Renting a Car in Cancun: My Tips!

renting a car in Cancun

For your trip to Mexico in the Yucatán Peninsula, you may have chosen to rent a car in Cancun upon your arrival, like many travelers do.

I’ve put together a mini-guide to help you navigate through the car rental jungle and to provide you with some good advice to avoid scams!

As we will see in this guide, renting a car in Cancun will provide you with great flexibility for getting around during your stay in the region.

Indeed, the Yucatán Peninsula, which includes the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, and Yucatan, is vast.

Points of interest and various attractions are spread out from one another.

I will also try to address your many questions about car rentals in Cancun.

✔️ Is it dangerous to rent a car in Cancun?

Renting a car in Cancun is certainly one of the safest options for exploring Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula.

Of course, as with anywhere in the world, caution is advised when driving in a foreign country.

The roads in the Yucatan are in good condition and well-secured. You shouldn’t encounter any issues driving on Mexican roads.

Contrary to common belief, tourist areas in Mexico are safe, and you shouldn’t feel in danger during your road trip as long as you adhere to common sense rules.

Most crime occurs far away from tourists and within organized groups involved in illegal activities.

The police presence is significant for monitoring vehicles at city entrances and exits, ensuring everyone’s safety.

If you don’t break any rules, you’ll pass through these checkpoints without any trouble.

Car at Beach

💰 What is the price to rent a car in Cancun?

The first thing I highly recommend is to book online in advance rather than showing up at the airport counter without a reservation.

Booking in advance allows you to compare prices, insurance options, and additional services among different rental agencies.

Moreover, once you’re on-site, rental companies know you’re under pressure to make a quick decision and may take advantage of that to increase prices.

During peak season, you might also face a shortage of vehicles without a prior reservation.

👉 That’s why I strongly advise you to book your car rental in Cancun in advance for a stress-free arrival.

For a basic car rental in Cancun, you can expect to pay between $20 USD and $90 USD per day, depending on:

  • The chosen company
  • The selected model
  • Associated services
  • The location (airport or city)
  • Insurance coverage
  • How far in advance you book
  • The season
renting a car

✅ What are the best rental car companies in Cancun

In this section, I’ll try to shed some light on the maze of car rental agencies in Cancun.

Firstly, avoid renting from individuals, and always make sure that the agency you choose is legitimate and recognized. In case of an accident, you might regret it.

Discover Cars

My top recommendation for renting a car in Cancun is to use the Discover Cars platform.

Discover Cars is a car rental comparison platform in Cancun that allows you to compare both international and local rental agencies.

👉 Check offers on the Discover Cars website.

Discover Cars searches among internationally renowned rental companies such as Avis, Dollar, Hertz, Sixt, Thrifty, etc., to find the best option for you.

Using Discover Cars to book a car rental in Cancun offers several benefits:

  • International and local rental agencies
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours
  • Competitive prices
  • Secure payment
  • Full coverage insurance available
Discover Cars logo

How to book a car on Discover Cars?

Once you’re on the Discover Cars website, enter the pick-up location and your dates of stay.

You can choose a pickup place at Cancun Airport (CUN), Cancun Downtown, Playa del Carmen, Tulum…

Discover Cars

Then, you can refine your search according to your specific criteria such as:

  • Air conditioning
  • Automatic/manual transmission
  • Number of seats
  • Baby seat
  • Additional driver

Additionally, you can select rental agencies based on the ratings they have received from travelers who have used their services.

ratings car

I always recommend choosing agencies with a rating of 7 or higher in order to avoid any problem.

Indeed, a low rating is often synonymous with hidden fees or poor service.

I prefer to pay a bit more for my car rental to avoid any unpleasant surprises once I arrive at the airport in Cancun.

⚠️ Beware of Insurance Surcharges & Surprise Taxes

Be cautious of quotes with attractive prices.

Some agencies offer low prices online but will pressure you to subscribe to insurance that doubles or triples the rental price once you’re on-site.

📍 Where to Rent a Car in Cancun?

There are numerous places to rent a car in Cancun.

This city serves as the gateway for millions of travelers from around the world who come to visit the Yucatan Peninsula.

The car rental business is therefore very significant in Cancun…

You’ll notice this as soon as you step out of the airport, where vendors will approach you in numbers.

