Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

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Cruz
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:16 pm

Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by Cruz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:29 pm

My girlfriend and I are going on vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula in a couple weeks and have a few things to wrap up and looking for advice.

We will be traveling to Chichén-Itzá and Tulum and will have a rental car. Does anyone have any advice on rental cars in Mexico and what level of insurance to purchase? We have heard about being careful when filling up the gas tank, not driving at night, and being careful about speeding...any other things to be aware of?

Is travel insurance something we should purchase? If so, anything we should look for?

Lastly, what is the best strategy for cash and credit cards and also best places/timing to exchange American dollars for Mexican peso?

Thanks!

Church Lady
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by Church Lady » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:49 pm

Don't park under a coconut tree. Great way to break a windshield!

Watch out for topes (speed bumps).

In a city like Merida, kids will offer to 'guard' your car. Worth a few pesos.

I never drove in the Yucatan, but I went on a van tour in the 90s. As I recall, the AAA trip book was pretty good. The van driver parked under a coconut tree despite being warned. ONe coconut was all it took to break the windshield. You have been warned!


Hopefully, you'll get fresher advice. Enjoy your trip!
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

shunkman
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by shunkman » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:55 pm

Don't trust the ATM machines even at the big established banks. I had unauthorized funds withdrawn from my account using the Santander Bank ATM in Playa del Carmen.

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Watty
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by Watty » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:57 pm

If you will only have the rental car for a few days go on and pay the extra for the zero deductible. It was one of the major companies but when I returned a rental car they started writing up charges for things like scuffs on the tires until I point out that I had the zero deductible.

One alternative to having a rental car is to just hire a taxi for the day and have the drive you around. They are relatively inexpensive and a lot less stressful. I did not have any problems the one time I rented a car there but I have heard plenty of stories about tourists being stopped by the police and having to pay a bribe.

Be sure to have plenty of pesos with you. One thing I have seen people post about was that you could not get off the toll road unless you have pesos since they did not accept dollars.

JediMisty
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by JediMisty » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:08 pm

Cruz wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:29 pm
My girlfriend and I are going on vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula in a couple weeks and have a few things to wrap up and looking for advice.

We will be traveling to Chichén-Itzá and Tulum and will have a rental car. Does anyone have any advice on rental cars in Mexico and what level of insurance to purchase? We have heard about being careful when filling up the gas tank, not driving at night, and being careful about speeding...any other things to be aware of?

Is travel insurance something we should purchase? If so, anything we should look for?

Lastly, what is the best strategy for cash and credit cards and also best places/timing to exchange American dollars for Mexican peso?

Thanks!
There are two highways from Cancun to chicen itza. Take the toll road. And yes, they don't take dollars for the toll. Get pesos before you leave from your bank. Put cash in separate places in your luggage. Your rental car will be on empty when you pick it up. Fill it immediately. You'll need pesos for this, too. Check the oil at the rental. Ours had no oil. Don't forget to lock your car. Be careful when entering and exiting your car. There are usually kids who distract you so adults can get into your car. Don't give anyone a ride. There are people who ask you for a ride due to a breakdown. They will rob you once in the car. Yep. Pay extra for the insurance. Your car may be keyed or worse. I speak from experience on ALL these issues. Assume everyone you meet will try to swindle you. Either by overchargiing your lunch bill or stealing your wallet. A tour group is much more expensive, but there have been several times I was on the verge of disaster when driving in the Yucatan and in Cozumel (never been to Tulum).

Bajadoc
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by Bajadoc » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:31 pm

I have traveled throughout Mexico by car. Mostly with my wife and in-laws who are from Mexico. One should have as much official insurance as one can get. But more importantly, have a large stack of twenty dollar bills. It is a bit hard for Americans (United States type of Americans) to understand how important a bribe, or "la mordida" literally, the bite, sometimes is. If you encounter any kind of law enforcement the easiest, simplest, expected and best thing to do is offer to pay "the fine" on the spot. Follow all laws, be polite, and respectful, but if you encounter any Mexican law enforcement cheerfully pay "the fine" and be on your way. Mexico and its people are beautiful but their system of laws and law enforcement are different from the United States.
Last edited by Bajadoc on Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

maasdad
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by maasdad » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:56 pm

Have always rented cars in Mexico with the zero deductible insurance, if nothing else it was worth it to me for the stress reduction.

Never had a problem with driving at night especially on 307 between Cancun and Tulum. Lots of traffic out. Same with 180D (toll road) to Chechen Itza from Cancun. If you are traveling from Chechen Itza to Tulum at night you should be cautious about where you stop and have plenty of gas for that run.

