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Cancun Airport Guide

What To Know About The Cancun International Airport

Updated June 2024 ⋅ Written by Vanessa Howard ⋅ Edited by Laura Schulthies

Cancun Airport Guide
Cancun Airport Guide

Welcome to Cancun Mexico

Cancun is one of the top resort destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico’s #1 vacation town. With stunning blue water, white sand beaches, and world-class restaurants and nightlife, Cancun is the ultimate vacation destination. The bustling Cancun Airport is most people’s first experience in this beautiful locale. But don’t let this international Airport overwhelm you. Keep reading our Cancun Airport guide for everything you need to know to make your travels a breeze.

Cancun is one of the top resort destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico’s #1 vacation town. With stunning blue water, white sand beaches, and world-class restaurants and nightlife, Cancun is the ultimate vacation destination. The bustling Cancun Airport is most people’s first experience in this beautiful locale. But don’t let this international Airport overwhelm you. Keep reading our Cancun Airport guide for everything you need to know to make your travels a breeze.

Cancun Region Map

Cancun Map

Contents

Intro To The Cancun International Airport
Intro To The Cancun International Airport

Overview

Intro To The Cancun International Airport

The Cancun Airport is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula, just a few miles inland from the Caribbean Sea. This major international Airport serves the resort areas of Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Holbox and more. The Airport receives about 32.75 million passengers annually, making it one of the busiest airports in Mexico. Cancun Airport (CUN) is second only to Mexico City International Airport in visitors. The Airport receives flights from most major international airlines and charters.

High Season At Cancun Airport Cancun Peak Seasons & Holidays
High Season At Cancun Airport Cancun Peak Seasons & Holidays

High Season At Cancun Airport

Cancun Peak Seasons & Holidays

During peak season, the Cancun Airport operates at maximum capacity, meaning longer lines and fewer parking spaces due to the volume of travelers.

Peak Seasons in Cancun include:

  • US winter vacations from mid-December to mid-January.
  • Spring Break and Easter bring an influx of travelers from mid-March to late-April.
  • Summer vacation also brings many travelers to this tropical paradise from the end of July to the end of August.

When planning your trip to Cancun, remember the national celebrations in Mexico. During these times, it is common for Mexicans to travel around the Yucatan Peninsula, so make sure to keep these in mind.

Holidays In Mexico:

  • February 5 – Mexican Constitution Day
  • Early to Mid February – Carnival
  • March 21 – Birthday of Benito Juárez
  • Palm Sunday – Easter Sunday – Semana Santa (Holy Week)
  • May 1 – Labor Day
  • September 16 – Mexican Independence Day
  • November 1 & 2 – Day of the Dead
  • November 20 – Mexican Revolution
Airlines Servicing The Cancun Airport
Cancun Airport Guide

Airlines Servicing The Cancun Airport

American, United, Delta & More

Cancun International Airport (CUN) is served by a wide range of domestic and international airlines. While the list of airlines may vary over time, here are some of the major airlines that have historically operated at Cancun Airport:

International Airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country, Air Canada, WestJet, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, Copa Airlines, Avianca, LATAM Airlines

Domestic Airlines: Aeromexico, Volaris, VivaAerobus, TAR Aerolíneas

We recommend checking out Kayak or Expedia to find the best prices on flights to Cancun.

Arrival At Cancun Airport Immigration, Customs & Baggage
Arrival At Cancun Airport Immigration, Customs & Baggage

Arrival At Cancun Airport

Immigration, Customs & Baggage

Expedite Your Arrival

Prepare All Documents: Make sure you and your party have the correct documents to enter Mexico. Everyone must have a passport, and some countries may need an entry Visa. Check that you have all your travel documents, such as plane and hotel vouchers.

Pack Light: Pack according to your airline’s luggage allowances. These are strict, and excess luggage can become very expensive very quickly. Many airlines charge almost $100.00 (USD) for extra luggage. We suggest buying a home luggage scale. They’re inexpensive and can save you a bundle.

Dress Appropriately: Consider the weather in Cancun when arriving from another part of the world. It can be over 80 degrees most of the year in Cancun, so wear comfortable clothes.

Finish Open Food: Don’t bring food with you unless it’s sealed and packaged. You cannot transport any vegetables, meats, or grains. This is not a Cancun Airport policy. It’s a Mexican Customs Policy.

Book Cancun Hotel Transport: It can save time if you prearrange your transportation to your hotel. If your resort package includes transportation, you will be greeted by a resort representative. If it’s not included, you can easily book your transportation in advance here.

Immigrations And Customs Process At Cancun Airport

As of late 2022, passengers flying into Cancun Airport no longer need to fill out the Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM) tourist card, and this is massively speeding up the immigration process. The exception is for people from countries requiring entry visas when visiting Mexico.

You also no longer need to fill out customs forms before clearing security. Mexico now has a red light/green light system, and voluntary to declare items at customs. Keep in mind random searches are still carried out.

