Hiring a car in Riviera Maya, Mexico
ginforall · 01/02/2020 16:43
Has anyone done it? We're going in the summer and been looking at excursions, but they seem very expensive and we're not huge fans of organised coach tours. Thinking of just hiring a car for a day or two to go and see the ruins at coba and tulum and maybe a few other places once I've done more research. The driving itself doesn't bother me, I've driven abroad a fair bit in the past, but more concerned about whether it's safe (we'll have our DSs 7 and 12 with us) and any tips?
Lailaha · 01/02/2020 16:47
I was there about eighteen months ago, and there were warnings about car jackings: what does the FCO advice say? If nothing, crack on.
squashyhat · 01/02/2020 16:52
There are brilliant things called collectivos (minibuses) which provide a very frequent, cheap and safe bus/taxi service up and down the main road. You can hail them at any spot and ask the driver to drop you anywhere (if they don't speak English someone else on board will) plus they stop at bus stops in towns. We stayed about half way between Playa del Carmen and Tulum and used them to get to and from both.
squashyhat · 01/02/2020 16:56
PS We did do excursions as well. Don't miss out on Chichen Itza even though it's a long trip - well worth it.
PineappleDanish · 01/02/2020 16:59
We had the same warnings about not driving after dark, which is fairly limiting to be honest.
We were not far from Tulum and used the collectivos which were great, everyone piles in and I had a lovely chat with a lady who was on her way to work in the Starbucks just by the ruins and was really interested in where we were from and how come I spoke Spanish. Super cheap too.
For longer trips to Chichen Itza or to Merida or somewhere, I'd really book an organised tour, there are minibus ones rather than massive coaches if you don't want to be in a bigger group. Ask at your accommodation.
Thornhill58 · 01/02/2020 17:03
I'm Mexican and I always give advice to my friends. Hire from big companies Herts, Avis etc. I do feel safe driving there just be sensible. Don't explore places later in the day.
Things that I love doing are:
Go to Isla Mujeres take the catamaran there. Hire a golf cart and explore the tiny island. While there eat at Mocambo and visit the turtle sanctuary. Beautiful day trip.
Drive to Tulum absolutely beautiful.
Visit Xplor at night it's amazing. Day time it's too hot.
There are many fab places to visit. Taxis are expensive.
ginforall · 01/02/2020 17:27
Thanks for all the advice. Collectivos sound great. Will look at the possibility of doing some smaller tours too.
@squashyhat how long was the trip to Chichen Itza? I've read reviews and it sounds great but worried about the distance with the youngest.
Thanks @Thornhill58 will look into your suggestions and won't rule out driving, will just look further into the other options also.
squashyhat · 01/02/2020 17:37
@ginforall it was 5 years ago so a bit hazy but I think it took a good couple of hours to get there. Plus it's an early start to try and beat the worst of the tourists (although of course if everyone does that it doesn't help!) and you visit a few resorts first to pick up passengers. I think we were there for a couple of hours and then stopped at a cenote and a town on the way back. So a full day.
Anchovies12 · 01/02/2020 17:44
We hired a car a couple of years ago and drove to chichen itza and stopped at a cenote on the way back. We set off early so it wasnt too busy but it was still ridiculously hot (no shade - I took an umbrella) and lots of mosquitoes. The swim on the way home was amazing! We also drove to Tulum etc felt very safe no issues at all.
Anchovies12 · 01/02/2020 17:45
Forgot to say best thing about driving yourself to chichen itza was we could go when we had had enough. Mine were about 8 10 and 12 and remember exploring in the car as the best bit of the holiday.
katieak · 01/02/2020 17:58
We hired a car. Stayed between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Did our own day trips to Chichen Itza, some cenotes, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. We were very grateful for being able to do our own thing in our own time. Driving at night is ok but there are no cats eyes and no lights so it is very dark which I found a bit scary to judge the road but hubby was fine.
ginforall · 02/02/2020 07:35
Thanks @Anchovies12 and @katieak. Definitely won't rule out a car, the freedom appeals to us. Will price up some of the different options and see what works best.
MonsteraCheeseplant · 02/02/2020 07:47
We hired a car a few years ago, no kids. Had a little multi centre holiday staying in Tulum, Merida and Valladolid. We used Sat nav to get around and didn't drive at night. It was great! We went to chichen itza, xkeken cenote and celestun to see the flamingos. Loved it.
Thornhill58 · 02/02/2020 11:48
I wouldn't do Chichen Itzá it far and really hot. Go to Tulum absolutely beautiful.
Small children will be hot and feed up before they get to the pyramids. Takes about 3 1/2 hours.
SJaneS48 · 02/02/2020 12:30
If you get the ferry over to Cozumel, there is a jeep hire place not far from the ferry terminal. The Mayan ruins on Cozumel (it used to be a huge pilgrimage site for people with fertility problems) are worth a visit and when we went were virtually empty which made them atmospheric. Cozumel is a small island and it’s nice to drive around and stop off at a beach bar for lunch.
ginforall · 02/02/2020 15:17
Thanks @Thornhill58 my worry was it was just a it too far. Last year we did a holiday which involved a fair bit of travelling around and sightseeing. This year is supposed to be about relaxing, although need a bit of culture and adventure thrown in, Tulum sounds and looks great.
@SJaneS48 Cozumel sounds fantastic, will add to it to the possibilities for days away from the hotel
sarahjconnor · 03/02/2020 07:46
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