Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Cancun Car Rental Guide

Chichen Itza is a 90-minute drive for anyone who rents a car.
Chichen Itza is a 90-minute drive for anyone who rents a car.
A Cancun car rental is a good idea for anyone staying in the city and planning to see nearby attractions. It's a great idea for anyone staying at the Riviera Maya resorts that lie between Cancun and Cozumel.

Cancun has an excellent bus service for tourists who are staying in the hotel zone on Kukulcan Boulevard. However, some attractions in the city and especially the region are easier to reach by car.

The majority of Cancun car rental agencies are at Cancun International Airport or within several miles of it. Renters will pay a premium to pick up a car at the airport. But they will pay less to rent one from somewhere nearby.

Agencies located off airport property will send a vehicle to pick up people and take them to the agency to get their cars, which is what we did. The discount is worthwhile for anyone who won't mind the extra time it takes -- in some cases about 15 minutes -- to rent off property.

Be sure to ask the agency the current legal requirements for auto insurance in Mexico. Many of the Web sites of car rental agencies based in Mexico have additional information about insurance. See the examples below.

One more tip: Be sure to ask if a pickup means you pick up the car at the airport or you get picked up by a driver who takes you to the agency to get the car.

Car Rentals for Cancun Hotels

We didn't rent a car during two trips to Cancun because the city has an excellent public bus service. We did rent one after flying into Cancun International Airport and driving nearly one hour south to a resort along Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen.

Hotel visitors to Cancun have to decide if renting a car is worthwhile to visit major tourist attractions in the region. They include the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins, which are more than two hours away, as well as Playa del Carmen and attractions near it. Those attractions include more Mayan ruins and several adventure parks.

During our Cancun visits, we simply took advantage of excursion operators to reach those attractions.

Car Rentals for Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya, which is known for its all-inclusive resorts, offers a better reason to rent a car. Highway 307 is a straight shot south from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya. We found that it was an easy drive to make, although a little Spanish is helpful in getting from the Cancun Airport to the highway.

Some resorts offer a shuttle service, but they usually come with a fee that makes the cost of a car rental more attractive.

With a car rental, anyone who stays at a resort also can easily reach Playa del Carmen's excellent tourism district on 5th Avenue as well as the famous Mayan ruins at Tulum. They also can go back north to Cancun for day trips.

Cancun Car Rental Agencies

Here are some of the bigger car rental agencies in Cancun:

Location: Cancun International Airport
Phone: (52) 998-886-0221

Location: Cancun Isla Mall
Phone: (52) 998-176-8030

Location: Cancun International Airport
Phone: (52) 998-886-0252

Location: Cancun International Airport
Phone: (52) 998-886-0001

Econo Car Rental
Location: Cancun International Airport
Phone: 1 888 90 ECONO

Econo Car Rental
Location: Cancun Hotel Zone
Phone: 1 888 90 ECONO

Premier Car Rental
Location: Cancun International Airport
Phone: 1 (800) 887-3176

Location: Cancun International Airport
Phone: 011 52 (33) 3331-4667

Zipp Rent-a-Car
Location: Hotel Zone, Blvd. Kukulkan Km. 3.5
Phone: 1 (866) 406-5601
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
March 03, 2020