There is some debate regarding whether or not renting a car for a stay in Tulum is a good idea. This is why each individual tourist should learn about the options and make the choice based on their personal preferences.
There are two options for renting a car when you visit Tulum. First, you can rent from the airport when you arrive in Cancun then drive an hour and a half south to Tulum. The other option is to take the bus or hire and airport transfer into Tulum and rent a car as needed for a day or two of exploring and relying on public transportation for the rest of your stay. Agencies are plentiful in town, and many offer a service in which they will bring the rented vehicle to you at your hotel.
Check the following table for many of the rental centers serving Tulum.
|Avis Tulum||(984) 120-3972||Av Coba Sur No 22, Local No 11 - Tulum|
|Easy Way Tulum||(984) 802-5570||Coba Sur Avenue - Tulum|
|Europcar Car Rental||(984) 875-5000||Tulum|
|Executive Cars Tulum||(984) 802-5371||Cancun Federal Highway - 1.8 mi. (2.9 km) East of Tulum|
|Hertz Tulum||(800) 709-5000||Tulum|
Although you have the choice of renting whichever type of vehicle you like, for this region of the Yucatan Peninsula, a vehicle with good suspension and four wheel drive is recommended. As you'll find by reading below, the roads here are not in very good condition and you'll want to make sure you're driving around in a vehicle that can handle the drive.
Rules and regulations regarding who can and can't rent here will vary by agency, so call around and ask a few. Some places will impose age restrictions, while others will require you to have an International Driver's License instead of your regular license from home.
One tip that is recommended across the board is to purchase the optional personal liability insurance. This is because when you are in an accident in Mexico and found to be at fault you will be responsible for payment of damages immediately. They will generally not accept foreign auto insurance or credit cards, but they will accept insurance offered by the local rental agency. Unless you plan to keep large sums of cash readily available, this is a good idea to protect your financial interests.
Rental agencies in Tulum charge anywhere from $20 to $150(USD) a day for vehicles. The factors that play into the cost include the make and model of your vehicle (economy vehicles are cheapest while vans cost the most), whether you rent with a local agency or international chain (local spots tend to be cheaper), and when you visit the town (you'll get better deals in the off-season). You'll also want to factor in the cost of insurance, which could be an added $15 to $25(USD) a day but is highly recommended.
Many seasoned tourists would tell you that renting a car and driving to Tulum is not worth the hassle thanks to the poor condition of local roadways and the possibility of vehicles being burglarized. The road that gets you from Cancun to Tulum, Federal Road 307 is actually a very modern road that is paved and well-maintained. Once you exit the road into the town; however, things are not so pretty. Pot holes and cracks are very common on roads here, and it can be uncomfortable to drive on them. As for the matter of theft, you can prevent thefts from your rental simply by never leaving anything of value inside as well as locking the doors.
Driving in Tulum is also made difficult by the fact that there are rarely road signs or even names to help get you where you need to go. Locals will typically give directions by citing landmarks rather than street names.
If you do decide to rent a car and drive yourself around, you will want to make sure to follow local driving laws and stick as close to speed limits as possible. There have been some rumblings about police officers targeting tourists by keeping their eyes opened for rental cars (which are marked differently than private vehicles), and pulling them over for the slightest infractions, then hinting that a bribe would prevent them from being further ticketed and fined.
The town does not always have an overabundance of gas available. In fact, there is only enough gas for locals to fill up several times a week. For this reason, it is recommended that any time you see a gas station with gas available and you are near or below the half tank mark, you stop and fill up.
As there are a limited number of gas stations near Tulum, you should check the chart that follows to see some of their locations.
|1.6 mi. (2.5 km) East of Tulum|
Driving in Tulum is not all bad if you take your time to ensure you're following local laws and don't mind if things get a little bit bumpy. Knowing about all of the complaints people have in advance are enough for most to make renting a car an easy feat.
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