We spend more than a year in Playa and always rent a car in Playa del Carmen. We've rented in Playa del Carmen at least 20 times, and if you're considering it for the first time,It's totally worth it and not that difficult..
We will explain how to rent a car in Playa del Carmen. It really is the best way to explore all the incrediblewhat to do in playa del carmenand nearby attractions.
Should I rent a car in Playa del Carmen?
Playa del Carmen itself is a very walkable city, with beautiful pedestrianized streets like 5th Avenue, but it definitely helps to have a car.
If you are visiting allbest restaurants in playa del carmen, takingday trips near the beach, or just shopping: a rental car makes visiting Playa del Carmen that much more enjoyable.
Here's everything you need to know about car rentals in Playa del Carmen, Mexico!
Explore on your own
Tip #1 – Rent a car in Mexico
Enjoy maximum freedom and save a lot of money on excursions with your own rental car! Don't worry - it's safe (we've rented over 20 times now), the roads are good, and it's easier than you think. We always rent from Discover Cars, it's easy and they have the best prices.
Is it safe to rent a car in Playa del Carmen?
Yes, it's completely safe.Car rental in Playa del Carmenif you are a good and confident driver. All the crazy thoughts you might have from watching too many movies, none of that will happen to you here. I drive in this part of Mexico with my two very young children with no worries.
The bad things that can happen are largely preventable and just normal traffic accidents. Take your time driving and read all the tips I have below for safe driving with the little things that are different here than at home.
Please take a few minutes and read to the end of this post.
Where to rent a car in Playa del Carmen?
Almost all major car rental companies have offices in Playa del Carmen. We like to rent with some of the smaller local Mexican companies. They tend to have better prices and less company policies to deal with.
We've had great success renting from Mex, Ace, Fox and ADO. We like to book online. Booking in person on the same day or in advance appears to be significantly more expensive.
Car size rental in Playa del Carmen and Mexico
In Mexico, you will notice that cars are smaller than in the US, and finding larger rental cars in Playa del Carmen can be difficult. You shouldn't expect to be able to rent anything larger than what we would consider a mid-size to compact car in the US. Even the cars they listed as full size aren't really that "full size".
We used to rent a car at the Cancun airport for our travels, but since we now have two small children and lots of luggage, we started totake this private transfer from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmenand then rent a car once we get there. This is mainly due to the size of the car and the availability of large cars.Here's our step-by-step guide to getting from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen.
If you rent a large SUV or minivan, be prepared that the car rental agency may not have one available. Then you will have to take whatever car they have. We often rent the cheapest economy car because we know that bigger cars are hard to find and cost more.
Speaking of children, if you are traveling with a baby, we HIGHLY recommend thedoona cart, which is a stroller and a car seat. It makes traveling so much easier.Here's our in-depth Doona review.
Tips for renting a car in Playa del Carmen
Availability of rental cars
As in the rest of the world right now, rental companies in Playa del Carmen are running low on cars. Also, tourism is all the rage due to Mexico's relaxed COVID regulations.
It seems that there is more demand than supply. Make sure you book in advance and be prepared to have to change to a different type or model of car. You might have a better chance of getting a car if you can drive a manual car.
Record a video while inspecting your rental car
The easiest way to document damage to your rental car is to record a video as you walk with the representative. In all the cars I've rented in Mexico, I've never been charged for any damage.
I didn't create any damage and they never tried to say the previous damage was mine. Cars are often dented, so it's best to document everything.
Write down the gas level and return to it
Rental cars in Playa are generally not full at the time of pick-up. Which is very annoying... So write down the gas level and try to return it with the same amount. This can be tricky, but give yourself a few minutes at the gas station and you should be fine.
I think the easiest way to remember is to just take a picture of the instrument panel for reference.
What insurance do I need to rent a car in Playa del Carmen?
Insurance is the trickiest part of renting a car in Mexico. Each rental car will include the legally required minimum amount of $750,000 MXP of liability insurance. Even thesuper cheap cars you can find online– here is our favorite site to book will have the bare minimum.
However, this is not enough to adequately cover you if something bad happens. Therefore, you must have or purchase an insurance policy that covers you, your car, and others.
Does my national car insurance cover me while driving a rental car in Mexico?
No, most car insurance policies only work in your home country. You can ask your insurance agent to be sure, but they generally don't cover you in Mexico.
How to decline additional insurance at the rental counter in Mexico
In theory, your rental car has all the insurance required by law to remove it from the lot, but it's not that simple anymore. The money for the rental agency is in the insurance policy; So if you want to refuse your insurance, you have to go through some hoops.
Additional coverage for your rental car may be declined if you can provide proof of coverage through another source. The most common type of coverage would be via a credit card or additional rental policy purchased at the time of booking.
