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OK............thanks to each and everyone of you that has replied to my thread. ;) YOu have given me loads of useful info. Definitley have decided that I don't want to rent a car, but DH and I are so looking forward to seeing the ruins and experiencing the Mexican culture. Thanks again.

Wannacrewz

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Have not heard of Merida Insider, much less posted there.

 

Have a very good friend that lives in Merida. Loves it. Teaches english at a private school there. Am looking forward to visiting her and that part of Mexico again.

 

MexicoBob

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I doubt that all of the poverty is the "Real Mexico" wannacrewz is referrring to. I am guessing he is thinking more of something beyond highrises and chain stores. There are lots of different poverty levels in Mexico like anywhere else but fortunately in the area the cruise ships will be taking him most residents are able to have jobs and maintain a standard of living higher than a lot of the rest of the country. It is always interesting to see the straw huts on the side of the road with satellite dishes on top. The ability to speak English is these people's ticket to a better life because then they can get jobs in tourism. Knowing that tourism is largely the only thing going for the economy of the Yucatan and much of Mexico people are mostly very happy that the tourists are there. the last few summers we have spent some time there. Last year we were told by a guide that we've dealt with a couple of times that the reports of corruption (tourist extortion) in Playa had gotten so high that the new government in the area had outlawed traffic fines so that the police could not stop tourists. They lost half of their police force over the following month but they were looking out for the tourists. We have driven there for years and it has gotten more clear and safe every year. We were stopped in 1993 for going the wrong way on an unmarked one way street but there was no effort at extortion and they didn't even ticket us or anything else. Just turned us around.

If I had one day in Playa I would (get a Spanish dictionary just in case) rent a car. (Know that it is expected that you drive on the shoulder if there are cars trying to pass from behind and that traffic both ways pass in the middle at full speed. be careful pay attention and you'll catch on quickly.) I am far less comfortable in New Orleans traffic with the DH at the wheel. I would travel south on Hwy 307 to the Coba Hwy. Stop at the Grand Cenote on the right about a mile up the Coba Hwy. Swim, snorkel whatever and check out this amazing natural feature unique to the yucatan. there are lots of them but from our exploring the Grand is sort of the best one stop taste of many features. You can see the Cave formations, Easy in and out access. It's not intimidating to get to (Some of them are down LONG rough roads that beat your rental car to death.) Then if time pernits I would go to Coba. These are the type ruins that really give you a taste of what the mayan civilization really was. We have been fortunate enough to ride bikes on ancient Mayan roads (sacbes) and climb the pyramids built hundreds to thousands of years ago. this is an amazing adventure. get a guide at the ruins they will enrich the experience. If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself check with a tour company called alltournative in the area. I am not sure they can fit cruise ship times in with their schedule but if they can they are a great way to get to the heart of the Yucatan. Lots of Mayan heritage to cover. It's a somewhat adventurous day and not for everyone but you wll have had an adventure unlike any other cruise ship passenger when you get back. We got great info from a map we found online called mapchick (I think). The mapmaker sends the map on the honor system. We loved the great coverage so much that we have all of the maps she does now.

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I agree with above post in that Mapchick is great!!

 

We never have trouble in Mexico, but you don't have to rent a car to see it. Just grab a cab and go. As far as ruins go, I remember thinking Tulum was amazing the first time I saw it, but when I saw Chichen Itza and Coba, I was truly awed. If, on your short stay there, you find you like the Mexican riviera, go back, stay there and take a much longer look.

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If you just want to go downtown, but want to see more than the tourist area, just turn up a side street and walk back away from the ocean. The further back you go, the further away from the tourist shops.

 

If you want to see the "real" Mexico in the amount of time you have off the ship, that would be my advice. (For what it's worth, I'm not sure there's any one thing that would count as the real Mexico any more, if there ever was. I haven't been to the Yucatán yet, but I've been in many other places the country, and Mexico has a little bit of everything, from dirt poor to filthy rich. But I think I know what the original poster means by the question.)

 

Wherever I've been in Mexico, and that includes major tourist areas, it is easy to see something a bit more authentic than the tourist shops. It's absolutely amazing to me how little most tourists get away from the tourism centers, so often walking less than a kilometer, sometimes even one block, from the tourist areas is enough to see where the people living there shop, eat, work and go to school. Last time I went to Puerto Vallarta, we stayed in a downtown hotel frequented by quite a few nationals and ate most of the time at restaurants, some of them without English menus, that catered primarily to Mexicans. It was plenty touristy, but it was still a totally different experience than if we had stayed at some megaresort out of the city limits.

 

And for those who take normal precautions (such as using a hidden wallet for money and passport), there is very little danger, despite what some people here say. There are certainly areas of many towns to avoid, especially for women alone, but that's true anywhere. I've been to Mexico half a dozen times and elsewhere in the Third World as well, and I always make a point of going for walks away from the tourist zone. I've never been disappointed and look forward to doing the same this summer in Cozumel and Playa.

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Like the OP, I will be on a cruise with stops in PDC and Cozumel. I also prefer to see a bit of "real Mexico"- which simply means I want to experience a little bit of authentic Mexican culture- not just take in the touristy shore excursions or shopping.

 

I found this site, www.cozumelmycozumel.com to be extremely informative and helpful for accomplishing that, in Cozumel anyway.

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The only real Mexico that will be accessible from the cruise port is cenotes or ruins. The coastal cities like Playa Del Carmen and Cancun are all purpose built tourist traps so really not indicative of the real Mexico. Cities like Merida and Valladolid are difficult to get to and from a cruise stop but they are really fascinating beautiful and interesting cities. Driving in Mexico is really not all that hard a thing to do and renting a car in Mexico is not all that hard a thing to do.

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As noted the traditional Mexico is in the interior, and although you can experience the Mayan culture and wonderful people on Coz and along the nearby Riviera Maya Caribbean coast, on a cruise stop you are very limited on options, perhaps a little time at a ruins site and a visit one of the small villages. Someone recommended Cancun and that is not a good recommendation . Not only is it too far, but Cancun was developed as a resort destination and is not at all representative of Mexican heritage. Playa was a sleepy fishing village and has grown into a very international and expat destination. So neither are good choices for you.

 

But a very nice day can be had renting a car and driving the southwest and east coasts of Cozumel with a stop at the ruins there, we do it when visiting Coz from the Yucatán. If you want to rent, ISIS is a very reputable and highly-respected agency and the cost is very low, perhaps $40 with all insurance included. We never decline insurance and rely on our US or credit card policy. It's different in Mexico, and just be aware that if you aren't experienced with renting in Mexico and have a problem it could be a real problem for a day visitor.

 

 

For someone wanting ease of mind I would suggest using a reputable, independent tour guide for a private tour to get the best experience. You can find several recommendations on the Coz forum on TripAdvisor. If a visit to the ruins of Tulum interests you and you have enough time in port for that, you'll find some excellent threads here.

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I am not going to put words in Blue Waters mouth about rental car insurance but I would always always always take the rental car insurance in Mexico. Your credit card insurance is pretty much useless down there the damage has to be paid for before you leave Mexico and your credit card insurance is something you claim against once you get home

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I am not going to put words in Blue Waters mouth about rental car insurance but I would always always always take the rental car insurance in Mexico. Your credit card insurance is pretty much useless down there the damage has to be paid for before you leave Mexico and your credit card insurance is something you claim against once you get home

 

We actually agree on something?

One added note, if you decline the CDW coverage and are involved in an accident or cause damage to another vehicle or other property you may not get back on the ship and back home to file a claim if you don't have lots of cash. The insurance is very cheap and you do want it. And Margarita, the owner of ISIS, is very good to work with. We just rented from her nephew in Playa, very honest people!

Edited by blue_water

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To anyone wanting to experience the traditional Mexico you won't get that on one day off a cruise ship. Consider a land-based trip to the more colonial areas of Mexico and enjoy the planning and the research. A beautiful country, and a wonderful people with a rich heritage...

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I do recommend the countrys insurance if you rent a car. We also go to the Caymans alot and we always get their insurance and drivers license. Be legal and safe.

 

You are required to get a license to drive on GCM, but we do decline the CDW there and in other places as we are covered. But that is not the case in Mexico, and newcomers to Mexico are unwise to decline it.

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We actually agree on something?

One added note, if you decline the CDW coverage and are involved in an accident or cause damage to another vehicle or other property you may not get back on the ship and back home to file a claim if you don't have lots of cash. The insurance is very cheap and you do want it. And Margarita, the owner of ISIS, is very good to work with. We just rented from her nephew in Playa, very honest people!

 

I was trying to find a nice way to say that you seem to have Miss worded your comments about insurance a bit

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I was trying to find a nice way to say that you seem to have Miss worded your comments about insurance a bit

 

Yes I can see that, I could have added "never" again...

 

We never decline insurance and never rely on our US or credit card policy. It's different in Mexico, and just be aware that if you aren't experienced with renting in Mexico and have a problem it could be a real problem for a day visitor.

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..

...

If you are only a tourist and not familiar with Mexican traffic laws DO NOT RENT A CAR............EVER. You can not imagine the nightmare you will be in if something goes wrong. Traffic laws are different. For example; on some streets there will not be a stop sign but you are suppossed to know that you should stop.

It is against Mexican law to have a wreck, even if it is not your fault. If someone is hurt or killed in an accident you will be put in jail no matter what. In that case MEXICAN CAR INSURANCE IS CRITICAL. I do not care if your American insurance is valid or not. As someone who has seen the inside of a Mexican jail I assure you a local agent is essential. You do not want to rot in a Mexican jail while waiting on your State Farm agent to figure out that this is not Kansas

...

 

This is super good advice. Never, ever drive a car in Mexico without local Mexican insurance. Also, if you are involved in an accident - never, ever move the car. Moving a car after an accident in Mexico is admitting fault from my understanding. You need to wait for the traffic police to come and do the investigation first. They will make an on the spot determination of fault. If you don't have insurance, you will be taken to a special jail and held until you can pay off all the damages that are due to other parties. They don't care if you are hurt, you'll still be taken off. People have died in these types of situations because they didn't have the right insurance or coverage.

 

Being in an accident will give one a startling introduction to "Mexico Real"

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>> If you are only a tourist and not familiar with Mexican traffic laws DO NOT RENT A CAR............EVER. It is against Mexican law to have a wreck, even if it is not your fault <<

>> People have died in these types of situations because they didn't have the right insurance or coverage. <<

These are obviously gross exaggerations so don't let these prevent you from renting a car in Mexico. It is very advisable to accept the CDL insurance and even the optional tire, glass, and roadside assistance if you are there as a day visitor. You should not rely on your US or credit card insurance. Other than that, common sense, researching the laws and road signage, and not drinking while driving are very important. Drinking and driving is taken more seriously in Mexico than in the US.

For anyone considering renting a car in Cozumel or Playa, ISIS is a very reputable outfit, as are America and Avant. They all include the insurance in their quote, no surprises when you pick up the car.

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These are obviously gross exaggerations so don't let these prevent you from renting a car in Mexico.[/size]
You are quite mistaken - these comments are very accurate. The customs and the laws in Mexico are quite illogical. I have a friend' date=' a US citizen, who lives in a US border town who was T-boned by a driver running a stop sign in Nuevo Laredo. He was badly injured and unable to move however the negligent driver approached the police first with a story. He was allowed to leave, but my seriously injured friend was taken to the hospital AND arrested. After a week and with the intervention of a Mexican attorney along with pay-offs, he was allowed to return to the US. Insurance or no insurance, fault or no fault, US citizen or not - if you are in any automobile accident in Mexico, you could be in a world of hurt if there is an accident. That is not a "gross exaggeration".[/color']

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These are obviously gross exaggerations so don't let these prevent you from renting a car in Mexico. It is very advisable to accept the CDL insurance and even the optional tire, glass, and roadside assistance if you are there as a day visitor. You should not rely on your US or credit card insurance. Other than that, common sense, researching the laws and road signage, and not drinking while driving are very important. Drinking and driving is taken more seriously in Mexico than in the US.

For anyone considering renting a car in Cozumel or Playa, ISIS is a very reputable outfit, as are America and Avant. They all include the insurance in their quote, no surprises when you pick up the car.

You are quite mistaken - these comments are very accurate.

