Home » Mexico » How to Rent a Car in Cozumel (Rental Companies, Tips & Prices)

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

Susan Laurent
Last Updated on
by Susan Laurent

If you’re new to renting a car in Mexico , specifically on the charming island of Cozumel, you’re likely to have a myriad of questions swirling in your mind.

Is it safe? Where are these car rental spots located? Are there potential scams to watch out for? In this guide, we’ll provide answers to these questions and more!

All in all, renting a car in Cozumel can be done in six steps: Choosing a car rental company, picking a car model, selecting Mexican car insurance, picking up the car, signing the agreement, and returning the car.

Let’s walk you through each step one by one to ensure you have a smooth experience. At the very end, we also share useful tips for driving on the island.

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

Can You Rent a Car in Cozumel?

Yes, Tourists are allowed to rent cars in Cozumel. The requirements are that you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, carry Mexican car insurance, and have enough funds to cover your rental expenses.

Is Renting a Car in Cozumel Safe?

Yes, renting a car in Cozumel is safe. The island has a plethora of reputable car rental companies known for their excellent ratings, profound service, and well-maintained vehicles.

Cozumel, overall, is one of the safest destinations to visit in Mexico and has exceptionally low crime rates. There’s rarely any road traffic, and the main highway offers stunning sea views. Most streets are one-way, and road signs are in both English and Spanish. You’ll find several gas stations scattered across the island, accepting Mexican pesos, US dollars, and credit cards.

All in all, the driving conditions on the island are good, so as long as you drive responsibly, you’ll have little to no reason for concern.

Car Rental

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Car in Cozumel?

Renting a car in Cozumel is affordable, starting at around $25 per day. You’ll find various car models to choose from, each with its own set of advantages. Smaller, fuel-efficient cars are the cheapest, perfect for solo travelers or small groups exploring towns.

On the other hand, larger cars, SUVs, and vans are more expensive, ranging from $50 to $270 per day. If you’re traveling with family or like to discover remote beaches and hidden gems on the island, go for a more spacious vehicle that can handle off-road areas.

Can You Get Scammed When Renting a Car in Cozumel?

Absolutely. When renting a car in Cozumel, particularly online, be wary of scams. Some websites may tempt you with incredibly low prices, like $4 per day. However, this isn’t the total cost of renting a car but rather a marketing ploy to attract budget-conscious travelers.

So, if you stumble upon a super low rental price advertisement, don’t fall for the trap. Always be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. Research the rental company, read reviews, and don’t commit until you’re certain about the total cost of the car.

How to Rent a Car in Cozumel

  1. Picking a car rental company
  2. Selecting a car
  3. Choosing the Mexican car insurance that fits your needs
  4. Picking up the car on the agreed-upon pick-up date
  5. Signing the agreement
  6. Returning the car on the agreed-upon drop-off date

Step 1: Choosing a Car Rental Company

Car Rental

The top car rental companies in Cozumel are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Mex-Rent-A-Car.

You can check their services, car models, pick-up locations, insurance options, and prices on their respective websites. You can make a reservation online, so you’ll have a car ready for you the moment you step foot in Cozumel.

If you’re feeling indecisive about what car rental company is best for you, we have another suggestion — DiscoverCars. This is our favorite option.

DiscoverCars is an online rental platform with partnerships with all the rental companies we just mentioned, neatly listing their cars, prices, and services in one place, which simplifies your decision-making process.

Give it a try: visit their website, specify your pick-up and drop-off locations along with the date and time you need the car, and DiscoverCars will display all your options for your Cozumel trip. Plus, there are no hidden fees, and the prices are usually the same as when you book a car straight from the car rental company. Better yet, it may be even cheaper, especially if you stumble upon a discount.

Ultimately, this step requires a bit of research, so make sure you learn a bit more about each rental company and look at their review ratings before you make a decision.

Our top recommendation for car rental service in cozumel is -> Discover Cars <-

Step 2: Choosing a Car

Selecting a Car

Rental companies offer a wide range of car options, including economy, compact, mid-size, full-size, SUVs, luxury, convertibles, minivans, electric, or hybrid cars.

Each category caters to a different kind of driving experience. To name a few, SUV supports driving on different terrains, so they are a good choice for off-road trips. Economic cars are smaller and fuel-efficient. Minivans are spacious, great for larger families and longer journeys. Luxury cars have top-of-the-line amenities, ideal for special occasions and business trips. Electric cars run on batteries and are a good choice for environmentally conscious travelers.

