Car Rental Playa del Carmen

Car Rentals in Playa del Carmen

One of the most common questions prospective visitors to Mexico ask is, “Should I rent a car in Mexico?” Now, there are certainly some areas of the country where you would most likely be better off relying on taxis and public transportation (Mexico City comes to mind). In the Riviera Maya region and the city of Playa del Carmen, however, a rental car is highly recommended for most visitors. That’s because, although the actual city is small and pedestrian friendly, there are many day trip opportunities that are a short drive from the city, and the most convenient way to get to these destinations is with your own vehicle. For anyone who wants to see any of the magnificent Mayan ruins in the area, or spend a fun day at the Xcaret National Park, a rental car in Playa del Carmen is a great and affordable option.

How to rent a car in Playa del Carmen

In theory, you could wait until you land in Cancun and rent a car from the airport, but as a general rule it’s better to plan your car rental in advance. That way, you can get in and out the door quickly, and you’ll have a clear idea of what you will be paying and what that fee includes before you even arrive. There are many rental car agencies in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding areas, some with offices at the airport and others which offer a courtesy pick-up and drop-off service.

One important note about rental car companies in Mexico: often you’ll see names of rental companies you recognize from the US, but the offices operating in Mexico have usually just franchised the name and aren’t actually working under the company you’re familiar with. Personally, this seems a little deceptive to me, and my recommendation is to research a good, locally owned and operated Playa del Carmen car rental company instead.

By far the biggest source of confusion and frustration for tourists renting a car in Mexico is insurance: what do you need, and what’s optional? In Playa del Carmen and everywhere else in Mexico, you are required by law to have “liability supplement insurance”, which is basically third-party coverage to protect other people in case you cause damage or injury.

They won’t give you a rental car without it, and you basically have to get this coverage through the rental car company to be sure that it’s valid. Any other type of insurance is optional, although the agency may try to sell you on something called “collision damage waiver”. In most cases, your credit card company offers CDW for free, but you HAVE to decline CDW from the rental company to get it. Double check with your credit card provider, and always read the fine print on your rental agreement. If you’re not sure what’s covered, just ask!

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