How to plan a trip to Cancun

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How to Plan a trip to Cancun - 2023 Guides and Tips for Cancun

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How to plan your first trip to Cancun, Mexico?

Looking for a perfect getaway and want to plan a trip to Cancun, Mexico? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, you’ll find all the essential details about making your vacation as incredible and memorable as possible. But before we dive into that, let’s begin by uncovering some fascinating facts about Cancun’s history!

How to plan a trip to Cancun Mexico

With its Mayan origin meaning “Place of a Snake,” the young town of Cancun was founded merely 50 years ago in 1970. For centuries, it was covered by stunning beaches and untouched jungles, mangroves and wildlife before being recognized for its potential as an international resort by the Mexican government in 1968. Consequently, some of the earliest hotels established were Hyatt, Cancun Caribe, and Blue Bay, now known as Temptation Resort – paving the way to what we know today: a world-renowned destination drawing millions annually from around the globe!

Cancun is split into two separate zones, Hotel Zone and Downtown. The well-known luxury resorts, exquisite restaurants, villas, and condos can be found in the Hotel Zone. For digital nomads who are thinking about residing in Cancun for an extended period, then a condo or apartment downtown would suit your needs best; conversely, if your stay will only be temporary, then look no further than one of the many stellar resorts located within the hotel zone!


🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Resources We Use:



With that being said, it’s simple – plan accordingly when deciding where to rest up on your upcoming vacation to beautiful Cancun, Mexico. Despite the fact that you may be discouraged by the distance between downtown and the beach, don’t let it dissuade you from staying in Cancun’s vibrant downtown area.

You will find many cozy hotels as well as private houses available on booking websites such Airbnb that are situated close to all of your desired attractions. The only downside is needing a means of transport to reach the shore; however, if taking public transportation like a bus or taxi does not bother you then there really should be no hesitation!

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How to plan a trip to Cancun Mexico

How to plan a trip to Cancun Mexico?

If you’re certain that a trip to the sunny Mexican Caribbean is in your future, then it’s time to begin planning your journey. To get started, here are several tips for making the planning process as simple and stress-free as possible::

  • Be sure to do your own research about the all-inclusive hotels and resorts in Cancun, relying on TripAdvisor reviews as a helpful guide. After all, this is going to be your very first trip there – so you must pick somewhere that really speaks to you! Consider prices across different booking websites; additionally, don’t forget to delve into the hotel’s official website for potential discounts when reserving directly with them.
  • Consider if you require airport transfers or an accommodation that provides this service.
  • Create a “Cancun Sightseeing List” ahead of time so when your trip begins, you know exactly what attractions to explore. This will save valuable hours that can be spent soaking up the sun beachside.
  • Are you considering public transport, a taxi, or renting a car to get around Cancun?
  • To guarantee that you get the best rate on public transportation or taxi services, carry some cash and make sure to use Mexican pesos. You’ll be able to pay a just price this way!
  • Don’t let the forecast rain on your parade – take a look at it but don’t get discouraged if you see high chances of precipitation for your upcoming visit. Weather in tropical areas tends to alter quickly, so even though it might be calling for rain today, there’s a good chance that when you are actually in Cancun, it will be sunny and bright!

How to plan a trip to Cancun Mexico

Best time to visit Cancun, Mexico

Are you longing to go on a getaway to an idyllic spot where the sun radiates all day long, immense palm trees line the shoreline, and the brilliant Caribbean Sea lies in the backdrop? Cancun is a perfect choice! Yet, if it’s your first time visiting such an exotic locale, you may be wondering when precisely it is best to travel there. The optimal season for journeying to Cancun, Mexico commences from December through May – so begin planning your much-needed escape today!

For those seeking calmer and more predictable weather, the best time to visit is when there’s mild sun, a light sea breeze, and minimal rainy days. However, if you are an ardent admirer of the sun, then summertime would be ideal for you; just remember that at this time, it can get scorching hot! When September and October roll around, though, expect quite a few rain showers as sometimes they last up to three consecutive days with skyrocketing levels of humidity.

It’s only fair to acknowledge that trees and plants require water just like us humans, making the rainy season / hurricane season necessary (and inevitable). But after a few months of rain come the beautiful sunny days – by mid-November, life in Cancun, Mexico, resumes its usual tropical atmosphere. If you’re looking for an escape from reality somewhere with warm Caribbean waters and endless sunshine, then look no further than Cancun! Be mesmerized by 9-6 km views overlooking Hotel Zone when you arrive – guaranteed to recharge your batteries and fill up on some much-needed Vitamin Sea!

