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Cancun Car Rental Questions

mitchandjeanette

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My wife and I are visiting Cancun for the first time ever and we were not planning on renting a car, we were thinking it would be better to use tour groups, buses, taxis etc. BUT NOW WE ARE NOT SURE. We have heard positive feed back about renting a car but just aren't sure. If we do rent a car:

* Around town is there plenty of free parking?
* Is it safe to drive to Chichin Itza and are there free places to park when you get there?
* Can you take your car to "Isla Mujeres" or is the ferry just for people?
* What about driving to the ruins in Tulum? Is it safe for two non spanish speaking tourists?
!HELP! Any information/suggestions would be appreciated
:deadhorse:
 

pjrose

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You do not need one for getting around town. Busses are cheap and reliable, and taxis aren't too expensive either.

Parking around town would be difficult.

The drive to Chitzen Itza is very long. There is a good fairly new road, but a high toll. I don't think safety is a problem, but bribe money is needed if the police pull you over for anything.

The ferry is just for people.

Driving to Tulum is probably safe - if you're used to crazy drivers - but be prepared that if you are pulled over you'll need to have bribes available.

Search for "rental" on the Mexico forum; you'll read lots of info!
 
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FFUNCO

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Rental Car

I rent a car everytime we go to Cancun but then we eat out everywhere too. Driving in Mexico is not the easiest thing to do but if you are a VERY good driver; you can do it. I am pretty aggressive so I fit right in. I have a saying that in Mexico; it it looks like a lane; it is a lane. Driving around the hotel zone is not too bad but downtown is very confusing and congested. Even with a map of downtown; I still end of getting a little lost and have to look at the map again. Driving to Tulum is easy and safe. It is straight south on the highway and a easy drive. Driving to Chichen Itza using the freeway requires paying a couple of tolls each way which is not exactly cheap. The freeway is pretty empty but much faster than the roads. Most of the locals take the roads since the tolls may be about 13.00 at each booth while the roads are free. I have taken the road to Chichen Itza from Tulum stopping at Coba (another nice ruins) and it is not real bad but driving from Cancun to Chichen Itza; there are too many speed bumps. I would never take the road from Cancun and rather take the freeway. I have driven to Merida and seen many other ruins in the south from there also. I have never been pulled over by the police and I do speed but safely. So, would I recommend renting a car; only if you are a VERY good driver and can drive in very heavy, fast traffic without getting rattled. Good luck and have fun . . .
 

musictom

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Hi,

We've rented a car in Cancun for the last 5 or 6 years. We stay about 30 minutes south of Cancun, so that's part of the reason. I'll try and answer your questions as best as possible.


* Around town is there plenty of free parking?

Well, I haven't spent more than one or two nights in Cancun, so can't really comment on the parking there. I've never had a problem with parking, however.

* Is it safe to drive to Chichin Itza and are there free places to park when you get there?

We did Chichen Itza a couple of years ago. We took the toll road there, and from Cancun, I think it was maybe 1 1/2 hours???? Can't really remember. I don't remember the tolls being that exorbitant, however. There is parking available — can't remember if it was free, but couldn't have been too expensive.

We loved touring the ruins!! I would highly recommend visiting. We were fortunate enough to have visited when you could still climb the one pyramid; I understand they've closed it off now. If you go, I'd suggest hiring a guide — our guide could have taught a college level class in Mayan history, and we got so much more out of our tour with all his knowledge.

We decided to take the local roads on the way back, just for a change of pace. It was definitely slower, but we really enjoyed it. You drive through a number of towns, and it was interesting to see how the culture really changes when you get away from the big, touristy cities. The younger girls were all in skirts and white blouses, and there was definitely an 'old school' feel to everything. We stopped in Valladolid, walked around the town a bit, and had a wonderful lunch at a Mexican/Mayan restaurant. (I can try and look it up if you're interested)

* Can you take your car to "Isla Mujeres" or is the ferry just for people?

The ferries are only car only, I believe, but you really don't need a car on the island anyway. It's pretty small, and we've always just walked around. You can always grab a taxi if you need to get somewhere. Isla Mujeres isn't our favorite place to visit, which is why we've only been there a couple of times.

* What about driving to the ruins in Tulum? Is it safe for two non spanish speaking tourists?

They've been constantly improving Highway 305, and it's now a multi-lane, divided road all the way to Tulum. I never felt it was a dangerous drive, even when both directions shared the middle lane to pass. :) And as far as not speaking the language, it's not an issue at all. The Yucatan Peninsula bases a large part of their economy on tourism; thus, you'll find English spoken most everywhere.

!HELP! Any information/suggestions would be appreciated
My family and I have driven throughout Cancun/Playa del Carmen/Tulum, etc. for the last six years, and I've never been pulled over by the police. As long as you aren't standing out from the flow of traffic, or doing something stupid, you'll be fine. I would agree that if you do get pulled over, you simply ask the officer if you can 'pay the fine directly to him'?

It could just be my observation, but I've found that while people may drive a bit more aggressively in Mexico, they also pay a lot more attention to the surrounding traffic. You don't see people eating their lunch, talking on their cel phone, putting on makeup, etc. while driving. In some ways, I almost prefer driving down there — at least everyone's paying attention.

I wouldn't think of visiting the Mayan Riviera without a rental car. But that's just one person's opinion. :)

Best of luck!

