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

chalucky

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Questions about rental cars in PV

(Rental car sticky at top of this page is three years old).

I have rented in Cabo several times.
Used AMEX supplemental 24.95 coverage/rental at that time.

Anyone rent lately and have any recommendations for PV vendor?
 

itchyfeet

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We always use Alamo and are very satisfied with them. Just say no to the TS presentation that they offer. We only buy the third party liability since our credit card covers the other insurance options.
 

bellesgirl

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Cabo is very expensive to get around, depending on where you stay. PV is very reasonable. A taxi can run between $4-$10 and it is by zone. Most are small and typically can only hold 4 pasengers at best, but if that works for you, I would not rent a car in PV. The traffic is nuts.
 

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We always use Alamo and are very satisfied with them. Just say no to the TS presentation that they offer. We only buy the third party liability since our credit card covers the other insurance options.
I would be careful because the timeliness and responsiveness you get from your cc may not be adequate if something happens.
 

Helios

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Cabo is very expensive to get around, depending on where you stay. PV is very reasonable. A taxi can run between $4-$10 and it is by zone. Most are small and typically can only hold 4 pasengers at best, but if that works for you, I would not rent a car in PV. The traffic is nuts.
Traffic is comparable to other touristy parts in Mexico. Try Mexico City for nuts...:eek:
 

MuranoJo

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Why rent a car or take a taxi at all? Heck, the buses are great--cheapo and can get you all over the place including into surrounding smaller towns. Might want to check on their return times, esp. if you are dining downtown and will be late. We ended up waiting for a taxi one late dining night, I think after 11 pm.
 

easyrider

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(Rental car sticky at top of this page is three years old).

I have rented in Cabo several times.
Used AMEX supplemental 24.95 coverage/rental at that time.

Anyone rent lately and have any recommendations for PV vendor?
Last winter we rented from Budget and Hertz in PV. Both provided the basic third party liability in the rate if you rent from their official website. I liked Hertz because it is actually in the airport area with no need for a shuttle.

I use the amex card and decline all insurance from the rental company. They will place a $2500 hold on the card until you return the car.

Be sure to print off the terms and conditions for Budget as they will try hard to make you buy their insurance. I print these terms off for all of the rentals we take in Mexico so there is a document available to prove your do not need to purchase the rental agencies insurance.

Bill
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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We rented a car the one time that we went to Cabo, and the first time we went to PV, where we stayed in Nuevo. For those locations, I was glad we did rent a car.

Since then, however, our trips have been to PV itself (not Nuevo), and we have eschewed the rental in favor of bus and taxi. In fact, not needing to rent a car is a significant benefit for us. We prefer to avoid the cost and the potential hassles.
 

bellesgirl

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Why rent a car or take a taxi at all? Heck, the buses are great--cheapo and can get you all over the place including into surrounding smaller towns. Might want to check on their return times, esp. if you are dining downtown and will be late. We ended up waiting for a taxi one late dining night, I think after 11 pm.
We always take the bus, but I figured anyone who is asking about car rentals would prefer a taxi. There are buses in Cabo too - which is what we used.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Why rent a car or take a taxi at all? Heck, the buses are great--cheapo and can get you all over the place including into surrounding smaller towns. Might want to check on their return times, esp. if you are dining downtown and will be late. We ended up waiting for a taxi one late dining night, I think after 11 pm.
Yeah - the bus to the Centro from Puerto Vallarta is 7.5 pesos - about about 40 cents. The bus to Sayulita is about 25 pesos - about $US 1.30. San Pancho a bit more - 28 pesos, IIRC.

I love taking the bus to those smaller towns and wandering around.
 

MuranoJo

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We always take the bus, but I figured anyone who is asking about car rentals would prefer a taxi. There are buses in Cabo too - which is what we used.
I hear ya. Guess I try to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones a bit and try the local transportation. Actually, I'd feel more comfy taking the bus than driving a rental in PV.
 

chalucky

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I am the OP on the thread>>>we are staying at Grand Luxxe in Nuevo and really haven't explored much on our previous trips. We thought to go to Bucerias, Punta Mita, and Sayulita as the mood suits us.

