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Renting a car in Cancun

We plan to go to cancun in December. We will be staying at Peurto Morelos. Is it safe to rent a car in cancun and to drive around to visit ruins and town?

Posted by
2526 posts

Well, it was easy and safe years ago when we did it. I highly recommend visiting Chichen Itza and spending an extra day there.

Posted by
14678 posts

You are in the wrong Forum. You should post in the Beyond Europe section.

I often go to Playa del Carmen. Just a bit further south than you coming from CUN airport.
Renting is an expensive hassle in Mexico and taxis, buses and collectivos (shared shuttle vans) are cheap and reliable.

If you rent Avant, easyway, America are reliable. Don’t rent through third parties like Orbitz. The cost is high, because you need local insurance, so the $25 a day will easily become $80/day. Don’t skimp on insurance if you don’t want experience Mexican jails in case of accident.
Pay gas in cash using 100M$ bills. They like to switch the 500M$ like magicians.
Always have some cash with you when you get pulled over by police, because bribes to police are part of the rental experience.

My suggestion to you is to rent only for the day(s) you need if you go on an excursion where a car is nice to have. For all other needs rely on collectivos or taxis. They are both everywhere.

Posted by
7046 posts

I would only rent a car on the days you really need it. Long-distance buses in the Yucatan are great and inexpensive, and local buses in Cancun are super inexpensive (the taxis are a rip off everywhere in the tourist "hotel zone"). You can take a bus to Puerto Morelos as well. There is a major bus station in Cancun centro called "ADO" (named after the major bus company) that has buses going throughout the Yucatan and beyond. If you can, try to stop by the little colonial town of Valladolid on the way back from Chichen Itza, as well as some "cenotes" (sinkholes) for swimming. You can find decent info and maps here:

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the response. I did not realize I was in the wrong forum. I was posting for the first time.

When I try to book a rental car in Cancun from US, the rental rate seems to be very cheap/ inexpensive ( $2.00/day). I was confused with the rate and was not sure if the information was true.

Posted by
7046 posts

When I try to book a rental car in Cancun from US, the rental rate
seems to be very cheap/ inexpensive ( $2.00/day).

I don't think the total amount of the rental is being displayed accurately. Using, you see this statement and no actual rental price: "At confirmation time, a deposit of 1.77 USD will be collected. The balance will be collected when you pick up the vehicle." I would book with a brand directly (not a consolidator) and make sure the total rental price, including fees and insurance is clearly shown. I would not trust the $2.00 amount, that is clearly not the real price. Be really careful about getting the proper insurance (read up on it beforehand).

Posted by
14678 posts

$2/day is a bait price. Remember that in Mexico you will need insurance protection, and lots of it for your peace of mind, therefore once you add all of that insurance plus taxes and fees, you should expect to pay about $80+ a day. That is how they get you. In Playa it was over $80 a day (all inclusive) for a small Suzuki SUV but that was almost 10 years ago.
Europcar, a European multinational company which I used all the time in Europe has an office in Puerto Morelos. See what they quote you. Don’t skimp on the insurance. Once again, limit your rental to the number of days you really need, because it’s expensive once you get all the insurance protection.
If you want to rent at the airport for the whole time check EasyWay

Posted by
4363 posts

When I try to book a rental car in Cancun from US, the rental rate seems to be very cheap/ inexpensive ( $2.00/day). I was confused with the rate and was not sure if the information was true.

Expect to pay more for a car in Cancun than anyplace else on the planet. Those rates quoted don't include mandatory insurance which will be marked up accordingly. The whole Cancun rental setup is a ripoff and all the US franchises are in on it. Try to find a car that isn't rated as seating 5 adults-- you can't even though most of the cars for rent are tiny. A Corolla is about the largest car you can rent and that barely seats 5 adults. I would not rent at the airport at all, it's just not an above board operation. I'd rent elsewhere, esp from a hotel if you are staying there. Although you can return the car to the airport if you want for a charge.

The places Roberto mentioned I've heard have some bad cars for rent although they won't try to hassle you for more money. They are also offsite of the airport requiring their shuttle. Really try to either bus or take a pre-arranged shuttle from CUN.

We were hassled by a HUBCAP SCRAPE (plastic hubcap) on return at Thrifty CUN, which ironically was put there at pickup by the Thrifty guy who insisted on driving the car up to the hotel entrance. Anyway, thank goodness for camera pictures (zoomable) taken at time of rental we were able to get out of that one.

Additional liability will run $10/day or so, the car comes with $40,000 which is rather low, but we didn't buy it. For my rental I bought the high deductible CDW (mandatory) but rather than buy up to super CDW used the $20 Amex policy on my credit card for the difference.

Also, if you are hitting the bush to see ruins and cenotes (way out, several hours) then you do need a car. And yes it is absolutely safe to drive, although I saw some strange driving maneuvers including someone driving the wrong way on the toll road (full speed) apparently trying to avoid a toll. I think the bribe thing Roberto mentioned only happens, and rarely, on the coast highway between the airport and Tulum. People are really friendly in Mexico, but there are a few bad apples just in the places mentioned.

Posted by
11503 posts

We've been to the area five times in last six years , we staybout by akumal .

I've just read about too many hassles renting a car there so we've never done it .

We've taken the collectivos to the Tulum ruins , Akumal bay for snorkelling , Playa del Carmen for shopping , and Xplor for zip lining !
Cheap and easy .

We've used a taxi once ( fairly good prices )

You really should on the Cancun forums , hundreds of very informative posts . Just google l forums" and there you are !

Note learn about the gas station rip offs and police that pull over tourists .

It's not a matter of any danger it just sounds like a lot of extra money .

Posted by
1989 posts

I go to Mexico every February and stay in Playa del Carmen area. I always have a car for the entire week. I pick up at the airport. It is just easier. I always get full insurance. It is worth the piece of mind.
Always get out of the car before telling a gas attendant how much gas you want. Make sure the pump is zeroed out before they pump any gas. Make sure to note the amount pumped as some will zero it out very quickly to hide the amount pumped, and then charge you for more gas and pocket the extra. Always do this and don't let anyone distract you.
Watch out for taxi and van drivers! They are very aggressive drivers and don't follow any of the traffic laws.

Posted by
288 posts

We rented there, but 10 years ago. spending an extra night in chitzen itza is way worth it. Cooler in the evening and next am and fewer crowds before and after the busses. We took the back road there, and did get shook down by the police, stood our ground and didn't pay but cant say I wasn't nervous. The toll road was not an issue though. They did try to rent us the car with a 1/4 tank of gas, so watch for this and take photos of any damage/scratches the car may have prior to leaving the lot. Be careful at gas stations as they may try to upcharge you.