You can rent a car on the Riviera Maya (Playa Del Carmen & Tulum) or in downtown Cancun.

The easiest option is probably to rent your car at Cancun Airport upon your arrival, so you don’t waste any time.

Renting a Car at Cancun Airport

Cancun Airport (CUN) will likely be your entry point into Mexico.

If that’s the case, I recommend renting a car directly at Cancun Airport, putting your luggage in the trunk, and heading to your first destination hassle-free.

This way, you avoid needing to take a bus or taxi from the airport.

There are numerous rental agencies at Cancun Airport, including the more common ones like Avis, Dollar, Hertz, Firefly

They all have their agencies at the airport and will hand over the car to you at the same time.

renting a car at the airport

Renting a Car in Downtown Cancun

The other option is to rent a car in downtown Cancun.

This is only interesting if you’re already in the area and plan to rent a car for just a few days.

Most rental agencies are located on Avenida Tulum in downtown Cancun.

You can also choose to spend one or two nights in Cancun before starting your road trip in the Yucatan.

Opting for a pickup in downtown Cancun is then more advisable.

key car

🚗 What Type of Vehicle to Rent in Cancun?

Considering the significant number of rental agencies in Cancun, you can easily find vehicles to suit all tastes and budgets.

Most travelers opt for a basic car, which is fuel-efficient and sufficient for navigating the roads of the Yucatan.

That’s actually what I recommend!

Keep in mind that you’ll be covering long distances, and while gasoline is cheap, it still has a cost here in Mexico (about 24 pesos MXN per liter).

The most common basic rental models in Cancun are: Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Beat, Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Onix. These are reliable models.

An important criterion to consider when renting a car in Cancun is air conditioning

This is crucial because temperatures easily reach up to 95°F (35°C) or more.

Even in winter, temperatures rarely drop below 75°F (25°C) during the day!

Note that if you plan to visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere by car, you’ll need to rent an SUV vehicle due to the condition of the track.

Also, be sure to check with the rental agency if you’re allowed to go there, as some may restrict access.

🐬 Sian Ka’an Biosphere

👉 Check out my comprehensive guide on how to get to Sian Ka’an?

Dolphins Sian Ka'an

🛡️ What Insurance to Choose When Renting a Car in Cancun?

The question of insurance is not to be overlooked when renting a car.

It’s important to take the time to read ALL the details carefully.

You can benefit from either the Discover Cars’ insurance or the insurance you’ve purchased from the rental company.

Discover Cars Insurance

While booking your car rental in Cancun through the Discover Cars platform, you’ll be offered the option to opt for a full coverage insurance provided by Discover Cars.

This insurance covers damages to the vehicle, any necessary repairs, vehicle towing, as well as all administrative fees and key loss.

By choosing the insurance offered by Discover Cars, you won’t need to subscribe to additional insurance from the car rental company.

The price of this insurance is approximately $10 USD per day and covers damages up to $3200 USD.

By selecting Discover Cars’ insurance, the rental company will still place a security deposit on your credit card.

In the event of damage to your car, the repair costs will be deducted from this security deposit. The difference will then be reimbursed by Discover Cars’ insurance.

insurance

⛽ What Scams to Avoid with a Rental Car in Cancun?

Cancun is a very safe region, and renting a car in this area is obviously safe.

However, it’s important to be aware of certain points.

Whether it’s about driving in Mexico, potential scams from car rental companies, or things to absolutely check when returning the car… Follow the guide!

Here, I’ve listed the various scams that travelers in the Yucatan may encounter.

Be careful in these situations.

1. Gas Scams in Mexico

The more common scams in Mexico, primarily targeting tourists driving rental cars, occur at the gas station.

First off, in Mexico, it’s not you who fills up the tank but an attendant.

I’ve identified two scams which I’ll describe below:

Gas Station

The 500 Pesos Note Scam

This scam is very simple: the 500 Pesos MXN bill and the 20 Pesos MXN bill have a similar color.

At the time of payment, you’ll likely give a 500 Pesos MXN bill because it’s the largest denomination here in Mexico.

If the attendant has ill intentions and you’re not paying attention, they may discreetly exchange the 500 Pesos MXN bill you gave them for a 20 Pesos MXN bill they had in their pocket.