 

You are quite mistaken amigo, the comments you are referring to as accurate are actually quite funny. Those before are just repetitive nonsense based on misinformation.

Read this statement again -

It is against Mexican law to have a wreck, even if it is not your fault

And this one -

People have died in these types of situations because they didn't have the right insurance or coverage.

 

I hope you just read these posts too quickly before posting your comment...:)

Common sense, understanding the laws in the country you are visiting, and not drinking and driving are very important requirements whatever country you are in as a visitor. We have a long-term car rental as we await our permanent visa and these 3 points are indeed important to heed. Understanding the limitations of your other coverages are critical, and assuming you are covered is very dangerous.

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Richard1s I simply wanted to separate the accurate info from the misleading statements for anyone considering sightseeing on Coz and reading these posts. There is much good info here and in other threads about renting a car and driving safely on Coz and in Mexico in general, and as with all public forums you need to use due. diligence when researching.

 

For someone wanting to tour the island and not worry about the issues with driving in a foreign country, in post# 34 I recommend hiring a reputable tour operator to take a tour and that's a great alternative. We've rented several times in the past several years and we choose a reputable agency, opt for the insurance, and heed the laws and have never had a problem nor have any of our friends. So just wanted to clarify that for others considering renting for the first time - enjoy your travels!

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This is super good advice. Never, ever drive a car in Mexico without local Mexican insurance. Also, if you are involved in an accident - never, ever move the car. Moving a car after an accident in Mexico is admitting fault from my understanding. You need to wait for the traffic police to come and do the investigation first. They will make an on the spot determination of fault. If you don't have insurance, you will be taken to a special jail and held until you can pay off all the damages that are due to other parties. They don't care if you are hurt, you'll still be taken off. People have died in these types of situations because they didn't have the right insurance or coverage.

 

Being in an accident will give one a startling introduction to "Mexico Real"

As I wrote, this is totally correct.

"blue_waterYou are quite mistaken amigo". Not sure exactly what your problem is "amigo", aside from always thinking you are right but the comments and warnings about driving in Mexico should be a concern to everyone considering it. As I mentioned in my example, my friend's experience is common. If you are in an accident, you can find yourself in a world of hurt even if you have insurance and are not at fault. There is a protocol to follow an I doubt that you, or most tourists, have any idea what it is. Misinformation is what gets other people in trouble.

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Given that the cruise lines are in the business of selling tours I would look elsewhere for good information on driving in Mexico. I have driven in Mexico in a number of times and never had any problems whatsoever.

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As I wrote, this is totally correct.

"blue_waterYou are quite mistaken amigo". Not sure exactly what your problem is "amigo", aside from always thinking you are right but the comments and warnings about driving in Mexico should be a concern to everyone considering it. As I mentioned in my example, my friend's experience is common. If you are in an accident, you can find yourself in a world of hurt even if you have insurance and are not at fault. There is a protocol to follow an I doubt that you, or most tourists, have any idea what it is. Misinformation is what gets other people in trouble.

 

Wow...

I’m not going to respond to your remarks aimed at me as you obviously have issues and cannot read. I will suggest however that in the future you cite the post you are referencing in your comments to minimize the confusion. You are now referencing a different post than that which I responded to (that you quoted). Also I would suggest you carefully read posts before responding with criticism, that keeps the info here less muddied. Criticizing someone who is sharing their experiences - whether you agree or have ever had those experiences - is very childish and doesn’t help those looking for info. Thanks for your feedback though! ;)

 

I do need to include this comment from you though - so funny as you are referring to me as a tourist with zero information about me! Assuming is another fault...

There is a protocol to follow an I doubt that you, or most tourists, have any idea what it is. Misinformation is what gets other people in trouble.

Edited by blue_water

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Given that the cruise lines are in the business of selling tours I would look elsewhere for good information on driving in Mexico. I have driven in Mexico in a number of times and never had any problems whatsoever.

 

Good advice - For example there are a number of excellent threads captured in the Top Questions section of the Playa Del Carmen forum of Trip Advisor (and some in the Coz forum) with helpful advice from experienced renters. Obviously there are other sources for renting and driving as well as finding reputable, independent tour operators. Coz is a great place to explore either way!

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