Getting to Cancún, México

Alister Ferguson Picture
Jeremias Padilla Picture
by Alister Ferguson, Jeremias Padilla
updated 4 months ago

The sandy beaches of Cancun are calling for you. The paradise of all inclusive resorts is easily accessible thanks to its International Airport with flights from all over the world from $150, buses are also an option if you are in a different Mexican city starting at $10. Once there, the cheapest option to move around is using the local bus services with tickets from $0.50. Taxis are available 24/7 from $10, bike rentals from $2, car rentals from $55. Cancún International Airport Transfers starting at $23.

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The Tricky Part

Be mindful of tipping. Tips or 'propinas' (in Spanish) are widely expected from tourists in Cancún. Drivers, maids, waiters and nearly any personnel offering a service will rely on tips for their income. There’s not an exact amount expected, but you should calculate at least 10% of the bill charged to you.

Make sure you pack insect repellent and sunscreen, especially if you’re going in high season (December to March). Mosquitoes might not be a big deal in the hotel zone, but if you plan on visiting other locations near this area, be ready for some annoying buzz.

Another thing to keep in mind in Cancún is to not drink water directly from the tap since it could have bacteria or parasites. Make sure you always have a bottle of purified or filtered water.

Safety Concerns

Beware of water currents when taking a dip in the sea, since they can be strong and this can be risky. Always pay attention to the life-guard flags standing on the beaches to make sure it’s safe to swim at a given moment.

Precautions to be taken in the hotel zone include the common sense you would need to take care mostly anywhere in the world. This area is mostly safe, but be more cautious if you get out of this zone and go downtown, since there’s been reports of shootings and robbery.

Another thing to pay attention to is time-share and condos salesmen that present themselves as tourist information guides. This is a known scam system that consists of offering you a free tour to any place, which ends up being a 90 minute to 2 hours presentation with a sales pitch.

Other Logistical Complexities

Be sure that your passport isn’t expiring in the next 6 months. This can be a reason to deny you entry into Mexico.

Besides that, Mexico requires a visitor’s permit (known as FMM) and a $25 fee for tourists that travel within the country. It’s regular for airlines to hand them on board or at arrival in your destination. If this is not the case, you can acquire the FMM in any airport. If you arrive in Mexico by land, FMM will be available at the point of entry. It’s important to keep your visitor’s permit safe and avoid losing it, since it will be required upon leaving the country. If you lose or misplace it for any reason, another one can be acquired and filled in at airports and border stands, but keep in mind they will be charged for (around $30) and that the procedure could be especially inconvenient if you have a scheduled flight and you don’t have the spare time to go through it.

US dollars and credit cards are mostly accepted as a method of payment (excluding street vendors and cabs), but avoid a “tourist tax” and the complications of handling two different currencies (change will always be given in pesos) by using the local currency. The best exchange can be obtained by withdrawing from ATMs.

Getting TO Cancún

Flying in is generally the most popular and easy way of getting into Cancún, since most of the major air carriers from all regions offer services that arrive in Cancún International Airport. Tourists tend to stay in the hotel area which covers all of their needs and driving a car is not very necessary to this effect. However it’s possible to get to Cancún by car or driving and by bus. Disembarking with cruise ships is also a common way of arriving at the resort.

Route from Cancun International Airport to CancunGoogle Maps

By Air

Flights into Cancun are offered by many airlines from North, Central and South America and Europe. This makes Cancún easily reachable by plane. Here’s a list of all the companies that offer services arriving to the resort from different parts of the world with their websites and phone numbers included.

Chartered flights are a common way of flying into Cancún too. However, these tend to work seasonally and during the Mexican summer.

Ticket prices to Cancún vary greatly depending on your departure point. You can book non-stop return tickets during the high season from different cities in the USA for prices starting at $150 and going up to $800. Ticket prices from Vancouver, Canada start at $500.

In high season, round trip ticket prices from European cities are somewhat varied; tickets from CDG airport in France cost $1400; $1500 from Frankfurt, Germany; $1400 from Barcelona and Madrid; $1300 from Amsterdam; among other popular routes.

You can fly from South America for $ 700 (Buenos Aires), $600 (Bogotá), $800 (Santiago de Chile), $600 (Sao Paulo), $700 from the Guayaquil airport (Ecuador), $500 from Lima, Perú, among other locations it’s possible to fly from.

Airlines in Central America offer prices to fly into Cancún in the ranges of $600 to $1000.

Keep in mind that the costs of tickets lower significantly in the low season and that COVID-19 restrictions might modify prices, flight frequency and availability, among other conditions.

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How do I get from Cancun Airport to the area where I'll be staying at?

Getting out of the airport and on your way to the place you’ll be staying at can be a difficult journey in Cancún. Once you walk past customs in the airport you'll find yourself submerged in a sea of people trying to carry your bags, sell you transportation, tours, timeshares and other stuff you’ll need to politely decline if you’re not looking to waste time at your arrival.

The recommended option is to pre-book your transportation when possible, and to arrange the pick-up indications clearly with the driver or company so you can go directly to them. Usually the pick-up spot will be right outside the terminal you’re arriving at. Online booking for many different transfer options is possible at the Cancún airport website. You can go to the hotel zone, downtown Cancún, and many of the tourist spots (like Playa del Carmen) using these.

If you haven’t pre booked your ride options it’s possible to hire one at the airport, but beware these will be private transportation companies, exclusive airport taxis or shuttle buses -it’s not possible to just hail a cab outside the airport!

The companies that offer ride services will drop you off at your desired destination, be it shuttle buses, exclusive taxis or private transfers. Usually, they have stands inside the airport.

