Cancun and Riviera Maya have become two of the most popular destinations in the word. Since the date it was founded, in 1974, Cancun immediately caught the attention of, both, national and international tourists. Later, the constant flow of tourists to this beach destination would allow other surrounding towns, such as Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Tulum; to grow and develop into other attractive destinations.
The main access to this region is the Cancun Airport. Despite the fact that there are ground (highways, roads) and sea (ports, harbors) accesses, most of national and international tourists arrive by air.
Cancun Airport has become a basic reference for the entire Riviera Maya region. This site gathers the activities and efforts to welcome every tourist of local government, federal government, hotels, ground and air carriers; and even tour operators.
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Cancun Airport has four terminals and it’s the second most important in Mexico just after the one located in the biggest city in Mexico (Mexico City).
Depending on the airline in which you are flying to the Mexican Caribbean, you will be arriving at a specific terminal. But it doesn’t matter to which one you are arriving, all terminals have world class facilities, as well as accessible transportation to travel to the City of Cancun, the hotel zone or any other destination in Riviera Maya.
Regarding the distance between Cancun Airport and the main destinations in the Riviera Maya we have the following information:
- Cancun Airport to Hotel Zone center (Forum by the Sea Mall): 14.5 miles (23.5 kilometers).
- Cancun Airport to Puerto Morelos: 16 miles (25.6 kilometers).
- Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen Downtown (5th Avenue) 34.6 miles (56 kilometers).
- Cancun Airport to Tulum Downtown: 74 miles (118 kilometers).
This is very important because depending on the area where you are planning to stay, you will have to pay more or less for your transfer.
Transfers and transportation from Cancun Airport to any of the destinations in Riviera Maya are a relevant factor in any trip to this region. An adequate planning will help you find the best option in terms of size, type of service and price.
As it was previously mentioned, the terminal at the Cancun Airport in which you arrive is not a factor that affects the transfers or transportation. In each of the four terminals, you will find all type of transportation services. All the different transfer and transportation providers operate in each of them without restrictions.
What are the types of transfer and transportation services available at Cancun Airport?
There are different types of services available to go from and to the airport:
The providers of this type of service use vans or buses to drive groups of tourists to different destinations along the same route. They define a route, to Playa del Carmen for example, and they stop in different resorts or hotels to drop each group.
One of the main advantages of this type of service is that it is usually cheaper than the rest of the options. The main disadvantages are that, in the first place, you have to wait for all the tourist who bought a ticket for the same transfer to get in the vehicle and, secondly, by making different stops through the resorts in the route, the journey is significantly longer.
This type of service is also done in vans or transporter type vehicles. The main difference is that the transportation service is exclusive to one group of tourists (family, friends, couples) who go to a specific destination. The price is higher compared to the previous option, but these rides are usually faster and you’ll get to your resort in a shorter time. Once the group has boarded the vehicle, it will depart immediately to the indicated destination with no need to wait for anyone else.
In addition to the shuttle services, you will also find the traditional taxi cab service in conventional sedan cars (maximum capacity of four people). Some of the companies providing this service are: Super Shuttle, Green Line and Yellow Transfers. Within this type of service, you can also find the private and shared (collective) modalities.
Deluxe / VIP transportation
It is also possible to hire deluxe transportation services. Generally, this service is provided on SUVs (new o recent model). The deluxe service is perfect for families or small groups of friends, as they offer space for five persons along with luggage. Obviously, this mode of transportation is totally private.
Of course, if you really want to stand out, there are limousines available too.
In this type of service also includes: beer or water (even sparkling wine) supply on the vehicle, towels, bilingual driver, door-to-door service.
All Inclusive Packages
In case you are traveling through an all-inclusive (flight + hotel) package, it is important to check if transportation is included. Most all-inclusive packages usually do with round transfers (Airport - Hotel – Airport). If that is the case, you just need to check where is the pickup location and be there on time.
It is very likely that, when traveling in this way, the type of service included will be shared transportation.
Where can you hire transportation or transfers services?
At Cancun Airport, you will find employees from the different transportation companies close to the baggage claim halls. In addition, customer service modules are located in these same room. There, you can hire any of the previously mentioned services, as well as taxis.
Besides, almost all transportation companies have websites where service reservations are also available. Usually, the prices on the internet are lower because the reservation is made with greater anticipation. There it is easier to make price comparisons between the different transfer and transportation companies.
Another option to find and reserve transportation services are travel metasearch sites. In these famous platforms (such as Expedia) it is possible to make a faster comparison between all the available services.
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How much are transfers and transportation from and to Cancun Airport?
Prices are as variable as the characteristics of the service to be hired and the distance to travel. Do not forget that Cancun Airport connects to all destinations in Riviera Maya: Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, as well as the intermediate areas between these destinations.
In the case of transfers from Cancun Airport to the Hotel Zone, prices go from 7 USDs (Shared Transportation) to 100 USDs (VIP Transportation). For limousines, the price can reach 240 USDs. These prices are one way only.
If you want to save it is important to consider buying round transportation (airport - hotel - airport) services. Companies usually give a better price when you buy both rides (from and to the airport) with them.
Another transfer alternative from and to the airport: ADO busesº
It is also possible to go from the airport to downtown Cancun and downtown Playa del Carmen by ADO buses. In each airport terminal there is a module where you can buy the bus tickets. And, of course, you can also buy them on their web page.
The main advantage is that this type of transportation is usually the cheapest option among all the alternatives to go from and to Cancun Airport. However, keep in mind that the transfer is just from the airport to Cancun and Playa del Carmen bus terminals. So, if you are going to stay at a resort in Cancun’s hotel zone or at some other point near Playa de Carmen (Playacar, Puerto Aventuras), you will still have to get on another bus or a taxi cab.
Another aspect you must consider when thinking about this alternative is the departure times of the buses. The operation is from 6 a.m. to midnight.
This transportation alternative is ideal if your resort or hotel is close to downtown Cancun or downtown Playa del Carmen.
For public transportation in the Hotel Zone, there are two options: taxis and buses. But are very simple to use.
Whenever you want to get on a taxi, the main rule is to confirm the rate of your trip with the driver. Taxis in Cancun have no meters. So, you won’t know how much you are getting charged if you don’t ask. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, always confirm how much you will have to paid according to your destination.
For buses, you will find several stops along Boulevard Kukulkán and inside the city. Most of the buses stop regularly in each, but, if they don’t just wave your hand to make them stop. Bus service is 24 hours in the Hotel Zone. Although, the service is more sporadic after midnight and until 5 a.m. The route in the hotel zone goes from downtown Cancun to Punta Nizúc (and back).