a car is simple in Cancun as all the major car companies have locations
in the airport. Some also have offices downtown and in the Hotel
Zone. An economy car with air-conditioning, manual transmission,
and unlimited mileage begins at $50 a day or about $300 a week.
This does not include the 10% tax.
To rent, you must be at least 25 years old with a driver’s license
and a major credit card. Read the small print on your contract –
generally you are responsible for any damages (property, personal
or to the car) as well as loss of the vehicle. Before signing make
note of any dents or scratches. Mileage given will depend on the
individual company. You should also check to see what coverage your
personal auto-insurance policy and credit cards provide. Regardless
of any coverage you may have you must buy Mexican auto-liability
insurance. The fee for this insurance is usually included in the
cost of the car. Before leaving with your car make sure you have
of purchase for the insurance—driving without is against the law
and you will be held liable for all damages. If you are in an accident
without insurance you will be put in jail until proven innocent
or until you have paid for all damages. Note: Certain rental
cars (such as Nissan Tsurus) are targeted as easy prospects for
thieves. Never leave anything of value in the trunk of the car for
any extended period of time. If you return to your vehicle and experience
problems opening the trunk with your key, a thief has most likely
paid you a visit.
The main coastal highway extending from Cancun to Chetumal is Highway
307. From Cancun down to Xcaret this highway road is a well-lit,
four-lane highway with traffic lights. It is also is a very busy
stretch of road with many drivers commuting from Cancun to Playa
del Carmen. Defensive driving is a must. Past Xcaret, the road converts
to a well-maintained two-lane coastal highway until Chetumal. Past
Tulum traffic slows down considerably. Also at Tulum is another
main highway that goes inland to Cobá and then up north to Chichén
Itzá. Side roads off Highway 307 turn towards the beach or into
the jungle; their condition varies from pot-holed dirt tracks to
decent double lane roads. Highway 180 is the main highway from Cancun
to Mérida. This is known as the free road and passes through many
small villages. The speed bumps on the outskirts of the various
villages can slow you down considerably. There is also a toll road
that resembles a super highway. The full toll from Cancun to Mérida
is about $30.
All the road signs are in Spanish but are easily recognizable. Speed
limits are: 40 kph (25 mph) for downtown Cancun; 60 kph (40 mph)
in the Hotel Zone; 85 to 100 kph (55 to 75 mph) on the highway.
Watch for the speed bumps both in town and on the highway indicated
by the yellow signs with little mountains in them.