How to plan a trip to Cancun Mexico

Is Cancun safe?

This is a question I’m asked all the time by both my friends and clients alike. My unequivocal answer? Yes. Cancun, Mexico, remains a safe destination – even though mass media may suggest otherwise.

Things to do in Cancun

Are you trying to decide what sites and activities to include in your upcoming Cancun vacation? While the longer you stay, the more time you will have for exploration, there are plenty of amazing options even with a shorter trip. To help make planning easier, here is a list of things to do and places to visit during your time in this beautiful destination!:

  • Relax at the beach
  • Explore downtown Cancun
  • Have fun at a Club
  • Eat in Cancun’s best restaurants
  • Shop at Mercado 28
  • Catamaran Cruise
  • Swim with Dolphins
  • Explore the Underwater Museum

If you’re an avid explorer, who loves taking advantage of each and every chance to explore new locations, take pleasure in the journey; think about visiting one or more of these places during your stay in Cancun. It will just require a 1-3 hour drive away!.

  • Visit Isla Mujeres island
  • Visit one of the cenotes
  • One day trip to Playa del Carmen and Tulum
  • Take a tour to Chichen Itza
  • Swim with whale sharks from May to September
  • Enjoy a day tour of Isla Contoy
  • Spend a day at Xcaret Park

Best beaches in Cancun

If a beach getaway is what you desire, then Cancun will not disappoint. With its sunny and tropical climate, it offers the perfect conditions to spend days soaking up in the sun on any day of the year! No wonder why many travelers from around the globe come flocking here during winter months; your vacation in this town can quickly become a dreamy escape under the sun. Picture yourself awakening to a stunning sunrise and spending the day lounging on soft, sandy shores while taking in the tranquil sound of waves crashing and seagulls chirping. When you need some time away from your busy life to recharge, nothing beats soaking up breathtaking sunsets for days on end. And if one day during your getaway inspires you to explore Cancun’s best beaches? Here is a list that will guide you there!:

  • Playa Delfines
  • Playa Langosta
  • Playa Gaviota Azul
  • Playa Chac Mool
  • Playa Linda

Cancun Airport Map

Cancun airport and transport

As the second busiest airport in Mexico after Mexico City, Cancun International Airport has four fully-functioning Terminals. Many domestic flights such as Viva Aerobus, Volaris and InterJet arrive at Terminal 2, along with some international carriers like TIU, Blue Air Panorama Avianca; Air Transat; Aeroméxico; Edelweiss Air; Frontier Airlines; Southwest Airlines; Sun Country Airlines; Turkish Airlines and WestJet.

A number of international airlines arrive at Madrid Barajas Airport Terminal 3, such as American Airlines, Delta, Iberia, and Air Europa. Meanwhile, other major carriers, including AeroMexico, Condor, AirFrance, and Lufthansa, operate from the airport’s Terminal 4. Additionally, passengers can also fly on British Airways along with Alaska Airlines JetBlue, KLM AirCanada AirBerlin, and United Airlines Frontier WestJet SouthWest in both terminals.

Are you wondering how to get from the airport to your destination in Cancun? You have four excellent options available:

  • private transfer
  • ADO bus
  • taxi
  • group shuttle service

Step by Step Guide and Tips on How to Plan a trip to Cancun

Are you looking for the perfect vacation in Cancun? We’ll walk you through how to set up your trip step by step and give you all of the insider tips along the way. Plus, we’ll show you how to score big savings every time! Ready to plan your journey now? Let’s go!

1. Choose your dates

To plan a trip to Cancun in the most cost-effective way, you should avoid traveling during July, December, and January as they are generally considered more expensive months. On the other hand, February through May provide an ideal climate with little chance of inclement weather – just watch out for Spring Break which typically takes place in March since that is when crowds tend to peak along with prices! Knowing all this helps ensure you can enjoy your best possible stay in Cancun.

2. Book your flights

If you’re looking to fly into Cancun, but don’t want to pay full price for the ticket, consider using flight comparison sites like Expedia, Kayak or Google Flights. Additionally, July and December through January are usually the most expensive times of year to book a flight. Get creative with your search by pricing out tickets that depart from nearby cities such as Tulum—you can often find flights at significantly cheaper rates this way. Lastly, keep in mind that weekday flights tend to be much more affordable than those departing on weekends; aim for Mondays and Tuesdays when possible!