They’ll then point out that you gave them a 20 Pesos MXN bill instead of 500 Pesos MXN…

👉 So, be vigilant when paying. State the amounts you’re giving to the attendant aloud: “Quinientos pesos, Señor!”

This scam is regularly reported at the PEMEX station in Bacalar, a destination frequented by travelers with rental cars.

The “Overcharge” Scam

Always check that when the liter counter starts, it’s at 0, and that the pump is inserted properly into your tank.

It can happen that if the attendant senses you’re distracted, they start the counter at 200 MXN or 300 MXN.

During the filling or even at the end, they may also press a hidden button and suddenly increase the counter by several hundred pesos.

They may also discreetly pour a few liters into a jerrycan before filling your tank.

👉 A tip: keep an eye on the counter from the beginning to the end of the tank filling.

These scams only happen at a few gas stations in the region and only if you’re distracted.

If you show the attendant that you’re vigilant, everything will be fine.

2. Insurance Surcharge

I’m not sure if I should call this a “scam” or rather a “deliberate omission” on the part of the rental companies.

Indeed, many rental companies don’t mention insurance until they hand you the vehicle and the rental is already paid.

At that point, they’ll inform you that the price you paid doesn’t include any insurance.

They’ll intensely warn you about the consequences and costs if there’s an accident or damage to the vehicle.

If you don’t want to take out the agency’s optional insurance, they’ll then ask for security deposit.

That’s why I recommend opting for the Discover Cars’ full coverage insurance while booking your car.

renting a car

3. Unreturned Deposit

I’ve read many testimonials about double billing on credit cards, which were actually security deposits collected without apparent reason at the end of the rental.

Rental companies may try to find damages with the vehicle to collect the security deposit (small scratch, minor dent).

That’s why it’s very important to film the car when returning it.

❓ My advice

When you return the car, make sure everything is fine and that the security deposit won’t be debited.

4. Unavailable Vehicle

Another commonly reported issue with car rental in Cancun is unavailable vehicles at check-in on site, despite a prior reservation on the rental company’s website.

They’ll then offer you a higher-end vehicle at a obviously higher rate. Unscrupulous rental companies take advantage of the tiredness of freshly arrived travelers.

5. Missing Spare Tire

The last scam I’ve noted regarding car rentals in Cancun concerns the spare tire.

When returning the vehicle, customers typically check the general condition of the vehicle, potential scratches, and other dents.

They often forget to pay attention to the presence of the spare tire or the emergency tools.

👉 Here’s the scam

The salesperson noted that you didn’t report the absence of the spare tire when you took the vehicle.

They’ll point out that you “lost” the spare tire and will charge you for it when you return the vehicle.

This is a classic move by unscrupulous rental companies.

spare tire

👮 Police Corruption in Mexico

Another major issue to consider when renting a car in Cancun is police corruption.

During your road trip, you may be stopped by the police or national guard. But don’t panic, most of the time it’s just for a routine check of the vehicle’s papers, your driver’s license, or the contents of the car.

Indeed, sometimes they may ask you to open the trunk to check that you’re not transporting anything illegal.

Occasionally, some police officers may abuse their authoritative power over tourists.

Police corruption is present in Mexico, and rental cars circulating in the Yucatan Peninsula are an easy target for several reasons:

  • Language barrier.
  • Police know that foreign tourists are respectful of police authority.
  • They play on the “time” factor by either offering to settle the matter with a “bribe” and resolve it in 5 minutes, or by following the “official” procedure, which involves impounding the vehicle or paying a fine in a distant town, something you obviously prefer not to do because you’re on vacation and have limited time.

Let’s not make generalizations; the vast majority of road trips go smoothly… Encountering a corrupt police officer is just bad luck.

My tips for dealing with police corruption in Mexico:

  • Always respect speed limits and traffic rules.
  • If police stop you without a valid reason, try to contest it by indicating to them that they have no evidence (this rarely works but it’s always worth a try).
  • If you’re carrying a significant amount of cash, hide most of it and keep a small sum handy (500 or 1000 MXN). Tell them that’s all you have on you because you pay all your expenses by credit card. They’ll prefer to accept a small sum rather than let you go without gaining anything.

🌍 Road Tripping in the Yucatan Peninsula

There are several ways to get around the Riviera Maya: Bus, Car, Taxi, Private Transfers.

Without hesitation, renting a car is the best option for a road trip due to its flexibility and cost.

