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Cancun Travelers Urged To Be Cautious Of This Worrying Rental Issue

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For many travelers visiting Cancun, the joy of renting a vehicle and exploring the Mexican Caribbean is too good an opportunity to pass up.

The freedom that a rental brings to a vacation is liberating while also bringing potential savings on travel to those who like to pack as much into one trip as possible.

However, a recent report from ‘The Association of Vehicle Rental Companies in Quintana Roo, the state home to Cancun, has highlighted a worrying new issue for travelers to be aware of.

a car on a street in quintana roo on a sunny day

Irregular Rentals

More than 20 irregular rental companies have been identified in Cancun alone, providing vehicles to travelers that are uninsured, incorrectly licensed, and unregulated in terms of safety and minimum operating standards.

This is a situation that travelers should be extremely cautious of, as if stopped by the police, there is a possibility of high fines and potential legal action due to a long list of driving infractions associated with these irregular rentals.

cancun road

Requirements In Mexico

When renting a vehicle in Mexico, there are, of course, a few criteria that travelers must meet.

Firstly, the law states that vehicles can only be rented to those between the ages of 21 and 75. However, many rental companies operate their own internal policy that travelers must be a minimum of 25 years old.

Some companies will still rent to those between the ages of 21-24, although this usually comes at a premium cost.

Additionally, travelers must also hold a full driver’s license in their own country. And for those arriving from nations where driver’s licenses are written in anything other than Latin characters, e.g., Japanese, Cyrillic, Hebrew. Then, an international driving permit will be required by the rental company.

woman holding up a drivers license in a car on a sunny day

Tips For Renting

Even when renting from reputable car hire companies, travelers need to be aware of a few key points that can help keep the process smooth and problem-free.


One of the most important things to do is inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Most rental companies will do a walk-around with the vehicle and make a note of any existing scratches, dents, or marks.

During this walkthrough, make sure to do your own inspection, as anything missed during this time that is discovered when returning the vehicle will be charged to the traveler.

Avis Rental Car Location


Another aspect of renting a car in Mexico that is often highlighted in the many travel forums associated with this topic is the upselling of insurance by rental companies.

Proper insurance is, of course, a necessity, but it isn’t uncommon for rental company employees to argue against any pre-purchased policies through other companies.

For an easy life, it is often best to avoid pre-purchasing insurance elsewhere and accepting the rental company’s own insurance policy and charge. This is most often reasonably priced, but the main reason to do this is to avoid potential legal confusion if an accident were to happen.

view of a road next to a white sand beach in cancun

Road Conditions

The road conditions throughout Quintana Roo and the Yucatan vary dramatically. The busy and well-traveled highways are mostly well maintained, although when taking more rural routes to attractions such as cenotes or smaller unknown destinations, the road conditions can deteriorate drastically.

It’s important to remember that travelers are fully culpable for any damage to the vehicle, and if driving on deteriorated roadways with potholes or stone chippings, a slower speed and more careful driving style are advised to avoid minor, but potentially expensive, issues.

a view of the tulum to cancun highway

Who To Trust

Thankfully, travelers have no shortage of trustworthy and reliable rental companies in Cancun to choose from.

The region is host to some of the biggest global brands in the business travelers can count on. The following are two of the most popular choices on offer:


This super-convenient and globally trusted rental company operates at a large number of locations in Cancun, including:

  • Cancun International Airport
  • Bonampak Downtown
  • Hacienda Estefania
  • Mujeres Grand Palladium
  • Planet Hollywood Hotel

With multiple locations serving travelers, it’s super easy to organize the pick-up and drop-off process.

What’s more, the Europcar fleet is highly impressive, providing a huge range of vehicles with prices to suit every budget.

a europcar booking desk


Another globally trusted brand, present in over 105 countries, Sixt is another sure-fire choice for travelers who want to rent a vehicle that they can be confident is above board.

Sixt has taken digitization seriously, and as such, travelers can easily complete all of the booking process online or through the app. This ensures that upon arrival to Cancun, all travelers need to do is present their booking reference and collect the keys to their vehicle.

Unfortunately, Sixt doesn’t provide as much choice for pick up and drop off as Europcar, with all three branches based at Cancun International Airport.

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