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How to Rent a Car in Cancun (Rental Companies, Tips & Prices)

Susan Laurent
Last Updated on
by Susan Laurent

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on renting a car in the enchanting Cancun. We’ll walk you through each step of the car rental process, recommend some reputable car rental companies, offer valuable tips for driving in this captivating destination, and much more.

Renting a car in Cancun is a process of 6 key steps, from reservation to car return, and involves being of age, having a driver’s license, a credit card, and Mexican car insurance.

In a rush? Check out the popular car rental companies & compare prices on -> Discover Cars <-

What are the Required Documents to Rent a Car in Cancun?

Renting a car in Cancun requires:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • Proof of age
  • Mexican car insurance
  • Credit card
Personal ID

Driving in Mexico requires a valid drivers license, and this rule applies to both citizens and tourists. The driver’s license must be written in Latin script; otherwise, tourists need an International Driving Permit (IDP), which translates the license into other languages.

Like many other places, Cancun has a minimum age limit for tourists who want to rent a car. Most rental companies mandate travelers to be at least 25 years old to be eligible to rent a car, while others allow renters to be as young as 18.

If you are a driver under the age of 25, you must pay “young driver fees.” This is because, under Mexican law, you are still considered a young driver with limited driving experience, so this is a way of paying compensation for the increased risk.

If you want to be financially supported in the event of an accident or damage, you must have Mexican car insurance; there’s no other way around it. Your home country’s car insurance policy, sadly, isn’t valid in Mexico. Mexican car insurance is offered by the rental companies themselves, making the procedure more simplified. We’ll explain more about what this Mexican car insurance specifically covers in a dedicated section below.

Last but not least, you must have your personal credit card. When you want to rent a car, the company wants to be sure they’ll get paid, so credit cards are a simple and quick way to ensure this payment. As an additional safety precaution, car rental companies typically require an upfront security deposit. This simply serves to pay any potential damages or unpaid costs. If all goes smoothly, the security deposit will be refunded once the rental arrangement is over.

How to Choose the Perfect Car Rental Company in Cancun

First things first — where can tourists find these car rental companies in Cancun?

The most convenient place is the airport. There’s a rent-a-car center that’s part of the airport complex, with lots of big-name companies and local options all in one spot. You can also find car rental offices around town. If you like to plan ahead, many of these rental companies let you book online through their websites.

The best car rental provider in Cancun is DiscoverCars. This is an online platform where users can search, compare, and book rental cars from all the major companies in the destination they plan to go to.

DiscoverCars has partnerships with a wide range of rental agencies around the world — international brands and local ones alike. This means that all the top-notch rental agencies in Cancun are listed here on DiscoverCars — waiting for you to make a choice.

To rent a car with DiscoverCars, you need to enter your pick-up and drop-off date, time, and location. Once done, DiscoverCars will show you the options available that fit your criteria. You can select from a variety of cars, ranging from economical to luxury, and add optional features such as GPS, snow chains, kid seats, and other extras to meet your specific needs.

Once you select your car, DiscoverCars will show you all charges and rental terms so you know exactly what you’re paying for. Plus, they offer the choice of paying half of the amount when you book and the rest when you pick up or paying the entire price when you book. If you change your mind, you have up to 48 hours to cancel the booked car rental.

DiscoverCars features all of the major car rental providers in Cancun, such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Economy Rent a Car, Enterprise, Europcar, Firefly, Flexways, GreenMotion, Hertz, Keddy, Mex Rent-a-Car, NU Car Rentals, National, Routes Car Rental, Sixt, and Thrifty.

The prices are the same as in the rental agencies, but sometimes you can get a great discount that’s even cheaper than booking directly with the rental company. Should you rent a car directly from the car rental company or find it easier with DiscoverCars, the choice is yours.

How to Choose a Mexican Car Insurance Company

As we already said, obtaining Mexican car insurance is mandatory by law, but there are several types of insurance, so which one should you pick?

Third-party liability insurance is the must-have insurance for all travelers, no exceptions. This insurance covers all the injuries and damages you may cause to other people or property in the event of an accident for which you are at fault.

There are, however, other insurances you can get in addition to the basic one. For example, collision insurance covers damages if your vehicle clashes with another vehicle or item. Comprehensive insurance covers repairs caused by theft, vandalism, animals, or natural disasters . Theft protection insurance protects you in the event that your vehicle is stolen. Medical insurance covers hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, and other medical expenditures incurred by you and your passengers in the event of an accident.

Our choice for the best type of insurance would be the full insurance coverage. It’s essentially a coverage with all the insurances rolled into one, so instead of purchasing separate policies, you’ll have only one that will protect you from every possible incident there is.

Full coverage insurance comes at a higher price — anywhere from $25 to $70 a day. On the other hand, purchasing basic liability insurance starts at $20 a day. Collision insurance is $10, comprehensive coverage is $15, theft insurance is about $15, and medical insurance starts at $5.

What is the best insurance option for you depends solely on how much “peace of mind” you want to have on your vacation. If you think basic coverage is enough and don’t need full coverage, you’re not alone — many tourists go with the mandatory option. But if you don’t mind paying more, then don’t think twice and go with the full coverage option. It’s all about what suits you and your budget.

Signing the Agreement: Things to Be Mindful Of


Up until this point, we’ve talked about the important steps you need to take prior to signing the rental agreement, and those were — picking your ideal car rental company, car, and Mexican car insurance.

