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Sticky - Tips for renting cars and driving in Mexico & questions about renting/driving

california-bighorn

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to people who have NOT walked the walk!!

my advice??drive MEXICO!!

LIVE a bit wild...

We have rented a car in Cancun (EVERY) trip..

You will be at the mercy,of the third world ,if you adventure,without command of you own vehicle...you will miss a great deal of personel flexibility, if you like to come and go as you please...

Cancun has the BEST highway system in all of Mexico!!

A few tricks,to remember...1) slow down when you see the TOPAS sign!!.(.mexican ,speed bump!).... huge!...2)drive agressively,like you would in a big city..And 3)

also..carry,a $20....A $50....and a $100. dollar bill in your purse for bribes..

Its not a big deal in mexico, and in the UNLIKELY event ,you DO get pulled over..show the money ...(in increments)..say nothing...but NEVER give them your license!!!...(unless you do get into an accident...unlikely)...you have to remember..be nice ..but firm... it is always a negotiation!

also..get the max liabilty insurance..just in case..

Cars are cheap to rent in mexico...but U. S. insurance will not transfer..



P.Vallarta ???rent a taxi..too small of an area..

Riviera maya..Cancun area

is a huge playground ,with LOTS to see and DO!!...do not limit yourself!!
I disagree with most of what I think she is trying to say. We have never needed a car in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan nor Mayan Riveria although it would have been nice a day or two to have a car the couple of times we stayed in Nuevo Vallarta and the one time we stayed in the corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo.
Finding parking, especially near where you want to be, can be difficult in most of these areas. It is so nice to just get out of taxi in front of where you want to go and not have to worry about parking. I think this gives us far more freedom. Like most above have mentioned, public transportation (bus) and taxis are cheap and reliable.
We have always paid much less and saved time by utilizing taxis and the bus then we would have paid for a car rental. The insurance in Mexico is very expensive, but, necessary.
 

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This post should be a sticky!

This is a great post and so much good information too. :)
=========================

For someone that claims to have walked the walk, with all due respect this is very poor advice.

Try this instead:

#1 Research la mordida, know what it is, and how not to become a victim. There are entire web sites devoted to this one topic alone.
#2 Buckle your seat belt
#3 Obey ALL traffic laws. One more time: OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS.
#4 Do not keep up with traffic, since 99.8% are speeding. **Here's where most people fail**
#5 Do not think you can blend in with local traffic, your rental car is a marked target and is easily spotted by policia **again, where people fail**
#6 Move all of you money to a money belt. Keep none in your wallet. This goes for your passengers also.
#7 Have a spotter with good eyesight in the front passenger seat helping you spot the ever changing speed limit signs. Obey all of them.
#8 Stay in the right lane at all times. You will be passed on your left like you're standing still. Pay no attention to them - they're locals. They're also gringos that haven't a clue, and you may see a few later up the road pulled over by the policia.
#9 If you followed # 1-8 above, you will not be pulled over, since gringos trying to blend in with traffic and thus speeding are so prevalent, they are easy pickins for the policia. Police DO NOT pull over someone that obeying all traffic laws.
#10 In the unlikely event that you are pulled over because you didn't follow these steps, or missed a speed limit change, DO NOT PAY A BRIBE TO THE OFFICER. Doing so is illegal, and you are then just as guilty paying a bribe as the officer is asking for one. You are also perpetuating the problem. Stand your ground, politely, and ask for the ticket. Or, ask the officer to take you to the police station to pay it. A that point, the office will undoubtedly let you go, and go for an easier target.
#11 Do not give the officer your license until you have written down his name and badge number. You can communicate these points easily enough even if you don't speak Spanish.
#12 When filling up, get out of the vehicle, check to see the pump has been zeroed out, then tell the attendant how much fuel you want. Watch the pump for the correct amount. Pay attention.
13. Find Articulo 152, print a copy and present it to the officer in the unlikely event you are pulled over.


These tips are from driving the area for over 17 years, and collected from my own research and experience. I have never been pulled over a single time, and firmly believe that those that claim they were pulled over "for no reason" are simply mistaken, missed the speed limit change, or unwilling to admit they made a mistake. Good luck, and do a little homework. It's nice to have the freedom of your own wheels.

Oh, and to answer the OP's question: Cancun certainly wouldn't require a car since the bus system is inexpensive, will get you to most anywhere and is frequent. Taxis are also everywhere. PV is spread out. Cabo, cn't comment - never been there.
 