With a credit card
If your credit card offers rental car insurance, you will need to prove this in writing. In order for the rental company to accept your credit card policy, you will need a letter from your credit card company. The letter should state your benefits. Print the letter and show it to the agent.
You will also need to book the rental car with this credit card. Lastly, you'll need to place a substantial hold on your credit card. Some companies require a reserve of +$10,000 USD.
You will need to make sure you have a high enough limit to cover this. Additionally, you will need to contact your credit card company to allow this transaction to take place. Most larger transactions from Mexico will be blocked automatically on the first try.
With third party insurance
You will need to bring a printed copy of your policy. You could still be subject to a large hold on your credit card. This is because the policy is not the agency's and they need to protect themselves. It's also another way of trying to get you to accept their insurance.
Long term and monthly car rental in Playa del Carmen
We stay in Playa del Carmen at least one month a year and often rent a car for a month at a time. We've found that the best way to rent a car for a month is to continue using traditional rental companies just as you would for a few days.
When you rent a car long term in Playa del Carmen it gets much cheaper per day. For the past few years, we've rented a car with basic insurance for $525-$650 a month. For a monthly car rental, expect to pay between $20 and $30 a day.
With long-term rentals, it's much more difficult to refuse the rental company's insurance. The real money seems to be in the insurance, so taking one of your cars out of the fleet for a month isn't as cost effective without insurance.
Driving a rental car in Playa del Carmen
Driving in Playa del Carmen comes with a few extra things to keep in mind on the roads than usual. Nothing too crazy, just a few things to keep in mind. I will guide you through all of them.
Almost all streets in Playa del Carmen are one-way, with the exception of a few main streets. The city is still fairly easy to get around, but you have to pay close attention to the signs. The signs will have an arrow indicating the direction the street runs. Don't just look at the way cars are parked. Cars are often parked facing the wrong way in only one direction.
The roads are well marked, take it easy and you'll be fine.
Speed Reducers (Bumper)
Badenes, or “Topes” in Spanish, are everywhere. In the city, they are not very well signposted and can approach you, especially at night.
Outside Playa del Carmen, on the highway, they are usually well signposted, but always be aware when approaching a town.
Highway access ramps in Playa del Carmen have a no-crossing stop sign. You must come to a complete stop and wait for a gap in traffic to enter the highway.
It doesn't take long, but this is not normal for visitors and can cause a serious accident if you are not prepared for it.
Parking fees in Playa del Carmen
In recent years in Playa del Carmen they have adopted a parking payment system in most places in the city. There are pay stations on every block where you must pay to park. Take mexican peso coins to pay. There is an app, but non-local phone numbers will not be able to activate an account, so bring peso coins.
Also, you must insert a card when paying, so take a picture to help you remember your numbers. The machines will print a ticket, which must be displayed on the board.
Failure to pay and show may result in a fine if you are caught. In Playa del Carmen they goput a jump starter in your caror, in some cases,get your faceplateto ensure you pay your fare at your local police station.
Related article: The best restaurants in Playa del Carmen
In areas where parking is not allowed, curbs are painted yellow. Also, look at street signs for additional parking restrictions. Parking spaces can be painted white or unpainted at all.
Outside the city, along the highway, there are several police checkpoints on the main road 307. There will be some speed bumps in front of them, and occasionally the police will be watching as you drive slowly. Do not worry. Follow the rules, drive slowly and don't talk on the phone.
Using a cell phone while driving is illegal.
Talking on the phone at head level while driving is not permitted. You may be stopped at a police checkpoint. Happened to me, that's how I know it's illegal. They were kind to me about it, and I wasn't fined or had to pay a fine.
stop and start lights
Another thing to keep in mind is that the stop and start traffic light system is different in Mexico. Only one traffic direction at a time can pass a green light. This makes left turns easier, but the lights can take a while.
Turning right on red seems to be generally allowed. I've done this in front of the police, but I'm not sure if it's technically allowed or not.
Most intersections have stop signs for at least one direction of traffic. There are only a few that don't and they are usually controlled by a larger speed bump painted yellow as you enter the intersection. The first car to enter the elevated section of the intersection must go through first.
Gasoline posts and coups in Playa del Carmen
Gas stations in this part of Mexico are notorious for ripping off visitors and locals alike. All gas stations are full service and an attendant will top up your fuel. Mages are known to attempt blows. Here are some of the most common ones to help you avoid them.
All of these scams are easily avoided if you just watch the gauge as they fill up your car. It's annoying, but keep an eye on him and you'll be fine.
