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renting a car in Mexico
Old 06-28-2015, 12:02 AM   #1
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renting a car in Mexico

going to playa del carmen with wife and kids in late Aug for 6 days. I'm debating whether to rent a car (most likely will spend most days in PDC but would like to go to Tulum and/or one of the cenotes.) Anyone with experiences renting car and driving in the PDC/Tulum area?

I realized I need to buy mandatory liability insurance for like $15/day, although cart rental is cheap, around $5 to $10 per day. If I pay for the rental with my AmEx, will it cover my rental car?

If I get pulled over by a cop, can I still "pay" him $20 or is this no longer the norm? (Last time I drove in Mexico was 20 years ago, didn't get pulled over though.)
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:39 AM   #2
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It's been years since I rented a car in Mexico and that was in Cabo, AE will cover you but as I recall you still need to add on the 3rd party liability. I'm pretty sure the ADO bus will take you from PDC to Tulum, if available it's the option I would choose rather then renting a car.
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Old 06-28-2015, 11:49 AM   #3
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We have rented cars and you can let your CC cover all but the liability. Just watch what they get you to sign because some companies get you to sign ridiculous agreements in Spanish. Go with a major firm that has an international reputation but recognize that these are all Mexican companies. Check them out on the internet ahead of time.

Paying mordida varies by state. So be cautious because there are big fines for attempting to do it. If it is a traffic infraction, just ask the cop if he would pay the fine for you because otherwise it interferes with your vacation enjoyment.

If you encounter a big surprise when your return the car, get documentation to proves that the bill overcharges based on your agreement and then take it to Profeco. Often just the threat of doing that gives you some leverage. Like having a copy in English of the terms as you agreed to them signed by the agent.
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:53 PM   #4
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I suggest you go online to see what their customers say about a car rental operation in Mexico. Many are good, well run businesses. But some can be less than ethical.


I've rented cars a number of times on Cozumel. It's the best way to hit all the Margarita bars on the back side of the island.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:01 PM   #5
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I'd also double-check that your credit card provides coverage in Mexico....it may not.
Unrelated to the direct question and conceding my ignorance of the route planned), is it even safe to drive the planned route?
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:17 PM   #6
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car reservation is thru expedia, rental company is Dollar Rent a Car, so I guess getting ripped off is less likely.

The planned route is among popular tourist attractions and is mostly a 4 lane highway, so should be safe.
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:34 PM   #7
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Several years ago when we were in Playa del Carmen, we hired a driver for the day. We had 3 couples so that made it really reasonable. We requested in advance that the driver supply a cooler. He drove us somewhere so we could stock the cooler, then wherever we wanted. He also took us to an open air market that he suggested. That proved to be the highlight of the day. One of the tour desks at the resort arranged for the driver. Much easier to me than driving myself.
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:14 PM   #8
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We're spending 8 days between Tulum and Cancun in late July. After researching rental cars, I decided to stick with buses, colectivos, and the rare taxi.

As for prices, I think the $5-15/day rates cover the car and then you'll end up paying another $20-40/day for the rental car insurance. And even if you have coverage through your CC, you may get swindled into paying for all the extra insurance. The sales rep might suddenly speak zero English once you state you don't need the extra insurance.

I'm down here right now in Mexico (going on week #4 tomorrow). The hustle of tourists is alive and well, but if you speak Spanish the hustle falls apart quickly once you are able to ask questions and discuss something.

As someone else suggested, hiring a driver might not be a bad way to go. It might not cost a lot more than a rental car for a day and you don't have to worry about liability, parking, navigation, etc. And if you don't need the dude on a given day, you aren't paying the services.
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:14 PM   #9
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....
If I get pulled over by a cop, can I still "pay" him $20 or is this no longer the norm? (Last time I drove in Mexico was 20 years ago, didn't get pulled over though.)
Our neighbor warned us that this would happen when we went to Mexico. Since all of his experiences happened in TJ at 3am, I took it with a grain of salt. We were driving and about 400 miles south of the border in Baja when, sure enough an officer waived us over. I tried to drive around him but he kept blocking my path. It turns out he was not police but a ferry worker who was desperate for a ride home after his shift! We camped down the Baja for two weeks without incident.

We had a great time in Mexico in 1990. I hope you do, too.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:44 AM   #10
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We visited PDC last year and rented a car. After reading on the Internet (and it was tough to find good info) we went with a local car rental company that included all insurance. The car we had wasn't great, but it drove fine which is all that matters to us.

I did read that all of the international car rental places are locally owned franchises and if you need recourse the parent companies weren't helpful. Not sure if that's true, but it's one of the reasons we went with a local company. Plus, the local company's price with everything included wasn't much more than the major rental car agencies without insurance. In retrospect, I don't think it matters.

We drove up and down that area without any issues. We never went further south than Tulum and the roads are easy and traffic not too bad. We drove out to Merida for a few days, which is one of the highlights of our trip. We also visited Mayan ruins that you normally wouldn't see without a car.

