Uber in Cancun in 2023? - Everything you need to know before you travel
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Are you visiting Cancun, Mexico and want to know if there is Uber in Cancun available for your transportation needs? With countless conflicting reports online, I have created a simple guide with my personal experiences as well as research so that you can get all the information needed. Discover everything you need to learn about using this ride-hailing app in the Mexican party capital!
If you traveled to Cancun more recently, you probably recall that using Uber was far from easy and convenient. Over the past four years, Uber has been involved in a heated legal battle within Quintana Roo to be officially recognized as a private ridesharing service – which ended with success on February 2023! Nevertheless, tensions remain high, so travelers should stay cautious and informed.
Yes; however, no one can confirm that your trip to or from Cancun Airport will happen (CancunSun). As such, utilizing UBER may be difficult within the city limits. This blog post will explain why Uber is not readily available in Cancun and provide cost-effective alternatives for traveling around Quintana Roo and Yucatan Peninsula areas, including transportation between your hotel accommodations to/from Cancun International Airport.
So, no need to worry about the lack of UBER service; I’ve got you covered!
Why is there no Uber in Cancun?
You may be surprised to learn that Uber has yet to expand into the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, leaving many tourists from the United States flabbergasted – after all, it does seem like 1995! Nevertheless, Uber is now available in other regions around Mexico. In fact, rideshare taxi apps such as Uber have gained immense traction and are approved by the Mexican government in several destinations throughout Mexico. At the end of this post, I’ll discuss some places where you can find these services readily available.
A Hostile Environment For Uber
Ever since Uber’s emergence in Mexico in 2016, it has dealt with a number of issues as taxi drivers have staunchly argued against its services. They pleaded that Uber should provide the same standards as public transportation, yet Uber imposes its own regulations to remain private. In recent years, they have suspended operations for an extended period and now function under mobility law; however still cannot service near air terminals or hotel properties without official permission.
Unfortunately, Cancun and other parts of Quintana Roo faced a harsh struggle with the local taxi union (also known as cooperatives) that impeded Uber’s success. In response to this, Uber in Cancun was suspended since 2017. However, Saúl Crespo from Uber México reported recently that due to a federal judge ruling, they are now allowed to operate commercially around the State of Quintana Roo, offering individuals another reliable option for transportation!
The taxi union was obviously discontented with the judge’s ruling, and took extreme measures to oppose it. Despite UBER being legally recognized in Mexico – particularly in Quintana Roo – many of its drivers became victims of Taxi aggression, thus jeopardizing both their safety and that of passengers’.
For an extensive period, taxi drivers have been fiercely resenting Uber and its drivers. They’ve often expressed their disdain with threats and even violence on a few occasions. To make authorities aware of the situation and to preserve their monopoly, they took it upon themselves to protest as well as blockade airport roadways. All in all, these measures were taken so that Uber would be obligated to work under similar legal regulations as them.
Why Take Uber Over a Taxi?
In a nutshell, taxis are normally more costly. The majority of Cancun’s cabs don’t have meters and will typically present an overpriced fee depending on what you look like you can afford to pay. I prefer taking Uber when traveling because the app holds drivers accountable in their pricing practices so it’s cheaper for me overall.
To demonstrate just how inflated taxi charges can be, recently, I took a brief five-minute drive from the bus terminal to the ferry port in Cancun; this 5 minutes ride cost me 150MXN with no room for negotiation! When I asked for a cab, it was clear that they had me cornered. But when I used Uber on my return trip to Cancun from the same destination, the cost dropped down significantly – only 40MXN! So there you have it: using Uber in Cancun is undeniably more economical than booking a cab.
How to Take Uber in Cancun
Prior to your journey, you must make sure that you won’t accrue a huge phone bill. To do this, the best option is to acquire either a local SIM card or an eSIM for traveling abroad. Furthermore, if you have not done so already, download the app and set up your account prior to departing for Mexico.
Uber is a familiar service throughout the world, including Cancun. Despite this fact, tension between Uber and local taxi companies still persists in certain places – thus causing some drivers to operate discreetly out of fear. As such, it may be difficult for you to find an Uber driver at prominent locations like the ADO bus station or Puerto Juarez ferry terminal where taxis typically congregate.
Avoid the hassle and make your Uber experience easier for everyone by ensuring you’re out of view from any nearby taxi stands before ordering. A simple stroll around the block should do it – once you can’t see taxis, that’s when you know it’s time to request an Uber!
For added safety, it is suggested to sit in the front of your ride rather than the back. This way you can give off an impression that you are being given a lift from a friend and not just another Uber driver. If taxi drivers ever hassle me while I am waiting for my driver, all I have to do is tell them, “esperando un amigo” (I’m waiting for a friend). You may even say that they work at your hotel if necessary but so far I’ve had nothing to worry about!
Uber from Cancun Airport
After multiple visits to Cancun, I have attempted to order an Uber at the airport only to be met with a message saying “Uber is currently unavailable in your area”. Fortunately, after speaking with several local friends who confirmed that Uber cars are forbidden from entering airports across Mexico, I can assure you that it’s possible for you to take one of these vehicles from the airport.
After hearing about drivers who park strategically and then walk inside to meet their passengers, I was eager to try it out when I visited the airport recently. However, much to my dismay, there wasn’t even an option for me to book a ride!
Make the hassle of a taxi from Cancun Airport nonexistent – pre-book private transfer! Simply share your flight details so that your driver is already waiting upon your arrival, making traveling to and from the airport much easier.
Is Uber Safe in Cancun?
While the accounts of violence mentioned above may make you hesitant to use Uber in Cancun, rest assured that I have always found it safe. To be extra cautious, however, it is advised that you order your ride away from any cab stands and take other necessary precautions as outlined previously.
On the contrary, taxis may not be any safer than Uber cars. Tourists have reported of unlicensed cabbies committing robberies, and a few years ago 12 taxi drivers were arrested with drugs and weapons in their possession. With an Uber car on the other hand, both driver’s name as well as license plate are recorded along with your location being tracked through GPS service from your phone- providing additional security for its customers.
The most sage advice from the locals is to avoid taking an Uber with no license plate. It appears that these are a red flag for dishonest drivers or those attempting to skirt regulations. If there’s no visible license plate, cancel and take a few steps away before trying again – it could make all the difference!
Best alternatives to Uber from Cancun International Airport?
With Uber Service unfortunately unavailable throughout Cancun and Quintana Roo, let us explore the alternative transportation options available to you. From public buses to taxis or shuttle rides, there is no shortage of options when it comes to getting from one place to another; however, not all are ideal, depending on the circumstances.
Uber vs local taxi companies in Cancun
The truth is that when it comes to taxi services in Cancun, I don’t have much faith in them; however, if you must use one, avoid hailing a street cab. For genuine reliability and cleanliness (plus an extra cost), ask your hotel or resort to call for “Taxi de Sitio” guaranteed to be worth every penny!
If you ever find yourself in need of a taxi while on the road, your best bet is to locate the nearest “taxi de sitio” close to malls or bus stations. However, for those traveling from and back to an airport destination, I would highly suggest using a private shuttle service instead. Not only are these services reliable and safer, but they also offer personalized English-speaking customer service that makes all the difference! So let’s get into talking about them specifically.
How to get to you your Cancun Hotel Cancun International Airport
For the most reliable and efficient way to get from Cancun International Airport to any hotel in Cancun, Riviera Maya, or Merida, I highly recommend using a private shuttle service. My go-to for years has been Cancun Airport Transportation – they have never failed me!
This is the safest, most economical way to get from Cancun International Airport to your hotel! Not only do we provide pick-up and drop-off services for the Downtown area or Hotel Zone, but booking a return service will also reward you with a discount. With UBER unavailable in this region, take advantage of our top-notch transportation solutions today!
How to move around Cancun
If you need to move around Cancun, there are numerous transportation options available. To help you understand these alternatives better, I’ll explain the various scenarios and their particularities so that you can make an informed decision about your means of transport in this city.
If you book a tour, the pick-up from your hotel is usually included. If you want to explore the Cancun Hotel Zone (map), there’s a dependable local bus line that runs all day and night offering safe travels. On the other hand, if you wish to wander around Downtown Cancun — Malecon by Lagoon, various malls (Mercado 23/28), Parque de Las Palapas — then it is recommended that your hotel assist in booking an approved taxi for extra security.
Visiting places like Playa del Carmen, Tulum or even outside of Cancun requires a taxi ride to the ADO bus station. If you’re feeling brave, take a short walk for around 800 meters from El ceviche roundabout and arrive at the ADO Bus station in no time! When it’s time to go back to the airport, don’t forget that you can make an online reservation with ease.