Before you make a decision, think about your budget, how many additional passengers there will be with you, where you want to drive, how much luggage you carry, and how comfortable you want to be. Once you have a clear idea of your budget and needs, it will be much easier to pick your ideal car.

Our top recommendation for car rental service in cozumel is -> Discover Cars <-

Step 3: Picking a Mexican Car Insurance

Car Insurance

In Mexico, you must have Mexican car insurance. Your insurance from your home country won’t work there. The good news is that you can get Mexican car insurance from the rental company when you go to pick up your car. 

When you’re at the rental office, they’ll offer you different insurance options that cover various accident situations. Trying to go over all these policies on the spot may be too overwhelming, which is why we mention this step here — it’s simply a better idea to learn about these insurance types beforehand and make an informed decision once you’re there.

The main car insurance options are:

  • Third-party liability insurance (~$20): It covers the damage you cause to other people or their property
  • Collision insurance (~$10): This pays for repairs to your car if you crash into something
  • Comprehensive insurance (~$15): It covers damage from vandalism, animals, and natural disasters
  • Theft protection insurance (~$15): This will have you covered if your car is stolen
  • Medical insurance (~$5): It pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident
  • Full-insurance coverage (from $25 to $70): This combines all these coverages into one comprehensive policy

The first choice, third-party liability insurance, is a legal requirement. However, this policy only covers damage to others, not your car or yourself. So, if you want more protection, you can purchase additional policies, which adds to the overall price. For example, if you also want to insure the car you’re renting, you can purchase collision insurance, in which case the overall price for the insurance would be around $30 (third-party liability + collision).

Our recommendation is to go for the full insurance coverage. Yes, you may need to pay more, but it’s better to be fully protected in case of an accident.

Step 4: Arriving to Pick up the Car

Car Pick Up

When tourists want to rent a car, they usually book ahead of time to arrange the pick-up location, date, and time. If you show up at the rental office, the rental company will still help you, but you’ll have to pick from the cars available at that time. This might limit your choices.

Once you’re at the rental car place to pick up your car, you’ll sit down with the rental company representatives to go through all the necessary paperwork — they’ll verify your driver’s license, and proof of age, and sort out the insurance and payment details. Then the rental staff will give you a quick tour of the car, explaining how everything works.

Before they hand you the car keys, you and the rental staff will inspect the car together to check for any existing damage. It’s really important to be thorough and take pictures of any issues you find so that you’re not blamed or charged for them later.

If everything’s in order, the next step would be to sign the rental agreement.

Step 5: Signing the Rental Agreement

Signing the Car Rental Agreement

When you sign a car rental agreement, you are entering into a legally binding contract with the car rental company. This agreement specifies the terms and conditions for renting the car, which include:

  • Rental Dates: The agreement specifies when you can pick up and drop off the rental
  • Payment: You agree to pay for the rental, plus taxes, fuel, and insurance
  • Car Condition: It describes how the car looks when you get it. You must return it in the same condition.
  • Mileage: It might limit how far you can drive or charge extra if you go over
  • Return Instructions: Explains where and when to bring the car back. You must follow these instructions to avoid extra fees.
  • Driver Details: You have to share information about the main driver and any additional drivers
  • Fuel Policy: Tells you if you need to return the car with a full gas tank or if they’ll charge you for the gas you used
  • Cancellation Rules: It explains what happens if you need to cancel and if there are any fees
  • Follow the Law: You promise to follow all traffic laws when driving the rental car

This is an overview of the main terms and conditions usually included in a car rental agreement, however, remember that rental companies can have their own special rules. It’s really important to read and make sure you understand everything before you put your signature on it. If you’re not sure about something, don’t hesitate to ask the rental company for assistance.

Step 6: End of the Agreement

Returning the Rented Car

The rental agreement ends on the date when you need to drop off the car. Be careful not to return the car later than the agreed-upon time, because the company may charge you for that. Also, make sure you fill the tank with the amount specified in the rental agreement.

When you drop off the car, there will be a representative from the company who will take your keys and inspect the car for wear and tear. If there are scratches or other damage to the car, the company will charge you for it. If the damage hasn’t been done by you, this is the moment when you can use the pictures we advised you to take at the very beginning as proof that you aren’t accountable for any wear and tear.

