The Riviera Maya, a region along Mexico’s Caribbean coast that includes the famous Yucatan Peninsula, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. And it’s no wonder why: you’ve got everything, from the bustling tourist cities like Cancun, scuba diving on the island of Cozumel, the peaceful beach towns of Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen, and all the mysterious wilderness and ancient ruins in between.
Renting a car on your trip to the Riviera Maya region isn’t strictly necessary, but it definitely has its benefits, particularly if you don’t plan of spending all of your time in just one city or town. And with the huge diversity of things to see all along the coast, we recommend you explore as much as you possibly can while you’re here.
Benefits of renting a car in Riviera Maya
The most obvious benefit of having a rental car is the flexibility to just get up and go whenever you feel like it, for a spontaneous day trip to Playa del Carmen or a drive around town to find a great restaurant when it’s too rainy to walk.
This gives you a major advantage when it comes to the most popular tourist attractions in the region, like the ruins of Chichen Itza and the Tulum ruins. With a rental car, you can head out early and get there before the crowded tour buses arrive, giving you a more intimate experience with this new wonder of the world and, if you time it right, a way to avoid the hot midday sun.
It’s also much easier to get from city to city if you have your own transportation. So if your home base will be, say, Playa del Carmen for example, you can use your rental car to easily take a road trip up to Cancun or down the coast to Tulum.
How to rent a car in Mexico
Renting a car in Riviera Maya and anywhere in Mexico is actually very similar to renting a car in your home country, except for one major difference: insurance requirements. The main cause of headaches and frustration for tourists trying to get a car rental here is not being familiar with the legal requirements for car insurance in Mexico and getting duped by rental companies who don’t include this insurance in their advertised rates online.
With that being said, here’s the easiest way to rent a car in Riviera Maya.
- Search online for a car rental agency online with good rates in a convenient location (note that the rental offices at the Cancun airport tend to be more expensive).
- Read the fine print to see if the rates include the required third party liability or PLI insurance.
- If you aren’t sure, contact the company so you understand exactly what’s included.
- If PLI isn’t included in the rate, keep in mind that this can triple the daily cost of the rental car.
- Make your reservation online.
- When you arrive at the car rental office in Riviera Maya, have the following ready:
- Your online reservation
- Valid driver’s license with photo
- Credit card (not debit card)
- Other than PLI, no additional coverage is mandatory, use your best judgment.
- Inspect the car before leaving, keep proof of PLI in the glove box at all times, and enjoy your vacation!