Kukulcan Shopping Mall in Cancun
Kukulcan Shopping Mall in Cancun

3. Shopping in Cancun

Cancun is an ideal destination for the shopping enthusiast. If you find yourself in the Hotel Zone, you will discover a bevy of malls offering products ranging from perfumes and clothing to electronics, sports equipment, and beverages – all at prices that are much lower than what you would usually pay back home! Additionally, most outlets accept Mexican pesos or dollars as well as credit cards, making your shopping experience truly effortless.

Duty Free and Tax Refund

Mexico makes your shopping dreams come true with an array of duty-free stores, and even better – you can receive back a portion of the amount charged from your bank transaction! Tourists are eligible to get 8.9% tax returns when they shop at participating Tax Refund or ‘Tax Back’ businesses, creating an amazingly rewarding experience!

Take note that you need to spend at least 1,200 Mexican pesos in store for this Money Back benefit. And yes, feel free to add multiple tax coupons as long as it’s from the same store.

Be sure to preserve all your coupons, as you will have to present them at the Money Back counter along with a copy of your passport, immigration card and boarding pass. Fortunately, Cancun Airport has an exclusive Money Back counter where you can easily get back any money owed after your trip is completed.

4. Rent a car in Cancun

Exploring Cancun is made infinitely more enjoyable by renting a car and freeing yourself from the limitations of taxis. Not only do you gain an incredible sense of freedom, but it can also be quite economical in comparison to paying for transportation back and forth from your hotel!

Book your car in advance.

For the best rate, book your reservation online early! The earlier you reserve, the more savings you have on your car rental.

5. Buy your cell phone chip in Cancun

Try to avoid international roaming abroad, as it ends up being drastically more expensive than alternative solutions. Staying connected while travelling can be expensive, often requiring a steep daily fee for hotel wi-fi use and restricting cell phone access to the inside of hotels.

For those who want to stay connected while traveling overseas, investing in an international prepaid sim card from a trusted American company is the most cost-effective and reliable solution. Not only does it provide excellent signal quality for internet access throughout your entire trip, but you’ll also save Money compared to other options available.

Iberostar Resort in Cancun
Iberostar Resort in Cancun

6. Book your hotel in Cancun

If you’re looking for the premier destination in Cancun, look no further than the Hotel Zone, where all the big resorts are. Boasting a luxurious landscape with exclusive beaches, upscale stores and malls, vibrant nightclubs and delectable restaurants – this is where all of Cancun’s excitement comes to life! You may find yourself spending more Money here upfront; however it will be worth every penny as nearly all tourist attractions are just steps away from your door.

Don’t forget to book your accommodation well in advance! This is the most important factor that will help you save Money – the earlier you book, the more cost-effective it’ll be.

7. Travel insurance for Cancun

If you’re traveling to Cancun or anywhere else in the world, international travel insurance is an absolute must. It’s a relatively inexpensive policy that can save you Money and headaches should anything unexpected happen while abroad—from basic medical care to lost luggage. Just think: hospital visits alone are exorbitantly expensive outside of your home country; with this budget-friendly coverage, however, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that any unforeseen events will be taken care of for a fraction of the cost!

8. Choose and book your tours in Cancun

Cancun has many unique and amazing tours that you cannot miss. Buying online in advance is a great way to save Money on tickets. Not only does it cost less, but you don’t have to waste time waiting in lines.

No trip to the Caribbean is complete without these must-see tours: Isla Mujeres, X-Caret and/or Xel-Há (two incredible natural parks), Coco Bongo party, Chichén Itzá (one of the seven wonders of the world) as well as an unforgettable swim with dolphins. All excursions offer convenient pickup and drop-off at your hotel!

9. Have both dollars and Mexican pesos

Are you longing for a vacation of leisurely days spent lounging on the white sandy beaches and sipping fruity beverages? If so, your first step is to gain an understanding of currency exchange (Mexican pesos) and tipping etiquette in Cancun. Most shops outside the Hotel Zone (map here) only accept cash payments in Mexican pesos; it’s recommended that you carry small amounts for convenience when making purchases. Additionally, although not mandatory, leaving tips as per our guide to Mexico is customary and appreciated by locals. Start planning now – immerse yourself into this paradise!

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.