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Car Rental in Mexico

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Car Rental in Mexico

When visiting Mexico, renting a car can be a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the country’s beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities. However, it’s important to understand the local driving laws and requirements to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Driving Laws and Requirements

In Mexico, you must be at least 25 years old to rent a car, although some rental companies may allow drivers as young as 21. You will need a valid driver’s license from your home country, and it’s a good idea to obtain an International Driving Permit to supplement your license.

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with Mexico’s traffic laws, which may differ from those in your home country. For example, in Mexico, the blood alcohol limit is lower than in the United States, and seat belts are mandatory for all passengers.

Choosing the Right Car

When renting a car in Mexico, consider the type of vehicle that best suits your needs. If you plan to explore rural areas or drive on unpaved roads, a 4×4 or SUV may be a better option than a compact car. Additionally, if you’re traveling with a group or have a lot of luggage, you may want to opt for a larger vehicle.

Insurance and Additional Fees

Before renting a car in Mexico, be sure to understand the insurance options offered by the rental company. While basic insurance is typically included in the rental price, additional coverage for things like theft and damage to the rental car may be available for an extra fee.

It’s also important to be aware of any additional fees that may apply, such as airport surcharges, drop-off charges for returning the car to a different location, and fees for adding additional drivers to the rental agreement.

Renting a car in Mexico can provide the freedom and flexibility to explore the country at your own pace. By understanding and adhering to local driving laws and requirements, choosing the right vehicle, and being aware of insurance and fees, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable driving experience during your visit to Mexico.

Rental Requirements

When renting a car in Mexico, there are a few requirements to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process.

Age Limits

The minimum age for renting a car in Mexico is typically 25 years old, although some rental companies may allow drivers as young as 21 to rent a car with an additional fee. The maximum age for renting a car varies by rental company, so it’s important to check with your chosen provider.

Driving License Requirements

To rent a car in Mexico, you will need a valid driver’s license from your home country. Some rental companies may also require an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to your local license. It’s also important to note that you must have held your license for a minimum duration, usually one to two years, depending on the rental company.


When picking up your rental car in Mexico, you will need to present several documents, including your passport, a valid credit card in the driver’s name for the security deposit, and any additional documentation required by the rental company. Be sure to have these documents on hand to avoid any delays in the rental process.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in Mexico, it’s important to understand the insurance options available to ensure a smooth and worry-free trip.

Basic Insurance

The basic insurance typically included in car rentals in Mexico includes Collision Damage Waiver, which covers damages to the rental vehicle, and Theft Protection, which covers the theft of the vehicle. It’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions of the basic insurance to understand any limitations or exclusions.

Additional Insurance

In addition to the basic insurance, there are options available for additional coverage. Personal Accident Insurance provides medical coverage for the driver and passengers in the event of an accident, while Supplemental Liability Insurance offers additional protection against third-party claims for property damage or bodily injury.

Insurance Tips

For travelers renting a car in Mexico, it’s recommended to check existing travel insurance policies to see if they already include coverage for rental cars. This can help avoid purchasing duplicate coverage and save on insurance costs. Additionally, it’s important to thoroughly inspect the rental car before driving off the lot and to document any existing damages to avoid potential disputes later on.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in Mexico

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: Driving is on the right side of the road in Mexico.
Speed Limits: The speed limit in urban areas is typically 40-60 km/h, 80-100 km/h on rural roads, and 110-120 km/h on highways.
Other Useful Info: Always carry your driver’s license and vehicle registration documents.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Only overtake on the left, and it is illegal to overtake on the right.
Lane Discipline: “Keep right except to overtake” rule applies on multi-lane roads.
Other Useful Info: Use of hazard lights is not allowed while driving.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: All front and rear passengers must wear seat belts.
Child Safety: Children under 12 must use a child safety seat, and it is recommended by weight as well.
Other Useful Info: It is illegal to smoke in a vehicle when a child under 18 is present.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless it is a hands-free device.
Other Useful Info: Using headphones or earphones while driving is also prohibited.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08%. Penalties for DUI/DWI are severe.
Zero Tolerance Policies: There are stricter rules for commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21.
Other Useful Info: Random alcohol testing by police is common, and refusal to take a breathalyzer test can result in arrest.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: Mexico has an extensive toll road network, and payment is usually in cash or card.
Congestion Charges: There are no urban congestion charges in Mexico.
Other Useful Info: Some rental cars come equipped with electronic toll tags for convenience.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are common, and vehicles inside the roundabout have the right of way.
Intersection Rules: Right of way is typically given to the vehicle on the right, and it is common to use hand signals for turning.
Other Useful Info: Traffic lights are often placed on the far side of intersections, so slow down when approaching one.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Headlights must be on from sunset to sunrise and during rain or reduced visibility.
Windshield Wiper Rule: It is required to turn on headlights when using wipers.
Other Useful Info: It is illegal to have tinted windows that block more than 30% of light.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: Pull over to the right and stop when an emergency vehicle is approaching with lights and sirens on.
Other Useful Info: It is illegal to pass an emergency vehicle that is attending an incident.

Driving Tips for Mexico

Road Conditions

In Mexico, road conditions can vary widely. While major highways and roads in popular tourist areas are generally well-maintained, rural roads can be rough and unpaved. It’s important to be prepared for different road conditions and drive cautiously.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

Urban driving in Mexico’s major cities can be fast-paced and congested, with heavy traffic and aggressive drivers. In contrast, rural driving may involve navigating narrow roads and encountering livestock on the road. It’s essential to adapt to different driving styles and road quality.

Navigational Tips

Using a GPS or maps can be incredibly helpful when driving in Mexico, especially in unfamiliar areas. However, it’s important to have a backup plan in case of connectivity issues or inaccurate directions. Familiarize yourself with the route beforehand and consider using offline maps.

Other Useful Tips

– Be aware of local traffic laws and regulations, including speed limits and road signs.
– Keep an eye out for topes (speed bumps) in residential areas and small towns.
– Stay vigilant and avoid driving at night in unfamiliar or remote areas.
– Consider renting a car with comprehensive insurance coverage to protect against unforeseen incidents.
– Familiarize yourself with local driving customs and etiquette to ensure a smooth driving experience in Mexico.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

Breakdown Procedures:

If you experience a breakdown while renting a car in Mexico, the first step is to safely pull over to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers, and then contact the rental company for assistance. They will provide guidance on the next steps to take, which may include waiting for a tow truck or arranging for a replacement vehicle.

Emergency Services:

In case of an emergency, it’s important to have the contact numbers for the police, ambulance, and roadside assistance readily available. The emergency number for police in Mexico is 911, while the general emergency number for all services is 066. Additionally, the rental company should provide a specific roadside assistance contact number for you to call in case of any issues with the vehicle.

Rental Company Policies:

Most rental companies in Mexico offer 24/7 roadside assistance as part of their service. This means that no matter what time of day or night you experience a breakdown or other issue, there will be someone available to help you. Some rental companies also provide towing services to transport the vehicle to a repair facility if needed. Before renting a car, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific policies and support offered by the rental company to ensure peace of mind during your trip.

Where can you Rent a Car in Mexico?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.