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Mexico: Car Rental / Renting a Car master thread

Mexico: Car Rental / Renting a Car master thread

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Old Feb 11, 18, 3:28 am   -   Wikipost
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Note: there is a separate thread for car rentals in Cancún / CUN: Car Rental in Cancun.

Mexico auto insurance- a primer can also be a useful read.
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Old Aug 8, 09, 11:58 am
  #1  
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Cabo--Rental Car--Myth or Fact?

Hello All,

My girlfriend and I are heading down to Cabo from Aug. 13-18. We are staying in the corridor area and arriving at SJD. After lots of research both here and in travel books...I still can't make up my mind about whether or not to rent a car there. I know about the strong taxi union, so most fares anywhere are inflated. But I've been hearing some horror stories about rental car scams (unnecessary damage costs) and the sometimes hassle of dealing with the local police not to mention the confusion about car insurance down there. PLEASE, anyone with some experience or any new ideas for me?

My goal-to visit Cabo San Lucas at least one or two days, and possibly San Jose Del Cabo one or two. Thanks!

Last edited by JDiver; Oct 14, 13 at 10:41 pm Reason: restore original post title
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Old Aug 8, 09, 12:15 pm
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Hi!

I can't comment specifically as my experience goes back several years, however, when we arrived home the company had tried to charge us twice for the rental. The credit card company removed the second charge and that was the end of it. We did not have any issues driving there at the time - but we also had previous experience with Mexican road rules. Have a nice trip!
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Old Aug 8, 09, 12:41 pm
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Please continue to follow this thread in the FT Mexico Forum.
Thanks..
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Old Aug 8, 09, 1:23 pm
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FYI, I own a condo in San Jose del Cabo, and I ALWAYS rent a car when I'm down there. Taxis are very expensive, and in particular, if you want to go places in both towns, and along the corridor, you need a car if you don't want to waste half of your vacation trying to avoid paying $25-50 every time you need to get somewhere that's not right near where you already are, and another $25-50 to get back to your hotel.

Insurance coverage IS expensive there, figure on $15-17 a day just for coverage - and you'll want it. Just figure on an extra $100-120 a week in cost, but having a car, with coverage, is simply the cost of being there.

Typically, I've gotten the best rates from either Dollar, or Payless, but occassionally from National. Generally speaking, including coverage, you should be able to get an economy car for something in the $250-$300 range a week if you shop around.

Not having a car will end up constraining your trip. Having one will allow you to freely get to either town - and I expect that you will certainly want to. If I were staying on the corridor, I would consider a car to be absolutely essential. The ONLY way I'd consider not renting one would be if I was staying somewhere in Cabo San Lucas near Medano Beach and the center of town, and only expected to go to San Jose once during the trip.

Last edited by D1andonlyDman; Aug 8, 09 at 1:32 pm
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Old Aug 8, 09, 9:54 pm
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I was just in Cabo (mid July) and rented through Avis for about $30/day. I think there are decent weekly rental rates as well. I thought Avis was very professional and not as shady as some of the others can be.

In general, if you are staying in the Corridor, you'll definitely want to rent a car. (We didn't take insurance, but many people recommend it - I think it was $12/day). As taxi rates are stupid high in Cabo, the car is very, very convenient. San Lucas has good parking for cheap (10 or 20 pesos) at the large mall located on the left, lower side of the harbor as you enter from the highway. In addition, you may want to visit San Jose which is easy to navigate via car.

In addition, there is a Walmart and Sam's Club on your way into Los Cabos (on right, large complex - you'll see it). Very good prices and good place to stock up on essentials (read: rum) instead of paying ridiculous resort prices.

I really enjoyed having my own transportation - very easy to drive in the area - and you get to know the towns much better.

As a final comment, you can either take the new toll roads to/from the airport or the free regular "highway" (several lights). We took both and there was no noticeable difference, although locals indicated sometimes the regular highway can have traffic at certain times of day.

Go for the car and $15 insurance per day. You'll end up saving a lot in the long-run with your own car and will be free to drive up to any small towns on a whim.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 12:52 am
  #6  
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thanks

Wow, thanks for all of the responses. This is exactly why I love this forum.
As an update, we are starting to lean in the "rent a car" option. I read on another post of the suggestion of taking pictures of your car and of any preexisting damage before you drive off the lot. But I feel that is solid advice for any part of the world. I'll keep checking to see if there are any more votes on the car rental thing here but so far, I'm thinking to do it. Thanks again everyone.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 6:11 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by AUSMatt View Post
good place to stock up on essentials (read: rum)
No way...in Mexico it's cheapo Cuervo.

You must be thinking about the trip to STT.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 4:45 pm
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One other point - always pay CASH for gasoline. I learned that the hard way, when one guy at the Pemex in downtown Cabo San Lucas told me my card had been denied, and then found out when I got my bill that he had put a $120 charge on it. Fortunately, the signature was such an obvious forgery that I won the dispute with my credit card company.

