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Ixtapa Airport (ZIH) Car Rental

Welcome to the car rental Ixtapa Airport information page with information on Ixtapa Airport car rental options, including which side do you drive on, transmission types, local Zihuatanejo driving stress, licences, and more. You may also compare your Ixtapa Airport car rental options and search for the best available Zihuatanejo car rental rates in the search box below.

Ixtapa Airport Car Rental Advice & Driving Tips

Ixtapa Airport
Car Rental Search

Ixtapa Airport Car Rental Desk Locations

There are several Ixtapa Airport car rental companies providing services.


Look for their Ixtapa Airport car hire desks in the Arrivals hall. 

Ixtapa Airport Car Rental Companies

Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty

Zihuatanejo Driving Information

Driving is on the right side of the road.

Ixtapa Airport rental cars may be either automatic OR manual transmission. Make sure to verify when booking if you are not comfortable with a manual transmission.

Your local drivers' licence is required.

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).

Zihuatanejo Driving Stress Level: 6/10

An Ixtapa Airport rental car is pretty safe, but take some time to learn about how the locals drive. Driving in Mexico is an adventure, quite unlike driving in the USA, Canada or any developed country. Here are some Mexico driving tips for driving in Mexico; not all will apply if you just drive around the resort areas. 


Regardless of your destination, in Mexico, your first stop in should be to pick up a map. Remember that a straight line is not always the fastest 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.


Stick to the main roads and highways, avoid driving between towns in the evening and don't take short cuts. It can be complicated to figure out where the highway leaves town as signage inside cities is poor.


Observe the drivers around you and pay attention. Don't always follow their lead: the car ahead might speed through a stop sign - that doesn't mean you should. 


Be aware that in larger cities, in some major intersections, the far right lane is sometimes used as the left-hand turn lane (watch to see how this works).


You may see a lot of speeding, but don't join in. Always drive at or below the speed limit (which will be shown in kilometres). This will mean driving through some small towns at 25 km/h (15 mph), but just be patient.


Mexico is serious about speed control, and they use crudely built speed bumps ("topes") made of steel pipe with small asphalt ramps.


You will often encounter "vados" or dips when driving cross-country. They occur where a stream or crosses the road, and they can be severe - slow way down and keep your eyes open (cattle tend to congregate in vados).


Stick to Mexico's modern "Cuota" toll roads. These mostly privately owned toll roads are generally much faster than free roads ('Libre' roads slow considerably as they pass through small towns and villages). While the tolls are expensive by Mexican standards, they are affordable for ourists (about MXN 25-150). For a long drive, make sure you have plenty of pesos with you (US dollars and credit cards are NOT accepted on most toll roads. The toll roads themselves aren't in great ondition, despite the tolls. Some are in serious need of repaving and will abuse your rental car if you travel the speed limit, so slow down. If the conditions of the toll road do happen to cause damage to your vehicle, or you suffer a blow-outs, insurance is included in the toll (keep your toll payment receipt). The good news is that toll roads have snack shops and clean bathrooms.


Away from the toll roads and main highways, you will find even poorer road conditions. Common are potholes, dirt or gravel roads, dropoffs, and more. The Mexicans drivers brave these in their cars, but those cars take a beating. You might be more comfortable in a high-clearance vehicle (such as a SUV), especially if you plan to go camping or explore beaches, hot springs or other off-the-beaten-path locations.


Expect to see road patrols by The Mexican Federal Police (Policia Federal or "Federales"). There is a culture of bribes (or "mordida") here, and you "might" find the Federales willing to let you off with a warning in exchange for folding money. But be very careful: if you assume the officer is expecting a bribe, you might find yourself arrested for offering a bribe. Respect and courtesy are called for. And a bit of Spanish helps, as the police don't usually know English.


For the good news: Mexico's government operates a roadside assistance program: "Angeles Verdes" (or the "Green Angels"). The folk  in green trucks have the genius and wherewithal to fix almost anything (did you know a leaking radiator can be fixed with with pepper or an egg?!) Service is free; parts or gas must be paid for. You can call the Green Angels for help by dialling 078.


Mexico Road Sharing Tips:

  • If the car ahead signals a left turn without slowing down, they're saying it's safe for you to pass
  • If the car behind signals a left turn, they're saying they want to pass you
  • If an approaching car flashes their lights, it probably means there's a hazard ahead (e.g. debris, cattle, a broken down vehicle)
  • If the car ahead turns on his hazard lights, SLOW DOWN as quickly as you can (try to leave some room between you and the car ahead, just n case)
  • If you see a situation that warrants slowing way down (e.g. a semi-truck going v-e-r-y s-l-o-w), do the same: hit your brakes and reach for your hazards at the same time


Mexico Road Safety Tips:

  • Generally, there is a disregard for etiquette on the road, so stay alert
  • "Camiones" (Mexican semi-trucks) drive fast and furious, as if they own the road, and will take up as much of the road as they can - let them have all the room they want 
  • Do NOT ever stop for broken-down motorists: this is a common trap set by bandits who plan to rob you (if the people are genuinely in need, assure yourself that a local or the Green Angels will stop to help, or call for help on their behalf). 
  • ALWAYS drive with insurance (if you are in a fatal accident, you may end up in jail, no matter whose "fault" it is; Mexican liability assumes the one who hits pays)


Ixtapa Airport Car Rental Scams & Advice

Tips for Getting Gas

  • Watch the pump the entire time your gas is being pumped
  • Make it very obvious to the attendant that youre watching! 
  • Here you are trying to avoid the common scam in which the attendant resets the pump to zero before telling you the price (overcharging you)
  • It's better to ask for a specific amount, in pesos, rather than asking for a fill
  • Also, be sure the pump as been reset to zero before the attendant starts pumping your gas

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Last Updated: 18 Aug 2023