Flexibility of Travel

Renting a car in Cancun will give you great flexibility throughout your stay.

The vast majority of people renting a car embark on a road trip in the Yucatan Peninsula, usually for 15 to 20 days.

It must be said that, as mentioned earlier, the points of interest in the region are quite far apart.

There are also numerous Mayan temples that add charm to the region, some of which are not accessible by bus or public transportation.

🚗 For your Road Trip, you have two options: bus or car.

Although the ADO bus network is well developed in the Yucatan Peninsula, the flexibility offered by renting a car compared to the bus is significant:

  • In a car, you can stop whenever you want and take detours to visit specific places along the route.
  • In a car, you travel from door to door and don’t have to take a taxi for short trips or to reach a hotel from the bus terminal.
  • Travel faster and at the times you prefer.
key at beach

Renting a car in Cancun to visit the islands 🏝️

Another great thing you can do by renting a car in Cancun is to visit the islands.

The Yucatan Peninsula is home to the most beautiful islands in Mexico, such as Holbox and Cozumel.

In Holbox, you can’t go to the island by car, but you can drive to Chiquila, which is the boarding port.

Going to Holbox by car allows you to stay in Holbox until late in the evening to enjoy the sunset without the stress of having to return to Chiquila in time to catch your bus (speaking from experience!).

It’s very easy to park in Chiquila!

💰 Expect to pay 100 MXN for 24 hours in one of the many secure parking lots in Chiquila.

Another nice island in the Yucatan Peninsula is Cozumel. It’s easy to get to Cozumel by car.

Simply head to the “Calica” maritime terminal south of Playa Del Carmen to find the port of Ultracarga.

You can easily spend a night in Cozumel, drive around the island, and enjoy various activities at your own pace (snorkeling, water parks, heavenly beaches…).

renting a car in Mexico

Itinerary for a two-week road trip in the Yucatan Peninsula

I have prepared an itinerary for a two-week Yucatan road trip that you can adapt based on the duration of your trip.

This itinerary starts from Cancun Airport and returns to Cancun Airport, covering the Yucatan Peninsula clockwise.

1. Playa del Carmen (2 days)

The first leg of the road trip is the lively town of Playa del Carmen. I recommend staying there for two days.

Playa del Carmen is located about an hour’s drive from Cancun Airport, making it an ideal stop after a long flight.

The first day is dedicated to exploring the town and the famous Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen’s tourist avenue.

Also, enjoy the paradise beaches in the afternoon and a festive evening at a restaurant and bar for a very good cocktail.

As for the second day, head to the island of Cozumel located in front of Playa del Carmen.

You can get there by ferry or on a day trip from your hotel for a dream snorkeling day on the coral reef.

Cozumel is great place for snorkeling in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Cozumel

2. Tulum (4 days)

On the way to Tulum, I recommend stopping at one of the open-air cenotes located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

I particularly recommend one of the cenotes: Azul, Cristalino, or Jardin del Eden.

Then, head to Playa Xpu-Ha beach for an afternoon of relaxation and snorkeling. Playa Xpu-Ha is one of the best spots for snorkeling in Tulum.

Then head to the town of Tulum in the evening.

On the second day, explore the ruins of Tulum and then swim with the turtles in Akumal.

Tulum Ruins

Finally, discover the magnificent underground cenote Taak Bi-Ha with its impressive stalactites and stalagmites.

For your third day in Tulum, I recommend visiting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It is a natural reserve with a rich fauna and flora to observe.

During a boat tour, you will see dolphins, crocodiles, turtles, birds, and fish.

❤️ To visit Sian Ka’an, know that the road is in very poor condition. That’s why I particularly recommend this day trip from your hotel in Tulum.

During this off-the-beaten-path outing with a guide, you will discover this beautiful reserve and observe all the animals in their natural habitat.

Sian Ka'an

Sian Ka’an Boat Tour

Discover the wild beauty of Sian Ka’an by boat! Sail through turquoise lagoons, spot dolphins and turtles, and explore the mysteries of this preserved natural reserve. An unforgettable adventure in Mexico!

Book Now

Finally, for your last day, visit the ruins of Coba and take the opportunity to discover a nearby cenote.