Families should stay together while going through immigration. Give your complete documentation to the immigration agent and wait for any questions. Keep in mind that immigration lines at the Cancun Airport can be long. After immigration, you will continue to pick up your luggage.

Baggage At Cancun Airport

The Baggage Claim Area is clearly marked so just follow the signs from your terminal. It’s a good idea to mark your luggage with brightly colored tags or ribbons for easy identification on the carousel. Ensure your bags have name tags for easy identification. Be sure to compare your claim tickets and double check you’re taking the correct bags.

Where Is The Cancun Airport?
Where Is The Cancun Airport?

Where Is The Cancun Airport?

The Cancun Airport's Location

Cancun International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional de Cancun) is located on the eastern shore of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is situated approximately 10 miles (16km) southwest of the city center of Cancun along the Caribbean Sea. The Airport is roughly 12 miles (15km) southwest of the Cancun Hotel Zone.

Note: Google Maps does a very poor job at time estimates for this area. More accurate travel times are in the section below.

Travel Times From Cancun To Popular Destinations
Travel Times From Cancun To Popular Destinations

Travel Times To Popular Destinations

Cancun Hotel Zone, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum & More

Downtown Cancun (Centro): The transfer time to/from downtown Cancun is around 25-30 minutes, depending on traffic and road repairs. Always plan extra time, just in case, as traffic in the town center can move slowly.

Cancun Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera): The transfer time to/from the Cancun Hotel Zone is around 20-35 minutes, depending on which part of the Hotel Zone you’re staying in. Hotels in the southern part of the Hotel Zone are much closer to the Airport.

Playa del Carmen: A charming seaside town known for its beautiful beaches, shopping, and dining options along Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), Playa del Carmen is located about 68 kilometers (42 miles) south of Cancun. It takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to drive from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen.

Puerto Morelos: A quaint fishing village approximately 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of Cancun International Airport, Puerto Morelos offers a tranquil escape with pristine beaches, a laid-back atmosphere, and opportunities for snorkeling and diving in its stunning coral reefs. The travel time from Cancun Airport to Puerto Morelos typically takes around 20 to 30 minutes.

Tulum: Tulum is a picturesque coastal town with ancient Mayan ruins perched on cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is roughly 126 kilometers (78 miles) south of Cancun Airport, and the drive typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. Tulum is now more easily reached by flying into the new Tulum International Airport.

Merida: The capital of the Yucatan state, Merida is the cultural heart of the region, offering colonial architecture, historic sites, and a vibrant local culture. Merida is about 320 kilometers (199 miles) west of Cancun Airport, and the drive takes around 3.5 to 4.5 hours.

Chichen Itza: An UNESCO World Heritage site featuring the iconic Mayan pyramid, El Castillo, and other archaeological wonders. This famous Mayan archaeological site is around 197 kilometers (122 miles) west of the Cancun Airport, and the drive usually takes around 2 to 2.5 hours.

Isla Mujeres: A tranquil island paradise known for its blue waters, vibrant marine life, and relaxed atmosphere. You can reach Isla Mujeres by driving 30 minutes to Puerto Juarez and then taking a 15-20 minute ferry ride to Isla Mujeres.

Cozumel: A popular diving and snorkeling destination with colorful coral reefs and a laid-back island ambiance, Cozumel is reached via ferry from Playa del Carmen. The drive to Playa del Carmen is 45 minutes to 1 hour, and the ferry to Cozumel takes another 45 minutes.

Holbox Island: A serene island retreat, Holbox is known for its natural beauty, white sandy beaches, and eco-friendly adventures. To reach Holbox Island, you’ll need to drive north to the town of Chiquila (around 160 kilometers or 99 miles) and then take a ferry to the island. The total journey can take around 2.5 to 3 hours.

Note: Throughout 2023 and into 2024, construction around the Cancun Airport has led to extensive delays. Plan accordingly.

Transportation From The Cancun Airport
Transportation From The Cancun Airport

Transportation From The Cancun Airport

Taxi's, Rental Cars and More

Upon landing at Cancun International Airport, travelers are greeted with various transportation choices to ensure an easy transition to their final destination.

Island Life Mexico

Private Taxi & Shuttle Transfers

You can prearrange your transfer to your hotel in Cancun or the Riviera Maya through several companies. A few companies that offer transportation services, both private and shared, are Best Day and Lomas Travel. These companies also offer tours throughout the Riviera Maya.

You can easily book ground transportation from the Airport to your hotel here.

Island Life Mexico

Rental Cars

Renting a car is a popular option while visiting Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Road conditions are generally good, and signage is ample. This easy and affordable option can cost as little as $15 per day, but check if your hotel has free parking.

The roads between Cancun and Tulum are very safe and easy to navigate. A rental car will allow you to access cenotes and other sites outside of town. Just make sure to watch out for Topes! (speed bumps).

