Guide to Renting a Car in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
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Need tips on how to rent a car in Playa del Carmen, Mexico? Our post covers all you’ll possibly need to know, and what to watch out for with Playa del Carmen car rental companies.
Why rent a car in Playa del Carmen?
To answer the question: “should I rent a car in Playa del Carmen?” There are a bunch of different reasons why renting a car in PDC is a good idea. For starters, for flexibility and freedom—having your own set of wheels to travel around can’t be beat. For me, that’s the main thing.
Getting to and from Playa del Carmen, and all the attractions in the area is easy with a rental car. I’m talking cenotes, people. These amazing, gleaming, turquoise swimming holes are not easily reached by public transport – especially the ones that are more off the beaten track – so having your own wheels puts more cenotes on your map, basically.
Having your very own rental car in Playa del Carmen means no hassle with public transport or colectivos, and no haggling with taxi drivers. Do you want to visit Coba ruins? You drive there! No timetables, no schedules, no worrying about missing the last bus home. The same goes for pretty much every destination in a sanely drivable distance from Playa del Carmen.
Who to rent a car with in Playa del Carmen?
You would think that car rental in Playa del Carmen is a pretty easy world to navigate. But no, it can be tricky. The most confusing thing about it though is the numerous companies in town offering various services, prices, and deals. It’s enough to make your head spin.
One way to get around that is by using Discover Cars Playa Del Carmen. This international car rental website basically does the hard work for you. Just search where you want to rent your car – Playa del Carmen, obviously – and the site will run through over 500 trusted providers. I’m talking about all the big names, including Hertz, Enterprise, Europcar, and more. Not only that, but Discover Cars also provides 24/7 customer support, with no hidden costs, and no cancellation fees.
So instead of wandering around Playa del Carmen, wasting your time trying to scope out the rental market, one of the best ways to rent a car in Playa del Carmen is to simply do it online.
Is renting a car in Playa del Carmen safe?
Totally. As long as you rent with an actual, reputable, and well-trusted company, and not with some sketchy too-good-to-be-true outfit, then you’ll be absolutely fine. Just make sure you look at reviews and ensure that any insurance you take out with the company can cover you. Other than that, there’s nothing to worry about: car hire in Playa del Carmen is completely safe.
Tips for renting a car in Playa del Carmen
Even though renting a car in Playa del Carmen is safe, you should still make sure to be savvy with your choices. Unfortunately, Playa del Carmen rental scams are a thing, which is why I said above that you need to book with a reputable company (through Discover Cars, for example). But here are some tips so you know what to look out for…
- Watch out for insurance. Overcharging for insurance is commonplace in Playa del Carmen, and can sometimes be quoted as more expensive than the daily car rental itself. This is not ok and is a complete scam.
- Know your credit card insurance. A lot of people in the US have insurance coverage through their credit cards, but you need to be careful as this is not often accepted in Mexico. So don’t expect Playa del Carmen rental car companies to accept credit card coverage.
- Be aware of deposits. Sometimes the company you rent a car from can hold a huge amount on your credit card for the deposit. Keeping it withheld for weeks on end, after you’ve returned your car, isn’t unheard of.
- Read reviews. Most car rentals in Playa del Carmen aren’t as bad as you think. The main thing is to read the reviews before you decide to hand over your cash. Negative reviews? Move on to the next company.
What insurance do you need to rent a car in Playa del Carmen?
There are two types of insurance cover to consider:
1) CDW, which covers the car against any damage that may occur when you’re driving it, and
2) Liability insurance, which covers you against any damage you may do to other people’s property when you’re driving.
Liability coverage is legally required in Mexico, so it’s important to purchase it when you rent a car in Playa del Carmen. Even if your travel insurance or credit card covers you in Mexico, it’s best to buy it where you’re renting a car from.
Do you need an international driver’s license in Mexico?
Mexico is just a quick hop over the border for many people, so you may be thinking that maybe you don’t need an international driver’s license here. Well, in that case, you’d be right!
If you’re from the US, your US driver’s license will be accepted throughout Mexico, including Playa del Carmen, of course. In fact, any license written in either Spanish or English will be accepted. You would only need an international driver’s license in Mexico is if your license is written in any other language than Spanish or English.
Do you need to speak Spanish to drive in Mexico?
Good question. Spanish is the official language of Mexico (duh), of course, it’s going to help if you have a little bit of Spanish know-how. Fortunately, you don’t have to be fluent to rent a car in Playa del Carmen – many rental car agencies in town will have English-speaking staff and papers to sign in English, too.
Spanish skills may come more in handy when it comes to actually drive. Signs are pretty much all in Spanish. Like, did you know that “ALTO” is the stop sign in Mexico? Or that “CEDA EL PASO” means “give way to all traffic”? There are some things that maybe you should brush up on.
But for the most part, a lot of the signage is self-explanatory (arrows, etc.) and not that different from what you find in the US.
Tips on driving around Playa del Carmen
Though driving in Playa del Carmen is pretty safe in general, there are some things you should know to help your road trips around the Riviera Maya go more smoothly:
- Don’t drive at night. Lighting isn’t all that good, and it’s not uncommon for drunk/drug driving to occur.
- Stick to the main roads. Unless you’re heading to a well-documented cenote along a dirt track, the biggest problem you may encounter is the quality of the roads. Stick to sealed roads and well-maintained highways as much as possible.
- Keep filled up. Running empty on gas when you’re driving your rental car around Playa del Carmen and the surrounding area is not fun. If you’re heading out for the day, make sure your tank is full.
Still have questions?
We’re more than happy to answer any questions you have about renting a car in Playa del Carmen since we have done it ourselves several times. Comment your question below and we’ll reply as soon as we can!