3. Bacalar (1 day)

Discover the paradisiacal lagoon with its seven shades of blue in Bacalar through a boat tour where you can swim in the crystal-clear water of the Pirates’ Canal.

Enjoy the afternoon sipping cocktails at a beach club on the lagoon’s edge and relaxing on loungers and hammocks in the water.

Bacalar

4. Calakmul (1 day)

Then head towards Calakmul, the gem of the state of Campeche.

Both a natural reserve and an ancient Mayan city, Calakmul is a true highlight not to be missed during a road trip in the Yucatan.

Calakmul

5. Campeche (1 day)

The city of Campeche is an essential stop to rest after visiting Calakmul. Discover its charming downtown area and its ramparts.

Campeche

6. Mérida (3 days)

Mérida is the capital of the state of Yucatan. This colonial city is my favorite thanks to its dynamic and lively atmosphere and its undeniable charm.

For your first day in town, explore its downtown area and its numerous Spanish colonial-style haciendas.

In the afternoon, stroll along the Paseo de Montejo and visit the Grand Museum of the Mayan World.

The second day in Mérida is dedicated to visiting the Mayapan archaeological site in the morning and the cenotes of the small village of Homun.

On the way back to Mérida, stop in Izamal to discover this typical yellow city of the region.

Mérida

7. Valladolid (1 day)

On the way to Valladolid, make a stop at the must-visit archaeological site of Chichen Itza, with its main pyramid elected as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

After visiting Chichen Itza, discover one of the cenotes around Chichen Itza for a refreshing break.

On your second day, visit the downtown area of Valladolid, its central square, the convent, and the colorful streets before hitting the road again.

Stop by one of the magnificent underground cenotes around the small village of Yalcoba: Xcanahaltun, Palomitas, or Choj-Ha.

Cenote à Valladolid

8. Holbox (1 day)

In the evening, leave your car at the port of Chiquila and take the ferry to the island of Holbox.

Enjoy a cocktail on the beach at sunset before heading to Punta Coco to experience the unique bioluminescence.

The next day, explore the island by going to Punta Mosquito, a white sandbank in the middle of Holbox’s turquoise waters in a paradisiacal setting.

Finally, take the ferry back to Chiquila and drive to Cancun with your car.

Holbox

🛣️ What is the condition of the roads in the Yucatan?

The Yucatan Peninsula is flat and surrounded by forests, so the roads are straight with good visibility.

The roads in the Yucatan and the Cancun region are relatively safe and in good condition, especially the highways.

However, be cautious of certain sections where potholes are prevalent, especially on secondary roads.

Significant potholes are reported on the Kantunilkin to Chiqiuila and Rio Lagartos to Las Coloradas stretches.

Speed Bumps or “Topes”

Speed bumps, known as “topes,” are a common feature in Mexico. They can be very dangerous at high speeds.

The famous Mexican “topes” are actually speed bumps shaped like small yellow mounds.

They can be extremely hazardous if you pass over them at full speed (guaranteed tire blowout!).

Topes

What are the speed limits in Mexico?

When driving on Mexican roads, you are subject to speed limits. In Mexico, speed limits are in kilometers per hour.

  • Highways and national roads: 110 km/h
  • Secondary roads: 80 km/h
  • Cities: 40 km/h

You will find signs along the roads indicating the speed limits.

I also recommend using a GPS such as Waze or Google Maps, which will indicate the speed limit on the road you are traveling on.

Is it easy to drive in Mexico?

Overall, driving in Mexico is relatively easy. Driving is on the right side of the road.

However, be cautious in cities, especially with right-of-way at certain intersections. In cities, priority is given to avenues over streets.

🚦 My driving tips in the Cancun region

Driving in Mexico is not very dangerous, especially in the Cancun region and the Yucatan Peninsula where the roads are straight and without relief.

However, there are some points to consider before embarking on Mexican roads.

Here are my tips for driving in Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula:

1. Avoid driving at night

Avoid driving at night on secondary roads due to speed bumps and potholes.

In the city, they are not a problem, but on secondary roads, speed bumps are sometimes poorly visible and poorly signaled at night.

So, avoid driving at night to prevent hitting a speed bump at full speed and having to change all four tires of your vehicle.

⚠️ Avoid secondary roads

Secondary roads are also poorly lit, and livestock or stray dogs may cross the road at night.

driving at night

2. Watch out for the emergency lane!

The emergency lane in Mexico does not serve the same purpose as usually.

