passport, credit card and your driving license from your home country.

8. Useful tips for driving in Mexico

Mexican traffic jam

You don’t have to stop for people! Pedestrians generally do not have the right of way in Mexico, which means that cars will not stop for people walking in the street. This took some getting used to for me.

While you might be better off and stop for them anyway, you need to be careful because any local drivers behind you won’t expect it, which could result in a bad accident. They kill you, you kill people.

Merging onto the highway is a US is very different from Many times cars are stopped on the ramp waiting for the opening. And if you miss your opening (no matter how tight it seems), those waiting behind you will surely respect you.

Beware of hidden speed bumps (called “tops”). While most of the time there will be a road sign announcing the upcoming speed bump, sometimes the signs are missing, and the speed bump paint is worn off, and you will be rudely surprised by a very aggressive speed bump (which can be devastating). your suspension). You will usually find them when you enter and exit small towns.

Speeding drivers who are in a hurry may tailgate you while flashing their lights. They just want you to pull a little more so they can keep up the speed behind you. As long as it is safe to do so, I would recommend doing so to avoid any road rage incidents.

9. Additional tips for renting a car in Mexico

  • Gas Station Scams: In Mexico, gas station attendants fill up your car for you. Some attendants will try to scam travelers if they think they can get away with it. Either by not resetting the pump (so it looks like you got more gas than you actually did), or by pretending you didn’t give them enough cash by using a little hand. Always keep your eyes on the attendant and the gas pump screen
  • Don’t book a car without reading company reviews. You’ll find plenty of bad reviews for every company (people love to complain online), but try to pick one with the fewest bad reviews.
  • You may not always receive the make/model/type of car you booked. If they give you a small car or a manual when you ask for an automatic, push and ask for an upgrade.
  • Inspect your car thoroughly and record a video on your smartphone showing the damage before you leave. This is a backup in case they try to charge you for damage that was already there. This is a common car rental scam in Mexico….
  • Pay attention to whether your Mexican rental car takes regular petrol or diesel fuel, so you fill up with the correct type at gas stations.
  • Use Google Maps on your smartphone for directions instead of renting a GPS device. empty Use your own hands-free car mount And a good international cell phone plan.

10. Accident and Breakdown Information

In a road emergency on the highway, you can dial Green corner (Angelus Verdes) by dialing in Mexico 078. Alternatively, you can call: 250-82-21. They provide free travel information, mechanical assistance and medical assistance to citizens and tourists.

If your car needs towing, or you need mechanical assistance, run out of gas or break down, you can call them for help.

The rental company’s own emergency roadside assistance number, often located on the rental agreement.

Enjoy your Mexico road trip!

Exploring the small villages, hidden beaches, lush jungle and coastal cities of Mexico in a rental car was definitely the right choice for us.

Self-drive road trips get off the beaten track to see what most people miss! ★

Rent a car in Mexico

Search both domestic and international car rental companies to help you find a good deal.

Read more Mexico travel tips

I hope you enjoyed my guide to renting a car and driving in Mexico! Hope you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inspiring articles I recommend you read next:

Have questions about driving in Mexico? What about other suggestions? Join the conversation at Facebook, InstagramOr Twitter Share!

Leave a Comment