Rental Cars on Cozumel

Renting a car on Cozumel can be a frustrating experience

Photo credit: © Adolfo Soriano

What most tourists learn about renting a car on Cozumel is that things are a little different that in the United States, Canada, and most of Europe. That is why it is helpful to take the time to learn about the process in advance – and you'll definitely want to make sure you make a reservation before your trip as well.

Renting a Car

The car rental industry on Cozumel has gained a poor reputation, and most people would agree for good reason. When it comes to renting a car here, there are simply no guarantees. Almost all of the local agencies have too few vehicles – which wouldn't necessarily be a problem, except for the fact that they are known for overbooking. The chances that you show up and there is no car available for you can most certainly happen. To offset this problem, many agencies often work together and they will call around to find you another vehicle when necessary. Because of this, it is almost impossible to guarantee that you get a certain type of vehicle. Sure, you can request a luxury model, but don't be surprised if you show up to pick it up and it is out of stock.

A few cautionary tips are necessary for renting on Cozumel. If you reserve your rental on-line, make sure to print out the confirmation and bring it with you. This is so that you are not only able to provide proof of your reservation, but proof of the price as well. It is also very important that you look over the vehicle you've rented before you sign any paperwork and leave the lot. Check the engine, make sure the tires are in good working order, as are the windows, locks, and doors. If you return vehicles with any issues, you will be held responsible so you want to ensure this does not happen.

There are several locations around town that offer scooter rentals. Although the price is low, doing this is not recommended. The road conditions are not great for scooters, and accidents are very common.

The chart below shows the rental agencies located in the immediate vicinity of Cozumel.

Vehicle Rental Companies
Name Phone Location
Ace Cozumel (877) 822-3872 65th Avenue and Airport Boulevard - San Miguel
Alamo Cozumel (888) 826-6893 201 Decima Avenue South - San Miguel
Avis Cozumel Airport (987) 872-0219 Cozumel International Airport - 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) Northeast of San Miguel
Avis International Pier (987) 872-0094 International Cruise Terminal - 2.2 mi. (3.5 km) West-Southwest of San Miguel
Dollar Cozumel Airport (987) 869-2957 Cozumel International Airport - 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) Northeast of San Miguel
Dollar Cozumel Ferry (987) 989-0031 Cozumel Ferry Terminal - Downtown San Miguel
Hertz Cozumel (987) 869-8184 Cozumel International Airport - 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) Northeast of San Miguel
Thrifty Cozumel Airport (987) 869-2957 Cozumel International Airport - 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) Northeast of San Miguel
Thrifty Downtown Cozumel (987) 869-8090 Avenida Juarez - San Miguel
Thrifty Iberostar Cozumel (987) 869-2597 782 Carretera Costera - San Miguel


...what is included in the base price...


The base cost of renting a car on Cozumel ranges from $10(USD) for a compact vehicle for one day to $150(USD) for a sports utility vehicle. From there, the price continues to go up with added taxes, fees, and insurance. Make sure to find out exactly what is included in the base price. Some agencies will include all of this in the quote while others will not. One major recommendation is to always purchase the personal liability insurance. If you are in an accident in Mexico, you will be taken to the police station and expected to pay for the damages right then and there. Credit cards and foreign car insurance policies are not accepted.

Gas Stations on Cozumel

If you do decide to rent a car, there is still one thing you must take into account: gas. Gas on Cozumel is generally more expensive, to compensate for having to bring it to the island, so prepare to have to spend a couple more cents per gallon that you are used to.

Another word of advice is to pay attention while at the station. While it is rare, there are reports that gas station attendents will try and charge more than the marked price. One way to get around this is to simply tell the attendent how much you want to spend, this way you know exactly how much you have to pay. After the attendent fills your rental up, it is custom (but not required) to give a small tip, around 5 pesos.

Since you could come across issues locating gas stations, view the chart below to get a picture of where some are located.

Gas Stations
Name Phone Location
Emiliano Zapata Gas -- Juarez Avenue - San Miguel
Juarez Gas and Service Station (987) 872-3316 Lic. Benito Juarez Avenue - San Miguel
Puerto Maya Gas Station -- Across from the Cruise Pier - 2.2 mi. (3.6 km) South West of San Miguel

There seems to be a lot that would discourage tourists from renting a car on Cozumel, but those who desire independence and will spend a lot of time exploring the island, renting will still be the best option and something that should be considered.


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