Have plenty peso's available for tolls.

Don't speed and absolutely don't drink (at.all) and drive.

I always stand by the pump when getting gas, I hope it reduces the temptation to pull any tricks. I also tip the attendant pumping the gas, I understand in many cases the tips are their wage.

Watch the Topes. Some, if you hit wrong or hard, will ding the trim around the bottom of the car. See comment on insurance...

And I highly recommend getting off the main road to Chechen Itza for lunch. You will find some amazing Yucatan cuisine in some of the roughest looking restaurants. Does help if you speak Spanish. They don't always have menu's or English speakers on the "staff".

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fortfun
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by fortfun » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:29 pm

Cruz wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:29 pm
My girlfriend and I are going on vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula in a couple weeks and have a few things to wrap up and looking for advice.

We will be traveling to Chichén-Itzá and Tulum and will have a rental car. Does anyone have any advice on rental cars in Mexico and what level of insurance to purchase?
---I purchase the required liability insurance. I just use a good CC to cover any damage to the car (have never had any in the 20 times of renting a car in MX).

We have heard about being careful when filling up the gas tank,
---You will probably only need to fill up once before returning the car. I use a gas station about 5 miles out of Cancun on the way to the airport. Never any problems.

not driving at night,
--I've never had any problems. I have traveled with a 1 and 3year old and DW at night. Just use common sense and stay on main roads.

and being careful about speeding...any other things to be aware of?
---Don't speed. Don't drive drunk. Follow ALL of the rules! I've never been stopped or had to pay any bribes, etc. That may happen in other regions of MX but I've never had any problems in Quintanaroo.

Is travel insurance something we should purchase? If so, anything we should look for?
---Wouldn't hurt but I've never had any.

Lastly, what is the best strategy for cash and credit cards and also best places/timing to exchange American dollars for Mexican peso?
---Get a Charles Schwab ATM card. You can quickly open an account and have a CC in a week. They reimburse ALL international ATM fees.
---Make sure your regular CC doesn't charge international fees.
---Use the ATM to get Pesos. I've never needed many. Most places take credit card.
---Bring a lot of US 1dollar bills for tips.

Thanks!

alaskantraveler
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by alaskantraveler » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:10 pm

I'll also be in the Yucatan in a couple of weeks. This will be my 3rd time to the Yucatan, and many different trips to Mexico including many car rentals. Be aware that the cheap price that you reserve the car at will not be the price you will pay. The required you pay for their basic insurance which the price is over inflated. My rental car is pricing out at about $1.50/day. That includes taxes. I expect to pay $20 to $25 USD for their most basic insurance. I have a premium credit card that includes primary collision coverage so I decline any of the extras. I found the roads to be decent, and the traffic light. I think it totally makes sense to rent a car over taking tours.

As for ATMs , I use them all the time and have never had an issue, not a bad idea to inspect the area where you put your card in to make sure it does not appear to be tapered with our odd. There ATMs that will provide both USD and Mexican Pesos.

Most travel insureance does not include Primary Collision coverage on rental cars. It is often an extra. I research alot of travel insurance. If you want a policy that includes primary rental car coverage, Look at Travel Insured International. A 30 day policy with a trip amt of $500 is under $60 depending on your age. If you arent concerned about the rental car coverage check out Travelex Select. You can put the policy out to 364 days for the same price as a 7 day policy. Depending on age, $36 total.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:17 pm

I have driven there with no insurance on the car. But, now I would. It will all cost. Last time renting a car was about equal to 4 of us going on an organized tour to Tulum. Rather have someone else drive. Then you can enjoy and not have to think about routes and buying gas and directions.
Also the tour had lunch and entry and guide. If you arrive own vehicle you will pay for all that yourself. Plus, maybe parking. Oh, wait that Tulum tour also included stop at Paradise beach and swimming in a cenote with fins mask, snorkel also included.
Or as said earlier, see how much it would be to hire a driver and car.

Chichen Itza and Tulum tours are easy to book and then you just go and have fun.

Panabadia
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by Panabadia » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:22 pm

The ruins of Uxmal IMHO are as impressive as those of Chichen Itza and much less crowded. Overnight at Uxmal Lodge and visit the ruins at dawn, before the tourists arrive. Priceless!

Shallowpockets
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Re: Traveling to the Yucatan, some logistics questions

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:18 pm

Has anyone here ever swam with the whale sharks out of Isla Holbox?

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