Once the inspection is completed, the company will issue you a confirmation receipt that you have returned the rental. Keep this confirmation receipt and a copy of your rental agreement for possible future reference. Double-check the overall cost of the rental and ensure that all the payments are settled.

Top Driving Rules in Cozumel

Knowing the local driving laws is even more important than understanding how car renting works in Mexico. These rules are in place to keep everyone safe on the road. So, when you get your rental car in Cozumel, remember to:

  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol
  • Keep your driver’s license, passport, car rental agreement, and proof of insurance with you at all times
  • Stay on the right side of the road
  • Respect speed limits, road signs, and signals
  • Fasten your seatbelt
  • Don’t use your phone
  • Secure children in safety seats
  • Activate your turn signal when passing another vehicle
  • Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
  • Don’t offer rides to hitchhikers

These are the top driving rules you need to respect, but you can always read a bit more about Mexico’s driving laws and road safety so you have an even better idea of what to expect there.

Tips & Tricks for a Smooth Ride in Cozumel

The following are basic precautions you can take to enhance your Cozumel driving experience.

  • Choose a hotel with included parking, as that is safer for the rental
  • The island has only three gas stations, so it’s convenient to plan to refill your tank ahead of time
  • Try to avoid driving at night
  • Be polite with other drivers
  • Stick to well-lit streets, main roads, and highways
  • Use GPS navigation to stay on track
  • Be patient with wildlife crossing the road
  • Watch out for speed bumps
  • Learn some basic Spanish for communication
  • Parking on the main streets is metered
  • Many downtown roads are one-way
  • Parking on red curbs isn’t allowed
  • “ALTO” means stop, and “E” with a slash means no parking

Is Renting a Car in Cozumel Worth It?

Yes, renting a car in Cozumel is worth it if you value your freedom and convenience, and especially if you want to explore beyond the main town. You can discover hidden gems, archaeological sites, and off-the-beaten-path locations on the island. Plus, at just $25 per day, it is more cost-effective than paying for taxis and way more convenient than waiting for or dealing with crowded buses.

If you rent a car, here are some of the opportunities it can unlock for you on the island:

  • Visit Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park, located approximately 9km (~ 5.5mi) south of San Miguel, the main town on the island
  • Check out Punta Sur Eco Park situated at the southern tip of Cozumel
  • Explore the ancient San Gervasio Mayan Ruins, located in the interior of Cozumel, approximately 10km (~ 6mi) northeast of the main town
  • Sunbathe on the popular Playa Palancar beach on the western coast of Cozumel, Mexico, approximately 15km (~ 9mi) south of the main town
  • Purchase locally harvested pearls at the Cozumel Pearl Farm, situated on the eastern coast of the island
  • Explore the island’s historical haciendas, such as Hacienda Antigua and Hacienda San Lorenzo
  • Take a dive at the beautiful natural sinkholes called Cenote de los Jaguares on the eastern side of the island

On the flip side, renting a car in Cozumel might not be the best choice if you’re staying within the main town or focusing on activities within walking distance. Also, if you aren’t comfortable driving in foreign cities, or plan to party and drink alcohol, then spare yourself the hassle and don’t drive.

Lastly, if you want to keep things budget-friendly, keep in mind that renting is slightly more expensive than exploring the island with a bus, bike, or on foot.


Before we bid you farewell, let’s sum up everything we learned from this guide.

For a tourist to rent a car in Cozumel, they have to be of age, have a valid driving license, Mexican car insurance, and a credit card.

The procedure of renting a car in Cozumel consists of six key steps:

  1. Picking a car rental company
  2. Selecting a car
  3. Choosing the Mexican car insurance that fits your needs
  4. Picking up the car on the agreed-upon pick-up date
  5. Signing the agreement
  6. Returning the car on the agreed-upon drop-off date

The rental may cost you as little as $25 or as much as $270 per day, depending on what type of vehicle you pick. Also, if you cause any damage to the car, that will cost you extra.

Be wary of online advertisements with rental deals as low as $4 because they are simply marketing strategies that hide the extra fees like taxes, insurance, etc.

Drive responsibly and in accordance with the law. Have a great time in Cozumel!

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.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *