Cozumel is one of the top destinations in the world for so many reasons. You can arrive on the island by ferry from Playa del Carmen, cruise ship, or flying to the island directly to the Cozumel airport. No matter how you arrive, for most visitors, the mission is to see as much of the island as possible, especially if you only have one day to do it. So what is the best way to do that? In this article, we are going to be sharing the pros and cons of renting a scooter, buggy, car, etc as well as the alternatives.
We've recently done a survey on Facebook asking people to tell us about their experiences and share with us any tips and/or advice about renting a vehicle. Interestingly we've been hearing more bad experiences than good and thought it would be a good idea to share with you so that you can avoid anything that could ruin your time on the island. We'll be sharing with you what you can expect when arriving on the island from the various points as well as first-hand testimonials that were shared with us.
Departing from Playa del Carmen & Arriving on the Island
As you are lining up to buy tickets for the ferry to Cozumel don't be surprised if you are approached by several people offering tours, vehicle rentals, etc. Nothing against these guys, they're just trying to make a living, but for the tourists, it can be a bit overwhelming. As you arrive on the island you'll have to pass booth after booth of people offering the same, a little aggressively, until you arrive at the main avenue.
Here are some main points to keep in mind:
All the prices are relatively the same, however, the provider of the vehicle differs greatly.
Don't sign a contract without seeing the vehicle first AND reading the fine print!
Don't be afraid to ask to take the vehicle for a test drive.
Find a provider that doesn't require an electronic deposit. There are a couple that doesn't.
Don't be shy to try to negotiate the price for the day.
Ask if they offer insurance in the case of an accident, whether it may be your fault or someone else's.
After reading the testimonials, be sure to read our tips on the alternative to renting a scooter, buggy, car/jeep, etc! We are sharing this with you, not to scare you, but so that you are aware of the things that can happen and so that you can be prepared for an amazing day on the island!
"We rented 2 scooters. Both fairly new. One scooters speedometer didn't work. When we noticed this we called where we rented from to let them know. The gentleman said it would be ok we didn't need one, so we go on. Hadn't been on the island 3 hours. Ended up sliding out and have an AC separation in my left shoulder. Ended up having to pay 600 pesos for repair of the spring on the kickstand (which he even said just needed a little weld job) and the little bit of paint scuff. I'm more damaged than the scooter. Lesson learned," Megan
"Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to rent a Scooter. I know of so many ppl having accidents when driving around. Because of so many reason, and if you add that most tourist have a drinks here and there in different stops around the island it makes it worse," Mariana
"Not recommended; frequent accidents even involving locals. Risk of minor, maiming injuries and deaths.
Renting a car or hiring a taxi driver that does customized tours are safer ways to see the island," Karen
"If you're experienced at driving scooters you should be fine. I mean the roads are in good shape, it's flat, and there's hardly any traffic around the far side of the island. Compared to most places you'd rent scooters, Cozumel is a breeze imo. Unfortunately a good percentage of scooter renters have no idea what they're doing," Adam
"I have already some bad experiences, so it better to use a known car rental company, there are many smalls shops or kiosks in the island, so we arrived and just in the harbor already in Cozumel side, there were some kiosks offerings cars, so we agreed to have one for a decent price, so we went to the office and sign a contract were it was too big information and very small letters, so just when we went out of the store with the car, they gave us a very old jeep, after 30.min the car broke, so we called them and they replaced with another old jeep, and when we delivered the jeep, the store wanted to charge us the broken clutch, so they did not wanted to get out of the store without paying, so they asked us about 6000 pesos, they said that it was written in the contract and we need to paid for the broken clutch, it was already broken, after arguing 30 min, we had to pay 2000mxn. So to resume this, go with a known car rental company, companies in the island gives you very very old cars and if something gets broken they will try to ask you so much money for the "reparation" of a already broken thing," Ivan
So what are the alternatives?
If you really like the idea of having your own ride, just be very careful, don't drink and drive, and be cautious of other drivers. If you aren't familiar with driving a scooter, consider renting a buggy or Jeep.
During our investigation, we found the people that had positive experiences all recommended the same agency for rentals - HTL Rentals
This agency offers several types of vehicles and is the only agency on the island that offers collision insurance. You can reserve a vehicle before arriving and avoid wasting precious vacation time.
In the case that you plan on partaking in some adult beverages, it's wise not to get behind the wheel, and let someone else chauffeur you around.
As you arrive at the main avenue and look to the left you'll notice a line of taxis waiting to be hired. Most are very accommodating and have no problem being hired for the day. All you need to do is negotiate the price.
It might seem that the price is a little expensive, however, it might end up being cheaper in the case that you have an accident or something goes wrong with the vehicle you rented as mentioned in the testimonials above.
We hope that this article is helpful. If you have any questions or need additional advice don't hesitate to contact us! Also, be sure to check out the activities that Aquadventures has to offer!
Happy and Safe Travels Amigos!