Also, notwithstanding the daily Grand Luxxe valet charge, it seems like it would be easier to explore local eateries with a car at our disposal. The new entrance and the usual 6:30 PM scrum to get taxies work to Vidanta's favor in keeping guests on property; we thought having a car would allow us the freedom to escape the golden handcuffs as we see fit.

Appreciate the input so far...Thx
 

easyrider

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I like to go where ever, when ever, so I always get a car in Mexico. In PV / NV the roads are very easy to use. I like Bucerias, Punta Mita, Salulita , San Pancho and Guyubitos to the north and even though I have driven quite a ways south there hasn't been enough to hold my interest for return trips.

Going to the different stores for groceries is interesting. I doubt that I would go to so many places, including the Walmarts and the likes, without a car.

PV,NV,Cabo, Loreto, Cancun and Mazatlan were explored thoroughly because we had a car. The car trip from PV to Mazatlan was very scenic. The car trip from Loreto to Cabo was very scenic. The trips to La Paz and all ver the Baja were fun. My point is I couldn't have seen so many places without a car.

I like the Amex car protection but also purchase trip insurance that includes medical coverages and other benefits.

No car is allowed on the road in Mexico without liability insurance. If your in a rental car it will have 3rd party liability insurance as the law requires this. Avis and now many other car rental agencies include this minimum 3rd party liability insurance in their rate. Alamo does charge for the 3rd party liability but does have nicer cars similar to Avis. The Avis / Alamo rates are very close because of the required 3rd party liability insurance from Alamo.

If you rent a car from an outside unofficial website like expedia, rci, orbitz and the like you many be required to purchase the entire insurance package. It seems better to rent from the official rental car site and look at the terms and conditions. Print these off and take them with you as the rental car agency may try to force you to purchase insurance. With the printed off terms and conditions they will maybe try to scare you into purchasing insurance, but for me anyway, they just follow the deal I made online through their website without any problem.

Look the car over and take pictures. I take pictures and a short video because its so easy to do so with my phone. Two years ago Hertz said I damaged a wheel. I showed them the picture of the wheel when I rented the car and it was already damaged. They actually thanked me and apologized.

Most importantly, do not drive impaired. Just like in the USA, if your caught driving drunk you may end up in jail. The difference being that in Mexico you might get away with it if you give a donation wrapped in paper and no one was hurt and nothing was damaged. Never hand a cop an open bribe. They do not like this. It needs to be concealed. It is very rare that a person is pulled over in Mexico for nothing.

Bill
 

timesharejunkie4

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We also always rent a car in PV because we like to get out and about when and where we want. The buses and taxis in PV are great and a fun experience and we had used them for many years. I have a handicap that makes it difficult for me to get on and off the buses.
We have rented from many of the companies, never having a problem. We have had to listen ad nauseum to them tell us how we need additional insurance and that our credit card insurance is no good.
Easyrider gave very good advice that should be followed to a T. You will be able to find car rental reports on Trip Advisor Forums. I always see posts regarding the rental companies ripping people off but don't follow them. I have also seen recommendations for Gecko Car Rental, http://www.geckorentcar.com/, a local company that includes liability and collision in their rates. They appear to be a good choice if you want a no hassle experience but cannot vouch for them first-hand.
 

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Not sure if anyone else experienced this, but thought I'd share.

Just left Cabo and decided to rent a car this time around. No problems with Alamo whom we used. My issue was with Pemex, the national gas station of Mexico.

In searching online for the nearest Pemex to SJD airport to return the car with a full tank, I ran into several stories of people being scammed by Pemex station attendants while filling up their tanks with gas.

MO goes like this -

An attendant starts filling up your tank and starts chatting you up. They try to be friendly and engage you in conversation. In my case they even offer to clean my windshield. As the tank gets full, another attendant interrupts to say the tank is full and to start the car to check. He asks you to do this while trying to block your view from the pump's reading. After you confirm the tank is full, he steps back to show you what's supposed to be the total amount you owe. If you weren't paying attention, you'll end up paying more than the amount you really owe.

