You've heard all of the rumors and stories about renting a car. But here are some FACTS to help you make your decision. There is so much to see and do outside of Playa del Carmen, that I still think it's worth it. But DO NOT rent a car to drive around the city of Playa de Carmen. The streets are mostly one way, narrow, and not always marked well. Parking can be extremely limited and confusing. We have reserved parking right outside our condo, but within the City, it's much more challenging. If you do end up parking in Playa del Carmen, here are some tips on using the app for the meters.

The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
Parking in Playa Del Carmen Garages and Laws
Parking in Playa Del Carmen is getting a little harder with more and more hotels, restaurants and businesses opening in the downtown and luring in so many tourist. If you are staying outside of Playa Del Carmen and want a night on the town or are using a car in Playa then you will need to know where to park for convenience.

The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
Here's my account of my car accident in Riviera Maya. About...
Here's my account of my car accident in Riviera Maya. About 10 years ago I was on the highway northbound in heavy traffic, heading to the airport to leave, and a small Isuzu truck behind me didn't stop in time. A cop came to the site, interviewed...

The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
Beware of This Car Rental Insurance Gotcha in Mexico - AutoSlash
Last Updated on June 30, 2021 by Michael Car rental rates in Mexico can be so low that they're practically free. Seriously, we've seen weekly rates in the single digits in resort cities like Cancun. But as with everything in life, there's no such thing as a free almuerzo.

When renting a car, I strongly suggest you check the lights (headlights, blinkers, brake lights) during your rental walk through, if there are any lights out, tell them you want a different car. These are commonly overlooked and could result in being pulled over by a cop.

The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
Renting a car in Playa Del Carmen -tips and information
Renting cars on vacation is a common thing to do so you can get around and see more off the resort and out of town. However when renting in a foreign country there are particularities and irregularities that happen.

Buying fuel

  • Pemex is no longer the only gas stations in Mexico. BP, Exxon, Arco and others are now breaking into this market. You will start to see better pricing and other competitive measures.
  • There are no self serve pumps in Mexico. Service people who will do this for you. You're supposed to just sit in the car and wait but stay alert and read the scam alert below.
  • You tip these guys around $5-10 pesos. If you ask for another service like your windscreen washed, tires or oil checked, then you should tip them another $5 pesos on top. If they do it without you asking, it's up to you whether you want to pay or not.
  • SCAM alert - make sure that the service person zeros out the pump before fueling. Or you may be charged more than you should be.
  • There are other scams at the gas station. Here's a good list and how to avoid them
The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
How to avoid scams at Pemex gas stations in Mexico
Pemex is the gas station here. It is the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, created in 1938 by nationalized petroleum. The good thing is, all gas stations are Pemex and have the same price, so no having to shop around for the best deal. However there are some crafty scams at Pemex gas stations in Mexico.

The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
5 Gas Station Scams to Watch Out for in Mexico
Gas station scams are not uncommon in Mexico and they seem to happen more frequently to unsuspecting tourists. In this video, Qroo Paul explains the five mos...

The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
Watch Out for the National Guard When Driving in Mexico
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The ins and outs of renting a car in Mexico.
Visiting Mexico: Tips to Follow When Encountering a Police Checkpoint
The police checkpoint is definitely one of Mexican law enforcement's favorite crime-fighting tools. In fact, it's not uncommon to see permanent police checkpoints on major roadways leading in and out of cities and towns (like the one in the main photo).

How to handle a stop by the Police. In my experience, if you're following the speed limits and doing all of the right things, you won't be pulled over. But, here's a measure that may work, just in case. I've never tried this yet and hope I won't need it.

Toll Roads

There are two tolls roads you will encounter between Quintana Roo State and Yucatan State. These are the 180 that runs from Cancun to Merida and the 305 which connects Playa Del Carmen to the 180.

Tolls must be paid in pesos. There is no ATM and they do not accept credit cards. So be prepared with cash. A round trip can involve a couple hundred pesos in tolls. Toll operators always have change.

There are alternatives to the two toll roads but these will take you much longer to get to where you want to. Only if you want the scenic route with lots of topes (speed bumps), take the local route.

What to do when you car breaks down while driving in Mexico

The first thing you should do is call your rental car company. If you have an emergency and you are on a main road. you can call 911 for the emergency services (yes 911 is for most things in Mexico, not just super important emergencies). However there is an organization called the Green Angels that drives the roads and provides free services to stranded motorist. If you are stuck on a main road, put your hood up as a sign of trouble. If you want to call them directly their number is 01-55-5250-8221. English is most likely spoken as well as Spanish.

In most small towns there usually is someone that is a mechanic but you most likely will need to speak Spanish and ask around.

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