Tom
 

sg0578280

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Hello

Can you tell me if a GPS will work in Mexico. I was thinking of renting a car.

thanks
 

mfan

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Hello

Can you tell me if a GPS will work in Mexico. I was thinking of renting a car.

thanks
Yes, GPS works fine there, as long as it has a Mexico map. You also need to make sure it's setup to use international maps. I know some GPS units bought in the US are "locked" to the North America maps only. I had to "fix" mine so it can be used internationally. ;)

Mine worked fine when we were in Cancun about a month ago. But, I found the quality and accuracy of the Mexico maps were not very good. One time, it directed me to turn the wrong way down a one-way street!! :eek: Also, I came across many smaller streets not on my GPS map. :annoyed:
 

sg0578280

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Okay..thansk..I will check to see if I can get the mexico maps..At least it will give me some indication of where I am...I hope:)
 

Harvey and Lin

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You do not need one for getting around town. Busses are cheap and reliable, and taxis aren't too expensive either.

Parking around town would be difficult.

The drive to Chitzen Itza is very long. There is a good fairly new road, but a high toll. I don't think safety is a problem, but bribe money is needed if the police pull you over for anything.

The ferry is just for people.

Driving to Tulum is probably safe - if you're used to crazy drivers - but be prepared that if you are pulled over you'll need to have bribes available.

Search for "rental" on the Mexico forum; you'll read lots of info!
You mentioned bribes very frequently in this post. I have been driving in Mexico for over 15 years and never had to pay a bribe. How many times have you actually payed a "bribe" yourself not one that you have heard about but one you actually paid yourself. Just curious. Harvey
 

x3 skier

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If this is your first time to Cancun or Mexico, I would recommend using public transportation. It cheap, frequent and good in the Cancun area. Taxis are plentiful and not to expensive as well.

If you want to visit other sites, tours are plentiful.

Isla Mujeres is a nice day trip. You can get your driving experience there by renting one of the many golf carts used for getting around the island.

We have rented a car in Los Cabos and and elsewhere in Mexico and had no problems but like I say, if its your first visit, why worry?;)

Cheers
 

jspang

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If this is your first time to Cancun or Mexico, I would recommend using public transportation. It cheap, frequent and good in the Cancun area. Taxis are plentiful and not to expensive as well.

If you want to visit other sites, tours are plentiful.

Isla Mujeres is a nice day trip. You can get your driving experience there by renting one of the many golf carts used for getting around the island.

We have rented a car in Los Cabos and and elsewhere in Mexico and had no problems but like I say, if its your first visit, why worry?;)

Cheers
I agree, first time your visiting, just go and see what it is like before renting a car. We have been going there now for 15 + years and we have never rented a car. Taxis, busses and tours is all you need. Your on vacation, let the locals do the driving!
 

pammex

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Driving in Mexico is well let us just say an experience in and of itself. Mexican drivers or those driving in Mexico can be very aggressive and they take many chances. The culture of driving here is you have to be in front of everyone LOL. Very Macho!

It is against the law in most states of Mexico to use a cell phone while driving and in many seatbelts are a law.

Remember you are not a local so does not matter what anyone else does if you are stopped and NEVER say well you can do this or that in US to a policeman, they really do not like that.

Do you speak spanish at all, can you read the signs, are you familiar with different driving laws and laterals and such.

Toll roads ( cuotas or autopistas) and free roads or libre.....always choose the toll road. Faster, safer, less traffic, and that toll you pay also covers you for some roadside assistance as well as some accident protection.

Some GPS systems work here and some do not and roads change a lot. I myself just ordered a Nuvi 200 plus Mexico version.

If you do an infraction ( break the law) ie: speed, turn left where not allowed, U turn where not allowed etc. well you will get a ticket which you will need to pay right away, policeman may take your license or may detain you or he may try for mordida ( bite)....has been in existence for all time here in Mexico. You pay him , he lets you go.....you are on vacation in a rental car in a foreign country you must be rich and can pay a lot. Not right I know but it does exist...I have been here 10 years never a ticket nor paid a (bribe) mordida, but I am pretty slick at talking my way out of things with or without my limited spanish. I have been stopped but for no reason other than out of country plates, but so it goes. My hubby got stopped in a traffic jam for speeding LOL, kind of hard in a traffic jam, anyway he got mad, and claimed injustice etc, and thus he paid quite the hefty mordida.

Are you aware if you are in an accident and any blood is drawn all parties unless going to hospital go to jail until bondsmen come to bail you out and all damages are resolved or paid right then and there. Are you aware, you are not allowed to move your car whatsoever if in an accident until told by police or adjuster from insurance company.

Personally on a first visit I suggest public transportation...taxi, bus or collectivo all reasonable. When I went to Cancun we used tours or collectivos or buses and we live in Mexico.

Make sure if you do get a rental you check the car throughly before taking for any scratches, nicks, dents etc. Also make sure you have full insurance coverage including legal bail bonding.

I am giving you worse scenarios. I drive here daily but I am not fond of driving in unknown places in Mexico. Plus if you are not fluent, getting lost without the ability to ask directions can be a nightmare on vacation.

Good luck in your decision.
 

mexico-mvt

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If this is your first time to Cancun or Mexico, I would recommend using public transportation. It cheap, frequent and good in the Cancun area. Taxis are plentiful and not to expensive as well.

If you want to visit other sites, tours are plentiful.

Isla Mujeres is a nice day trip. You can get your driving experience there by renting one of the many golf carts used for getting around the island.

We have rented a car in Los Cabos and and elsewhere in Mexico and had no problems but like I say, if its your first visit, why worry?;)

Cheers
That's right. If it's you're first time , part of the experience is the adventure.If public trasportation is readily available and cheap then it is best to take it to go around the place. But is it safe to take public transportation? Are they still available during late night?
 
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