Mexico City Airport Car Rental Advice & Driving Tips
Mexico City Airport Car Rental Desk Locations
There are plenty of Mexico City Airport car rental companies represented and their counters are located in both the domestic and international Arrivals areas of the Mexico City Airport.
Mexico City Airport Car Rental Companies
Mexico City 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).
If you are considering a Mexico City Airport rental car, there are a few things to be aware of.:
- Whilst it is true that Mexicans are known for their aggressive driving and disregard for general road rules and safety, driving around Mexico City is challenging, but really quite similar to any large city.
- A number of 4-lane toll roads are a popular option and usually well maintained.
- The quality of smaller roads around Mexico City is variable and many are in poor condition, containing potholes.
- Be careful when you drive on dual-carriageways at night, as livestock is often on the loose.
- Also worth noting, you are not permitted to drive in the centre of Mexico City on specified days, in an attempt to reduce pollution. This rule depends upon the last number on the car's registration plate, although this restriction does not usually apply to rental cars.
- Avoid street parking where possible in the city and never leave valuables on show.
- Most mid-range accommodation in and around Mexico City feature their own guest garages and parking lots.
Driving in Mexico overall is an adventure, and is quite unlike driving in Canada, the United States, or any developed country. Following are some general tips for driving in Mexico, although not all will apply if you are just driving around town or the resort areas.
Your first stop in Mexico should be to pick up a map. When planning your route in Mexico, remember that a straight line is not always the best way from point A to point B. Regardless of the map, be aware that some listed paved roads are not there at all. Leave extra time and be patient.
Avoid driving between towns in the evening, stick to main highways, and take short cuts at your own peril (in other words, don't). It is usually a very complicated test to find out where a main highway leaves town as road signs are very limited or non existent once you enter.
Pay attention in traffic. Observe the behaviour of the drivers around you carefully - but don't necessarily follow their lead. If the vehicle ahead speeds through a stop sign without slowing - go ahead and stop anyway.
In cities, in many larger intersections, be aware that the far right lane is sometimes used as the left-hand turn lane (you just need to see how this works to understand it...).
Drive at or below the speed limit, which will be shown (in most places) in the metric system. In some countries it's common to "push" the speed limits; in Mexico it's advisable to hold back a little. This will mean driving through some small towns at 25 km/h (15 mph).
On the topic of speed, in Mexico, they're serious about speed control. "Topes" or speed bumps often consist of a large steel pipe with small asphalt ramps. When driving cross-country, you will often encounter "vados" or dips. These are generally places where a stream or other feature crosses the road, and often they are severe - slow down and keep your eyes open. Cattle tend to congregate in vados.
Stick to the toll roads. Much of Mexico is covered by modern "Cuota" toll roads, most of which are privately owned. The "Cuota" are generally much faster than the free "Libre" roads, as the 'libre' roads will slow considerably as they pass through small towns and villages. Using toll roads is quite expensive by Mexican standards: the tolls range from about MXN 25-150 (USD 2.50-15) for passenger cars, depending on the section of highway. If you are planning on a long drive, make sure you have plenty of Mexican pesos with you. US dollars and credit cards are NOT accepted on most toll roads, though they may be accepted in some heavily-touristed areas (but don't count on it). Many toll roads are not in the condition you would expect for the price you pay to use them. Some are in need of resurfacing, and will abuse your car if you travel the speed limit. If the conditions of the toll road cause damage to your vehicle (including blow-outs), insurance is included in the price of the toll (make sure to keep your toll payment receipt). Toll roads have snack shops and clean bathrooms at most toll booths.
Once you get away from the toll roads and main highways, you will find poorer road conditions. It's common to find potholes, dirt or gravel roads, dropoffs, and other hazards. Mexicans drivers brave these in common passenger cars, but their cars take a beating. You may be more comfortable in a SUV or other high-clearance vehicle, especially if your vacation plans include camping, beaches, hot springs or other off-the-beaten-path locations.
A word about the police... Roads are patrolled by The Mexican Federal Police (Policia Federal or "Federales"). The culture of bribes (or "mordida") prevails, and as often as not the Federales may be willing to let you off with a warning in exchange for some folding money. But be careful: do not by any means assume that the officer is expecting a bribe--the Police are well aware that it is illegal and rarely will ask directly. An officer might even be offended or may even arrest you for offering a bribe. As in most situations, respect and courtesy are called for. A bit of Spanish helps, as the police generally do not know English.
On the upside, the Mexican government operates a roadside assistance program called "Angeles Verdes" or "Green Angels". These people in green trucks have the wherewithal to fix all manner debilitating automobile conditions. Travellers who have benefited from their services truly do consider them angels: did you know you can fix a leaking radiator with pepper or an egg? Services and information are free; parts or gasoline if necessary must be paid for. You can call the Green Angels for assistance by dialling 078.
Tips for Sharing the Road in Mexico:
- On a 2-lane highway, If you're driving behind someone and they signal a left turn without slowing down, they're indicating that it's safe for you to pass.
- In the same situation, the same signal from someone behind you may indicate they want to pass you.
- If a car driving towards you flashes their lights, it probably means there is some sort of hazard ahead: perhaps debris, cattle or a broken down vehicle.
- If the driver ahead of you turns on his hazards, SLOW DOWN quickly (and try to leave some room between you and the car ahead of you, in case you get bumped from behind).
- If you spot a situation that warrants slowing way down, such as a semi-truck going v-e-r-y s-l-o-w or other hazards in the road), do the same: hit your brakes and reach for your hazard lights at the same time.
Tips for Staying Safe:
- Mexican semi-trucks ("camiones") act as if they own the road. They drive fast and furious, and will take up as much of the road as they are able. You are advised to give them as much room as you can.
- On the advice of AAA, do not to stop for broken-down motorists, as this is a common trap set by bandits who want to rob you. If you are concerned about leaving someone in need, rest assured that the Green Angels or a local will stop to help.
- Finally, do not consider driving without insurance. If you are in an accident and someone is injured or killed, you may end up in jail, no matter whose "fault" it is. More often than not, Mexican liability theory operates from the starting assumption that one who hits pays.
Learn how to protect yourself when renting a car at Mexico City Airport.
Mexico City Airport Car Rental Scams & Advice
Tips for Getting Gas
- Keep your eye on the pump and watch the total the entire time your gas is being pumped
- We suggest you make it very obvious to the attendant that youre watching!
- You are trying to avoid the common scam whereby the attendant quickly resets the pump to zero before telling you the price (and charging you more than what was pumped).
- It's better to ask for a specific amount of gas (in pesos), rather than asking for a fill
- Make sure the pump as been reset to zero before the attendant starts pumping your gas
Mexico City Airport Car Rental Recommendations
IHateTaxis.com has a mixed recommendation on a Mexico City Airport car rental
If you are used to driving in chaotic urban environments then renting a car would be a convenient option.
More Mexico City Airport Transfer & Airport Connection Options
- Mexico City Airport Information
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- Mexico City Airport Currency Exchange
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- Mexico City Airport Wireless Internet Access
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- Mexico City Airport Flights, Arrivals, & Airlines
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- Mexico City Airport Limo & Private Car Transfers
- Mexico City Airport Car Hire/Car Rental
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- Mexico City Airport Services & Amenities