From the breathtaking beaches and luxury resorts to its famous nightlife, Cancun and the Riviera Maya are renowned for their stunning attractions. After touching down at Cancun International Airport, however, it can be challenging finding your way around these paradisiacal hotspots; luckily, we’ve got you covered!
Exploring Cancun is relatively straightforward. The tourist zone in the heart of Cancun City features plenty to do, from discovering a wide selection of restaurants and clubs to taking advantage of convenient shopping options and more. Plus, it’s easy enough to navigate on foot – even better news since the main bus station lies within this district.
We strongly suggest that you avoid Cancun City’s non-tourist zone due to its often winding and convoluted roadways. Navigating these streets can be quite daunting for those unfamiliar with the terrain, making it all too easy for one to become lost that could lead to unsafe situations. If you must venture into this area, your best bet is to use a taxi or other form of transportation since they know how to navigate from A to B without difficulty!
Exploring your environment is one of the most exciting parts of traveling. There are a variety of transportation methods for you to choose from depending on your itinerary, and here’s some expert advice that should always be taken into account when you’re leaving the safety of your resort.
In Cancun, you can always hail a taxi to take you wherever your heart desires. However, taxis are prohibited from picking up customers at the airport. The charge depends on how many “zones” you traverse in order to get there; thusly, no need for meters as drivers will inform you of the price upfront. To ensure an accurate estimation of cost before boarding a cab, most hotels display their rates near reception desks.
Make sure to take advantage of the resources available at your hotel’s front desk when you need a pickup, and if you’re staying at Palace Resorts, make sure to get the driver’s information for future trips. It is significantly more affordable to go out onto the street instead of hailing a cab from your hotel entrance since hotels receive kickbacks in that case.
From the airport to hotels, you’ll likely pay around $40-50 for your fare. Meanwhile, a ride between Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) and Downtown typically costs $10-15; in El Centro, expect to spend approximately just $1.50 per trip. If venturing out of the city center, though, make sure to have Mexican pesos on hand – don’t anticipate receiving change if paying with U.S. dollars!
Uber has provided satisfactory service throughout the region, but local cabs still express animosity against it – so we highly advise steering clear if possible! Read more about Uber in Cancun here.
By far the easiest and cheapest way to move around Cancun is by bus. In recent years, the bus has become increasingly popular in Cancun due to its low cost and the renewal of their fleet a few years ago. With these updates, riding the bus is an attractive option for travelers looking to explore all that Cancun has to offer!
Buses and shuttles around the Zona Hotelera and Downtown offer a convenient way to explore shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, beaches and public plazas. What’s more? Most of them have air-conditioning and Wi-Fi access! At just $1 per ride (make sure you bring your pesos), these buses are considered safe too – making it the perfect option for getting between Palace Resorts properties such as Sun Palace, Le Blanc Spa Resort or Beach Palace.
Investing in your own car is an excellent idea if you’re planning to explore local attractions like Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cozumel (which requires a ferry ride). The roads are generally in good condition, the parking areas aren’t too crowded either. All that’s left for now is paying attention to safety while driving – and you’ll be golden!
If you’re feeling too drained to drive, the optimal option is a luxury private transfer car or passenger van that will pick you up right from your hotel. The cars are spotless and new-style while their drivers guarantee an extraordinary experience during your travels with them.
Fitness fans may want to choose the bike as their means of transportation around Cancun, but be advised: driving conditions and heavy traffic might play against you. That being said, there are many rental bike services in the area, and many of them offer delivery and pick-up service right at your resort, with daily fees around the $10-15 range, and they’ll provide you with a helmet in case you didn’t bring your own.
Navigating the Zona Hotelera is a breeze due to the helpful road markers (remember, Mexico uses kilometers, not miles) that everyone references for directions. On the other hand, biking through El Centro can be quite chaotic; however, if you know your way around a map or have GPS handy, it should pose no problem because of its simple grid structure.
You should definitely get on a bike if you are visiting Isla Mujeres, Tulum or Cozumel.
Just like cyclists, when you’re renting a moped or scooter, it’s important to research the areas where you plan on traveling and look into any reports of traffic congestion or public works that could disrupt your schedule. Of course, they are usually fine for Zona Hotelera but may be more difficult to manage in other places. To ensure that you have an enjoyable journey make sure to check out reputable rental services as well!
Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?
I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com 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.
🚙 CancunAirport 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.
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