So, be careful if you need to stop there!

Indeed, parking in the emergency lane does not guarantee your safety.

Some slow-moving vehicles encroach on the emergency lane to let faster vehicles pass, which is very common on single-lane roads.

At night, you must be extra cautious, turn on your hazard lights, headlights, and put up a triangle to signal your presence in the emergency lane.

3. Use the highways in the Cancun region

I always recommend using the highways in the region, especially in the Yucatan where the highways are in excellent condition.

They connect the major tourist points of the peninsula (Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Merida).

The highways are inexpensive. Expect to pay approximately 320 MXN for the journey from Playa Del Carmen to Valladolid.

⚠️ Always have cash

Attention, payment for highways in the Yucatan Peninsula is only accepted in cash.

Credit cards are not accepted.

Without cash, you will have to wait for someone else to pay your toll before you can continue!

Highway Cancun

4. Traffic Lights

In Mexico, as in the United States, traffic lights are placed in front of intersections.

It is also possible to turn right even if the traffic light is red, but be very cautious of other vehicles with the right of way.

But beware, you must come to a complete stop before crossing the intersection!

Traffic light

5. U-turns

It is not uncommon to find U-turn zones on all roads, whether in cities or on highways.

These “retornos” allow you to change direction to take an exit that is only in one direction or if you want to change direction.

I recommend extreme caution when using them because cars go extremely fast, and you will need to start very quickly to merge into the opposite lane.

6. Using GPS

I recommend using a GPS to navigate easily in the region and to know the current speed limits.

Indeed, road signs are sometimes infrequent, especially on secondary roads.

Also, be aware that fines are hefty for traffic violations.

📱 Waze

Use the Waze app, which is a mobile phone GPS.

The app consumes little internet, and once the route is set, the app remains active even if the 4G network is lost!

This is convenient because the Yucatan has many areas without mobile network coverage.

7. Buy a SIM card in Mexico

Nothing could be simpler than buying a SIM card in Mexico.

It is important to have an internet plan, even a basic one, if you are renting a car in Cancun.

Whether it’s to guide you via GPS or in case of emergencies.

Sim Card

8. Do not use your phone while driving in Mexico.

Do not use your mobile phone while driving in Mexico; this is a traffic violation.

If you are using a GPS for navigation, keep it on a windshield mount.

9. Windshield Washers

If you rent a car in Cancun, you’ll encounter the windshield washers, just like the locals do.

Unfortunately, they can be quite insistent at times.

Stay alert at every red light in downtown and make a hand gesture to decline if you see one approaching.

If you’re not quick to react, they may start washing your windshield, and then it’ll be too late to refuse.

Generally, give 10 Mexican Pesos to a windshield washer.

10. Don’t Forget to Pay for Parking in the City

It is crucial to check whether the spot where you park your vehicle is free or paid.

Most downtown areas in major cities on the Yucatan Peninsula require payment for parking.

Generally, you need to pay 10 pesos MXN per hour of parking.

Be aware that if you don’t pay and get caught, you risk finding your car with a wheel clamp.

In such a case, the process to have it removed is quite tedious.

First, you need to go pay your fine at an Oxxo convenience store with the slip left by the enforcement officers.

Then, you’ll have to call the enforcement officers or find them in the city to have the clamp removed.

In short, it’s better to pay for parking than to spend time resolving this issue!

Wheel Clamp

📷 My Tips When Picking Up Your Rental Car

When renting a car in Cancun or anywhere else, it’s good to know the key things to keep in mind.

1. Taking Photos of Any Scratches

To avoid any issues when returning the vehicle, carefully inspect the general exterior condition of the vehicle when you pick it up in the presence of the rental agent.

Note any scratches and dents with them.

This is an important step not to overlook, even if it takes time and you’ve just landed in Cancun tired after a 10-hour flight.

2. Checking the Fuel Level

When you pick up the vehicle, make sure to check its fuel level and ensure it matches what the rental agent notes on the pickup form.

You don’t want to return the vehicle empty if it was handed over to you that way… Check and note to avoid any issues upon return.

3. Spare Tire

I mentioned earlier the infamous “spare tire scam.”

Therefore, it’s very important to check in the presence of the rental agent for the proper presence of the spare tire and the necessary tools for changing a tire.

