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Renting a Car in Mexico: Land of the Aztecs
Mexico is a renowned tourist destination in the southern region of North America. Nestled between the United States and Central America, the locale has much to offer to wayfarers, including its pristine beaches, mountain ranges, and ancient Aztec ruins. The local cuisine is world-famous, and you won’t find better tacos or guacamole anywhere else on earth.
Mexico is a big and varied country, and there is much to explore. From jungle to desert to ocean, there is a destination for everyone in this vibrant and intriguing land.
When to Visit
If you plan on touring Mexico, consider making your plans between December and April, as it does not rain during this period. Also, the months from December to February are the coolest, so you can enjoy the pleasant climate during that time of the year. On the other hand, if you make your plans between May and October, you will hit the wet season, where you can expect heavy showers on some days. Between June and November there is the highest chance of the Caribbean coastline getting hit by hurricanes. If you are planning your trip during the peak season, then be sure to make your car rental bookings in advance for the best deals.
Easy to Get Around
Traveling by car in Mexico can be a highly rewarding experience, affording you the independence to go where you wish. Renting a car in Mexico is similar to hiring an automobile in the United States. Several local companies, along with the major players, provide these services.
Keep in mind that there will be a variance in car rental rates depending on the agency, duration, date and the miles you cover. The prices are subject to change as per your dates, car availability, and more importantly, the local demand – if there is a festival in the country, then expect the rentals to be considerably higher than average.
Car Rental Prices in Mexico
When in Mexico, the rates for renting a car start from around $5 per day and can go up to $60 – depending on the vehicle you choose. The following deals for car rentals are valid for a rental period of 7 days and listed on a per day basis.
- Chevrolet Spark or similar (compact class) – $10/day
- Nissan March or similar (economy class) – $12/day
- Chevrolet Aveo or similar (intermediate class) – $14/day
- Hyundai Grand I10 or similar (mini class) – $16/day
- Volkswagen Vento or similar (standard class) – $18/day
Car Rental Savings in Mexico
- If you rent the vehicle for longer, the daily rate will be cheaper. You can also get step-discounts when you rent for a specified number of days, ranging from 3-30 days.
- If you need to be picked up or dropped at the airport, the costs go up by 10%, so it may be better to find your rental at the airport. In-house airport car hire companies may have a premium, as well as an airport fee, so look nearby.
- Some of the cheaper automobile hire rates are offered by Europcar, Thrifty, Mexico Car Rental and Orbitz.
- National car agencies offer competitive rates. The international agencies are franchises and don’t necessarily provide better services than the local ones.
- During the peak seasons, consider booking up to three months in advance to get the best deal. At other times, a week should be enough.
Car Hire Requirements
After making your car rental bookings, and upon reaching the vehicle hire agency in Mexico, you must produce the following documents before you can drive away:
- Credit card or cash for the deposit.
- Passport or other accepted proof of identity.
- Driver’s license from your country.
Mexican Liability Insurance
Car insurance is mandatory in Mexico, and rates displayed on car hire websites don’t always include it in the displayed price. Be aware that it can set you back more than $20 per day and include this in your budget. Shop around for the best deal on insurance between vehicle rental companies; the insurance cover doesn’t vary much but the prices can. Many people vouch for the fact that you can save yourself a lot of trouble by taking the insurance from your car rental company when already in Mexico, and not beforehand.
Insurance covers any damage caused to the rental car, other vehicles or buildings. Having proof of the insurance is vital for showing the authorities in case of accidents – even minor ones. To be on the safe side, keep a copy of insurance policies in the glove box.
Tips and Regulations
- The local language is Spanish, and outside of the bigger tourist spots people may not speak much English.
- The currency is the Mexican peso. In some places you will be able to pay with US dollars, but the exchange rate will not be in your favor.
- Just like the USA, in Mexico traffic drives on the right.
- You must be over 25 to hire a car.
- Some highways charge a toll, so have some cash on you when traveling by car. The charges can vary between 25 and 150 pesos – that’s about $1-8.
- Locals advise against driving at night outside of the cities. Ask the car hire company for a roadside assistance service number in case of mishaps.