We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

Chico, California
1 post
1 review
Save Topic
Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

We are thinking of renting a car and driving from Cancun to El Balam. I have heard this may not be safe and would appreciate any feedback!

Cape Cod
Level Contributor
2,086 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

Not safe in what way? The roads are pretty good, the Mexican people are wonderful if you get into trouble, there is little violent crime.

Gas station guys may try to rip you off and cops near Cancun may try to roust you for bribe. But if you're vigilant and obey all the laws, no one will bother you.

Rent the car and have a great trip!

Merida, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Merida, Chichen Itza
Level Contributor
2,761 posts
152 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

I second the emotion - highways, especially the very safe and very boring toll road, are very good and well marked for the most part. You will have a great time; there are no safety issues. Stay within speed limits not only to avoid cops but also to avoid overheating tires (and risking a blowout) on the rough asphalt of the toll road. Be sure to stop in Temozon on the way to Ek Balam (not El Balam) for smoked meat, which the town is famous for.

Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
7,706 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

Aside from the above described speed trap/gas scams it's really just about as safe as driving anywhere else. A good place to get the latest info on these scams and how to avoid them is the Playa Del Carmen Forum, under Top Questions. I have never experienced any personally. I think a gas pumper tried once but was quickly "caught" and never completed.

kansas city
Level Contributor
254 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

I rent a car whenever I go to Ek Balam. chichen itza or akumal. Never had any problems always drive the posted speed limit. Do not get tempted to go with the flow of traffic. The rental cars are easily identified bt the police and singled out.

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
Level Contributor
29,233 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

Read this:


Cape Cod
Level Contributor
2,086 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

Great report, CO! I've had a similar experience. Only thing I would add is that the gas station north of Valladolid and the one just outside Chemax have in recent past been run by thieves.

The Valladolid station at the north end of town on the route to the Cuota or toll road has a fellow who is expert at the old bill-switch. You hand him a 200-peso note and it becomes a 50-peso note. He's been working there as long as I've been going to Yucatan, so my assumption is that the owner is in on it.

At Chemax, they pull the "pump is out of gas" and the "not restarting the pump from the last customer" cons. However, I haven't been at the Chemax station in two or three years, so it may have changed.

Please know that I am the stereotypical gringo (6'3 and fair, with laughable Spanish skills) who drives rental cars. I believe this makes me a target by unscrupulous types at these stations.

Forewarned is forearmed. Have a great trip!

Level Contributor
289 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

We've rented cars in the area twice, in 2008 & 2010. Both times from Cancun rentacar (which operates under a couple of other names as well, Caribbean and America something I think).

No problems at all either time, drove both the toll hwy and the free road. At the gas stations (incl the one mentioned near Vallodolid) my husband would ask for 500 pesos worth, have the bill out, then get out and lean on the gas pump and chat with the guy while he was filling it up. Seemed to keep everyone honest :)

The toll road was smooth and boring and empty. The free road was full of speedbumps (topes) so it was slow going but a more scenic route.

I felt perfectly safe on both.

8. Re: Safe to rent a car from cancun to El Balam

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 17 November 2012, 10:25
Get answers to your questions about Valladolid