For your safety and with the numerous potholes and speed bumps, it’s crucial that the vehicle has its spare tire in good condition and all the necessary tools for tire replacement.

4. Interior Damages

We’re used to checking the exterior condition and potential scratches, but we shouldn’t forget to check the interior of the vehicle as well.

Here are the points to check:

  • Any stains on the seats or cigarette burns.
  • Presence of the car radio and its proper functioning.
  • Functionality of the air conditioning.
  • Ensure there are no warning lights on the dashboard.
  • Presence or absence of car floor mats.

🧽 My Tips for Returning the Rental Vehicle

After your road trip in the Yucatan, it will be time to return the vehicle to the rental agency. Again, pay attention to these few points.

1. Refueling

When returning your car, you must return it with the same amount of fuel in the tank as when you picked it up.

Usually, the tank is full, and you must then return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel.

If you don’t refill the tank, the car rental company will charge you a high price for refueling.

That’s why I always recommend making a quick stop at the gas station before returning your vehicle.

gas station

2. Cleaning the Vehicle

You’ll also need to return the car in the same cleanliness condition as when you received it.

Take the time to clean your car to avoid additional cleaning fees.

3. Vehicle Condition Check

Once on-site, a company agent will accompany you to check all the defects of the car.

That’s why I recommend noting and taking pictures of any defects in the car during pickup to avoid having to pay for pre-existing defects.

Indeed, every small imperfection or scratch on the bodywork could be attributed to you if you haven’t reported it before driving the car.

4. Ensure Refund of Deposit

If you have no issues with the condition of your car, the company must refund your deposit in full.

I recommend ensuring this refund with the company, which should provide you with an invoice and receipt at the end of your rental.

🪪 What Papers Do I Need to Rent a Car?

Don’t arrive empty-handed to rent a car in Cancun.

A minimum of documents is required when arriving at the rental agency to pick up the vehicle.

1. Driver’s License

It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to bring your physical driver’s license; a copy is not sufficient.

For Mexico, it’s not necessary to obtain an international driver’s license; your national license is enough for most countries.

Driver License

2. Credit Card

You’ll need a valid credit or debit card in the name of the person who made the reservation.

Some agencies require a credit card to rent a car.

If, upon arrival, the insurance company doesn’t accept your debit card, they’ll ask for an exorbitant deposit of several thousand euros.

That’s why I recommend checking the type of bank card accepted before paying the deposit for your rental.

3. Age Requirement

You must be over 21 to rent a car in Cancun and Mexico in general.

A “young driver” supplement may be applied between 21 and 25 years old. This supplement can vary between 100 MXN and 200 MXN per day.

💥 What to Do If You Have an Accident with Your Rental Car?

Although it rarely happens, we also need to discuss emergency situations to know how to handle them.

In the event of a road accident in Mexico, do not move the vehicles until the insurers arrive; doing so could indeed call into question the responsibility of each party.

Then, call your rental company to find out what to do in this situation.

That’s why it’s important that you purchase a SIM card, even with a basic plan, and that you note the numbers to call in case of an accident before you leave.

📱 Essential Apps for Renting a Car in Cancun

Phones and their applications can be invaluable when it comes to renting a car in Cancun.

I recommend always having a GPS application with you. Here are my recommendations:

  • Maps.me: Offline maps to download
  • Google Maps: Online maps or offline map download options
  • Waze: Online with collaborative functions, this is the application I particularly recommend.
    Also, don’t forget to download a translation app that you might need to ask for information.

I recommend Google Translate, and don’t forget to download the Spanish language pack for offline use.

🚗 Conclusion on Renting a Car in Cancun

Renting a car in Cancun is very easy, as there are many rental agencies available.

To assist you in your choice, I recommend the car rental agency comparison platform, Discover Cars.

Among the plethora of rental agencies, make sure to always choose a recognized and legal rental agency (avoid individuals).

Do not overlook the insurance and take the time to understand what is included in your contract and what can be added.

Be vigilant when receiving the vehicle and avoid potential scams by reading our guide.

If you’ve read everything, you’re well informed, and your stay will go wonderfully and stress-free!

The Yucatan Peninsula is a beautiful region, and the Mexicans are very welcoming.

Safe travels and have a great trip!

Rate this post
Sian Kann Tours