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10 Travel Tips For Cancun, Mexico

  • December 17, 2018
  • By Stephanie, The Roving Fox
10 Travel Tips For Cancun, Mexico

Cancun is one of my favorite warm-weather destinations for its ease to travel to and gorgeous beaches.

I was so lucky to be able to travel to Cancun, Mexico twice last year. The first time traveling to Cancun was just for about 5 days as a quick solo getaway in January, and the second time, in February, was a trip with my fiance, Ken.

I picked up a bunch of travel tips for Cancun from these two trips that I am really excited to share with you all!

Going there solo first allowed me to check out how the locals live, and I was so much more comfortable returning a month later knowing some local tips.

Cancun is an amazing destination; especially in winter for us frozen New Englanders. You’d be hard pressed to find a place that’s easy to get to, still relatively affordable, with lots of foodie options and nightlife. All set on a beautiful beachfront background with crystal clear water and white sand beaches.

I recently returned from a trip to Merida, Mexico (read all about that trip here). In the mean time, here are a few tips for traveling to Cancun.

Let me know if you have any questions or have your own tips to share!

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10 Travel Tips For Cancun, Mexico

1. Taking taxis in Cancun doesn’t have to be difficult

Because taxis aren’t metered in Cancun, you will likely encounter a wide range of taxi prices.

If you are leaving directly from your hotel, they will probably have the prices posted in the lobby so you know what a typical charge is.

However, when you land at the airport you will probably be accosted by taxi hustlers. They will try to charge you anywhere from $40-$60 from the Cancun airport to the hotel zone. But a typical ride should only cost about $20!

These dudes up-sell for a living, so don’t feel bad if you don’t end up with exactly the local rate. But knowing you should only pay $20 will help your negotiations greatly.

That’s my very best of my travel tips for Cancun because I wish someone had told me that before I got taken advantage of at the taxi stands.

2. If you have time and want to travel like a local, take the ADO bus from the airport

If you have some time, or want to travel on a budget, you can take the ADO commuter bus from the airport to the downtown ADO terminal.

While they do have an ADO app, I would recommend walking out of the airport, veering right past the taxi stand, and go to the ADO pop up stand.

Tickets to the Cancun bus terminal cost 78 pesos (approximately $4 USD), and the buses run every few minutes during the day.

The bus makes a few stops at the other terminals, and the trip downtown should take about 45 minutes.

Once you’re in downtown Cancun, you can take a taxi to your final destination. It’s more time intensive, but you’d save some money and avoid the hassle of the overpriced airport hustlers. I found the ADO bus to be very clean and efficient.

3. Stay in the Downtown area for savings

If you want some cheap digs, stay at an AirBnB in the Downtown area. Near the Walmart is clutch.

You’re close to the supermarket, local restaurants, and the bus line that goes to the hotel zone/beaches.

The bus takes about 30 minutes to get to the beach, but you save so much more than staying at a beachfront hotel.

4. Carry small change

Carry coins or small bills for the bus. It costs 12 pesos (less than $1) to ride the bus to the hotel zone.

The drivers don’t have time to make change, so carry some quick cash so you can board without making a scene.

5. Beaches are public, but sometimes you have to go through a hotel lobby

Yeahhhh. There are some public beaches with marked entrances like Playa Delfines or Chac Mool Beach, but most of the beach area is taken up by the hotels.

If you decide to sneak through a lobby, just be quick and don’t use the hotels chairs, which are reserved for guests.

Travel Tips For Cancun

enjoying a sunny beach day in Cancun

6. Buy food at the Walmart or local supermarket

You will save so much money buying bottles of water and groceries outside of restaurants.

Buy a big jug of water for under $2 USD and it should last you a few days.

The grocery stores have great fresh fruit, amazing baked goods, and all the essentials you might have forgotten. And the best part is, you pay the same price as the locals since the prices are fixed. Score!


Travel Tips For Cancun

delicious donuts at a Cancun supermarket

7. Use bank ATMs whenever possible

This is another one of my best travel tips for Cancun.

Before you leave the Cancun airport, there are a few bank ATMs like Santander, in the lobby.

Use an ATM like that or one associated with a “real” bank. The fees are much more reasonable than one-off ATMs you’ll find elsewhere, and you get actual bank exchange rates.

Try to keep some pesos on you at all times. You’ll get a much better rate than using USD.

8. Haggle!

If you’re traveling to Cancun, you can’t miss the flea market or other local stops, and you can usually haggle the price down.

The exception are stores that have marked prices.

But small vendors selling bags, pottery, blankets, or other trinkets can usually be bargained with.

Cash is always best, and buying more than one item will sometimes score you a discount.

Don’t be afraid to walk away and compare prices at other kiosks. The one exception is if you go to a small town on a tour. Sometimes it’s a gesture of goodwill to purchase a small trinket.

9. Download a map and language pack

Download an offline map of the area from Google Maps before you leave on your trip.

It will come in super handy when you might not have data or wifi available.

Also download a Spanish language pack from Google Translate so you can translate words on the fly without wifi.

10. Have fun!

I mean, also be safe, but mostly, have fun!

Try out your Spanish with the locals, eat tasty food, and enjoy the Cancun sun!

It’s such a great place to spend a few days or to kick off your longer trip to other parts of Mexico like Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, or Chichen Itza.

If you’re looking for a guide for how to spend one day in Cozumel on a day trip, check out my friend Lindsay’s guide on her blog, I’ve Been Bit!

I hope these travel tips for Cancun help you on your next trip traveling to Cancun.

Buen viaje!

Other articles you might enjoy:

Things To Do in Merida Mexico, the Yucatan Capital City

How to learn Spanish online for free (or close to it)

Things To Do in Boston in Winter: A Complete Boston Winter Guide


By Stephanie, The Roving Fox, December 17, 2018
Stephanie Janes The Roving Fox blog
Hi, I’m Stephanie

Hey there, I am Stephanie, aka “The Roving Fox!” I started this blog to share travel tips with friends, and eventually started incorporating more info about my hip labrum surgery, beauty products I love, and restaurant reviews. Please say hi here on the blog, on Instagram, or Facebook!

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