Do not reset counter since last purchase
Always make sure the meter is reset to $0.00 before the attendant starts filling your tank. How this scam works is if the previous car was filled with, say, 300 pesos ($15 USD). The attendant will simply start filling up your car with the value that is already on the taximeter and will charge sales and pocket the difference.
Whenever there is more than one attendant near your car, be very careful with scams. Typically, one person will tell you that something is wrong with their car, like a tire or something minor, while the other is tampering with the gauge in some way.
Manual entry of sales price after pumping
It's common to ask your car to be filled with a certain number of weights, and then the gauge goes off at that number. However, in this scam, they will fill you in less than that and if you are not looking, they will enter the numbers you asked for on the screen. It makes it look like they stuffed it so much and pocketed the difference.
wrong exchange scam
This scam usually affects visitors who trust the currency. Let's say you pay for gas with a 500 peso bill. The attendant will promptly change it to 50. They will then turn to you and say you made a simple mistake and gave them the wrong bill.
The best way to avoid this is to give the clerk your money, one bill at a time, and announce each bill. This was tried on me several times, and I called them, and they quickly dropped the scam.
Tip to gas attendant
If you had a good experience at the gas station and they didn't play with the meter, tip them. We usually give them 10-20 pesos depending on whether they wash the windshield etc. Be sure to read ourtuition fees in mexico guidefor more random tipping places in Mexico and suggested tip amounts.
Related article: Rent a car in Cancun Airport Guide
Over the years renting cars in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, we've taken amazing day trips and spent more time exploring the area. Be sure to read some of our other travel articles to find places you can explore with your rental car.
- Holbox Island
- Izamal Yellow City Mexico
- The best cenotes in Mexico
- Las Coloradas – or pink lake of Mexico
For the most part, it is considered safe to drive in Playa del Carmen, the Yucatan, and nearly all of Mexico. The highways and roads in Mexico, especially top Mexico travel destinations like the Yucatan Peninsula, are generally well-maintained.How to avoid car rental scams in Mexico? ›
- Don't fall for the extra insurance scam.
- Take photos of the rental car before leaving.
- Watch out for gas station scam.
- Avoid driving at night in Mexico.
- Download an offline map for the area you travel to in Mexico.
- Know that the speed limit sign does not show miles per hour.
- Know driving laws in Mexico.
For the most part, it is considered safe to drive in Playa del Carmen, the Yucatan, and nearly all of Mexico. The highways and roads in Mexico, especially top Mexico travel destinations like the Yucatan Peninsula, are generally well-maintained.How do I not get scammed car rental in Cancun? ›
- 5 TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN CANCUN. ...
- Never Purchase Additional CDW/LDW Insurance. ...
- Bring Proper Documentation and Decline Add-Ons. ...
- Carefully Inspect the Vehicle. ...
- Follow These Driving Guidelines. ...
- Interact with Mexican Police Respectfully.
Ways that Prospective Renters Can Protect Themselves
Confirm or verify the identity of the supposed landlord or property agent. To see who owns the property, contact a licensed California real estate agent, the county recorder's office in the county where the property is located, and/or a title company.
- Always request a tour. Don't rent a home without seeing it. ...
- Skip listings that look suspicious. Scroll past spam listings and be skeptical of listings that are priced below market for the area based on size and upgrades.
- Ask to speak to the property owner. ...
- Don't send money.
- The listing photos have an MLS watermark.
- The listing details are vague.
- They don't want to show you the place first.
- They're ready to make a deal with no background info.
- They're out of the country.
- They want you to sign or pay right away.
- The asking rent doesn't match up.
Scammers can easily post fake photos and safety reports. Don't send money until you've seen the vehicle in real life. Make sure you choose a safe, well-lit, public spot to meet the seller. Ask to see the seller's identification and make sure the same name is on the vehicle's title.How can I avoid being scammed in Mexico? ›
- Be wary of sob stories.
- Be specific in your drinks orders.
- Shop with care.
- Don't pay in Mayan dollars.
- Skip the timeshare presentation.
- Protect your valuables.
- Choose the right taxi.
- Pay with cash wherever possible.
How much is Mexican car insurance? Different companies price coverage differently, but in general, Personal Liability Insurance (the minimum coverage legally required) is about $15 USD per day. For full coverage insurance, plan to pay about $30 USD per day.
- The Typical Scam.
- Red Flag 1 - They're Not local.
- Red Flag 2 - Unbelievably Cheap.
- Red Flag 3 - “Email Only” In the Response Tab.
- Red Flag 4 - Advanced Payment.
- Red Flag 5 - Odd-looking Photos.
- Red Flag 6 - Hints in the Email.