Karen G

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This is a great post and so much good information too. :)
I agree. There is already a sticky about driving in Mexico and I will be adding this thread to that one soon.
 

pjrose

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We have been going to Cancun for 2-3 weeks every year for 20+ years. Twice we rented a car, and we won't again. We don't like to leave the resort for more than ~2 day trips during a week; we'd prefer to relax and enjoy the resort.

You don't need a car around the hotel zone or town; busses and taxis are plentiful and inexpensive, and you don't have the hassle of parking. For a day trip, you can do the bus tours, OR, even better, the tour companies will also let you hire a private van with driver and go wherever/whenever you want.
 

John Cummings

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My wife is Mexican and I am fluent in Spanish but we never rent a car when vacationing in Mexico at the resorts. I have driven thousands of miles in Mexico when we lived there and when visiting family, always in our own car.

We have vacationed in timeshares at Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, Mazatlan, La Paz, and Cabo. Never once did we ever need a car nor want one. We want to relax and leave the driving to someone else. We ride buses, take, taxis, tours, etc. If we want to go exploring, we will hire a taxi for the whole day. For example, when we were at the Grand Mayan - Nuevo Vallarta, we rented a taxi for the day to go exploring in Nayarit. We just talk to the taxi drivers at the resort until we find one we like and then negotiate a price. The taxi drivers are happy to take you on their day off. We went all over Nayarit from the Grand Mayan up to Tepic and back down along the coast. We have done this in other areas as well. There is no hassles with parking, insurance, police, etc., etc. Not only that you get a free guide and a good companion.

I would definitely NOT follow Sally's advice.
 
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easyrider

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We have always rented a car on every trip to Mexico. We have always rented a car to any trip anywhere.

I pretty much agree with Sally13, and also agree with Phydeaux.

In reality, your unlikely to be pulled over by a Mexican police. There just isn't as many police in cars as on foot.

Driving to places arround tourist areas is safe. If you really want to see the surrounding area you need a car. You can only see so much with taxi's or shared transportation and with a car you can come and go as you please.

The only wrecks we saw in PV were taxi's.

There are many opinions on renting a car in Mexico on this forum and all I can say is that if my wife and I can drive in Mexico without fear or problems, I think anyone can.

We will always rent from major auto rental companies such as Alamo because of the POS we rented from a local in Cabo this year. Live and learn.

If your a bad driver in the USA you will not be any better in Mexico. :D
 

pjrose

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. . . Never once did we ever need a car nor want one. We want to relax and leave the driving to someone else. We ride buses, take, taxis, tours, etc. If we want to go exploring, we will hire a taxi for the whole day. For example, when we were at the Grand Mayan - Nuevo Vallarta, we rented a taxi for the day to go exploring in Nayarit. We just talk to the taxi drivers at the resort until we find one we like and then negotiate a price. The taxi drivers are happy to take you on their day off. We went all over Nayarit from the Grand Mayan up to Tepic and back down along the coast. We have done this in other areas as well. There is no hassles with parking, insurance, police, etc., etc. Not only that you get a free guide and a good companion.. . .
Agree 100%.
 

pammex

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We have always rented a car on every trip to Mexico. We have always rented a car to any trip anywhere.

I pretty much agree with Sally13, and also agree with Phydeaux.

In reality, your unlikely to be pulled over by a Mexican police. There just isn't as many police in cars as on foot.

Driving to places arround tourist areas is safe. If you really want to see the surrounding area you need a car. You can only see so much with taxi's or shared transportation and with a car you can come and go as you please.

The only wrecks we saw in PV were taxi's.

There are many opinions on renting a car in Mexico on this forum and all I can say is that if my wife and I can drive in Mexico without fear or problems, I think anyone can.

We will always rent from major auto rental companies such as Alamo because of the POS we rented from a local in Cabo this year. Live and learn.

If your a bad driver in the USA you will not be any better in Mexico. :D
sally13 obviously gives uniformed driving in Mexico input....for one in PV they DO take your license if you commit an infraction and you must go pay it to get your license back. Have fun argueing with he policeman about not giving him your license. Secondly $100. mordida is outrageous, it is posts such as this that make it so difficult for those who do drive and live here. :mad:

You are by the way very likely to be pulled over by police in a rental car, very likely!!! Happens all the time, all the time.

