Renting a Car in Mexico

Once in awhile we rent a car for a day to go grocery shopping and run errands. If there is a lot of running around to do it is just so much more convenient than riding the bus and taking a taxi back with loads of groceries.

We start by reserving the car online via Priceline. There is no need to pre-pay or give them a credit card. All they want is a name. When I first saw that we could rent a car here for $5 per day I couldn’t believe it. Well, don’t believe it. That price does not include insurance and basic liability is mandatory in Mexico ( I believe in the US liability insurance is included in the rate quoted online).

We then call the rental office and ask them to come pick us up. If the only rate-quote available online is the airport location we call the location nearest to us and ask them to move our reservation to them. When we get to the office we pay with a Visa card because Visa will cover* the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance in case of an accident (be aware that they will put a hold on your credit card for several thousand dollars when you decline CDW).

Here in La Paz we WERE renting from Fox. Last year they picked us up and drove us back to the marina. No more free rides! So we walked to every major car rental place in La Paz and asked them for their insurance prices and whether they gave free rides. The prices** below are for basic, mandatory liability insurance. To learn more about car insurance on rental cars in Mexico take a look at this great article by the SFGate.

After checking Priceline here are the total prices I would be paying for an economy car today in La Paz (not including taxes). If there are better deals please let me know!

BEWARE After renting from Fox we noticed that they give all quotes in US dollars. Before charging our credit card they used THEIR OWN EXCHANGE RATE to convert to pesos as all charges have to post in the local currency. By doing this they are making a few extra dollars on every purchase and we ended up paying a lot more! Try to get a quote in pesos.

Thrifty
$5 car + $12 insurance = $17
Free rides

Alamo
$8 car + $11 insurance = $19
Free rides

Fox
$5 car + $15 insurance = $20
No rides

Budget
$10 car + $20 insurance = $30
Free rides

Hertz
$9 (I was told all online prices include insurance – I doubt it!)
Free rides

Avis
$20 car + $28 insurance = $ 48
Free rides

  • I am not guaranteeing anything. Please check with Visa yourself.

** These are merely prices I was given when I walked into the rental car office in La Paz. Please double check before renting! No guarantees here!

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