You won’t find Uber or Lyft here, taxis still rule the streets. They’re everywhere, and their prices are actually reasonable. The only exception is trips to and from the airport, where the flat rates tend to be more expensive. If you’re going to and from the airport, I recommend booking private airport transfers instead.
Taxi fares are almost always fixed. Prior to getting into the taxi, state your destination to the driver and see the price they quote you. In my experience, their prices have been fair and similar to what I expected based on my previous research. If you feel the need to negotiate, be reasonable and polite, but don’t be surprised if they reject your offer or negotiate back. Taxis accept Mexican pesos or US dollars.
Colectives are vans that pick up passengers (mostly locals) along the main highway. They’re much cheaper than taxis, but they can be a bit challenging for some tourists, as this is not a luxurious form of transportation.
I personally avoid using colectivos, so I can’t make the recommendation or provide more information on using this service.
As with any other tourist destination, rental cars are readily available for a reasonable price. All of the major car hire brands are present in the area, so just do some research to find a rental office that’s most convenient you. The locations in the airport are usually the biggest and best equipped to handle tourists. You may pay a little more to rent and return in the airport locations, but usually the convenience is worth the price.
Speaking of price, it’s important to note that while the cost of the rental car itself is quite cheap, most rental agencies will try to push the optional/additional insurance quite heavily. Just know that you’re not required to take this, despite what they may say. By law, standard insurance is included with your rental agreement. Anything additional is to provide more coverage, higher payouts, and more peace of mind. Just check your rental agreement carefully when booking, to see what’s included.
Due to the large number of US tourists, most cars will come with automatic transmissions, but manual transmissions are offered as well.
Driving around the tourist areas of the Yucatan peninsula is pretty easy. The main highway that takes you from Cancun to Tulum is one straight avenue with clear signs. Most of the tourist attractions are just off of the highway as well, so it should be easy to find your way around. Mexican drivers sometimes get a reputation for being a little careless, but I’ve never had a problem. Just drive carefully and remember that you’re in a foreign country, so adjust your driving according to the conditions.
Make sure you’re carrying enough cash for fuel. All of the gas stations that I’ve stopped at have required payment by cash.
Police corruption can sometimes be an issue for tourists. Don’t worry, you’re perfectly safe, but you may be hassled by the police for minor infractions so that they can try and get a bribe from you. Obey all the local traffic laws to avoid giving them a reason to pull you over in the first place, I’ve done that and I’ve never had an issue. If you do get stopped, be kind and co-operative, the police don’t want to cause any harm to tourists.
If you do find yourself in a situation with the cops because you broke a law, remain calm & compliant, you’re safe. If the officer takes time to explain the issue, but is stalling or hesitant to start writing a ticket, that’s when you can decide if you want to offer a small bribe, or have him write you a ticket.
If you decide to buy your way out of the ticket, kindly ask if a small “tip” or “fine” will help resolve the situation. This is all assuming you weren’t pulled over for anything serious. Often times, 200 pesos (10 USD) will be enough to send you on your way. There’s no need to be afraid, the police are just looking to boost their low wages, they don’t want to give you any trouble.
For suggested companies, I’ve usually had good experiences with Hertz, Avis, and Sixt. No matter what company you choose to book with, try to book your rental online in advance, and check to see if all the costs are disclosed prior to booking. Avoid companies that quote a price that is far lower than the average, that’s usually a sign of hidden fees that will be tacked on when you pick up the car.