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Do we need to rent a car?

Berkshires, MA
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Do we need to rent a car?

We land in Cancun late at night and are planning on heading to Tulum the next morning...do we need to rent a car? Would it be useful to have during our stay in Tulum or can we get by without one?

New Jersey
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1. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

There have been many many threads on renting cars, so you may want to do a search (I think you can search here) to get a full picture, but I am a big believer in renting a car.

The Tulum pueblo is kind of far from the beach, certainly too far to walk unless you want to spend hours walking to and fro in the heat that envelops you as soon as you leave the beachfront.

Some folks get by using taxis all the time, and that's cool, I just hate waiting for taxis and having to deal with getting one when I could just hop in my own car and go go go.

Even if my trip is mainly all about sitting on my tail on the beach, I still end up going into town once a day, or maybe you want to go to the ruins, or out to a cenote or down into the biosphere.

So in my opinion (others will surely disagree), you should rent a car, and you should get one with all the insurances included, something that a number of the local agencies (Continental, America, Easyway, Buster) do more or less automatically. The big chains will quote you much lower rates until you start adding in the insurances, so I like the no-hassle thing of just getting it all at once.

Depending on how sleepy I was, I would probably go ahead and do the drive when I got in. The highway down to Tulum is pretty straighforward, due south until you turn left to get out to the beach road in Tulum, about an hour and a half depending on what time of day you get in. That way I wake up in Tulum and don't still have a highway drive ahead of me.

Luckily, most of my flights arrive in the a.m. so I don't have to do this, but I would seriously consider it.

If you have Marriott miles to spend and really just want to lay your head before picking up the car first thing in the morning and don't need to be by the beach, there's a Courtyard right on 307 next to the Plaza Santa Fe where several of the rental agencies base. I think the room rates are like $100-$120, and it's your basic US Courtyard.

One expensive way to go would be to ask your rental agency to arrange for your car to meet you in Tulum (some will do this I think), and you take a private non-stop transfer from the airport to your hotel in Tulum. No night driving, you can sleep in the car and voila, you're at the beach! I think it would cost like $80 one-way? Not sure, but check with USA Transportation or Tucan Kin, see what they say.

Or maybe your rental agency might be willing to drive you to Tulum and leave the car with you there for a fee? Maybe they'd do it for less than what the transfer would cost... Just brainstorming here now, I haven't actually don't any of this, just thinking of things you could check into.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

It is great to have a car, but you can get by without one, easily. There are enough taxi's driving around along the beach road and in the pueblo. You can call one from a cell phone. Collectivo's run up and down the highway, from Tulum to Playa del Carmen. We didn't rent a car until our second visit to the area, and then we rented in Tulum for a few days (Executive) . By this time we had an idea of the driving rules and crazy driving by the locals, or crazy driving by lost tourists. Our third visit we rented a car for the entire trip. We didn't use it much, but it came in handy. It allowed us to not have to do organized tours, and to do whatever (which brings me back to not needing the car!).

There are alot of bad accidents along 307 highway, many involving tourists. Make sure you know what you are doing. It's not like in the US.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

I never had to wait more than 2 seconds on the beach road for a cab. There are several cab stands in town, depending where you're going....

When I did the cost analysis of $30 for 6 mediocre overcooked shrimp at Zamas compared with a $4 cab each way for 20 pesos for 3 excellent tacos in town - it was a no brainer!

Having a car is good if you want to do excursions like Coba and the cenotes, but you can get to them with a little more time by collectivo.

New Jersey
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4. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

Evening, where did you stay that you got cabs so easily? I know there are plenty in the little beachtown area (from Copal to Zamas), but farther south, like south of Ana y Jose, they seem a bit more rare.

Utrecht, The...
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5. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

There were almost always taxis waiting outside Ocho (very south) too. Otherwise they would call one for you and that takes only a few minutes.

New Jersey
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6. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

Good to know, thanks.

Detroit, Michigan
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7. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

If you're planning on staying mainly around Tulum I would just use the bus, taxi, colectivos as transportation.

If you plan on exploring further afield then rent a car.

Aurora, Illinois
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8. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

We stayed at Tita Tulum this past May and never had a problem getting a cab.

I dont want to have to deal with driving anywhere when I am on vacation. I dont need to worry about drinking, the gas station scams, coppers, ins etc....

If I had rented a car this past trip I would have never had the opportunity to sing Queens "Bohemian Rhapsody" with me wife and cab driver.

To me, cabs are part of the adventure.

New Jersey
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9. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

You know, I might consider trying the taxi route again someday.

A few years ago, I tried going without a car and didn't like walking on the road and couldn't find cabs when I wanted them, so I became a renter.

I'll probably continue renting because I like to just up and go whenever I choose, but it really is good to know that taxis are easier to come by than they used to be.

Detroit, Michigan
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10. Re: Do we need to rent a car?

We usually rent at least part of the week b/c we go all over the place but will use public transportation when it's more practical.