Cancún Airport Car Rental Advice & Driving Tips
Cancún Airport Car Rental Desk Locations
There are a few Cancun Airport car rental companies available and they are located in the Arrivals Hall.
Cancún Airport Car Rental Companies
Cancún Driving Information
An International Drivers' Permit (or IDP) may be required, especially if your local drivers' licence is in a language other than the local language (you may inquire when you pick up your car).
A Cancun Airport rental car is relatively safe for the most part, but there is general disregard for basic driving etiquette and speeding does take place regularly along major road routes.
Driving in is quite unlike driving in the USA, Canada, or other developed countries. Consider it an adventure. Here we offer some tips, although many won't apply if you're just driving around resort areas..
Get a map (it should be your first stop!). When you plan your route, remember that in Mexico a straight line is not always the best way from point A to point B. And be aware that some listed paved roads are not there at all, despite what your map says. It's best to leave a little extra time.
Stick to the main highways, avoid driving between towns after dark, in the evening, and don't take short cuts at your own peril. Tip: it's hard sometimes usually to figure out where the main highway leaves each town as there are not a lot of road signs.
Pay attention to drivers around you - but that doesnt mean you should follow their lead. If the car ahead runs a stop sign - go ahead and stop!
Large intersections can be confusing in cities: the far right lane is sometimes used as the left-hand turn lane (you have to see this in action to understand it...).
Pay attention to the speed limit (it will usually be shown in kilometres), and drive below it. Adjust your habits if you are used to "pushing" the speed limit; in Mexico it's customary to hold back a bit. It will mean driving through small towns at 25 km/h (15 mph), so be patient.
They really are serious about speed control in Mexico. "Topes" or speed bumps are made of often a large steel pipe with little asphalt ramps. You might encounter "vados" or dips where a stream crosses the road - drive slowly low and keep your eyes open. And watch out for cattle, as they like to congregate in vados.
There are a lot of toll roads in Mexico, and you should always take them when you can. "Cuota" toll roads are the most modern (most are privately owned), and are usually faster than free "Libre" roads (the 'libre' roads slow considerably as they pass through villages and small towns). While expensive by Mexican standards, tourists find the tolls affordable: they range from about MXN 25-150 (USD 2.50-15). Carry lots of Mexican pesos with you, as credit cards and USA dollars aren't usually accepted on toll roads. You'll probably find toll roads are not in top condition, as you would expect them to be for the price theme re paying. Some need repairs or resurfacing, and may damage your car if you travel at the speed limit. Tip: if your car is damaged due to road conditions of a toll road (including a blow-out), insurance is included in the toll (keep your toll booth receipts!). On the upside, toll roads have surprisingly clean toilets, as well as shops selling snacks.
Once away from main highways and toll roads, you'll find generally poor road conditions. Gravel or dirt roads, dropoffs, pot holes and other hazards are common. While Mexicans drivers brave these roads, their cars really do take a beating, so you might want to rent a SUV or truck, especially if you plan on camping, beaches, hot springs or other off-the-beaten-path locations.
The Mexican Federal Police (Policia Federal or "Federales") patrol the roads. While a culture of bribes (or "mordida") prevails, and some Federales might let you off with a warning if you slip them some folding bills, be very careful. Do not assume an officer is expecting a bribe: an officer be offended or may even arrest you for offering a bribe. Respect and courtesy are the order of the day. The police generally do not know English, so if you expect to drive a lot, try to learn a little Spanish.
The government operates "Angeles Verdes" or "Green Angels", a free roadside assistance program. The people in the green trucks can fix almost anything, and are very creative: ll manner debilitating automobile conditions. Travellers who have benefited from their services truly do consider them angels: did you know a leaking radiator can be fixed with pepper or an egg? While services are free, gas and parts or must be paid for. You can call these miracle workers Green Angels for assistance (dial 078).
Share the Road:
- If the car you are following signals a left turn without slowing down, they're telling you it's safe for you to pass.
- Similarly, a car behind you that signals left, it may indicate they want to pass you.
- If a car approaching you flashes their lights, there is a hazard ahead: maybe cattle, debris or a broken down car.
- If you are following a car that turns on its hazard lights, SLOW DOWN quickly (hopefully leaving some room between you and the car ahead).
- You can do the same if you spot a situation that warrants slowing down: hit your brakes and reach for your hazard lights at the same time.
- Watch out for Mexican semi-trucks ("camiones"), which drive fast and act as if they own the road. They will take up as much room as they can, so let them: give them lots of room, as much as you can.
- NEVER stop for broken-down cars: this is a common trap by thiefs. Trust that locals or the Green Anghelps ill come to their aid.
- Always carry insurance. If you are in an accident and someone is injured or killed, no matter whose fault it is, you could end up in jail. Mexican liability theory assumes that one who hits pays.
Learn how to protect yourself when renting a car at Cancún Airport.
Cancún Airport Car Rental Scams & Advice
Gas Station Filling
Keep your eye on the pump to watch the total amount being charged the entire time your gas is being pumped. Make it obvious to the attendant that you are watching! A common scam is to quickly reset the pump to zero before telling you the price, and charging you more than was on the pump. Better yet, ask for a specific amount of gas (in pesos), rather than asking to "fill it up." And make sure they have reset the pump to zero before starting to pump your gas.
More Cancún Airport Transfer & Airport Connection Options
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