As for mordida, we were never pulled over so no issue. I talked with my coworker who grew up near Mexico City and he was adamant that we shouldn't pay. Not sure what I would have done, but I did make sure to have less visible cash in my wallet in case I had to pull it out.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:18 AM   #11
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I attempted to rent a car outside the US once, with a mom and pop outfit...never again! Enterprise was great, but the guy at the mom and pop outfit wanted a letter from the credit card issuer with my card number on it, that said they provide the insurance. The hard-copy fine-print that I brought along wasn't good enough, even though it clearly stated I would be covered. They simply priced their rentals low and would not let any customer out the door without buying their overpriced insurance. I even called before I left the US, had a recording of the conversation (I record every call having to do with commerce), and in the face of their phone rep telling me I wouldn't have a problem, still didn't honor the deal. I walked on them. I felt a little better after I told the story on a few rating sites. For the search engines, and to make me feel better: It was Fox Rent-a-car, aka easirent Heathrow. avoid!
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:39 AM   #12
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You must get Mexican car insurance because in Mexico you are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to vehicular accidents.

16+ years of going to Mexico, we only rented a car once when staying at a resort on the Riviera Maya, near you. We just drove up and down the same road to PDC, etc. We had read that the PEMEX gas station attendants will try to overcharge you by not zeroing out the pump. This was solved by DH getting out of the car and looking at the attendant and the pump to check out what was going on.

Never had to pay a mordita. On the Pacific coast of Mexico there is a campaign to stop doing so and just demand the ticket. That's for another discussion. We really only go to Puerto Vallarta and environs now and no car is needed there.


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In the hire a driver camp
Old 08-17-2015, 05:09 PM   #13
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In the hire a driver camp

Several years ago in Mexico City we hired a private driver and car. The man was dressed in a suit and tie. The car was immaculate. He spoke English and took us everywhere we needed to go. The biggest advantage was that he accompanied us to the market and negotiated on our behalf paying much less than we would have. His rates were dirt cheap and he saved us money to boot. No tickets, no insurance hassles, no problems.
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Old 08-17-2015, 05:59 PM   #14
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Several years ago in Mexico City we hired a private driver and car. The man was dressed in a suit and tie. The car was immaculate. He spoke English and took us everywhere we needed to go. The biggest advantage was that he accompanied us to the market and negotiated on our behalf paying much less than we would have. His rates were dirt cheap and he saved us money to boot. No tickets, no insurance hassles, no problems.
how did you find this guy? thru word of mouth or was there flyers in the hotel area advertising such service ?
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:28 PM   #15
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he found us

He was parked with some cabs although it was an unmarked sedan and he approached us. We obviously looked liked needy tourist. They are easy to spot, we also found a similar service in Puerto Escondido, a full size black Chevy Suburban with air conditioning, very unusual for that little town. Again, very well dressed and spoke English. As an aside we once traveled from Acapulco to Zihuatanejo , a distance of several hundred miles on what would be the equivalent of their Grey Hound bus for about $2.50 American. The bus driver would stop along the way and pick up non ticketed passengers every couple of miles and drop them off after short distances. Very enterprising business man. At one time we were boarded by armed military, rifles in hand, searching for a fugitive. Scared us half to death.
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:37 AM   #16
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We have had great luck hiring a local taxi for the day in PV MX. They all seem to have access to bigger unmarked vehicles with AC for such trips. Sometimes it is just to go to a remote restaurant where we want to enjoy the wine with dinner. The driver will drop you off and then show up either when you arrange it, or respond to a call in 15 minutes.

I think such services are available for any major town. We did it in Lucca by asking at the nearby hotel (we rented via VRBO).
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:23 PM   #17
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We have had great luck hiring a local taxi for the day in PV MX. They all seem to have access to bigger unmarked vehicles with AC for such trips. Sometimes it is just to go to a remote restaurant where we want to enjoy the wine with dinner. The driver will drop you off and then show up either when you arrange it, or respond to a call in 15 minutes.

I think such services are available for any major town. We did it in Lucca by asking at the nearby hotel (we rented via VRBO).
From our recent journeys all around Mexico, we found it no problem to hire a taxi for $10-20 USD per hour ($150-300 MXN pesos/hr). Some had day rates that worked out to be cheaper if you need more than 6 hrs. Often this would put you in a non-air conditioned taxi, but you can obviously pick the kind of car you want. I think we rode in a brand new looking Kia SUV or something similar in Cancun - very comfortable even with DW and 3 young kids in the back seat.
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:23 PM   #18
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About six years ago I rented a car and drove my wife and four kids all over the Yucatan.
On the final day, driving to the airport, la policia pulled us over.
They said I was speeding and wanted $200. I pointed to the nearby speed limit sign and adamantly insisted I was traveling the correct limit, 60 kph. The officer said 60 kph was for the opposite direction "this direction is 30 kph, we need $200". I shared I did not have $200. They then wanted me to follow them to the police station.
I said "let's go". They then asked for $35. I paid them and they left.
It was scary, creepy but pretty uneventful at the end of the day.
When we got home to Oregon we heard a news story that several decapitated bodies were found in the area. I think the narco-traffickers are scarier than the cops


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Old 08-25-2015, 10:32 AM   #19
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They said I was speeding and wanted $200. I pointed to the nearby speed limit sign and adamantly insisted I was traveling the correct limit, 60 kph. The officer said 60 kph was for the opposite direction "this direction is 30 kph, we need $200". I shared I did not have $200. They then wanted me to follow them to the police station.
I said "let's go". They then asked for $35. I paid them and they left.
Yes this is another benefit of hiring a driver. They never get pulled over, even when going over the limits. No anxiety when passing by la policia!
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renting a car in Mexico
Old 08-25-2015, 11:53 AM   #20
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renting a car in Mexico

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I think the narco-traffickers are scarier than the cops

Sometimes they are one in the same.

Mexico: Cartels Pay Corrupt Cops $100 Million a Month

http://laht.com/article.asp?Category...ticleId=362206
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