Should I rent a car or should I not when traveling to Cancun? This is a question many people seem to have. And the answer depends on what your plans are during your stay and how comfortable you think you’ll be on the road.
When Ben and I went, we had plans to go to Chichen Itza and a couple cenotes. I researched the excursion prices and they started at $99 per person. In addition, we were spending the second half of the week at the Hard Rock an hour south in Riviera Maya and the transportation bus from/to the airport was $75 per person. So for two adults to do Chichen Itza and airport transfer, it would have been $348.
At first glance, you will notice that rental cars can be as cheap as $2 per day in Cancun. Don’t let this fool you! Mexico requires 3rd party liability. I added this protection at the time of booking. For 8 days with a compact car, the total was $252 from Enterprise. I read that if you don’t add the required insurance and you wait until you’re at the counter, you may be charged a much higher amount. We also called our credit card companies to find out what (if any) car rental coverage in another country was – CapitalOne had the best coverage for us. Just be sure to take a print out showing your credit card company’s coverage and that you pre-booked the 3rd Party Liability.
Our experience with Enterprise was easy and enjoyable. When we arrived in Cancun, we made our way to the rental car counters and Enterprise is the very, very last one before you go outside. A man met us and took us to the shuttle. From there we picked up another group and drove about 8 minutes to the off-site location.
The man working the counter was super friendly and informative. He warned about the cops that we could possibly get pulled over and let us know to never hand over your license. They made copies for us so if needed, we could hand that over.
We only drove a couple times over our 8 day rental. Mexico has a ZERO tolerance for drinking and driving, so we took Uber most days. Uber took a while but it was literally 1/3 of the cost of a taxi.
We woke early one morning to make the drive to Chichen Itza. It was a 3.25 hour drive through small towns with lots of speed bumps. It would have been an hour shorter on the toll road but our Google Maps had the avoid toll roads selected – ugh! We didn’t have any issues with service so we were able to use our cell phone navigation the entire trip. There was also a time change that helped us in the morning but caused us to rush to beat the sun to get back before dark. We also had no issues driving the hour south to Riviera Maya. We did go through a few checkpoints but never had to stop. When I read other’s driving horror stories before going, it did make me nervous for the possibility we’d have to deal with corrupt police. Luckily Ben speaks Spanish which I feel would have been an plus so no one would try to take advantage of us since we are technically tourists.
So if it’s peace of mind you’re looking for, then I recommend not renting a car. But if you want to save money and do your research to know what to expect, then get that rental! It will definitely save you.