In my case, I was aware of the scam and thought I'd catch on if they tried to pull it on me. I let my guard down a bit and chatted with the first attendant, but kept looking at the pump to keep track of the reading. When the second attendant tried to block my view, I quickly saw the final reading of MXN 372 and when the second attendant stepped back to show the "new total" amount of MXN 552, I protested in Spanish saying that was not correct amount. I told him what I saw and he said he'll go inside to get the receipt. He presented me with the receipt with the correct amount, which I paid.

I should have followed these tips others shared:

- Get out of your car and watch the pump reading like a hawk.

- Have Mexican pesos with you. Others have reported handing a large dollar bill to the attendant who goes in and comes back to give you less change than is really owed you by saying you handed a smaller bill.

If I had paid the padded amount, I would have only been scammed out of $9 or so. In the scheme of things, that's not very much. But it's the cheating that irks me. And think of how many clueless gringos they scam. It adds up to a significant chunk at the end of the day.

Not sure if this happens elsewhere in Mexico. Hope this is helpful. Travel safely and smartly.
 

John Cummings

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Not sure if anyone else experienced this, but thought I'd share.

Just left Cabo and decided to rent a car this time around. No problems with Alamo whom we used. My issue was with Pemex, the national gas station of Mexico.

In searching online for the nearest Pemex to SJD airport to return the car with a full tank, I ran into several stories of people being scammed by Pemex station attendants while filling up their tanks with gas.

MO goes like this -

An attendant starts filling up your tank and starts chatting you up. They try to be friendly and engage you in conversation. In my case they even offer to clean my windshield. As the tank gets full, another attendant interrupts to say the tank is full and to start the car to check. He asks you to do this while trying to block your view from the pump's reading. After you confirm the tank is full, he steps back to show you what's supposed to be the total amount you owe. If you weren't paying attention, you'll end up paying more than the amount you really owe.

In my case, I was aware of the scam and thought I'd catch on if they tried to pull it on me. I let my guard down a bit and chatted with the first attendant, but kept looking at the pump to keep track of the reading. When the second attendant tried to block my view, I quickly saw the final reading of MXN 372 and when the second attendant stepped back to show the "new total" amount of MXN 552, I protested in Spanish saying that was not correct amount. I told him what I saw and he said he'll go inside to get the receipt. He presented me with the receipt with the correct amount, which I paid.

I should have followed these tips others shared:

- Get out of your car and watch the pump reading like a hawk.

- Have Mexican pesos with you. Others have reported handing a large dollar bill to the attendant who goes in and comes back to give you less change than is really owed you by saying you handed a smaller bill.

If I had paid the padded amount, I would have only been scammed out of $9 or so. In the scheme of things, that's not very much. But it's the cheating that irks me. And think of how many clueless gringos they scam. It adds up to a significant chunk at the end of the day.

Not sure if this happens elsewhere in Mexico. Hope this is helpful. Travel safely and smartly.
That has been going on for years since gasoline has been sold in Mexico.
 

Karen G

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So how do they get the pump readout to increase without actually pumping more gas?
I think in some instances they quickly clear the pump and tell you what the total was. If you're not watching you don't really know what the correct amount is.
 

dioxide45

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I think in some instances they quickly clear the pump and tell you what the total was. If you're not watching you don't really know what the correct amount is.
That makes sense, but the poster indicated that they saw the "new total" amount of MXN 552. So how did they get it to that without actually pumping petrol?
 
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Karen G

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That makes sense, but the poster indicated that they say the "new total" amount of MXN 552. So how did they get it to that without actually pumping petrol?
Good question! Hopefully the poster will tell us!
 

Passepartout

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it might be that they zero out the pump used on your car, and produce a receipt from a different pump. Who knows.

Unless you are regularly in Oregon, you are not used to an attendant filling your car.
 

dioxide45

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it might be that they zero out the pump used on your car, and produce a receipt from a different pump. Who knows.

Unless you are regularly in Oregon, you are not used to an attendant filling your car.
I know there are issues where they don't zero out the pump before they start filling your tank. That doesn't seem to be what happened here. The pump said 552 but the receipt said 372.

New Jersey is the other state that bans self service gas stations.
 

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Karen G

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Wish I could tell you. Like I said, I let myself get distracted by chatting with the first attendant.
Thanks for posting--I'm sure it will help others of what to be aware of.
 
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