Renting a car in Cancun

Useful information for Renting & Driving a Car in Cancun

Cancún, México

Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. It is a place where you can relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about anything. It has a rich culture, with many restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops. The city offers a variety of activities for everyone: scuba diving, horseback riding, fishing and much more. However, what if you want to explore the surroundings? You will need transportation.

Cancun is located on an island off the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, 30 miles north of Cozumel, and 200 miles east of Merida. The island is separated from the mainland at each end by channels less than 100 yards across connecting the Nichupte Lagoon with the Caribbean.

Renting a car in Cancun

Cancun is in the shape of a “D” with a lagoon in the middle and the Caribbean Sea on the outside. You can do lots of different water activities here, like wave-runners and jet skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, parasailing and snorkeling tours. Or you can go horseback riding along the sandy white beaches or adventure through the jungle, which is only 40 minutes south of Cancun.

Cancun's 10 Blue Flag beaches are some of the most popular in Mexico for a beach vacation. With most properties in the Hotel Zone having their own private stretch of sand, visitors can enjoy the ocean views from their balconies.

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Travel information


Mexican Peso (MXN)

Country Code


Traffic Direction


Speed limit within town

30-60 Km/h

Speed limit out of town

90-110 Km/h

Average fuel price

$ 24 pesos - 1 liter

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Cancun International Airport

Cancun International Airport

The Cancun International Airport ranked in the top 10 by the Airports Council International as one of the busiest airports in the world for international passengers in 2021. The airport is also well known as the entry point to Mexico for U.S. and Canadian travelers.

  • Address: Address: KM.22 Cancun, Quintana Roo Mexico 75220
  • Location: The Cancun airport is located 23 kilometers from Cancun City.
  • Code: CUN
  • Telephone: +52 (998) 848 7200
  • No. of Terminals: 4
  • Timezone: UTC/GMT -5 hours

Cancun Airport Terminals

Most international flights arriving at Cancun Airport will come through either Terminal 3 or Terminal 4, though there are four operational terminals. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are mostly used by airlines that fly domestic routes.

It is not difficult to get between the different terminals at Cancun Airport. You can hop on free buses or shuttles for a quick ride to your destination. The airport shuttle bus between terminals is secure and comfortable and runs punctually every 30 minutes.

Cancun Airport location

The Cancun International Airport is located just 23 kilometers from Cancun City, making it an extremely convenient destination for those looking to get away to the Caribbean Coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Playa del Carmen is even less than an hour’s drive away, with Tulum being 1.5 hours at most.

Hotels near Cancun Airport

Since 2022 you can stay at the first hotel located directly at the Cancun Airport! Hilton Garden Inn Cancun Airport is just a walk away from Terminals 2 or 3.

Other accommodation options near Cancun international airport are the Courtyard by Marriott Cancun Airport, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Cancun Airport, the NH Cancun Airport, the Comfort Inn Cancun Aeropuerto, the Westin Resort & Spa, and the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort.

ATMS & Money Exchange

You can find Banco Santander (the only airport bank) in the National Arrivals area at Terminal 2, along with three ATMs. In Terminals 3 and 4, you can find ATMs and a currency exchange service operated by CIBanco, where you can convert your Mexican pesos to the currency of your choice. Or vice versa.

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Getting around Cancun

Public transport

An option to get around Cancun is by using the public bus system. The buses are cheap and run frequently, making them a great option for getting around the city. However note buses don't have air conditioning and might be crowded.

Bus routes R1 and R2 go through the hotel zone and downtown, which travelers often rely on. The bus fare is $ 15 pesos per ride for locals or foreigners. It is advisable to have Mexican currency on hand.

If you're looking for a more private way to get around, you can always take a taxi. Taxis are more expensive than the bus, but they can be a good option if you're in a hurry or don't feel comfortable taking the bus. Just be aware that taxi fares within the hotel zone are more expensive than in other parts of Cancun. You should be able to see fare information posted at your hotel, but you should also try to negotiate a price with your driver before entering the taxicabs.

Can you use Uber in Cancun?

Yes, the process is the same as it is in any other city. Although Uber is not widely used in Cancun because of the taxi driver's protests, there are a limited number of Uber drivers in the city. Most drivers don't use the app because there are not a lot of people requesting Uber rides in Cancun.

Car Rental in Cancun

The best option to get around Cancun and the Riviera Maya is renting a car. It's a great option if you plan on doing a lot of exploring outside of the city. Just make sure your rate is all-inclusive with no hidden fees upon arrival!

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Is it safe to rent a car in Cancun?

Yes, it is safe to rent a car in Cancun. However, like anywhere in the world, traffic regulations may vary from your country of origin. You should drive carefully and be prepared for different traffic regulations in foreign countries. Speed limits are usually clearly marked, and road signs are usually easy to follow.