Can I use Uber in Downtown Cancun?
Despite the fact that you may be able to locate an Uber driver in Downtown Cancun, they are hesitant due to fear of other taxi drivers. As a result, they will demand assurance that no taxis are present before ending your trip – which is nearly impossible as there can always be one or two cabs lurking around any corner in Cancun.
Uber may be a cheaper option than taxis, however you might find yourself in an unpleasant altercation with the driver if they happen to belong to the more hostile variety. Additionally, they may expect you and your companions to pretend to be family members – which is certainly peculiar! While it’s up for debate whether or not Uber is worth using during your stay in Cancun, I would like to inform you of these potential issues beforehand so that you can make the best decision for your travels.
How to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun Airport
Making your way to Isla Mujeres from Cancun requires a bit of planning. Unless you are already on an Isla Mujeres Catamaran tour, which will include its own transportation, then you must first get to the ferry dock. As explained in my comprehensive post about how to get there, there exist numerous docking options based on where your hotel is situated.
If you’re staying in the Cancun Hotel Zone and are looking for a budget-friendly way to get around, hop on one of the local buses – it’s only 8.5 Mexican Pesos per ride! Alternatively, your hotel can call a taxi that will take you to Isla Mujeres’ ferry dock. This day trip is something you definitely shouldn’t miss; for more information about Isla Mujeres, check out my detailed post!
How to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun Airport
Although Uber may not be available, traveling from Cancun to Playa del Carmen can actually still be a breeze. Let me share with you the multitude of options that are at your disposal!
How to get from Cancun International Airport to Playa del Carmen
The Shuttle Bus Service from Cancun International Airport to Playa del Carmen is guaranteed the simplest and most cost-efficient option. For all of the details on their unbeatable rates, simply click on the image below!
If you are looking for an economical alternative to UBER from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, the ADO Bus is your best option. Although its comfort might be lacking compared to a private ridesharing service, it provides satisfactory travel and will take you directly to the bus terminal in Playa del Carmen. After arriving at this destination, simply hail a taxi or book one online that would take you straight to your hotel or holiday rental!
Taxi Services may be accessible from the Airport, but they are overpriced and not as reliable. That is why Shuttle services make for a more sensible choice: you can benefit from their private transportation, large seating capacity, immaculate cleanliness, safety and trustworthiness, bilingual driver availability as well as prepaid service—all at a much lower cost than taxis! Plus there’s no waiting time involved; just door-to-door service that leaves no need to handle cash (though tipping in USD is welcomed).
If you are looking to get out of Cancun Downtown without taking an UBER, there are two transportation options: the ADO bus or a colectivo (shared shuttle). The colectivos come in two forms – Playa Express departing directly from the front entrance of the ADO Bus Terminal and MINI VANS leaving right behind MEGA supermarket across from this terminal.
ADO coach buses provide a more formal, albeit slower, method of travel, yet the only private transportation from downtown Cancun to Playa del Carmen is through regular taxis. To ensure you are receiving an accurate fare estimate and trustworthy service, we recommend obtaining recommendations from your hotel before confirming the taxi’s services–which should not exceed 1000 MXN. Both ADO coaches and cabs run all day long but be mindful that some drivers drive recklessly.
In my opinion, the most advantageous option here is taking public transportation via ADO. Just bear in mind that you will need cash if you want to take the Ming vans. On the other hand, an ADO ticket can be paid for with either a Debit or Credit card instead!
How to get to Tulum from Cancun Airport
For your upcoming journey to the Riviera Maya or Tulum and Uber is not an option, Cancun Airport Transportation Services will be your top pick! They provide exceptional service between Cancun International Airport with the main areas of Yucatan Peninsula, including Bacalar, Mahahual, Merida – just to name a few. Visit their website now to explore all available destinations they cover.
With a distance of 120 KM (74 miles) between Cancun International Airport and Tulum, you’re sure to want a comfortable way to get from one place to the other. Luckily, there’s an optimal option available – click on the link below now for your private transfer directly door-to-door! After that long flight, we guarantee you’ll arrive in style.
– If you decide to explore the area via minivan (colectivos), your first stop must be Playa del Carmen. From there, simply hop onto another minivan and you’ll soon find yourself in Tulum!