To report Phishing, Smishing or Vishing attacks, use our online Contact Us help form.Are Facebook rentals legit? ›
These fake rentals try to lure you in with misleading pictures and too-good-to-be-true rent prices. You might even be asked to pay additional fees for supposed background checks, charges that are illegal and are just an attempt to extort you.What is the safest part of Playa del Carmen? ›
It is also one of the safest resort towns in Mexico. The Best Places for First-Timers to Playa del Carmen are Downtown, North Playa, Mayakoba, North Riviera Maya, or South Riviera Maya.Is it safe to drive at night from Cancun to Playa del Carmen? ›
Is it safe to drive in Mexico? You'll take this road, Highway 307 (Carretera Cancun-Chetumal), from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen. Short answer: Yes — For the vast majority of travelers, it is safe to drive in Playa del Carmen and much of Mexico.How do I make sure I am not being scammed on Airbnb? ›
- Book a pre-vetted home. ...
- Check the host's profile. ...
- Make sure the listing isn't too good to be true. ...
- Make sure you're actually on airbnb.com (or vrbo.com, or such) ...
- Never pay in cash or via Venmo. ...
- Know your rights.
If it's the former and your actual landlord is ignoring you, it could be because: They are busy and haven't gotten around to answering you yet. They can't fix your problem, or it isn't their problem to fix. They are a bad landlord.How do I report a scammer? ›
If you experienced a scam — or even spotted one, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.Does Zillow have scams? ›
If you find a fraudulent listing on Zillow, please return to the listing page and click “Report Listing” and select “Listing seems to be fraudulent or illegal.” If you believe you have been scammed, report the incident to the FTC.Does Trulia have scams? ›
Fake real estate agent services
The list is usually full of sham real estate listings, either fake or expired, and it's impossible to get a refund on the sign-up fee. Avoid this one by searching rental listings on Trulia.
Third Party Liability
This is mandatory in order to rent and drive a car in Mexico. Your credit card WILL NOT provide this coverage. Your personal auto insurance policy back home in the U.S. won't cover it (it will if you drive your own car into Mexico).
In general, renting a car in Mexico is safe, depending on the location. Keep reading if you want to learn about each of the most common destinations in Mexico where renting a car is recommended. There are a few tricks you should learn about though, especially about the Mexican Roads and Gas stations.How can I avoid getting mugged in Mexico? ›
Travel during daylight hours and avoid walking around unknown areas, especially at night. Don't walk around with jewelry or your head down looking at your phone because that makes you an easy target to get robbed, Ballard said.What is the most common way to get scammed? ›
- Advance Fee Scams. ...
- Tech Support Scams. ...
- Phishing. ...
- Emergency Scams. ...
- IRS or Government Imposter Scams. ...
- Foreign Money Exchange Scams. ...
- Counterfeit Cashier's Checks. ...
- Bogus Debts.
- Always have the car inspected. After you test drive the car yourself, get it inspected by a mechanic you trust. ...
- Don't trust sellers who say the online marketplace guarantees the sale. ...
- Check for liens on the vehicle. ...
- Perform a vehicle history check.
- The Car Only Comes With Dealer-Installed Options. ...
- They Want to Know Your Target Monthly Payment. ...
- They Sold That Car, Here's a Higher-Priced Model. ...
- They Pressure You to Get an Extended Warranty. ...
- They Want to Mix Financing and the Price of the Car.
Fake payments and bogus refund requests
When it comes time to pay, they insist on paying through a mobile payment app. They send you a fake payment notification and hope you send the item before you realize it's a scam. Or they say there was an issue with the payment they sent.
Third party insurance is compulsory by Mexican law when you rent a car in Mexico. This insurance covers third parties for any damages in the event of a mishap, but it does not cover the renter's liability for the vehicle itself.Does AAA cover rental cars in Mexico? ›
With AAA, you're covered for rental cars in the US. If you're traveling outside the country, you'll need to purchase supplemental insurance. (Mexican rentals require extra insurance anyway.)Does my auto insurance cover my vehicle in Mexico? ›
Your U.S. auto insurance won't cover you after crossing the border of Mexico. You'll need a special Mexican auto insurance policy to legally drive in Mexico, which can be acquired through an insurance agent.
Valid driving licences from most countries are legal in Mexico, including UK, EU, Canadian and US licenses. However, you may be required to purchase an International Driving Permit if your license is not printed in English. This will allow you to drive in Mexico for two year after it is issued.Is it safe to rent a car and drive in Yucatan Mexico? ›
Yes, it is safe to drive in the Yucatan as a tourist, as long as you are sensible. You WILL pass drug compounds with armed men on the walls if you are driving in the Yucatan. Sometimes, those men may wave or shout at you. Exercise your common sense and DO NOT STOP.