Cancun Airport Arrival Tips

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Cancun Airport Arrival Tips - 2023 Travelers Guide

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Cancun Airport Arrivals tips and everything you need to know

Cancun International Airport has seen an unprecedented surge of tourists over the last few years, with a total count estimated to be over 20 million. This bustling hub is the go-to destination for U.S and Canadian travelers too, as nearly 60% of all international arrivals at Cancun have been reported from these countries alone! An arrival experience here can certainly be hectic – yet proves no obstacle in light of its insurmountable popularity among people all around the world. 

If you are considering a trip to the stunning Mexican Caribbean, here is some invaluable advice for those planning on flying into Cancun International Airport.

Cancun Airport Arrival Tips

All About Cancun International Airport

Begin your journey on the right foot by arriving at Cancun Airport, where you’ll be conveniently placed at the edge of Mexico’s magnificent Mayan Riviera. In no time flat, take a quick drive to Playa del Carmen (under an hour), or even further out to Tulum (1.5 hours). And if that isn’t enough adventure for you, Merida and Valladolid are also within reach with public transportation from the airport! However, don’t miss out on Bacalar and Akumal – two other breathtakingly lush coastal destinations not too far away!


🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Resources We Use:



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Cancun Airport Terminals

If you’re flying to Cancun from the U.S. or Canada, chances are your airline will arrive at either Terminal 3 or 4 of the airport – while Terminals 1 and 2 largely serve domestic airlines only. Let’s break it down further:

  • Terminal 1: VivaAerobus
  • Terminal 2: Aeromexico, Air Transat, Alaska Airlines, Southwest, Sunwing, Volaris.
  • Terminal 3: American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, United, Frontier, WestJet.
  • Terminal 4: Southwest, Frontier, Air Transat, WestJet.

You can find the full list on the Cancun Airport website.

Cancun Airport Arrival Tips

Checklist For Arrivals At Cancun International Airport

Prior to exiting the plane, you’ve already completed your immigration form. But now that you’ve reached this point, there are still a few obstacles before you can dive into paradise. Immigration is one of them and due to the new digital kiosks installed at airports earlier this year, wait times have decreased significantly for travelers; yet during peak holiday seasons, individual waiting periods may extend drastically so it’s important for visitors to remain prepared and patient!

After you receive the official stamp of approval, it is time to move on to baggage claim and retrieve your checked luggage. If all goes as planned, simply walk over to customs! As for Cancun Airport’s customs procedures: travelers must press a light button that will illuminate either red or green – if the color glows green then you are free pass; however, should the lights turn a crimson hue prepare yourself for an inspection. To make this process smoother than expected, be sure to have prepared properly by packing in such a way that makes it effortless to repackage quickly once inspected.

As you make your way past customs, the airport can be abuzz with distractions from kiosks trying to sell you something; however, it is important for travelers to keep a few precautions in mind. Here are some tips:

  • Money exchange kiosks: Don’t be fooled by the high exchange rates at airports; you can find much better deals elsewhere. Rather than exchanging your money into Mexican pesos at an airport, visit a local shop or bank to get the best rate possible.
  • Timeshare sellers: As you make your way to the exit, chances are that you will come across individuals wearing official uniforms who try and persuade you into buying a timeshare or attending their presentation. The advice of many fellow travelers is simply not to engage with these people. Furthermore, be aware that all pre-booked transportation will only wait for you outside the airport so there’s no need to worry about it!
  • Pre-arranged and on-arrival transportation: As soon as you arrive at Cancun International Airport, your designated driver should be ready and waiting for you outside the main terminal near the entrance. Here, a plethora of drivers will greet you with pick-ups, taxis that charge by meter fare or ADO buses to accommodate your journey safely to wherever it is that you’re going! Uber service has been on and off and we would recommend staying away from it for the moment.

Getting To Your Hotel From Cancun Airport

For an inexpensive round-trip ride to Cancun, you can pre-book a car or minivan for approximately $50. You may also opt for the convenient ADO coaches that run all day and take passengers to downtown Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Tickets are sold at the kiosk right outside of the terminal building upon exiting. Yet if your destination is in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, it would be best to directly call a cab or use previously booked transportation as buses only go so far from their starting point—far away from this area! 

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Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.