Cabo Airport Car Rental Advice & Driving Tips
Cabo Airport Car Rental Desk Locations
There are quite a few car rental Cabo Airport options available.
Los Cabos Airport car rental company desks are located in the Arrivals area of each terminal.
Cabo Airport Car Rental Companies
San José del Cabo Driving Information
An International Drivers' Permit (or IDP) may be required, especially if your local drivers' licence is in a language other than the local language (you may inquire when you pick up your car).
If you decide to get a Los Cabos Airport car rental, you will find the area is relatively safe. That said, speeding is common, and there's a general disregard for basic driving etiquette.
Daytrip Tip: An interesting daytrip is to travel north out of the tropics to Los Barriles. It's a great place to stop for a stroll on the beach or a bite to eat. The "Cabo Loop" is a 200 mile paved road, beginning in Cabo San Lucas, travelling San José del Cabo, Los Barriles and Todos Santos, and returning to Cabo San Lucas.
You could say that driving in Mexico is an adventure (and no one would argue with you!). It is definitely unlike driving in the USA, Canada, or other developed countries. To help you adjust, following are Mexico driving tips - though not all will apply to you if you're just driving around the resort areas.
The first thing you need is a map. Keep in mind that a straight line is not always the best way to get from point A to point B. And, regardless of what your map says, some listed paved roads may not exist. Bring your patience, and eave extra time.
Don't take short cuts, stick to main highways, and avoid driving between towns in the evening. Dont be surprised if you are challenged to find out where a main highway leaves town (road signs are very limited or non existent once you enter town).
You need to pay attention when you are driving in traffic. Notice the behaviour of the drivers around you carefully - but don't alway follow their lead. If the vehicle ahead of you speeds through a stop sign without slowing down, go ahead and stop anyway.
In larger intersections in some cities, be aware that the far right hand lane is sometimes used for left turns (you need to see this work to understand it...).
When it comes to speed, always drive at or below the speed limit. Signage is shown in the metric system. While back home it may be cutomary to "push" the speed limits, in Mexico it's advisable to hold back a little. This means driving through small towns at 25 km/h (15 mph) or less.
Mexico is serious about speed control. Speed bumps ("topes") are often consist of small asphalt ramps and large steel pipes. You will often encounter "vados" or dips when driving cross-country, places where a stream or crosses the road. They can be severe - slow down and keep your eyes open. And watch out for cattle: they congregate in vados.
Much of Mexico is covered by modern "Cuota" toll roads (mostly privately owned), and you should take them whenever you can. "Cuota" are usually much faster than free "Libre" roads, as these slow considerably when they pass through small towns and villages. While expensive by Mexican standards, they are affordable to tourists: tolls range from about MXN 25-150. If you plan a long drive, take along lots of Mexican pesos (USD/credit cards aren't usually accepted for tolls). The down side is that many of the toll roads aren't in the condition you'd expect for the price you pay. Some are overdue for repaving and can damage your car if you drive at the speed limit. Fortunately, if poor conditions damage to your car, or cause a blow-out, your toll includes insurance (keep your toll receipts). The upside is that you'll find snack shops and clean bathrooms at toll booth rest stops.
Off the toll roads and main highways, you are sure to find poorer road conditions such as potholes, gravel or dirt roads, dropoffs, and more. Mexicans drivers brave these in their beat up cars (that's how they got that way), but you dont want your car to get roughed up. Consider a SUV or other high-clearance vehicle if your holiday plans include beaches, camping, hot springs or other off-the-beaten-path activities.
Roads patrols are regularly conducted by the Mexican Federal Police (Policia Federal or "Federales"). There is a culture of bribes (or "mordida"), but don't assume you know what is going on. While some officers may let you off with a warning in exchange for a bit of folding money, you run the risk of offending an officer if you assume a bribe is expected. You might even get arrested for offering a bribe. As in most situations in life, courtesy and respect are called for. If you speak a bit of Spanis,h that will help, as the police generally don't speak English.
For some positive news, you may be pleased to know that the Mexican government operates a roadside assistance program: it is called "Angeles Verdes" ("Green Angels"). Named for the colour of their trucks, the people have the wherewithal to fix all sorts of debilitating vehicle conditions. Truly considered angels by travellers they have helped; these folks can fix a leaking radiator with an egg or pepper! Services are free, but you have to pay for any gas and parts. You can call the Green Angels directly at 078.
Sharing Mexican Roads:
- The car ahead of you signals a left turn without slowing down = it's safe for you to pass
- The car behind you turns on their left turn signal = they want to pass you
- A car driving towards you flashes their lights = there is some sort of hazard ahead (e.g. broken down vehicle, debris, cattle)
- The car ahead of you turns on their hazards = SLOW DOWN quickly (and leave a little room between you and the car ahead)
- You spot a situation that warrants slowing way down = its time for you to do your part: reach for your hazard lights while you are braking
Staying Safe on Mexican Roads:
- The "camiones" (Mexican semi-trucks) act as if they own the road. They probably do. They drive fast and furious, taking up as much of the road as they can to prove it. Let them have their way and give them as much room as you possibly can.
- Do NOT stop for broken-down motorists: it's a well known trap set by bandits who will rob you (source: AAA). Rest assured that a local or the Green Angels will stop to help (or you could call 078 on their behalf).
- Do NOT drive without insurance. If there is an accident in which someone is killed injured, no matter whose "fault" it is, you may end up in jail. Liability in Mexico generally assumes that the one who hits pays.
Learn how to protect yourself when renting a car at Cabo Airport.
Cabo Airport Car Rental Scams & Advice
- PAY ATTENTION to avoid a scam in which the attendant quickly resets the pump to zero - after filling your tank, but before telling you the price, so they can try to charge you more than what was pumped
- Check to ensure the pump is reset to zero before the attendant begins pumping
- Watch the pump, keeping your eye on the total the entire time
- It's OK to be obvious - in fact, that's the point
- Consider asking for a specific amount of gas (in pesos), instead of a fill
- Read about the Baja Mexico's "double dipper" gas scam on the IHateTaxis blog
Cabo Airport Car Rental Recommendations
IHateTaxis.com recommends a Cabo Airport car rental.
If you are willing to drive and don't have other options (hotel shuttle) to your destination plus you plan to visit various spots when here, then we do recommend renting a car compared to paying high taxi prices everywhere.
More Cabo Airport Transfer & Airport Connection Options
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