While some travelers may be afraid of being stopped by corrupt police, it is not as common as one may think, especially in tourist areas like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Random patrols are fairly common in these areas, so there is no need to panic if you are stopped by the police. If you're not breaking any rules, they will ask you a few questions and then let you go.

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How much does renting a car in Cancun cost?

Car rental in Cancun can be cheap, depending on the season or month you visit this destination. For example, you can find the cheapest car rental between August to November. Of course, it will also depend on your reservation and the company with which you decide to make your Cancun car rental. To give you an idea, renting an economy car in Cancun is around $32 USD per day with taxes and insurances.

If you want to rent a cheap car in Cancun, Royal Rent a Car is your best option. We handle the best prices with a personalized, friendly, respectful service and a fleet of modern and comfortable vehicles.

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Know the Risks of Car Rental Scams

There are plenty of ways to scam people into paying more money for a rental car. Here's how to avoid them.

Avoid Hidden Fees

If you're renting a car in Cancún, there are some things you should keep in mind before signing up for a reservation. First, make sure you understand the terms of the contract. You need to know whether you will be charged extra fees for additional drivers, insurance, or other services. Also, check out the fine print. Car rentals are dominated by companies offering large discounts on their websites and then later surprising customers with incremental add-on fees and inflated insurance costs, so read the small print carefully.

Car rroyaental scams

When renting a car, be sure to ask about any hidden fees that may be associated with your rental. These fees can add up quickly, so it is important to be aware of them in advance. Keep in mind that while it may seem like you are paying less upfront, you may spend more in the process.

Some common hidden fees associated with car rentals include:

  • Fuel charges: Many rental companies charge a fee for refueling the car upon return. Be sure to ask about this fee in advance so you can budget accordingly.
  • Damage fees: If you return the car with any damage, you may be charged a fee. Be sure to ask about the rental company's policy on damage fees so you can avoid any surprises.
  • Late fees: If you return the car late, you may be charged a fee. Be sure to ask about the rental company's policy on late fees so you can avoid any surprises.
  • Cleaning fees: If you return the car dirty, you may be charged a fee. Be sure to ask about the rental company's policy on cleaning fees so you can avoid any surprises.

By being aware of these hidden fees, you can avoid any surprises when renting a car.

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Cancún Driving Tips

Although the signage and roads are generally in good condition in Cancun, there are a few things you should be aware of to help ensure a hassle-free driving experience while in Cancun.

Cancun driving tips
  • Parking: You can park your car almost anywhere in Mexico, except at an intersection or in a curve. You may also not park in places with a yellow line on the sidewalk or a sign with an E with a line through it.
  • Mexico speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour: If you're driving in Mexico, be aware that street signs use kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. 1 mile is equal to 1.6 kilometers. To avoid having to do conversion math while driving, make sure the speed limit sign number on the road matches your car's speedometer number.
  • Road conditions: The Yucatan Peninsula's terrain is mostly flat with straight roads. This can create a false sense of security for drivers, leading them to go faster than they should. Be extra cautious and follow the speed limit.
  • Speed bumps ("Topes"): You may encounter many speed bumps while driving on Cancun and Yucatan roads. Some roads have yellow road signs that warn you about them, but you should always be vigilant while driving, as some speed bumps may not be signposted.
  • Toll roads: In Mexico, there are free roads, called "libre" roads, and paid toll roads, called "cuota" roads. For longer drives, and when traveling between cities, always opt for paid roads. They may cost money, but they are much better maintained and generally considered safer. Toll booths accept cash only, and you must pay in Mexican currency (pesos). There are often no ATMs along the highways, so be sure to have sufficient pesos on hand. Be sure to hold on to your receipt for any tolls you pay because it is your voucher for insurance purposes.
  • Mexico gas stations are not self-serve: At any Mexican gas station, it's advisable to tell the attendant what type of fuel you want and how much you want to pay when you stop for gas. Late-model vehicles recommend using "Premium" gasoline named "Roja" (red) in Spanish. Should you wish to fill the vehicle's tank, you can say "lleno" (full) in Spanish. Most gas stations accept credit cards and cash (you can pay in dollars but it is not recommended). Make sure that the dispenser machine reads "zero" before the attendant begins to fill your gas tank. Double check the bills you are giving to the person in charge when paying for the fuel.
  • The use of cell phones while driving is not permitted in Cancun: Not only is it unsafe to use your phone while driving, it is also illegal in Mexico. In fact, having your phone in your hand is a ticketable offense, so don’t even hold your phone while driving.
  • Safety: We recommend keeping your luggage out of sight while you leave it in the car. Seat belt use, especially for the driver and passenger, is mandatory.
  • Gas price in Cancun: Over the past 30 days, the average gas price in Cancún has been $4.38 per gallon. We recommend making the payment in pesos (MXN) since if you pay in dollars, the person in charge can take your dollars with a lower exchange rate..
  • How do Cancunenses drive? Although it may seem normal for drivers in Mexico to have their turn signal on, it does not necessarily mean that they will turn where they are indicating. Be sure to visually confirm that the car is moving in the desired direction before assuming that the driver will follow through with their turn signal. If the car in front of you has its hazard lights on, be prepared to slow down, as this is a sign that the driver is about to decrease their speed quickly, for example for a speed bump or police checkpoint, or to turn off the highway.Or, just because a driver is braking near the curb doesn't mean they're going to stop. Be prepared for the unexpected when driving around Mexico.
  • Public transport: If you are behind public transport, take precautions and keep your distance because of the continuous stops on the bus route.
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Traffic signs in Mexico