And when paying cash, pay close attention to what size bills you give the guy - they love to try to tell you that you gave them a 20 peso bill instead of a 200 peso bill.
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Old Feb 21, 10, 1:31 pm
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Riviera Maya+Cozumel Vacation, Rental Car Question

We our planning to spend one week in the area, flying into Cancun, and spending some of our vacation in Cozumel and some of our vacation on the Riviera Maya. (Family of 4) We still haven't picked our hotels.

If we want a rental car, what options should we consider to get our best value on this type of vacation? Should we get a weekly rate from the Cancun airport, park it when we go to Cozumel and rent another in Cozumel? Or can we arrange seperate rental cars we can pick up and drop off at the air and sea ports? Or some combination of rental car and public transportation? What have others done?

Thanks!

Joey
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Old Jun 29, 10, 9:45 pm
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Any thoughts about renting a car if cruising to Cabo for the day? We're interested in heading to Bahia Chileno from the cruise port, but probably no other sightseeing. I assume it's probably easiest to pay taxi extortion to get there. What's the chance I get a taxi back?
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Old Jun 30, 10, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman View Post
One other point - always pay CASH for gasoline. I learned that the hard way, when one guy at the Pemex in downtown Cabo San Lucas told me my card had been denied, and then found out when I got my bill that he had put a $120 charge on it. Fortunately, the signature was such an obvious forgery that I won the dispute with my credit card company.

And when paying cash, pay close attention to what size bills you give the guy - they love to try to tell you that you gave them a 20 peso bill instead of a 200 peso bill.
Two quickies in addition to the good advice above. 1)Make sure that the pump is at zeros when the gas starts coming out. If the guy in front of you buys 100 pesos worth of gas, the operator many times will start your fill at 100 pesos, and there isn´t much you can do when he shuts it off. 2) Pemex gas jockeys make about 160 pesos per 8 hour shift. If they wash your windshield and/or offer to check your oil, a 5 peso tip is appreciated
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Old Jul 11, 10, 1:34 am
  #12  
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Car rental questions

I've read the car rental threads here but could still use some advice. Basically, my wife and I plan to go to Campeche, Merida and Celestun next February. If we can work out the flights, we might even rent one in Campeche and return it in Merida, or vice versa. I have a few questions:

1. Aside from the fact that it looks like it would cost us about $100 extra for 10 days (at the Europcar site) to rent in one city and return in another ($370, versus same city pick-up and return), is there any reason we wouldn't want to do that?
2. Any particular rental companies to use or avoid?
3. It looks like the extra insurance charges would more than double a ten-day rental (again, based on the Europcar site) from about $370 (renting in Campeche and returning in Merida) to about $780. From what I've read, I assume that we want to load up on insurance. But any way to lessen the costs or any company that's less expensive re insurance but still reliable?
4. If in fact the $780 is the best we could do re car rental, might we be better off just doing hotel cars and taxis to get from place to place and to sight-see?

Of course, any other advice is more than welcome. Thanks!
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Old Jul 12, 11, 4:38 pm
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Bumping this thread up to see if anyone else has additional advice to share.

I know liability insurance is required in Mexico, but what are people's thoughts on getting CDW coverage? I have CDW coverage through a credit card (confirmed to work in Mexico). Is it OK to use that or would it be less hassle to just get CDW coverage through the rental company incase we ran in to any issues?

Also, what is parking like in San Jose del Cabo? Is it mostly street parking or are there lots? Is the parking generally paid or free?

Any other suggestions you can share would be appreciated!
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Old Jul 15, 11, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by sdm1130 View Post
Bumping this thread up to see if anyone else has additional advice to share.

I know liability insurance is required in Mexico, but what are people's thoughts on getting CDW coverage? I have CDW coverage through a credit card (confirmed to work in Mexico). Is it OK to use that or would it be less hassle to just get CDW coverage through the rental company incase we ran in to any issues?

Also, what is parking like in San Jose del Cabo? Is it mostly street parking or are there lots? Is the parking generally paid or free?

Any other suggestions you can share would be appreciated!
We are going to Cabo for a week in January and started to do some research. The car is about $85 and insurance is $200! When I read the laws about how traffic accidents are handled in Mexico. Guilty until proven innocent and must prove insurance or ability to pay damages immediately, we decided to get round trip airport transfers and hire a car when we need to get around.

(I am not sure they would count your CC coverage as proof. You may need some documentation of that.)

We have rented cars in other countries. Yes, we might be being a bit over cautious here, but I just dont want the trouble.

Last edited by Mr. Vker; Jul 27, 11 at 4:07 pm
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Old Jul 26, 11, 3:03 pm
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I have to agree. I've rented in Mexico several times and as much as I hate it I always take the CDW. I have never had a problem but unless I was traveling with a Mexican national I'd be lost if I had an accident.

I guess that's why they call it insurance. You hope you don't need it but are glad if you do.
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