Renting a Car in Mexico without getting scammed

At first we weren’t going to rent a car in Mexico because we saw how expensive it is. Websites will tell you you can rent a car for $3/day but from previous experience, we knew we would have to pay around $25/day just for the mandatory insurance. While ~$30/day is totally fine for vacations, for a 30 day stay, it adds up. We were not looking forward to paying ~$900 for a tiny Mitsubishi Mirage.

Uber in Mexico

Uber is huge in Mexico. Super easy to use the app and really cheap. We got an Uber from Merida Airport to our Airbnb in Chicxulub, a 50 minute drive, for about $30USD. Compare that to a 50 minute drive from JFK Airport to Midtown NYC, for about $70. So we figured we’d use Uber everywhere we went. Easy enough.

Until it wasn’t. We’re staying pretty far out of the main beach city, Progreso. It’s about a 20 minute drive. So in order for us to get an Uber, they would have to drive 20 minutes to come get us, and only get a fare for a 20 minute drive back to Progreso. I understand why Uber drivers canceled so many times.

Finding a car rental in Progreso

So we knew we just had to rent a car. Our property manager told us renting a car outside of the airport was cheaper so we went into Progreso and spent about 4-5 hours hopping from one car rental place to another, until we gave up. The cheapest we could get one for was about $700 and I couldn’t justify paying that much for a small manual car, while we’re still paying $700 for our BMW 428i xDrive back at home. (Only 3 more car payments until the lease is up!)

We gave up. Waiting around for an Uber to accept or waiting in the heat at the end of a dirt road for a bus that may or may not come, seemed like the only option. Life continued for the next day, until Adnan found something online that seemed too good to be true.

Finding a car rental in Merida

Europcar had a rate for $5/day. Of course we were skeptical. So Adnan hopped on a call with them to confirm there were no more hidden fees and they confirmed. So we called an Uber, got canceled on about 3 times, until one finally accepted and off we went to Merida.

Lo and behold, it was too good to be true. They tried to tell us we needed to pay the $25/day for collision insurance even though we have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card which includes collision insurance. Usually Mexico requires mandatory liability insurance, which credit cards don’t include. By law, the car rental price has to include minimal liability insurance. I was NOT going to pay for collision insurance when I knew I was already covered, so we hopped on a call with Chase and they emailed proof that we were indeed covered. Unfortunately, this letter still didn’t suffice. Again, we gave up.

We walked out of there and felt pretty defeated. Then something magical happened. A really nice, sort of sketchy guy from a company called Firefly came up to us and asked if we’re looking to rent a car. Adnan told him straight up, “We’re not paying for insurance” The guy said, “long as your credit card covers it, I won’t make you pay for it”. So off we went into his office. It was a tiny little room with a desk and two chairs. Bright and colorful with Purple everywhere, which for some reason, made me feel at ease. I guess I like purple.

After about 5-10 minutes, he gave us some rates for standard cars and automatic. Standard rate was $7,000 pesos and Automatic was $11,000 pesos. About, $350USD vs. $550USD. It didn’t seem too bad but we wanted the automatic for under $500. We asked him for the best price for the Automatic and he lowered it to $7,500 pesos. Guys, when we found out we could actually rent a car for about $400 for the month, and an automatic car at that, we were ECSTATIC. We felt like we won the lottery. To avoid any surprises at the end, the car rental guy added little bumps and scratches on the drawing of the car during the inspection as well. We tipped him pretty well for making the entire process so easy and smooth, and making our dreams of renting a car in the Yucatan come true.

Our car in Mexico

So off we went. We’re so excited to have a car to get groceries whenever we want, but most importantly, explore the dirt roads of the Yucatan in hopes of finding some hidden Mayan Ruins and Cenotes.

Now we can really take the road less traveled.

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