Exploring Mexico by Hire Car
Mexico is making headlines. The drug war in the country is escalating. Again and again is to be read of shootings with numerous deaths.
This keeps many tourists from a round trip with a hire car. Unjustly, we think. With a healthy amount of caution, the country can be explored
If you follow our tips, you can limit many of the possible dangers. Inform yourself before departure also at the Foreign Office about the current situation.
Taking over the hire car
Most travelers to Mexico arrive in the country via the international airports in Cancun and Mexico City. In Mexico City, you’ll find plenty of hire car agencies in Terminal 1 or just outside it. And in Cancun, many hire car agencies are also located on the airport grounds.
Before you hire car, however, you should make sure that your rental company also has its office at the airport. If it is only located near the airport, you may have to wait a long time for a shuttle to take you to the rental station.
Hire car prices
Hire car prices in Mexico tend to be in the mid-range. You can often snag a good deal if you book well in advance of your trip and use our handy price comparison tool.
hire car price comparison Mexico
Insuring the car properly
It is certainly no understatement to describe the driving style of the Mexicans as fiery. It doesn’t take long for an accident to happen.
Safeguard yourself and book a hire car with fully comprehensive insurance with no excess.
You must be 21 years old with many rental companies to get a hire car in Mexico. And numerous hire car companies charge drivers younger than 25 extra. Drivers who are older than 70 will also miss out with some providers. Find out your hire car company’s terms and conditions before booking.
Also in Mexico you always have to order accessories like child seats or navigation equipment separately. Find out in good time so that the desired equipment is also available when you take over the car.
In Mexico, you may well find that staff at a hire car station speak only Spanish. You may find it helpful to write down the phone number of your rental company’s Mexican headquarters. With luck, you’ll find a staff member there who speaks English and can act as an interpreter.
In sprawling Mexico, you will cover a lot of miles in a hire car. Better rent a hire car right away with all the kilometers free to enjoy the ride without any worries.
Some rental companies offer a questionable service to their customers. For a service fee, the first tank of gas can be purchased at the time of rental. You then return the car with an empty tank.
But since you’ll never manage to drive the car completely empty, with this option you’ll pay not only the service fee but also the gas that’s still in the tank when you return the car. Rather, book with a rental company where you pick up the car with a full tank and return it with a full tank.
Before renting the car, find out if your hire car company will charge the deposit due to your credit card, or just block it. If the amount is debited, it can take a long time for the money to be transferred back after the car is returned.
If the deposit is only blocked, the amount is available again immediately. Before you book the car, make sure your card’s credit line is sufficient to cover the deposit.
Customer Satisfaction Hire Car
Although most customers are quite satisfied with hire car locations in Mexico, some do complain that on the spot they tried to sell you additional insurance. Make sure your hire car is adequately insured at the time of booking and then consistently refuse to sign any additional contracts.
The exterior condition of hire cars sometimes leaves something to be desired as well. Have all scratches and dents confirmed in writing in a damage report. Only in this way can you avoid being held responsible on the day of the vehicle return for defects that you have not caused at all.
Safety Hire Car
Most hire cars in Mexico are perfectly safe to drive, but there are exceptions. Before your first drive, test the car’s lights. Don’t forget brake lights and turn signals, too.
Check the oil level and the tread of the tires. Also check that there are first-aid kits and safety vests on board. While you’re still in the rental company’s parking lot, do a little brake test. And test at the first petrol station whether the tyre pressure is sufficient.
Safety tips Mexico
The north is taboo
The drug war is escalating, especially in the northern parts of the country. Shootings in the cities happen all the time. So avoid the north of the country and rather visit the south.
At night, keep the car in the garage
At night, robberies are common, often fatal. Plan your trips so that you are always at your hotel well before nightfall.
Do not resist when robbed
Always comply immediately with the perpetrators’ demands when robbed. The gangs are usually armed and will make use of a firearm if you resist. Passport and money are replaceable, your life is not.
Take as few valuables as possible
Even a camera represents a huge value to many Mexicans. So it’s better to take the small camera with you on your trip and leave your high-tech gadget at home. Your wallet should primarily contain traveller’s cheques and credit card. Both can be blocked by phone in the event of a robbery.
The small hire car is the best choice
From the tense security situation also comes the choice of hire car. Small and inconspicuous should be the car. That way, you won’t attract the attention of potential malefactors in the first place.