Ridiculous to think only taxis get in accidents in Mexico.
I advise you to come back and post after you have been stopped and after you have had an accident in Mexico. I have had both, can you drive in Mexico of course, am I worried about your driving a little, since maybe not familiar with area or road rules etc, but more so Mexican drivers are very aggressive for the most part. Driving in Mexico is not for everyone and t surely is more relaxing to hire a taxi than to drive here. JMHO, one who drives here all the timne, daily.:)
 

sally13

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not keeping ..

up with traffic ,and doing the posted speed limit in heavy traffic ,when all other vehicles are doing 20 over, is lousy advice..doing this in a large city .will get you one of two things..pushed into an accident ...or dead..the least of your problems will be getting pulled over,by police..

If you are not skilled in CITY driving..do NOT drive anywhere in Mexico..that said..we have never been pulled over ,in over 10 years of driving mexico..

slow ..speed limit (enforcers) cause more accidents by far then those keeping up with traffic...
 

pammex

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up with traffic ,and doing the posted speed limit in heavy traffic ,when all other vehicles are doing 20 over, is lousy advice..doing this in a large city .will get you one of two things..pushed into an accident ...or dead..the least of your problems will be getting pulled over,by police..

If you are not skilled in CITY driving..do NOT drive anywhere in Mexico..that said..we have never been pulled over ,in over 10 years of driving mexico..

slow ..speed limit (enforcers) cause more accidents by far then those keeping up with traffic...
This is true you must keep up with traffic here and with posted speed limits, you can be stopped for going too slow.

There are many parts of Mexico though where it is nothing like city driving, like in my town for example, or many side roads in PV...more mountainous and very skinny streets.

People are frequently pulled over by transitos ( traffic police ) for nothing, just for mordida, happens daily in mexico, some say no but it does...
 

sally13

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Yes..

I was mainly talking about driving the cancun,riviera maya area..:) P Vallarta,is a whole new ball game..
 

easyrider

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sally13 obviously gives uniformed driving in Mexico input....for one in PV they DO take your license if you commit an infraction and you must go pay it to get your license back. Have fun argueing with he policeman about not giving him your license. Secondly $100. mordida is outrageous, it is posts such as this that make it so difficult for those who do drive and live here. :mad:

You are by the way very likely to be pulled over by police in a rental car, very likely!!! Happens all the time, all the time.

Ridiculous to think only taxis get in accidents in Mexico.
I advise you to come back and post after you have been stopped and after you have had an accident in Mexico. I have had both, can you drive in Mexico of course, am I worried about your driving a little, since maybe not familiar with area or road rules etc, but more so Mexican drivers are very aggressive for the most part. Driving in Mexico is not for everyone and t surely is more relaxing to hire a taxi than to drive here. JMHO, one who drives here all the timne, daily.:)
Driving in resort areas of Mexico is very easy. Most people that rent cars from a reputable agency will never have a problem. These resort areas are less populated than the area of Mexico where you live Pammex.

Is it really rediculous to think that a taxi driver, who often times has access to contraband, could get in a wreck. When a driver asks me if I need blow, pot, pill or a companion I would think that might not be the way to go. I know that there has to be people getting in car accidents in Mexico because thats how it is any where with cars. What we saw were wrecked taxi's in PV.

I have been pulled over one time for speeding near San Jose. Unlike you I gave up a twenty and was on my way. I haven't been in wreck in Mexico but if I did I would have the proper insurance where most locals don't. If it were a non injury accident the person without insurance , usually the local, would have more of a problem than the insured and they know it so they would want to flee the scene if posible. If it were an injury caused by me the damages are capped at $8000.00 per person by Mexican Law including death( Im not entirely clear on this one).

Driving in Hawaii is often times more frustrating or dangerous than resort areas of Mexico. Try the Hana HWY on Maui or H-1 on Oahu in rush hour.

How about I-5 near L.A. or Seattle.

Maybe there is an age group that should not drive anywhere. Thats why I say if your not a good driver where you live your not going to be any better in Mexico.

So drive or not to drive is a choice no matter where a person goes. Some resorts are so far from things that it is better to rent a car. Some resorts are right where you need to be.
 
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easyrider

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Avis is covering the 3rd party liability but now calls it "Property Liability / Public Liability ". This is included in the rate and provides coverages for 750,000 pecos or about $63K usd.

