With such a wide amount of area to cover in the Yucatan Peninsula, being able to get up and go whenever you please will likely save you lots of time, and if you want to get in as many landmarks as possible, you may even save money overall on transportation costs. Knowing a bit about renting a car and driving in the Yucatan is helpful in making the decision regarding whether or not you will go this route.
Rental cars can be found in almost every town and city in the Yucatan. They are available at the airports, most major resorts, and in popular tourist shopping areas. In general, attendants speak Spanish, but are very helpful.
If you're staying in Cancun, you may find I to be a good idea to skip picking up your rental from the airport and reserve one from an agency in the shopping zone. The cost is generally cheaper at these locations than anywhere else. In Merida, you'll find agencies at the airport and downtown, and most are willing to deliver the vehicle to you at your resort. Playa del Carmen is known for having the cheapest rentals, friendliest attendants, and best maps.
There are some places in the region where rental cars are not so readily available, such as the areas that surround Chetumal (though you can get a rental at the Chetumal Airport and within the city), Campeche where there is only one agency at the Hotel Buluartes.
Wherever you rent from, make sure to ask for a vehicle with air conditioning and to purchase the personal liability insurance. If you're in an accident, chances are you won't be covered under you insurance from home, and local establishments with not accept credit cards to pay for damages. The insurance from your rental agency is recognizable to them, and they are more willing to accept it.
View the following table which identifies the many different local vehicle rental agencies.
|Adocar Rentals||(998) 849-4233||4.4 mi. (7.1 km) East of Cancun|
|Alamo car rental||(52) (33) 36135531||Benito Juarez - Downtown Playa del Carmen|
|Avicar Car Rental||(998) 887-0142||Downtown Cancun|
|Avis Hotel Dreams||(998) 883-1500||Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa - Cancun Beach Hotel Zone|
|Budget Car Rental||(998) 883-2612||Cancun Beach Hotel Zone|
|Budget Car Rental||(998) 883-2612||LT 93 MZ 12 SM 25 - Downtown Cancun|
|Budget Playa del Carmen||(52) (33) 36130027||Downtown Playa del Carmen|
|Easy Way Playa del Carmen||(984) 803-3665||Tenth Avenue North - Downtown Playa del Carmen|
|Easy Way Tulum||(984) 802-5570||Coba Sur Avenue - Tulum|
|Europcar Car Rental||(998) 885-0483||7.5 mi. (12.1 km) Southeast of Cancun|
|Europcar Car Rental||(984) 875-5000||Tulum|
|Europcar Car Rental||(998) 885-0483||Downtown Cancun|
|Europcar Chetumal Airport||(983) 108-3021||Chetumal International Airport - 1.5 mi. (2.3 km) South West of Chetumal|
|Europcar Playa del Carmen||(984) 873-2820||Eighth Street - Downtown Playa del Carmen|
|Executive Car Rental||(998) 887-4788||Yaxchilan Avenue - Downtown Cancun|
|Executive Cars La Isla||(998) 176-8122||La Isla Shopping Village - 7.8 mi. (12.6 km) Southeast of Cancun|
|Executive Cars Playa del Carmen||(984) 873-2354||Downtown Playa del Carmen|
|Executive Cars Tulum||(984) 802-5371||Cancun Federal Highway - 1.8 mi. (2.9 km) East of Tulum|
|Executive Puerto Aventuras||(984) 873-5492||Puerto Juarez Federal Highway - Puerto Aventuras|
|Executive Puerto Morelos||(877) 389-0789||Puerto Morelos|
|Executive Villa Morelos||(998) 206-9056||Cancun-Tulum Federal Highway - Villa Morelos|
|Hertz La Isla||(998) 176-8077||La Isla Shopping Village - 7.3 mi. (11.7 km) Southeast of Cancun|
|Hertz Tulum||(800) 709-5000||Tulum|
|Holiday Car Rental||--||Downtown Playa del Carmen|
|Monaco Rentals Downtown Cancun||(987) 884-6540||Yaxchilan Avenue - Downtown Cancun|
|National CUN||(998) 881-8760||Cancun International Airport - 9.0 mi. (14.5 km) South of Cancun|
|National Cancun Hotels||(998) 176-8117||7.2 mi. (11.6 km) Southeast of Cancun|
|Payless Car Rental||(998) 885-2465||Carretera Cancun PuertoMorelos, Km.17 - 7.6 mi. (12.2 km) Southeast of Cancun|
|Platinum Exotic Car Rental||(998) 883-5555||Cancun|
|Zipp Car Rental||(866) 406-5601||4.7 mi. (7.6 km) East-Southeast of Cancun|
As far are what is required of you to rent in the Yucatan; well, that will vary by location. Make sure to call the agency you plan to rent with or read the fine print when you reserve your rental on-line to make sure you are aware of any age restrictions or deposits.