From this point on, all you need to do is make sure you arrive at the exact date you agreed upon to sign the rental agreement and take your car. Now, before you do that, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind to avoid misunderstandings, extra fees, or other issues.

First and foremost, do a thorough inspection of the car beforehand to look for scratches, dents — any kind of damage really. If you notice anything, take pictures as proof the damage was done before you started using the car. You also want to notify the rental company’s staff so you aren’t held accountable for damage that you haven’t done when you return the car.

Once you are all done with the inspection, it’s time to sign the rental agreement. Don’t sign anything until you are fully familiar with all the terms and conditions on that document — this is very important to remember. If you don’t understand something from the contract, ask the company to clarify to ensure there are no extra fees, rules, or obligations that take you by surprise later.

All good? The car is in good shape and the agreement is clear. Then sign, take your keys, and let your road trip begin.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Car Rentals in Cancun

Now that your car is ready to go, it’s time to head toward your first destination.

The crucial Mexican driving laws to remember are:

  • You always drive on the right side of the road
  • Never drive while intoxicated
  • Always have your driver’s license, passport, car rental agreement, and proof of insurance with you
  • Using the phone while driving is against the law
  • Driving without a seatbelt is forbidden
  • Children need to be in a child safety seat
  • You must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers
  • Use your turn signal when overtaking another vehicle

To get from point A to point B, use GPS navigation — this is a must. You are driving in a foreign land so knowing how to use navigation is very important if you don’t want to get lost. We recommend downloading Google Maps, HERE WeGo, Maps.me, or Sygic — these are top-notch smartphone apps that work spotlessly even when you don’t have an internet connection. If you have GPS navigation on your car — even better!

This is something we all know but it doesn’t hurt to repeat: be aware of speed limits and road signs. Speed bumps are very common on Mexican roads, and some of them are unmarked. Also, some roads may have potholes. Keep these things in mind when you drive.

Another thing to be mindful of while driving is wildlife, especially near jungles or coastal regions. If you see wildlife crossing your path, slow down, pull the brakes, and patiently wait until the animals safely cross the street. Don’t horn as you may scare them to do something unexpected, like attacking you. This can be dangerous, especially if the animal is bigger.

Always check your fuel anytime you approach a gas station. Even if you aren’t running low on fuel, it’s better to keep your tank relatively full, as some places may have limited gas stations. Don’t fill up the tank by yourself as you would in the U.S. — Mexico rarely has self-service options at gas stations. Employees will do the fuelling for you, and oftentimes clean your windshield and check your oil and tire pressure.

Learning basic Spanish will help you blend in. Yes, many people in tourist areas understand English, but not all of them, so knowing a few basic Spanish words and phrases will help you get around, especially in remote areas. And last but not least, be polite and patient with other drivers. Road rage in a foreign country is never a good idea, especially in Mexico.

End of the Rental Agreement & Returning the Car

When your road trip extravaganza approaches its end, fill up the tank with fuel and drop off the car on the agreed date.

Once you arrive at the rental company’s offices, the staff will inspect the vehicle for any additional damages. If everything is in order, they’ll give you a document proving you’ve returned the car, plus, they’ll return the money they’ve initially held from your credit card for security reasons.

All done! Save the document that proves you returned the car, thank the company for their services, and bid them farewell.

Is Cancun Safe for Renting a Car?

Car Rental

Yes, Cancun is a safe destination to visit  and rent a car at. Still, being cautious goes a long way in a foreign country.

Car theft, for example, can be a problem in several parts of Mexico, including Cancun. When parking, pick secure parking spots, and never leave valuables inside your car. It’s a good idea to book a hotel or rental apartment that includes a parking spot so you’ll always know your car is safe and sound.

Roaming around town is safer and more convenient if done during the day. Cancun can get a little chaotic at night time, you may stumble upon intoxicated drivers, or even police chasing criminals. So, to maximize your safety, plan your car journeys during the day and leave your car to rest at night.

If you like to visit nearby destinations like Playa Del Carmen or Tulum, make sure you travel on the main toll roads, also known as “cuotas.” These roads are considered safer as there are increased police patrols that will assist you in case of danger. In the event of an emergency, dial 911 for police and 078 for tourist help.

Are Car Rental Scams in Cancun True?

Many car rental scams appear in the form of false online advertising. It goes something like this: the company will list a super low price, like $4 or $5 to rent a car and trick customers into thinking that’s the total cost of the rental. However, little do they know that Mexican insurance, taxes, and fees aren’t included in the pricing. They rush to grab the deal thinking: “Great, it doesn’t get cheaper than this,” but when they arrive to pick up their vehicle, they realize they’ve signed an agreement that involves far more fees than what was initially mentioned on the website.

This is why — and we mentioned this earlier — it’s very important to carefully read the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

Some car rental companies will also try to falsely accuse you of damage you didn’t do on the car, only to take more money from you. However, if you take pictures of how the car looks before you use it, as we advised, you can’t be blamed for something you can prove you haven’t done!

Lastly, make sure you thoroughly investigate your car rental company of choice before you commit — check out their rating, read the customers’ comments, and look for review articles. This is where you’ll see if the rental company is as reliable as they appear to be.

In a rush? Check out the popular car rental companies & compare prices on -> Discover Cars <-

Renting a Car in Other Mexican Cities

About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
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