A good credit card should have coverage for the "LDW or CDW". Loss damage waiver or Collision damage waiver is to protect the car from theft and damage. It basically covers 100% of the damages to the rental vehicle (paid for with the credit card). Note there is no deductible!

A person should verify this with Avis as last January 2011 Avis was requiring a renter to purchase the 3rd party liability in Cabo and in some locations were not allowing use of the credit card for the LDW.

I talked to Avis today for a planned trip to Cancun and all is good.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Avis is covering the 3rd party liability but now calls it "Property Liability / Public Liability ". This is included in the rate and provides coverages for 750,000 pecos or about $63K usd.

A good credit card should have coverage for the "LDW or CDW". Loss damage waiver or Collision damage waiver is to protect the car from theft and damage. It basically covers 100% of the damages to the rental vehicle (paid for with the credit card). Note there is no deductible!

A person should verify this with Avis as last January 2011 Avis was requiring a renter to purchase the 3rd party liability in Cabo and in some locations were not allowing use of the credit card for the LDW.

I talked to Avis today for a planned trip to Cancun and all is good.
When I was looking into car rentals for our trip to PV last February (we decided not to rent), I noted terms and conditions at several sites that said they would waive the requirement to purchase LDW or CDW coverage from the rental company only if the renter provided proof of coverage for that specific rental. IOW - they were saying they wouldn't accept a general description of policy coverage, but instead were requiring that the renter have a statement from the other insurer stating specifically that this specific car rental was covered under the policy.

Almost certainly a tactic to force people to buy their overpriced insurance that provides less coverage.
 

Passepartout

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I have taken to carrying a copy of the current 'coverages' sheet from my home auto insurance policy that shows rental car coverages. Along with the coverage from the Platinum CC I rent on, so far every rental agency has been satisfied that my coverage exceeds theirs.

Jim Ricks
 

easyrider

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Last January 2011 Avis was really not the way to go. Avis wanted everyone to buy the Avis insurance. It seemed that the major brands were wanting to sell insurance but all it did was made people do with out a car or look elsewhere.

Now Avis is back to including about $63,000.00 usd of 3rd party liability in the quoted rates and are letting customers use their credit cards for the LDW/CDW. Its all good again but I always call to make sure.

American Express still has the best coverage for Mexico.imo
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Last January 2011 Avis was really not the way to go. Avis wanted everyone to buy the Avis insurance. It seemed that the major brands were wanting to sell insurance but all it did was made people do with out a car or look elsewhere.

Now Avis is back to including about $63,000.00 usd of 3rd party liability in the quoted rates and are letting customers use their credit cards for the LDW/CDW. Its all good again but I always call to make sure.

American Express still has the best coverage for Mexico.imo
That's good news. Avis was one of the companies that had the terms such as I posted upthread.
 

easyrider

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This is why a person should only rent from a major auto rental company such as Avis. From the Avis website.


"3. What are Avis' automobile liability and property damage policies?
Avis provides liability coverage for its vehicles as required by applicable law. In most instances, this will include coverage for the renter or authorized driver up to the financial responsibility limits of the applicable jurisdiction at no additional charge. "
 

John Cummings

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This is why a person should only rent from a major auto rental company such as Avis. From the Avis website.


"3. What are Avis' automobile liability and property damage policies?
Avis provides liability coverage for its vehicles as required by applicable law. In most instances, this will include coverage for the renter or authorized driver up to the financial responsibility limits of the applicable jurisdiction at no additional charge. "
Renting from Avis or any other major rental company would not have made any difference in this case. Unfortunately these incidents are quite common.
 

easyrider

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Renting from Avis or any other major rental company would not have made any difference in this case. Unfortunately these incidents are quite common.
I called Avis and they said that this would be a covered acident up to 750,000 pecos, more than enough for this type of accident. 750,000 pecos is about $63,000 usd.

As far as this being a common event or common accident I think it would be about as common as anywhere there are people driving.

As far as the police putting the guy in jail it would be due to lack of representation or bad negoiating because he lacked the required 3rd party liability that is included with the Avis rental.

The US Consulate could have called an attorney and the attorney could have posted bond for the amount in question and the driver would not have to go jail.
 

aliikai2

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If John who lived and worked in Mexico says

That the insurance that comes from Avis, etc wouldn't help in this instance, you would be wise to listen.
We don't rent cars in Mexico, more for convenience and cost, rather than insurance or driving worries. It is less expensive to take cabs, than to pay for parking, gas , insurance and the car rental, at least it is for our needs.

