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Renting a Car and Driving in Mexico: The Guide for Your Mexico Vacation
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Published in Tourist Guide Category.

Renting a car and driving in Mexico can be a fantastic way to explore the country, especially if you plan to visit multiple destinations in Mexico or venture off the beaten path. However, it is crucial to be well-prepared and aware of the unique aspects of driving in the country.

This guide covers everything you need to know to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Mexico.

Requirements to Rent a Car in Mexico as a Visitor

Before you start your driving adventure in Mexico, you'll need to meet the basic car rental requirements. These include:

Valid Driver's License

  • This is the license you use to drive in your home country.
  • Your license must be valid (not expired).
  • If your license is in English or Spanish, you don’t need an International Driving Permit (IDP).
  • If your license is in another language, it’s a good idea to get an IDP, which acts as a translation.

For example, if you are from the USA and your license is in English, just bring your regular driver’s license. If you are from France and your license is in French, get an IDP to show along with your French license.


  • Your passport is your official identification document when travelling internationally.
  • It must be valid (not expired).

Credit Card

  • A credit card is used for car rental payments and as a security deposit.
  • The card must be in your name.
  • There needs to be enough credit available for the deposit, which can vary depending on the car rental company and type of car.
  • Some companies might accept debit cards, but it’s less common, and you should check with the rental company in advance.

If you have a Visa or MasterCard in your name, make sure it has enough credit for the deposit, which can be around $200 to $1,000, depending on the rental terms.

Additional Factors to Consider

  • The security deposit can range from about $200 to $1,000.
  • Most rental companies in Mexico do not require an IDP if your license is in English or Spanish.
  • Always check with the rental company ahead of time to confirm their specific requirements, as they can vary.
  • The minimum age for renting a car in Mexico varies between 21 and 25 years old, depending on the rental company.
  • Always inspect the vehicle before driving off to ensure it's in good condition. Take photos and notes to document any existing damage.
  • Research your route beforehand to understand any road conditions, traffic patterns, or potential hazards.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with local news and road conditions to avoid any surprises.

By preparing these documents, you can ensure a smooth process when renting a car in Mexico.

Insuring Your Rental Car in Mexico

When renting a car in Mexico, car insurance is really important. It helps protect you financially if there's an accident, theft, or damage to the vehicle.

Here are some types of insurance to consider as a tourist;

Liability Insurance (LDW/CDW)

  • This insurance covers damages to other people or their property if you’re in an accident.
  • It’s mandatory in Mexico and usually included in the rental price.
  • The basic coverage might need to be more, so you might need extra coverage.
  • If you hit another car, this insurance helps pay for the repairs to that car.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

  • CDW covers damages to the rental car itself if it’s in an accident, stolen, or vandalised.
  • It might be included in the rental price but often has a high deductible (the amount you pay before insurance kicks in).
  • You can buy more CDW coverage or get a more comprehensive policy to lower the deductible.
  • If you accidentally scratch the rental car, CDW will help pay for the repairs after you pay the deductible.

Theft Protection

  • This insurance covers the rental car if it’s stolen or damaged during an attempted theft.
  • It might be included in the rental price, but always check the details.
  • If someone tries to steal the car and breaks a window, theft protection helps cover repairs or replacement costs.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

  • PAI covers medical expenses and provides benefits for accidental death for the driver and passengers.
  • This insurance is usually optional and not included in the rental price.
  • If you’re injured in an accident, PAI helps pay for hospital bills.

Additional Insurance Options

Roadside Assistance: Helps if you have a breakdown or need help on the road.

Personal Effects Coverage: This covers your items in the car if they’re stolen or damaged. If your luggage is stolen from the car, personal effects coverage can help replace it.

Zero-Deductible Coverage: Eliminates the deductible you have to pay before the insurance covers the rest.

Tip: Always check what’s included in your rental agreement and consider if you need extra coverage to feel secure.

Car Rental Cost in Mexico

Hiring a car in Mexico can cost different amounts depending on several things, such as the car rental company, the type of car, how long you rent it, the season, and where you pick up and drop off the car. Here's a simple guide to understanding these costs:

Average Daily Rates

Compact or Economy Cars: These smaller cars are usually the cheapest. You can expect to pay between $20 and USD 45 per day. In Mexican Pesos, that's about 400 to 900 pesos.

