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Car Rental in Acapulco

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Car Rental in Acapulco: visiting Mexico’s most famous Party Town

The gem of Mexico and North America’s Pacific coastline in the 1950s, Acapulco’s beauty has diminished only slightly in the past 70 years. Now somewhat more overdeveloped and less popular due to internal violence, Acapulco is still a draw to visitors due to its beautiful beaches and sheer cliffs. While driving in the area is not for the faint of heart, automobile hire will make your visit to Acapulco in the Guerrero region generally much more efficient than if you rely on local transportation options.

Avoid the intense heat of summer by visiting Acapulco in the spring (April and May) and autumn (October and November).

Over 60 indigenous languages are spoken throughout Mexico, but the de facto national language of Mexico is Spanish. The most common indigenous languages of Guerrero are Nahuatl, Mixteco, Tlapaneco, and Amuszo. English is not necessarily widely spoken throughout Guerrero, though you can expect people involved with tourists to have at least basic command of the language. Learn some Spanish before you arrive to read road signs and to ease interactions with police and toll booth officers.

Acapulco is located in the Central Time Zone, UTC-6.

The currency in Mexico is the peso, and is most easily received via currency exchange from American dollars or via ATMs, which are plentiful throughout Acapulco. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and some restaurants and shops, though Mexico is still very much a cash culture, and you should plan to have cash on hand for the remainder of your transactions.

Many visitors to Acapulco fly directly to the Juan N. Alvarez International Airport, located fifteen kilometers south of the city. This is a great place from which to pick up your rental car, as numerous international and local agencies have desks there. There are also numerous rental agencies located directly on the streets and highway that line Acapulco Bay.

Driving to and from Mexico City takes around four hours from Acapulco and is a fairly easy drive, except for a number of sections where the roads are not well maintained. Be ready for quickly changing road conditions, but otherwise enjoy a primarily smooth ride inland.

Visa Regulations

Travelers arriving in Mexico from many Western European countries, Chile, Argentina, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand can enter the country without a visa. They will purchase a tourist card valid for 90 days (though you can extend this to 180 days for an extra fee). All other visitors are required to apply for a visa before they arrive.

Driving in Acapulco

Roads are narrow and winding in Acapulco and its surroundings, and they are also typically fairly full. Driving defensively is recommended. Keep an eye out for your immediate surroundings, and otherwise, make the best of your visit to this beautiful bay area.

Right-Hand Driving

  • Traffic proceeds on the right-hand side of the road throughout Mexico.

Speed Limits

  • On unmarked streets: typically 60 km/h, though driving more slowly throughout Acapulco is recommended and often necessary due to traffic, street maintenance, or frequent curves
  • On urban throughways: 60 to 80 km/h
  • On rural highways: 70 to 90 km/h
  • On major highways outside of cities: 110 km/h
  • Traffic congestion is to be expected, particularly during morning and evening rush hours.

Other Regulations

  1. Parking in Acapulco can be difficult, so if you’re planning on renting a car for the length of your stay, book a hotel with off-street, convenient, or inexpensive parking offers.
  2. An international driver’s permit in addition to your valid domestic driver’s license is required for driving throughout Mexico.
  3. Toll roads are frequent throughout Mexico and typically only accept cash. Make sure you keep your receipts for any of your tolls, as these will be necessary should you need to make any insurance claims during or after your trip.
  4. The minimum driving age in Mexico is 18, and drivers are rarely permitted to rent cars under the age of 25.
  5. Purchasing Mexican car insurance for the length of your rental contract is required in Mexico; if you are stopped by the police or at any of the country’s frequent checkpoints, you will be required to show proof of insurance.

Other Tips

  • You should expect, as a foreign driver renting a car, to be pulled over by police for no apparent reason and asked to pay a fine on the spot.
  • If you need help from officials like the police, consider heading to your embassy rather than the local police station.
  • As roads are winding and often unmarked throughout the city, ask your rental company if they can outfit your car with a reliable GPS or satnav. If you are planning any cross-country trips, you can expect to be stopped at military checkpoints, where military personnel will ask for your driver’s license and insurance documents and search your car; they are primarily looking for weapons and drugs.

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