Shared vs. Private Airport Transfers: Which option is right for you?

If you are traveling to Cancun or the Mayan Riviera, you’ll need to get yourself from the Cancun International Airport to your Resort, Hotel, villa, or rental casa. There are several modes of transportation to choose from and I’ll outline the pros and cons of each one here.

Transportation included in your vacation package. Check with your Travel Agent or, if you booked it yourself, check your travel documents. Many vacation packages are sold with shared transportation to the hotel included. This is handy, but be prepared for possibly longer wait times at the airport. Also, you’ll have no say-so in the pickup time at the resort so you may end up at the airport 3+ hours before flight time.

ADO busBuses. The bus company is called ADO. Plan on extended wait times for the bus to arrive and then to fill to maximum capacity. This option is better suited for more seasoned travelers. The bus will take you to the Downtown Bus depot. From there, you’ll need a taxi to your hotel. The Bus costs about $4 to the depot, then a taxi will cost you about $10 to the Cancun Hotel Zone for $3 to Downtown Cancun hotels. This is a great option if you are staying in a downtown Cancun hotel.

Shared Transportation. This is a great option if you are traveling by yourself or if you are looking to save some money. The vehicles are 10 passenger vans with luggage space. Rates are per person in US Dollars.

Prices per person in US Dollars

Transfer Location One Way Round Trip Click to Book
Cancun Hotel Zone or Downtown $9 $17 Book Here
Gran Puerto Juarez Ferry Dock $9 $17 Book Here
Playa Mujeres $9 $17 Book Here
Bahia Petempich $23 $45 Book Here
Puerto Morelos $23 $45 Book Here
Playa Paraiso $23 $45 Book Here
Playa del Carmen $23 $45 Book Here
Puerto Aventuras $28 $55 Book Here
Akumal $35 $70 Book Here
Gran Bahia Principe $35 $70 Book Here
Tulum $35 $70 Book Here

Keep in mind the total cost for your airport transfers and make sure to compare the total cost for shared vs. private transportation, especially if you have more than 2 people in your group.

Taxis at the Cancun Airport.  There are taxis at the Cancun Airport available for you, but this is our least recommended transportation. First, the cost is usually the same for ONE WAY as private transfer is for ROUND TRIP. Plan on spending $60 USD for one way to Cancun hotels. Second, these drivers are not as secure and trustworthy as private drivers. For instance, you forget your cell phone, purse, backpack or other item in the taxi (happens ALL THE TIME), well, you are just out of luck.

Renting a car. This can be handy if you are staying in the Riviera Maya and you are a good driver. Be prepared for extremely aggressive driving in Cancun. This is not an option I recommend at all. Traffic is a mess, police purposely pull over rental cars for bribes, parking (especially in Cancun and Playa del Carmen) is a real bugger, and if you are in an accident the process here is MUCH DIFFERENT than back home and will surely eat up a lot of your vacation time.

If you do decide to rent a car, be sure to get the full-coverage insurance.  There are many car rental agencies at the airport. It’s best to book online in advance and go with an internationally known company. You can read more about car rentals here.

Private Airport Transfers.  I have saved the best for last. Of course, this is the transportation that I recommend not just because it’s what I do, but also because it is the best and I firmly believe that. CARM Tours & Transfers offers safe and reliable transportation from the airport to all hotels, villas, and rental properties in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.  Our door-to-door service is fast and hassle-free. I love selling a service I can stand behind 100%.

Prices per VEHICLE in US Dollars (one way / round trip)

Transfer Location 1-2 ppl 3-5 ppl 6-10 ppl Click to Book
Cancun Hotel Zone or Downtown $35 / $55 $40 / $65  $45 / $75 Book Here
Gran Puerto Juarez Ferry Dock $35 / $60 $40 / $65  $45 / $75  Book Here
Playa Mujeres $45 / $70 $55 / $80  $65 / $95  Book Here
Bahia Petempich $40 / $65 $45 / $70  $50 / $80 Book Here
Puerto Morelos $40 / $65 $50 / $80  $55 / $85 Book Here
Playa Paraiso $50 / $80 $55 / $95  $65 / $105 Book Here
Playa del Carmen & Playacar $60 / $105 $65 / $115  $70 / $120 Book Here
Puerto Aventuras & Xpu Ha $65 / $120 $70 / $125  $75 / $135 Book Here
Akumal $75 / $135 $85 / $155  $90 / $165 Book Here
Bahia Principe, Soliman Bay, Tankah $80 / $140 $90 / $165  $95 / $170 Book Here
Tulum $85 / $150 $90 / $170  $100 / $180 Book Here

Not sure which location your hotel is in? Just start typing in your hotel name here, click the hotel name and it will take you to the right  location to book your airport transfers.

arrival-terminal-2

CARM Tours & Transfers also offers transportation to areas further out. We can take you to MeridaChichen Itza or Valladolid, Chiquila ferry dock (the ferry that takes you to Isla Holbox), Mahahual or Bacalar, Sian Ka’an Biosphere or Punta Allen.

We will track your flight and we’ll be waiting outside the airport terminal with your name on the sign. Here I am after arriving to terminal 2 from JFK last year.