Midsize and Full-size Cars: These are a bit bigger and cost more. The daily rate is typically between $30 and USD 60, which is about 600 to 1,200 pesos.

Larger or Luxury Vehicles: The cost is higher for SUVs, premium cars, or other large vehicles. You might pay anywhere from $50 to $100+ USD daily, translating to roughly 1,000 to 2,000+ pesos.

Additional Costs

  • The prices mentioned are just rough estimates and can change.
  • They might not include extra fees, insurance, or optional services.
  • Extra costs can add up quickly, so reading all the details is important.

Ways to Save on Car Rental

  • Look at different car rental companies to find the best deal.
  • Sometimes, there are discounts or special offers.
  • Reserving your car ahead of time can help you get a better price and make sure the type of car you want is available.
  • Always review the rental agreement carefully.
  • Check what insurance coverage is included and if you need extra.
  • Be aware of any potential additional expenses before confirming your reservation.

In summary, the cost of renting a car` in Mexico can vary widely. Compact cars are cheaper, while larger and luxury cars cost more. Always compare prices, look for car rental deals, and book early to get the best rates. Read the fine print to avoid surprises.

Traffic Rules to Follow While Driving in Mexico as a Foreigner

As a foreigner driving in Mexico, it is crucial to be aware of and follow the local traffic rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Here are some essential traffic rules to follow in Mexico;

Drive on the Right Side: Mexico follows the right-hand traffic rule, which requires drivers to drive on the right side of the road.

Speed Limits: Speed limits vary depending on the location. In general, residential areas have a speed limit of 10 kph, main roads have a limit of 70 kph, and highways have a limit of 100 kph.

Right Turns on Red: Right turns on red lights are generally allowed unless a specific sign indicates otherwise.

Left Turns: Left turns are prohibited in towns and cities on green lights. Instead, drivers must wait for a green arrow to turn left.

Seat Belts: Seat belts are mandatory for drivers and passengers in the front and rear seats.

Mobile Phone Use: Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited in many parts of Mexico.

Minimum Age: The minimum driving age in Mexico is 15 years old.

Expert Suggestions

  • It is highly recommended to drive on toll roads, known as "cuotas," especially outside of major cities, for increased safety and better road conditions.
  • Parking in designated areas is recommended, and it's best to avoid parking on narrow streets or isolated roads for extended periods.
  • Observe road signs to avoid missing turns or stops, and be aware of the unique road conditions and signs in Mexico.
  • Always carry the essential driving documents for tourists, including a valid driver's license, passport, and International Driver's Permit.
  • Purchase full-coverage insurance, which typically includes zero deductibles. This will provide you with the maximum level of protection against damages, theft, and other risks.
  • If possible, avoid driving at night in Mexico, as many rural roads are not well-lit and can be hazardous.
  • Download an offline map from Google Maps to ensure you have navigation assistance even without a cell signal.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings, including other drivers, pedestrians, and wildlife.
  • If you're driving in an area with heavy traffic or construction, use your hazard lights to signal your presence.
  • Mexico roads are notorious for an abundance of speed bumps. Keep your eyes on the road at all times, as some speed bumps don't have a sign — and can cause serious damage to your car.
  • Foreign drivers should always carry essential documents, including a valid driver's license, passport, International Driver's Permit, and vehicle registration documents (if driving a personal vehicle).

Properly understanding these traffic rules and guidelines allows you to experience safe and enjoyable driving in Mexico.

Ready to Tour Mexico's Vibrant Culture, Stunning Beaches, and Ancient Ruins?

Whether planning a road trip along the Baja California peninsula, touring the colonial cities of central Mexico, or discovering the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan, Finalrentals has you covered with the best car rental deals. Our easy online booking system and wide range of vehicles make finding the perfect car simple and budget-friendly.

Our extensive network of rental locations across Mexico makes picking up your car convenient and hassle-free. Enjoy driving freedom in Mexico without worrying about cancellation fees or hidden charges. Our competitive prices and transparent policies ensure you get the best value for your money.

Book your car rental with Finalrentals today.