The authorities must be obeyed
Not only criminals, but also the police in Mexico are not exactly squeamish and often corrupt. So it is not worth to argue with an officer about the fine, even if it is obviously unfounded. Pay the amount to avoid having to make acquaintance with a Mexican jail.
Traffic Rules Mexico
Mexico has a fairly good road network on the main routes, but potholes must be expected on the secondary routes.
The highways here are all toll roads. The fee also acts as insurance for the route paid, so hold on to your ticket.
There are only government petrol stations without self-service and the network is not comprehensive. So when driving overland, it’s best to always make sure your tank is at least half full.
An international driving licence is not required, but recommended.
The 0.8 promille limit applies everywhere in Mexico.
The fines vary from state to state. The “Reglamento de Tránsito” lists all offenses and associated fines.
Police have the right to withhold license plates, vehicle registration and driver’s license until the fine is paid. Cars that are parked incorrectly will be towed away, or have their license plates removed, fairly quickly.
Similar traffic rules apply as in Europe. Speed limits are 40 km/h in cities and 80 km/h is allowed on rural roads.
The limit on motorways is 110 km/h. Please note that the local hire car company will charge additional processing fees for traffic violations.
Suggestion for a trip by hire car
Mexico City: Hold your breath
At the airport you can pick up the key for your hire car. Our first tip. Leave the car in the garage.
Take the subway or a taxi into the city and drive your hire car at most wide around it. Mexico City is a shock, with 25 million people crowding the streets.
Add to that more than three million cars. The thin high-altitude air – Mexico City sits at 2,240 metres above sea level – combined with the perpetual smog, ensures that many a newcomer suffers health problems. So take your city stroll slowly.
Perhaps visit one of the city’s parks first, such as Parque Alameda in the centre of town. Once you’ve acclimatized a bit, it’s time to take in Mexico City. Visit the Palacio Nacional, the seat of the president, or have your first encounter with Aztec culture at the Templo Mayor.
There are endless things to discover in Mexico City. But the flâneur who doesn’t just tick off the sights will experience the most. Let yourself drift, enjoy life, sit down a café or enjoy the fiery Mexican cuisine with a visit to a restaurant. This is the best way to get a taste of the country’s lifestyle.
Acapulco: The journey begins
Mexico City is now behind you and you board your hire car. You might get lucky and get a classic VW Beetle, which was still built in Mexico until just a few years ago. At the airport, the real road trip begins.
From the highlands, you’ll head to the coast. Acapulco is the next destination In about four and a half hours you are there. Acapulco attracts with dreamlike beaches and is not called the pearl of the Caribbean for nothing. At the same time, Acapulco is also a city with 1.5 million inhabitants.
The tourist can expect countless restaurants, lots of beach fun and also a nightlife that can be seen. A tourist must is a visit to the rock jumpers of Acapulco. Young men throw themselves from 35 meter high cliffs into the sea. Many rocks are waiting at the bottom. A small mistake during the jump can be fatal.
Oaxaca: The past catches up with you
Leave the holiday El Dorado behind you now and dive into the Mexican past. In Oaxaca, which you will reach in seven and a half hours, the last destination of this road trip, the colonial heritage comes to life. The downtown area is protected as a historic monument and is reminiscent of Spain in olden times.
Enjoy the relaxation after the exciting metropolises of Mexico City and Acapulco. And book a special hotel. The Camino Real is one of Mexico’s most beautiful hotels and takes guests back to a bygone era. Formerly a convent, this hostel is now known for elegance and a very special atmosphere.
Monte Albán and Mitla: Mexican Heritage
Near Oaxaca are several historic sites worth visiting. Monte Albán, about 12 km from Oaxaca, was the capital of the Zapotecs. The site has been considered settled since the 8th century BC. In 1987, it was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Also worth visiting is Mitla, about 44 km from Oaxaca. 200 after Christ the oldest still existing buildings were built. Archaeologists assume, however, that the place was already inhabited in 500 BC. Especially the ornaments on the palace walls inspire culture enthusiasts from all over the world.
This is where this road trip ends. But the fascinating Mexico has infinitely more to offer.
With a little sense of adventure, Mexico is easy to explore by hire car. Before the trip, you should only carefully study the safety instructions of the Foreign Office.
With our practical price comparison you will always find a suitable hire car at a reasonable price.