Search for great deals on rental cars here.

Buses in Mexico

ADO Bus

The best option for budget-minded travelers is to take an ADO bus, which offers services to the center of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Merida from the Cancun Airport. There are frequent departures between 8am and 11pm. The ADO bus ticket booth is located just outside Terminal 2. Consult with your hotel for pickup/dropoff locations.

Also, remember that taxis from the bus station offer more economical rates than those from the Airport.

Cancun Airport Parking

Cancun Airport Parking

All terminals at the airport offer options for both short and long-term parking. If you park for less than six hours, you will pay per hour. There is a day rate for those parking at the Cancun Airport for over six hours. Make sure to take your ticket with you and pay at the kiosk inside the terminal, as exiting the parking lot is automated via a machine.

Cost Per Hour: $2.00 per hour. After 6 hours cost per day applies

Cost per Day: $12.50 per day.

There is also an offsite parking option via the nearby iPark lot. These rates are typically lower, and the companies offer a free shuttle service to the terminal.

Terminals At The Cancun Airport
Terminals At The Cancun Airport

Terminals At The Cancun Airport

Terminal & Transfer Information

Cancun Airport has 4 terminals. If you are wondering which terminal your airline is located in, you can check below and confirm with your airline.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 at the Cancun Airport exclusively serves charter and private flight arrivals. It is one of the smallest terminals, with just 11 gates.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2  at Cancun Airport serves primarily domestic airlines. This terminal receives flights from throughout Mexico, as well as the United States, South America, and Europe. Terminal 2 has 27 gates. Major airlines arriving in Terminal 2 include Viva Aerobus, Jetair, Aeromexico, Interjet, and Volaris.

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 is one of the newest terminals at Cancun Airport and serves international flights, mainly from North America and Europe. With 15 gates, this terminal is used by some of the most popular international airlines, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Allegiant Air, Air Canada, and Spirit Airlines. Terminal 3 also serves Alaska Airlines.

Terminal 4

The latest addition to the Cancun Airport is Terminal 4, and it serves both domestic and international flights. Flights from Canada, Europe, the United States, and South America are received here. The 12 gates of Terminal 4 are used by several popular airlines, including Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, Jetblue, Lufthansa, Frontier Airlines, and Air France.

Moving From One Terminal To Another

At Cancun Airport, you will find a free shuttle bus that offers easy transportation between terminals. Outside each terminal, you will find a bus stop where you can board an airport terminal bus. The buses depart approximately every 10 and 15 minutes. You can conveniently check the schedules on the clocks located at the bus stops.

Be aware of people who charge to transfer you between terminals. The shuttle is free. Walking between the terminals is not recommended as the terminals are far apart, particularly if you have luggage.

Amenities at The Cancun Airport
Amenities at The Cancun Airport

Amenities At The Cancun Airport

Restaurants, Shopping and More

While at the Cancun Airport, you will want to carry cash with you. Mexico has a tipping culture, and it is polite to tip people who offer you quality service. Usually, the people who receive tips at airports are drivers, waiters, and those who help you carry your luggage.

Within the Airport are a variety of restaurants, bars, and fast food eateries, as well as shops to peruse while you wait for your flight. You will also find ATMs, banks, currency exchange booths, options for car rentals, and tourist information desks.

Popular Restaurants At Cancun Airport

  • Johnny Rockets
  • Wolfgang Puck Kitchen
  • Corona Beach Bar
  • Jose Cuervo
  • Haggen Dazs
  • Bubba Gump
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Guacamole Grill
  • TGI Fridays
  • Air Margaritaville Bar (international arrivals)
  • MERA Restaurante (before security)

Popular Shops At Cancun Airport

Each terminal offers a different variety of shopping options. In addition to the usual Duty-Free selections, this terminal features souvenirs, books, clothing, and jewelry stores.

  • Hard Rock Store: Clothing and Souvenirs, Main level
  • International News Shop: Books, Magazines, Newspapers
  • Los Cinco Soles: Jewelry and Handcrafts, Main + Upper Level
  • Pineda Covalin: Clothing and Accessories, Main + Upper Level
  • Sunglass Island: Sunglasses, Main and Upper Level

Wi-Fi At The Cancun Airport

Yes, there is free public Wi-Fi at the Cancun Airport. It is important to note that the speed can be slow due to the number of people connected to the network. Alternatively, you can use the airport restaurants’ private networks while dining there. Or you can download the documents you need, such as your itinerary and boarding passes, on your devices before getting to the Cancun Airport.

Cancun Airport Lounge

Terminals 2, 3, and 4 have pay-at-the-door and membership airport lounges. The Mera Business Lounges are open between 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM. These lounges offer a bar, snacks, massage chairs, restrooms, and unlimited internet connection for $35.00 (USD). Children are free with an adult, and these lounges are a great bargain for those with a long wait before their flight.

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