As a general rule, the further south you drive, the more expensive your rental wil be, but it is still advisable that you avoid renting from the airport in Cancun if you want to save money. As previously mentioned, Playa del Carmen is also known for having the lowest rental rates but there are other ways to save including visiting during the off-season, renting from a local agency, and booking your rental as part of a vacation package.
The tables below provide a general indication of what sort of rate you will pay. The lowest rates in each table are typically only available from the least expensive agencies when plenty of cars are on hand. The highest rates are what you can anticipate at one of the busier agencies during the high season.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Compact Car||$ 10.00||$ 75.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 13.00||$ 85.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 19.00||$ 192.00|
|Economy Car||$ 20.00||$ 30.00|
|Light SUV||$ 30.00||$ 135.00|
|Mini Van||$ 48.00||$ 185.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 50.00||$ 250.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Compact Car||$ 60.00||$ 450.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 78.00||$ 510.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 114.00||$ 1152.00|
|Economy Car||$ 120.00||$ 210.00|
|Light SUV||$ 180.00||$ 840.00|
|Mini Van||$ 280.00||$ 1230.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 300.00||$ 1500.00|
As you drive about the Yucatan, you'll notice a great difference in roadways throughout. The main highway, Federal Highway 307, is considered to be the best option, with flat, paved roads that can have up to four lanes going at a time. This road is well-marked, and the government participates in the upkeep, so appearances are generally good. Local roads can be less desirable, with pot holes and poor signs that make it easy to get lost.
Local drivers are known for speeding and driving aggressively, but tourists are encouraged to maintain a calm demeanor and avoid trying to keep up. Look out for the posted speed sign and stick to it. Police officers tend to target rental cars and will be happy to pull you over if you are going slightly over the limit.
You shouldn't have any trouble finding gas stations as you make your way around, but finding gas is another story. Stations are not always full of fuel, and you could stop at half a dozen locations before finally being able to fuel up. For this reason, you should plan to stop and fill up any time you get near half a tank.
Check the table just below which displays a selection of fueling locations in this general area.
|Highway 91 North - 0.6 mi. (1.0 km) North of Cancun|
|Las Torres Avenue - 2.3 mi. (3.7 km) South of Cancun|
|Cancun-Valladolid Highway - 22.5 mi. (36.2 km) West-Northwest of Puerto Morelos|
|2.4 mi. (3.8 km) Northwest of Chichen Itza|
|0.8 mi. (1.3 km) West of Playa del Carmen|
|Kukilkan Boulevard - 7.8 mi. (12.6 km) Southeast of Cancun|
|34.2 mi. (55.1 km) North of Xcalak|
|1.6 mi. (2.5 km) East of Tulum|
Unless you're participating in a regional tour or plan to make good use of the bus, exploration of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is made miles easier by having a private vehicle at your disposal. Keep this in mind, as well as cost and personal preference in mind as you consider whether or not to make it official and book a rental car.
Even as just one region of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the largest and most developed areas of the Caribbean. As such, you can expect some variation in rental car policies and prices as you travel along the coast. To help narrow the information, some of the most popular destinations' rental car guides are assembled below.
|Guide to Cancun Rental Cars|
|Guide to Chetumal Rental Cars|
|Guide to Chichen Itza Rental Cars|
|Guide to Cozumel Rental Cars|
|Guide to Isla Mujeres Rental Cars|
|Guide to La Gloria Rental Cars|
|Guide to Playa Del Carmen Rental Cars|
|Guide to Riviera Maya Rental Cars|
|Guide to Tulum Rental Cars|
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.