Flights to Cancun, Mexico - Some Practicalities

Flights to Cancun are a lot more frequent in the winter than they are in the summer so if you're looking for direct flights this would be the time to go. The weather in winter is cooler and more stable than the summer time but it is also peak season for travel to Cancun.

Before you leave home:

If you have an e-ticket, be sure to print out the confirmation page. You should arrive at your terminal two hours before your flights to Cancun depart. If you arrive late tell an airline employee immediately and they will most likely take you to the front of the line.

To speed up the security process do not wear any metal objects, including belt buckles, and if you have metal implants take a note from your doctor to prevent any delays with airport officials. Don't carry sharp objects in your carry-on bag. You can check the Transportation Security Administration website for a list of restricted items before you travel.

During your flight to Cancun you will be handed two forms; an immigration form and a customs declaration form. Try to fill these out before you land as it will help speed things up at the airport in Mexico. The immigration form should be kept in a safe place as you will need it for your return journey.

Arriving in Cancun :

The next stop after immigration is customs. If you have nothing to declare you will be shown either a green light or a red light. Green means you are free to pass and red means your bags will be searched. Here is a brief list of restricted items:

Food, more than 20 packs of cigarettes or cigars per person; more than three litres of alcohol per person; more than 20 rolls of film; you will need to carry a prescription for prescribed medicine.

The first thing to avoid once getting through the arrivals gate is people selling time shares. They will try to reel you in with offers of free lunches but are easy to spot as they will usually approach you offering to help you find your way around. Porters offering to carry your luggage should also be avoided. They can be a little rude and always expect a large tip.

One thing you should do is to pick up a few brochures and magazines on your way through the airport as these often have useful information.

Getting to the hotel:

Private van hire can be booked online before you leave for Cancun. The driver will wait outside the terminal and take you to your hotel via the quickest and most convenient route. This can cost upwards of USD$50 one-way so for those on a budget, shared vans are also available. These are cheaper at around USD$9 per person one-way.

Private taxis can be taken from outside the airport but are considerably more expensive than shared van hire. They generally cost between $35 and $40. Taxis are often much cheaper going to airports from hotels. Always settle on a price before you depart as most taxis do not have a meter. Instead they have set rates for different zones, all set by the taxi union.

There is a new bus terminal in downtown Ciudad Cancun that has buses running to and from the airport every hour. This is the cheapest mode of transport but you'll still need transport from the bus station to your hotel. The journey by bus from the airport to the hotel is no longer than an hour.

Leaving Cancun:

Airports in Mexico charge an airport tax of about USD$18 per person on all international departures. These are commonly added to the ticket price but always check to be sure. There is also an USD$18 'tourism tax' that goes into a promotional fund; this is usually not included on ticket prices so have that money handy when you depart.

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