Although there are several discussion threads on Cabo Auto Rentals, I thought it might be helpful to re-post a few links from this forum and other resources related to the often confusing prospect of renting vehicles at the San Jose Del Cabo Airport (SJD).
Although our family has been traveling to Cabo, typically twice per year since 2006, I don’t claim to be an expert on this matter – so others please jump in with suggestions based on their experience. We have learned a great deal reading the forums and taking advice from the Cabo destination experts’ posts.
We prefer to rent a car when in Cabo, giving us greater freedom to explore at our leisure, rather than depending on taxis and airport transportation. (I’ll copy a line from the most interesting man in the world: I don’t always use airport transportation in Cabo, but when I do, I use Cielito Lindo (Adrian & Angeline at firstname.lastname@example.org ) .
If you go to Priceline or Hotwire and search for a rental car for Spring Break – Pick up on Saturday March 23, and drop off on Saturday March 30, you find what appears to be a terrific deal. When you "check out" on Hotwire, in my "test case", you are offered a Thrifty rental car for $75.09 per week including tax as the “Estimated Trip Total”. You are also offered the option of purchasing a third party CDW/LDW rental car insurance through Allianz for $72 (providing up to $40,000 Collision/Loss Waiver Damage). Interestingly, when you go to Thrifty’s website and read the fine print, Thrifty states that their Mexico car rental licensees do not accept third party insurance, and you will either be required to place a hold of $2,500-$3,500 on your credit card, or you will be required to purchase CDW/LDW from Thrifty for $30-$50 per day (in addition to the mandatory liability). Hotwire does not include the Airport Concession Fee in their “Taxes and Fee’s total (Approximately 18%). So now your $75.09 Hotwire weekly rental deal including mandatory liability, CDW/LDW, Airport Concession Fee, and Tax could approach $380. One important fact to be aware of is that most of the rental car agencies at the Cabo airport, including Hertz, are operating as independent licensee’s, using the corporate sites for booking and marketing. So you are not likely to get anywhere with the corporate rental car company if you have issues with the licensee in Mexico.
Regardless of what type of coverage your credit card or personal auto insurance policy covers, you will be required to carry the mandatory liability insurance of approximately $12 per day. However, most American Express/Travel Rewards/Visa cards include the LDW/CDW coverage in Mexico. Personally, I use the LDW/CDW coverage provided by my Visa Travel Rewards card, and decline the optional coverages offered by the rental car company. (For your credit card to provide coverage, you must pay with the card that provides the coverage and decline the CDW/LDW offered by the rental car company). Visa has an explanation of rental insurance benefits at the Visa website: …visa.com/personal/cards/benefits/bft_dmg_wa… (I carry this explanation of benefits with me when traveling).
Visa also provides a toll free number for for assistance if you have an accident in Mexico: 001-800-847-2911. Check first with your card issuing bank or credit card company to verify your coverage.
This sounds like a broken record, however, there is a reason you see so many recommendations for the trusted “go to” providers: Luis at Alamo, Antonio at Cactus, and Dominic at Dominic Los Cabos (Find the contact info in a reply by PacificNWFamily at: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g152515-i84-k5021823-Rental_Car_question-Cabo_San_Lucas_Los_Cabos_Baja_California.html)
I have not used Dominic, however, he gets positive raves for his convenience, pricing, and service. I have repeatedly used Alamo and now Antonio at Cactus, and have had consistently positive experiences and great customer service. The price you are quoted is the price you pay. (Fortunately, I have never had an accident, so I cannot speak to the response of the rental car company in that situation).
Driving in Cabo is relatively easy (just don't assume a stop sign means that cross traffic will actually stop!), however, as with anything, you improve your chances of a positive experience when you are prepared and deal with a reputable agency.