– If you take the ADO, your journey will last for around two and a half hours with one stop in Playa del Carmen. Although passengers may be asked to get off the bus momentarily for sanitization procedures, it is possible to remain on board.
– Be sure to check the rates for a taxi ride from Cancun Downtown to Tulum, as prices could potentially reach up to 1500 USD. Inquire and confirm the service before proceeding.
– When heading to Puerto Morelos, you have two options: ADO BUS or colectivo. Just be certain that the driver is aware of when you’d like to get off at your chosen destination!
Renting a Car in Cancun
If you know me well, then you won’t be surprised that renting a car at Cancun Airport is my favorite option. With this decision comes the convenience of being able to explore your destination on your own terms and schedule. No more relying on other forms of transportation – now it’s up to you!
To get the most bang for your buck, I suggest using Discover Cars as an aggregator when searching for car rental companies. It will enable you to compare rates and terms of service so that you can choose the best option. Before booking, don’t forget to read all of the fine print on what’s included or excluded in their offered rate!
With Cancun’s notoriously confusing roads, it is essential to turn on Google Maps for a less exasperating journey. Now, when exploring the Yucatan peninsula away from congested city streets in Cancun, driving becomes an exciting and effortless experience! To ensure you have an unforgettable adventure behind the wheel of your car, following my guide about navigating through Cancun will be your safest bet.
Where is Uber available in Mexico?
From the bustling city of Cancun to the historic colonial town of Guanajuato, Mexico is home to some exciting tourist spots that provide Uber as a transportation option. Here are some wonderful places you won’t want to miss out on!
– Mexico City
– Puerto Vallarta
– La Paz
– Los Cabos
Can I use my Uber app in Mexico?
If you find yourself in Cancun and need to get around Mexico but can’t seem to locate an Uber driver, fear not! Log into your UBER app with the same number that was used for creating your account – it’s as simple as that. Now you’re good-to-go and able to enjoy hassle free travel wherever you may roam.
Is LYFT available in Cancun Airport?
Sadly, LYFT is only accessible in the United States and Canada but not yet available for Mexico.
Is there any other rideshare app available in Cancun?
Although Cancun does not have UBER available, other major cities in Mexico do—including DIDI, an even more cost-effective ride-share app that is quickly gaining popularity. Therefore if you are traveling to one of these Mexican metropolises, consider trying out the economical and convenient alternative!
Are taxis expensive in Cancun?
In Cancun, paying for a taxi can be pricey – especially when you’re traveling from the Hotel Zone or Airport to Downtown. The fares in these areas tend to be higher than normal.
Cost of taxi from Cancun airport to the hotel zone?
The usual rate for a taxi ride from Cancun Airport to the Hotel Zone is around 1000 MXN.
Can you walk in Cancun’s hotel zone?
Absolutely, sauntering along the hotel zone in Cancun is not only pleasant but also safe. In fact, there are specific pedestrian pathways that many people use for their morning or evening runs!
Is there a taxi app available in Cancun?
Unfortunately, Cancun has yet to implement a taxi app.
Is it easy to find a taxi in Cancun?
In Cancun, acquiring a Taxi is an effortless task. You can either find one of the designated taxi spots or even flag one down on the street (though I would strongly recommend that you ask your hotel for a reputable driver instead). Chances are good that they already have someone waiting outside their establishment.
Are therehotels near Cancun airport?
If you’re flying in or out of Cancun Airport late at night or early in the morning, rest easy knowing that there are a plethora of hotels nearby to make your travels easier. Such is the case with Hilton Garden Inn – it’s situated directly on airport grounds and features complimentary shuttle services like all other local accommodations. You don’t have to worry about waking up extra early for an upcoming flight ever again!
Bottom line: Is there Uber in Cancun?
Unfortunately, UBER is not available in Cancun or the entire state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. But don’t worry! There are still many other reliable and budget-friendly options you can use to travel around the area. The best way from Cancun International Airport to your hotel anywhere in Yucatan Peninsula would be an airport transfer service such as Cancun Airport Transportation. ADO transportation services offer great affordability for those on a budget too! For private transport within cities, only taxi services are available; however, if you have some money to spare and fancy something more exciting, my personal recommendation would be renting a car for your unique itinerary – it’s definitely worth exploring this option!
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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