Greg


I called Avis and they said that this would be a covered acident up to 750,000 pecos, more than enough for this type of accident. 750,000 pecos is about $63,000 usd.

As far as this being a common event or common accident I think it would be about as common as anywhere there are people driving.

As far as the police putting the guy in jail it would be due to lack of representation or bad negoiating because he lacked the required 3rd party liability that is included with the Avis rental.

The US Consulate could have called an attorney and the attorney could have posted bond for the amount in question and the driver would not have to go jail.
 

easyrider

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That the insurance that comes from Avis, etc wouldn't help in this instance, you would be wise to listen.
We don't rent cars in Mexico, more for convenience and cost, rather than insurance or driving worries. It is less expensive to take cabs, than to pay for parking, gas , insurance and the car rental, at least it is for our needs.

Greg
Maybe you should read the article again or even once.

John doesn't seem to like Mexico and is always on the doom side of every thing regaurding Mexico. Greg, you don't rent cars in Mexico because its a problem with things you need to bring to get arround because of health issues. I get that.

The reason the driver went to jail in the article is that his insurance didnt cover the public liabilty of $6500.00. Avis insurance does. The Avis rep at the franchise you rent from will give you a 24 hr. number to call if you have a problem.

There are 2 coverages that you have on ANY insurance: liability and collision:

Driver Liability: legal responsibility for damage to others. . The Mexican Insurance you need to stay out of jail.

Collision is what is required by your lien holder to make sure he gets paid if you have an accident. Comprehensive is coverage for your vehicle for non-accidents. For example, a tree falls on your car. Comprehensive is sort of an add-on to collision in most cases.

The liability coverage included in the Avis rate is about $63,000.00. You can buy additional coverage for $12.00 a day that increases this to $250,000 usd.

Most decent credit cards will cover the " Collision and Comprehensive". American Express being the best for about $25.00.
 

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...John doesn't seem to like Mexico and is always on the doom side of every thing regaurding Mexico...
Quite the contrary, I love Mexico. If I didn't, I wouldn't have married a Mexican, lived there, worked there, started a business there, spent 20+ T/S weeks there plus many, many non-timeshare visits, our son played baseball there, etc.

It is not a matter of liking Mexico or not, I am just stating the way that it is. [deleted personal attack

You need to go back and read the article. It states that:

"I had the best possible Mexican insurance, but I had not been informed that in an injury accident, no insurance in Mexico will pay "lost wages," and you can´t get out of jail until the injured victim´s family agrees to a settlement on lost wages and the officials are satisfied with the payments to them."

This statement is true. It doesn't matter what car rental company you use. You can pretty well bet that everybody, will get a cut of it including the police, rental car agent, etc. It doesn't matter what the actual cost is, they will get whatever they can. You don't like to hear this but that is how the sytem generally works. I just hope for your sake that you don't find yourself in a similar situation.

The local people are not going to tell you the way it really is because the tourists like you are their bread and butter.

One other important point. Mexican liabilty insurance is voided if you have had any alcohol to drink
 
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easyrider

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The statement is only partially true. For the most part it does not happen in this worse case scenario if you have rented from a reputable company. To suggest we should not drive in Mexico because of the these misconceptions is like the rest of what you say about any travel to Mexico. I have traveled in a rental car every trip to Mexico as over 3 million tourist do each year with out incident.

Avis has assured me that they would have a representative to take care of any situation including any type of accident to assist the renter. Avis also said that there are not many injury accidents and they had not heard of more than a few fatal accidents as this is uncommon. What makes up most of the damage claims are simple fender benders that the local flees leaving damage to the rental car or break ins.

Avis did say that it is possible that if you caused a fatality that you could end up in jail for between 3 and 72 hours. Most of the time it would be less than 3 hours. If you committed other crimes such as drunk or negligent driving it could go 72 hours before you could be bailed out. They said this could happen but they haven't seen this ever happening yet with the rental cars.

01-52-555-588-8888 Avis International............. press 3 for English

John, You have operated a car in Mexico for years and I assume you never went to jail for any driving offenses. If a person causes an injury type accident in the USA, especially a fatality, they are often taken to jail or the hospital. Why would it be different in Mexico ? The odds of being involved in an accident are not that different in any strange city than they are in Mexico.
 
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