You can watch the video of getting through the Cancun Airport, however I have to apologize for the screaming child in the background. Life Happens ♥.

If you have any questions about which option is right for you, just give me a call, shoot me an email or hop on live chat. I’m happy to answer all of your questions.

Immigration and Customs forms Mexico and United States

When you leave the US or Canada for your vacation in Mexico, be prepared to fill out Customs and Immigration forms. It is helpful to know what these forms look like and what questions you will be asked.

The first two scans are your FMM, or Tourist Visa. You will be given this form to fill out while on the plane before you arrive to Mexico. This is a simple form that just requires the info directly off your passport.

When you arrive to Cancun International Airport, the first stop after getting off the plane will be at Immigration. Here the immigration officer will take the FMM form you filled out, keep the blue side and give you back the green side. The blue side is your Entry into Mexico and the green side is your departure visa when you leave Mexico. It is VERY IMPORTANT to keep the green part (with your passport) as you MUST have this to leave Mexico. What happens if you lose your FMM Tourist Visa while in Mexico. Every person must fill this out.

Also during your flight to Mexico you will be given a Customs Declaration form. Each head of household needs to fill this out. Again it asks for your basic passport info, how long you will be in Mexico, and how much luggage you have. Most importantly it asks if you are carrying 10,000 US Dollars or more, any meat, food, plants, chemicals, weapons, or merchandise for which you need to pay duty.

After you land and clear immigration, your next stop will be to pickup your luggage and go to customs. Your luggage will go through x-ray and you will hand the customs agent the form. There is a button that each person must push. If the button light turns green then you proceed to pickup your scanned luggage. If the button light turns red, your luggage will be searched.

When you leave Mexico you will surrender your FMM Tourist Visa and you will fill out the US Customs Declaration form. The US wants to know about your travel, where you’ve been and where you are going. The form asks again if you are bringing cash, meat, plants, merchandise, etc. You will give this form to the Customs agent when you land in the US.

For more information about traveling to Mexico and the paperwork you need to fill out, please visit http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information.

Lost Tourist Visa Card – What happens if you lose your tourist visa while in Mexico?

When you arrive to Cancun International Airport you are issued an FMM form (Forma Migratoria Multiple). This form is your Tourist Visa. The Immigration agent at the Cancun Airport will stamp it and give you half of it to keep until you leave Mexico. Most visas are valid for 30, 60 or 90 days. You MUST keep up with this important document. Put it with your passport and your [Read more…]

Duty-free shopping at the Cancun Airport

When you leave Cancun Airport to head home after your vacation in Mexico, you may want to take a few things back with you. Almost everyone has a list of friends, co-workers, nieces and nephews for which to buy souvenirs. There are some good markets in Cancun, like Market 28, however it is handy to grab these items on your way out of Cancun at the Duty-Free shops at the Cancun Airport.

The shops are located in all the departure terminals. It is not possible to access these stores upon arrival. Duty-Free Shops are accessible on departures only. Some of the most popular shops are Sr. Frogs, Sunglass Island, Hard Rock Cafe, Oprendi & Ocean Blue. You can buy liquor, cigarettes, t-shirts, and souvenirs of all kinds.

Map of the Cancun Airport Stores: http://www.asur.com.mx/asur/ingles/aeropuertos/cancun/map.asp

Cancun Airport Departures Area

Cancun Airport Departures Area

There are also food court areas at both terminals, including a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., California Pizza Kitchen, Johnny Rockets, Starbucks (of course), Margaritaville, Domino’s Pizza, Peking Xpress, Guacamole Grill (fast food), Burger King, Baskin Robbins, TGI Friday’s, drug store and convenience store.

Now, there are limits to what you can take back with you when you leave Cancun. Each person can bring back $800 USD worth of items purchased in Mexico, duty-free, including:

  • One liter (33.8 ounces) of alcohol (provided the resident is 21 years or over)
  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars that are not of Cuban origin (1 carton)

Items brought from the duty-free shop may [Read more…]

Arriving to the Cancun Airport – What to expect

When I arrived to Cancun Airport I took this video so you can see exactly what it looks like. I could only start filming after customs and immigration. The video starts right after customs. Please excuse the loud background noise.

This is at Terminal 2. Cancun International Airport (CUN) has 3 terminals. Terminal 1 is the FBO / charter terminal. Here are the airlines that use Terminal 2 and Terminal 3:

Terminal 2 Terminal 3
Air Canada AA
Air Transat Delta
AirTran Frontier
CanJet Spirit
Condor Sun Country
Copa Thomson
Cubana United
First Choice US Air
Jet Blue Virgin America
SunWing USA 3000
Viva AeroBus
WestJet
Interjet

 

For a more complete list of the Airlines arriving and departing from the Cancun Airport including contact info, check out CARM Airline Directory.

Here I am with my best friend TJ after we exited the airport and found our sign. Our driver, Augustine, was waiting for us.

CARM airport Sign

Trina & TJ at the Cancun Airport with CARM greeter

Then it was a swift and safe ride to Cancun! You can book the same private airport transfer service to any resort in Cancun or the Riviera Maya here.