Cozumel Car Rental & Jeep Rental Options

If you price shop before you travel and make reservations with the international desk of major companies, you may find a deal on Jeep or Car rentals. If you do wait till you get to Cozumel before you make your reservation, many of these companies will come off the rate card if asked, especially for a weeklong rental. Along with simple, stripped down Nissan sedans, two of the most widely rented vehicles are open (no doors) canvas topped jeeps and Volkswagen beetles. Most companies will also have air conditioned sedans and a few will even have mini-vans or more exotic autos.

  1. credit: pasujoba44 on Flickr

We’ve used at least 5 of the companies listed below on numerous occasions and never had what we would call a really “bad” experience. On occasion, cars we’ve picked up had NO gasoline (like the time we ran out of gas driving from the car rental office to our house) but no one has ever attempted to charge us for damages we did not cause or charge more than the agreed to price. With that said, inclusion in this list should not be interpreted as a recommendation.

Present any loyalty program cards you might have with the affiliated company when you pick up the car.  We have found that frequently, even when using a 3rd party booking service that offers lower rates than a direct contact with the company; the presentation of the card will earn additional discounts.

It’s always a good idea to bring a copy of your reservation with you and present it at the rental agency counter when you check in to confirm the details.  The price quoted will be in dollars but the charge is going to be in pesos that then in turn will be converted back into dollars.  I always seem to get beat for a couple bucks on the conversion but the only way around that is to use a credit card to hold the reservation but then pay cash (in pesos) when you turn in your rental.

When you check in, the agent will likely run your credit card twice: once for the actual rental and the other as security against any damages.  When you turn in your car with no damage, the 2nd charge slip will be returned unused. 

One question you’ll want to know is “What’s the deal with Insurance?”  In Mexico, liability insurance is required.  Some rental agencies will include it in the quote for the car.  Even when using a credit card that includes “auto rental insurance”, you will be required to have liability insurance but you can decline other insurance options. It is not unusual that when you get quoted a really low car rental rate, the cost of insurance will end up being as much if not more than the cost of the car rental. 

Here is an incomplete list of some of the car rental options and a few notes on our experiences with them. 

  • Ace Rent A Car has airport & In-town locations.  Ace is a network of independently owned car rental agencies that are marketed under one name.  In Mexico, when you rent from Ace, you will actually be dealing with Executive Car Rental but we have found that we tend to get better rate booking through Ace than when dealing directly with Executive.
  • Avis – In addition to several locations around town, Avis offers a very convenient on campus airport location. You won’t see the cheapest prices at Avis but they do typically have good cars.
  • Blueway has replaced Budget Rent A Car in Mexico. In Cozumel, they have a location across the street from the airport, which typically will offer better rates than the agencies on the grounds of the airport, as well as a 2nd location near the central square on Av. 5 just north of Calle 2.
  • Car Plus is the EZ Car Rental affiliate in Cozumel. A representative will meet arriving customers outside the airport terminal and provide a shuttle ride to their office.
  • For all practical purposes, Thrifty and Dollar car rental agencies have merged and regardless of which one you book through, you will be picking up the same cars at the same locations. Thrifty & Budget have a location across the street from the airport, which typically will offer better rates than the agencies on the grounds of the airport, and on our most recent booking, provided a pickup service at the terminal. For those who might be arriving in on the island by ferry, there is a 2nd Thrifty location towards the back of the central square across the street from the church. To reach it, you just walk straight off of the ferry, cross the street to the square and walk back 1 long block. It will be on your left before you reach the first cross street (Av. 10).
  • Executive Car Rental has numerous locations around town including the airport, all 3 cruise ship piers and a couple hotels. See additional notes above for Ace Rent A Car
  • Along with an on-site airport location, Hertz also has a location on the square very close to the Thrifty/Dollar agency there. Like Avis, Hertz won’t have the cheapest prices but it is a reliable company.
  • Less Pay, located at the Hotel Barracuda, is owned by John, an expat from the States.  He has jeeps, VW sedans and Safaris, which used to go by the name “The Thing” when sold in the US.  If you ask, he’ll deal on a weekly rental.
  • Rentadora Aguila between Calle 3 & 5 on Ave. Melgar is a good source for Jeeps. Over the years, we’ve used this company many times for both jeeps and for a mini-van on a couple of occasions.
  • We’ve never used Smart Rent a Car and we have heard mixed reports on them. But if you check the web page, they sometimes offer some pretty good deals although a good part of the savings is eaten up by the mandatory insurance.