Cancun and the Riviera Maya are paradisaical destinations, very popular among travelers with breathtaking beaches, Mayan ruins, cenotes, exclusive restaurants, and crazy nightlife.
Most times, Cancun and Rivera Maya are confused because people think they are the same, but the truth is they are two totally different destinations. Do not worry, I know that the first time in southern Mexico can be overwhelming, so here you can find some tips that can help you to plan your visit.
Arrive safe and know the airport
Cancun International Airport (CUN) is the gateway to Cancun and the whole Riviera Maya and probably the one you will be arriving at since most international flights land there. This is the second-busiest airport in Mexico, with over 30 million passengers passing through every year. Cancun International Airport is in the south of Cancun, just outside the city on the highway Cancun/Chetumal. About 30 minutes from the Hotel Zone, the most famous zone in Cancun.
Actually, the airport has four terminals, that are distributing as the following: Terminal 1 is for domestic and private or charter flights, terminal 2 is also used for domestic flights, although it can receive some flights from Europe or the United States, and terminals 3 and 4 set to be for international flights. Here is a map of the Cancun airport so you can have a clear image.
In the different terminals, the airport has different amenities and departments such as restaurants, Dutty Free, souvenir shops, VIP lounge, documentation and boarding area, immigration, and customs. In case you need to go from one terminal to another, there are shuttles that connect with all of them for free.
Keep your FMM safe with you
All foreign citizens entering Mexico must fill out the Immigration Entry Form (FMM) to identify themselves. Some airlines provide the FMM onboard the plane, but it is better to fill out the form in advance. You can do it online. Once you pass through immigration, keep the half-stamped form with you and be sure to keep it safe because before leaving the country, you must give it back to migration officers. Do not worry, in case you lost your FMM you can get a new one that costs about $40 USD.
Find an efficient transportation service
There are plenty of options to move to your hotel or destination from Cancun International Airport. You can take a taxi or ADO bus, otherwise, you can also reserve private transportation or get a car rental in Cancun. Taxis and ADO buses can easily be found at the airport terminals and private transportation offer meet and greet at your arrival.
Upon arrival, several vendors will offer transfer services either to take you to your hotel or any other destination and the cost will depend on where you go and the type of service you are looking for. However, the best option will depend on your budget and itinerary.
For freedom of movement, the car rental option is ideal since you can drive yourself to practice anywhere. If your plan is to visit as much as you can, having a vehicle will be very helpful. You can book your vehicle in advance, and so many companies like City Car Rental Cancun or AVIS offer discounts for prebooking. Also, you will save much time on tedious paperwork that, believes me, you want to avoid. But if what you want is a complete service of transportation, getting a private transfer is your best option to forget about self-driving and just enjoy the ride.
Do not miss the plane!
For departures, show up at least 3 hours before your flight, to have enough time to document or pack your luggage. If you get private Cancun airport transportation at your arrival, most companies have the roundtrip option to schedule the time of your return so you can be on time for your flight, otherwise, try to calculate your times.
Do not worry about your waiting time or in case you have a reasonable scale but no time to go outside the airport terminal, there are VIP lounges on some terminals to wait comfortably for your flight. In the lounges, you can find an open bar, children’s playroom, Wi-Fi, snacks, and many more facilities.