Prohibitory traffic signs

Speed limit

Begin of a Speed limit

Road sign prohibiting parking

Parking prohibited

Prohibited action turn left

Turning left prohibited

Road sign prohibiting U-turns

Turning around prohibited (U-turn)

Road sign prohibiting overtaking

Overtaking prohibited


Turning right prohibited

Warning traffic signs

Road sign for animal cattle

Cattle on the road

Road sign for school

Children (school)

Road sign for pedestrian


Road sign to give way

Give way

Road sign to stop and give way to all drivers


Road sign to warn for curves.


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Cars available for rent in Cancun

What make and model of cars can you rent in Mexico?

We work with the most reliable brands in the industry such as Kia, Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan and many others. Our fleet consists of compacts as well as SUVs and vans that can accommodate any size family or group comfortably. You're welcome to contact us before booking to find out which car will be best for you.

Do rental cars in Cancun Mexico have automatic or manual transmissions?

If you're looking to rent a car in Cancun, Mexico, note that most car rental companies have automatic vehicles as their default option. If you want to rent a manual car, you'll need to select that option when making your reservation. Additionally, manual car rentals are typically cheaper than automatics since there are more of them available.

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Car rental insurance

When renting a car in Mexico, be aware that the advertised rates are usually just for the base rental cost; insurance cover charges can end up making the total cost much higher. We invite you to verify that your rate already includes the required insurance.

  • Third Party Liability (TPL): If you're driving a rental car in Mexico, by law you must have third-party liability insurance from a Mexican insurance company. This type of insurance covers you if you're at fault in an accident that causes bodily injury or property damage to others. It pays for the amount you're legally obligated to pay as damages, up to the policy limit. This coverage doesn't include people who are riding in your rental car. Be sure to double check if insurance is included in your quote, as it may not be included and you will be required to pay for it at the counter.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW):The protection of the vehicle against damage and collisions is a type of protection that is offered by car rental companies. The different car rental companies may refer to it slightly differently, but in general, they all cover the rental car against damage caused in the event of an accident with a stipulated deductible.
  • Loss Damage Waiver (LDW): LDW is an insurance that covers any damage done to a rental car, as well as theft. It has a zero deductible, which means that the customer will not have to pay anything out of pocket if something happens to the car.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI):This is an insurance product that covers medical expenses for occupants of a vehicle in the event of an accident. You may not need to purchase this if you already have travel or other medical insurance.
  • Using your own insurance when renting a car in Cancun: Although your car rental insurance does not extend to Mexico, your credit card may provide rental car coverage worldwide for collision damage. However, it is still advisable to contact the agency ahead of time and ask if they will accept the insurance you intend to use. Some rental agencies may try to get you to buy CDW coverage if you cannot prove that you are covered in Mexico.
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Top tips for renting a car in Cancun

Renting a car in Cancun is easier than ever thanks to online booking sites that let you compare rates and reserve cars at any location. But there are still things you need to watch out for before you book.

Tips for renting a car in Cancun
  • If you book your trip online in advance, you can get cheaper rates and access to the best deals.
  • If you are looking to avoid a long wait, don't rent a car in crowded places, it will be a 2 hour process. Instead, take the option of renting a car in Cancun with a local company with a personalized and friendly service.
  • We recommend that you verify that your rate already includes all the required insurance and taxes, as well as knowing the amount of the security guarantee.
  • Before you get in the car, do a full inspection for any damage, both on the inside and outside of the car. If you find any, make sure to take pictures. This way, you won't be held responsible for any damage that was done by the previous driver. Even if you're in a hurry, it's important to do your research.
  • Choose a car that's big enough to comfortably accommodate all your passengers and luggage.
  • Make sure you're familiar with the local traffic laws before hitting the road.
  • If you're planning on driving to another country, check if your rental company offers cross-border rentals
  • Get the best deals on car rentals in Cancun with Royal Rent a Car. Our prices are guaranteed. We never charge more than the price you see on our website.

With that all being said, happy driving!

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