If you do decide to rent some wheels, go to the agency yourself—do not allow one of the friendly guys at the pier to lead you there. They are comisionistas, freelancers who earn hefty commissions for bringing tourists to particular shops, which then pass the cost on to you. Shop owners go along begrudgingly; if they decline the “service,” the same freelancers will actively steer future tourists away from the shop, saying it’s closed, burned down, fresh out of cars—you get the idea.
Excluding commissions, rental cars in Cozumel start at around US$40–50 for a compact car, including insurance and taxes. Mopeds rent for around US$25 a day. Be aware that scooters account for the majority of accidents here, as speed bumps, potholes, and windy conditions can upend even experienced drivers. Also remember that unpaved roads are not covered by most rental car insurance plans.
Rentadora Isis (Av. 5 Norte btwn Calles 2 and 4, tel. 987/872-3367, 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m. daily) consistently has the island’s best rates, and friendly service to boot; their Internet specials often are good, too. Another good local option is Sol y Mar (Calle 2 near Av. 5 Norte, tel. 987/869-0545, 8 a.m.–7 p.m. daily).
Thrifty (Av. Juárez at Av. 10 Norte, tel. 987/869-8090; at airport 987/869-2957), Avis (Av. Juárez at Av. 5 Norte, tel. 987/872-1923; at airport 987/872-0099), and Hertz (Av. Juárez at Av. 5 Norte, tel. 999/911-8040; at airport 987/869-8184) are better known internationally and also reliable, albeit more expensive.
Cozumel has three PEMEX gas stations (7 a.m.–midnight daily). Two are in town on Avenida Benito Juárez (at Avs. Pedro Joaquin Coldwell and 75), and the third is four kilometers (2.5 miles) south of town on the Carretera Costera Sur across from Puerta Maya, the main cruise ship pier.
Note: Most streets are one-way in town; if you’re driving, be aware that avenidas (avenues) run north–south and have the right-of-way over calles (streets), which run east–west. Once you leave town, there is a single road that circles the entire island.
Excerpted from the Eleventh Edition of Moon Cancun & Cozumel.