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Driving in Merida/car rental

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Palm Coast, FL
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178 posts
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Driving in Merida/car rental

After spending 3 nights at Cascadas de Merida, my friend and I plan to rent a car and drive to Chichen Itza - and continue for another 10 days from there. I have found outstanding car rental rates from National, but there are 2 locations in Merida. One is at the Fiesta Americana Hotel, the other at Calle 60 (not sure of the cross street). How difficult will it be to get out of the city from the central area and is there any advantage of one location or the other? I am anxious to hear any advice from those in the know.

St.Louis, MO
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1. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

I, too, have the exact same question.. I have a car reserved in the centro thinking it would be closer to our hotel, but I am afraid of getting out of Merida. We also plan to head out to Chichen Itza. Any pointers? Also I just read the post on Hotel Merida Mision being closed. That is where I was told the Budget rental car office is located. Help!!! and thanks a bunch jomex

Merida
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for Merida
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2. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

I'm pretty sure the Budget rental office is across the street from Mision but I'll check it and get back to you.

As for the Avis office, the location at the Fiesta Americana is on Calle 60, so I'm pretty sure (after looking at the local Paginas Amarillas - Yellow Pages) that they are one and the same location.

As for getting out of the city, the best route is to go south from there on Calle 62 or 58 or any Calle going south, and turn left (east) on Calle 59. Just follow Calle 59 all the way to the Periferico (the Ring Road around Merida). Turn right on the Periferico (which looks more like an LA Freeway every day, but without lights on the onramps), and follow the signs to Cancun. Its the next one or two exits (can't remember), but you exit on your right, then go left under an overpass via a traffic circle.

Stop at any Pemex to ask directions. Just say "Cancun?" or "Chichen Itza?" and someone will point the way.

Of course, Yucatecans are famous for saying "todo derecho" to any question asked about directions. It means "straight ahead" and its kind of true...

Our car has a built in compass, and its incredibly helpful here. There are no mountains or other landmarks on which to set your sights. So a little hand-held compass might help you feel more in control of your travel.

On the other hand, being out of control and seeing where Life takes you is one of the pleasures of being here :-)

Palm Coast, FL
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3. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

Thanks Yucatan Living for the directions which I will print out and take with me. I was also wondering about how difficult the driving, i.e. traffic is in the city. I think from your resoinse that the Calle 60 location is better than the Fiesta Americana location?

Merida
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4. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

Hotel Fiesta Americana is on Calle 60... I believe that is one location.

Budget Rental Car has offices at the airport, at the Holiday Inn on Calle 60 (across from the Fiesta Americana) and also AT the Fiesta Americana.

Merida, Mexico
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5. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

Bellakitty,

I have a brother that travels all over the world for work. When he is traveling, many times he has to rent a car to get to the job site. Years ago he gave me some great advise about driving in a new place and that is to drive slowly while you get your bearings and don't let other drivers fluster you. And if people honk at you, don't let it bother you. When he visits me in Merida he gets everywhere he needs to go and has had great adventures all over the state even getting off the beaten path.

Getting out of Merida is easy. If you use the Fiesta Americana National, you might want to head north to the Periferico. While driving in Merida might seem frantic, take your time.... with a lot of tourism in our city, people are used to drivers/tourists trying to figure things out.

When you know where you are actually going to rent the car, the people on this forum will give you good info for getting out of the city.

Our magazine has good maps which the car rental place will give you.

Clearwater, Florida
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6. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

Getting out of Merida is easy, go straight ahead on whatever street you are on. The periferico is a ring completely around the city. If you go straight long enough from inside the ring you will reach the outside (so said the nun that taught geometry).

When I stay in the Center I take 60 to 43 and then to the Pasejo Montejo which turns into the Prolognation Montejo and then hits the periferico. It passes a number of chain restaurants and malls and Liverpool an overpriced department store. Quite interesting if you think you can avoid that sort of thing in Merida.

I rented a car in Cancun of the 4th of July to drive to Merida (no direct flights to Merida that day) from Avis and returned it on the 9th. $122 USD.

Remember in Merida even numbered streets go north and south and odd numbered streets east-west. You will never see the corner of 55 and 57, but you will see 60 and 57 (which is Merida Mission Hotel)

You may wish to consider the insurance offered. I always decline it because I have an umbrella policy that covers liability outside the US, and I use a credit card that provides damage cover. I have had an accident in a rental car in Merida. I looked down to check an address, drifted a bit out of the lane and tapped a city truck which hit a parked VW. There was some damage to all 3 cars. The police came, the reps from the insurance companies and the car rental company came. The car rental includes some insurance by Mexican law so the other vehicles were covered. I was required to pay ~1500 USD for the damage to my rental car. They accepted a credit card and I was reimbursed in due course by my insurance company (the Visa card insurance cover).

It was the most pleasant traffic accident I have ever had. No one was injured and there was minor damage, however having the insurance company come to the scene (as well as a lawyer for the rental company who was helpful even though he did not truly represent me). It was quite warm so I invited everyone to sit at a table on Pasejo Montejo where the cars were parked. I offered water and soda to those who wished including the several police officers, and many accepted. We filled out forms, wrote statements, the police and the insurance people conducted their investigation. It took 2 hours but we all left after shaking hands and giving my business card to everyone in case there were any problems. Not at all like in the States where people start screaming at one another. Very accepting of the fact that accidents happen and in due course things will be fixed. If you have to have an accident Merida is the place to do it, although I don't encourage having an accident.

Merida, Mexico
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7. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

MdoNeil,

What a great story and so wonderful to hear such a happy ending. And to hear that US insurance and credit card insurance DOES work here. I've heard other stories where it didn't - so glad to hear, yours did!

USA
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8. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

Well, how do you make a left turn in Merida? I have read it could be dangerous to use your indicator lights when moving to the left since in Merida this signal is taken as an invitation to the car behind you to pass you. I don't know if I quite explained myself. It seems driving there could be confusing to someone coming from the USA.

Merida, Mexico
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9. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

Yes, people. mostly truck drivers, do use the left signal meaning "the road is clear ahead, you can pass me." You won't really see this in town. You will find this moslty on the free road "libre" to Chichen Itza/Cancun road - the other road is the toll road or "cuota." and is two lanes wide so passing is easy.

santa fe, merida
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10. Re: Driving in Merida/car rental

Actually, National does have an office in Centro on Calle 60 and also an office at the Fiesta Americana which happens to be on Calle 60. So, there are TWO offices. If you're staying in Centro, it's more convenient to pick up your car at the office that calls itself Calle 60 as this is the Centro office.