On our most recent trip to Mexico, we decided to rent a car to facilitate getting around between Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita, and Sayulita. In this post, we share information about driving in Jalisco/Nayarit and our experience renting with Gecko Rent a Car.

Why we chose Gecko Rent a Car:

There are many options to choose from when renting a car near the Puerto Vallarta Airport; from smaller local companies to worldwide large brands like Hertz, Budget, etc. As we were researching information about the hotel we chose to stay at, we found numerous positive reviews about Gecko Rent a Car on the associated Flyer Talk forum. We decided to get a quote and found the price to be very reasonable and comparable to other larger worldwide car rental companies.

Our Experience:

Overall, we had a great experience with Gecko Car Rental. The entire process was quick and easy (no up-sell of add-ons as all the required insurance is already included in your price), the car was new and in great condition, and the staff was friendly and helpful in providing some tips and trips for driving in the area. After returning our vehicle and being dropped off at the airport, we noticed we forgot a tote bag in the vehicle, and the staff at Gecko promptly called us and arranged its return – what great customer service!

Driving in Mexico:

There are many things to be aware of when driving in Mexico; speed limits vary often and are not always posted, “topes” (speedbumps) are frequent on side-streets and are not always clearly marked, and road conditions vary greatly – giant potholes turn some roads into a bit of an obstacles course! It is also important to be aware of some of the unique local rules. For example, in Puerto Vallarta the major highway requires left turns to be made by turning right down side streets and waiting in designated locations for a left-turn signal. There’s also a general rule that right-of-way is always given to the larger vehicles; best to move out of the way for those large buses and cement trucks!

We took great care in following all the rules of the road and following the speed limits to minimize the chances of being pulled over and having to deal with the police. Speed limit signs were posted but if you do not see any of them, the general limits are: in urban areas it’s 40 km/h, on open roads it’s 80 km/h and on motorways it’s 100-110 km/h

Summary:

Overall, we enjoyed renting a car in the Puerto Vallarta area. It gave us the freedom to explore, especially when staying on the beach in Punta Mita and near Sayulita. While we’d probably still avoid driving in busier areas (such as the Centro or Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta itself) we’d recommend it for areas to the North where the traffic is a bit lighter and the value of having our own vehicle can be maximized.   

Have you ever rented a car in Mexico? Any tips to add?

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