Rent a Car for Travel in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is a popular beach destination located along Mexico’s Caribbean coast in the state of Quintana Roo. With its beachfront resorts, vibrant nightlife and proximity to attractions like Tulum and Cozumel island, having a rental car provides freedom and flexibility to explore this region. Here is a guide to renting a car for travel in Playa del Carmen.

Benefits of Renting a Car in Playa del Carmen

Renting a car has many advantages for travelers in Playa del Carmen:


A rental car allows you to set your own sightseeing schedule and visit attractions at your own pace rather than rely on group tours or public transport.


Driving yourself makes it easy to modify plans on the fly and take spontaneous side trips to places like cenotes, ruins or small towns.


A rental car makes it more convenient to reach farther flung areas around Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. Public transportation options are limited.


Some attractions like Punta Allen fishing village and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve can only be accessed by rental car.


Driving in an air-conditioned rental car is much more comfortable than crowded buses or shared vans, especially in the tropical climate.

Types of Rental Cars Available in Playa del Carmen

Major rental agencies operating in Playa del Carmen include Hertz, Thrifty, Avis and Europcar. Here are some typical vehicles:


  • Affordable basic sedans for 1-2 passengers
  • Models like Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan Versa


  • Great option for couples or small groups
  • Cars like Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Aveo

Standard SUV

  • Midsize SUVs fitting 4-5 passengers
  • Models like Jeep Patriot, Hyundai Tucson

Full Size SUV

  • 7 passenger SUVs for larger groups/families
  • Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Explorer


  • Premium models featuring lavish amenities
  • Brands like Mercedes, Infiniti, Cadillac


  • Convertibles, sports cars, 15-passenger vans

Where to Rent a Car in Playa del Carmen

You can rent a car from various locations including:

  • Cancún International Airport – Counters of major rental companies
  • Playa del Carmen city – Various rental offices around downtown area
  • Resort hotels – Many all-inclusive hotels have car rental desks or partnerships
  • Rental company websites – Reserve online for deals and guaranteed availability
  • Cozumel island – Smaller selection of agencies available on Cozumel

Shopping around helps find the best rental rates. Booking ahead online can provide savings too.

Requirements for Renting a Car in Mexico

To rent a car in Mexico as a tourist, you’ll typically need:

  • Valid driver’s license from your home country
  • Passport to confirm identity
  • Major credit card for payment – debit cards may also be accepted
  • Minimum age is usually 25 but sometimes 18-20 for basic cars

An International Driving Permit is recommended but not always mandatory. Meeting the minimum age and having proper licenses and payment cards will make rental smooth.

Driving Laws and Rules in Mexico

Here are some key laws and norms to follow when driving in Mexico:

  • Drive on the right side of the road
  • Legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%
  • Seatbelt use is mandatory for all passengers
  • Child car seats are required for ages 5 and under
  • Using handheld cell phones while driving is prohibited
  • Speed limits range from 50km/h in urban areas to 110 km/h on highways
  • Right turns allowed at red lights unless prohibited
  • Watch for speed bumps known as topes

Following Mexico’s driving rules will ensure safety and avoid legal issues. Keep documents handy.

Top Destinations Near Playa del Carmen to Visit By Rental Car

Having your own wheels makes visiting popular attractions and destinations around Playa del Carmen easy:

Mayan Ruins

  • Tulum – Cliffside ruins and stunning Caribbean views
  • Chichen Itza – The iconic ancient pyramids of the Mayans
  • Coba – Jungle surrounded ruins with very tall pyramid

Eco Parks

  • Xcaret – Massive park with underground river and shows
  • Xplor – Zip lines, amphibious cars and adventures


  • Dos Ojos – Extensive flooded caverns with stalactites
  • Cenote Azul – Crystal clear blue pools surrounded by jungle

Other Towns

  • Mahahual – Relaxed fishing village with beachfront charm
  • Valladolid – Colonial city with churches and historic architecture

A rental car provides easy access to Riviera Maya’s top attractions.

Tips for Renting a Car in Playa del Carmen

Follow these tips for a smooth rental experience:

  • Reserve early online for best rates, car availability and rental add-ons
  • Inspect vehicle thoroughly at pick-up and note any prior damage
  • Consider additional liability insurance for peace of mind
  • Ask for a car with built-in GPS if unfamiliar with the area
  • Get an automatic transmission car if not comfortable driving stick shift
  • Keep belongings out of sight and lock doors when parked
  • Be alert for pedestrians, bikes and speed bumps on roads
  • Allow extra time during rush hours in Playa del Carmen

Renting a Car in Playa del Carmen – FAQ

What documents do I need to rent a car in Playa del Carmen?

Typical requirements are a valid driver’s license, passport, major credit card and optional International Driving Permit. Agencies have minimum age limits.

What side of the road do Mexicans drive on?

Mexico drives on the right hand side of the road, the same as the United States and Canada.

Are automatic transmission cars easy to find for rental?

Yes, most rental companies have automatic transmission options readily available. Reserve early for guaranteed availability.

Can I take a rental car on the ferry to Cozumel?

Yes, you can take rental cars on the ferry between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Rental rates may be higher for Cozumel pickup.


Renting a car is an excellent way to explore lively Playa del Carmen as well as access attractions in surrounding areas conveniently. Advance reservations, inspecting vehicles thoroughly and adhering to local driving laws will ensure a smooth rental experience. The freedom of driving yourself makes a rental car a great option for visitors aiming to see the best of the Riviera Maya.


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