Driving in Mexico can be an excellent way to see the country, particularly for the US residents who want to travel across the border. If you want the freedom to explore the country’s natural beauty at your own pace and not depend on the strict schedule of public transportation, then do consider renting a car in Mexico. You must be at least 21 to 25 years to legally drive a rental car in Mexico. Foreign driver licenses are accepted in Mexico.
Prices and Cars
Although it tends to get expensive to rent a car for a longer period of time, renting a car is a good option to explore a particular region or want the freedom of creating your own schedule. The insurance is included in the price but the US insurance is not valid in Mexico. A credit card is required to rent a car in Mexico.
If you choose to rent a car when you arrive, remember that it tends to be more expensive to rent one at the airport than to rent it online. A good option is to take the public transportation to the hotel and rent the car from a downtown office. The smaller the car and the longer your rental period, the cheaper your rate will be. Choose a flat rate with unlimited mileage if you plan to drive for a longer period of time.
Prices aren’t seasonal in Mexico. During the entire year, expect to pay from US$46 per day for a compact car. If you want to explore the lesser known areas you Mexico, consider renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle. However, the rates vary from city to city and location to location.
Some of the car rental companies in Mexico include:
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Driving in Mexico
Although the toll roads require you to pay a tax, they are safer and better maintained than “Libre” roads. A plus for the toll roads is that you can always find clean bathrooms at most toll booths. Before planning to drive in Mexico, get an up-to-date driving map.
Tourists are always advised not to drive in Mexico at night. Statically, most accidents in Mexico occur at night, so you surely don’t plan to be in a statistic, do you? Most roads get oily and slippery when it rains, so avoid driving in such conditions. If the car isn’t equipped with one, get a first aid kid. Also, carry bottled water and some food supply with you.
If the car in front of you signals a left turn without the intention of actually turning, it means the road is clear and you can pass the car in front of you. An outstretched left arm also means it’s clear to pass. However, use your signals as you are used to it from home, but don’t assume the other drivers would do the same. Flashing hazards on the highway means that there is danger ahead and you must slow down immediately, allowing enough safe distance between you and the car in front.
An upcoming vehicle flashing its headlights means that you should slow down or pull over. The car which flashes has the right of way.
When you need to turn left, wait for the signal to show the arrow and then pass. Right turn on red is not ok, unless it is signaled otherwise.
When you drive in the mountains, on steep roads, the downhill traffic has the right of way over uphill traffic. But in either cases, use common sense and pay attention. Don’t assume you’ll be given the right of way.