Shared shuttle services work from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. This means their service is limited to flights arriving during this time frame. They can drop you off at Cancún's hotel zone, but they include many stops along the way, which means you’ll be spending at least 30 min on the bus. The cheapest service per person from the Cancún's airport website costs $24.

Airport exclusive taxis are the most expensive transfers in Cancún's airport and they’re recommended mostly in emergencies. They charge for the vehicle and route, not per person. The cheapest price for a vehicle with 3 passenger seats is $35. Working hours range from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Private transportation in Cancun's airport is a very good choice. They charge for vehicles with capacities for 1-2 passengers, 3-7 and 8-10. They work 24 hours and can be booked online or upon arrival. Pricing at the airport's website is set at $49 for a vehicle with capacity for 5 people.

Another option can be taking a bus from the Mexican national company ADO. These buses cost less than private transfers and taxis but they might include additional waiting times and many stops along the way. ADO buses can drop you off at Cancún centre ($5), Playa del Carmen ($10) and the crossroads for Puerto Morelos ($3), where there’ll be taxis waiting.

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By Bus

The central bus terminal in Cancún is in the city centre and it receives frequent buses from most of the main locations around the region. These include: Cancún International Airport ($5), Playa del Carmen ($5), Puerto Morelos ($2), Tulum ($10), Mérida ($16-$26), Valladolid ($10-$14), Campeche ($42) and Chetumal ($27) in the Yucatán Peninsula. If you’re coming from Chichén Itzá services might be less frequent, so it’s recommended to take a bus to Valladolid first and connect to Cancún from there.

Bus services from Mexico’s capital city also arrive here for around $90. Most of the stretches are covered by the national company ADO and their tickets can be bought online.

The numerous routes covered by buses that depart from Cancún's bus terminal make it a good location for connecting with a bus to your destination, even if you came into the resort by plane, since there's also buses and smaller shuttles to the hotel zone outside the terminal in Tulum Avenue.

By Train

This option of transportation to Cancun is currently not available. However, there is a railway project under development for this zone that could start operating in 2024.

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By Ferry/Boat

Cruise ships getting to this resort usually dock at one of Cozumel’s piers. From there, you can get to Cancún by taking a 45-minute passenger ferry to Playa del Carmen from the San Miguel Pier. Ferries operate from 07:30hs in the morning to 21:00hs in the evening and the last service going back from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel departs at 22:00hs. They work every two and a half hours.

Mexico Water Jets offers this service for around $13.

If by ferry/boat, how do I get to the area where I’ll be staying?

After taking the ferry you will arrive at the centre of Playa del Carmen. From there you can walk two blocks to get to the bus station on 5th Ave. and Juárez, where you can take an ADO bus to Cancún. This will take about 1 hour and it’s the cheapest option, costing only around $4.

If you want to travel more comfortably and have your ride waiting for you when you arrive at Playa del Carmen’s dock you can book a private transfer with Mozio to take you there. Prices to the hotel zone go from $64 for a Private Van ride with room for 4 people, the same price for a transfer in a comfortable Private Sedan for 4 passengers, $119 for a SUV for 4-5 people and $137 for a Private Bus for 14 passengers. All rides take around 1 hour to get to destination.

By Car

Moving to and from Cancún by car is done mainly using two highways: Fed Hwy CF307 and Fed Hwy CF180/180D. The first one runs North to South and starts northwest of Cancún. You can drive South from here to Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum and Chetumal very close to the Belizean border. This road doesn’t have any reported tolls.

180/180D are actually two different roads that go the same way from East to West. You can use them to get to Cancún from Mérida through Chichén Itzá and Valladolid. Fed Hwy 180 is a toll motorway that as of February 2019 charged $12 for motorbikes and $25 for regular cars. Keep in mind that prices might have changed. Tolls can only be paid in Mexican pesos and credit card, other methods of payment are not accepted. Fed Hwy CF180 D goes along the same route but doesn’t involve toll charges, it has two lanes with speed bumps to slow down traffic when nearing or entering the various towns it connects.

Roads are in an overall good state.

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Get to Cancún - Frugal Option

The cheapest option to get to Cancún, either if you arrive at Cancún’s Airport or if you are coming from another town in the Yucatán Peninsula or the Quintana Roo state, is definitely buying an ADO bus ticket. This can be done online, at the airport or in any bus terminal in the town you’re in. Buses to Playa del Carmen and Cancún's centre are very frequent and not at all expensive. The only cons of choosing this option are ride and waiting times (due to multiple stops). If you need to get to the hotel zone you can do it with a shuttle bus service departing from outside the bus terminal in Cancún's centre, or with the same services that depart from the airport.

Get to Cancún - Compromise Option

The best middle option if you’re arriving at Cancún’s Airport is to book a shuttle bus service to either get to the hotel zone or go to Cancún’s centre from where you can take a bus -or colectivo- to a further destination if needed. Shuttle buses tend to cost less than airport taxis. Many of them also cover specific routes to different destinations (for example to Playa del Carmen). They are the perfect choice if you’re travelling in groups since you’ll definitely be paying less for a single vehicle.

Get to Cancún - Private Transfer Options

Getting to Cancún's hotel zone, centre or even to Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos can be easily managed by choosing to book a private transfer. Mozio offers Cancun International Airport Transfers with comfortable and safe options with drivers that will be waiting upon your arrival so you don’t have to worry about all the offers of transportation yelled at you at the airport. This is especially a great option if you're carrying heavy luggage or travelling in groups!

Mozio offers rides to Cancún's hotel zone starting at $18 for a Private Van with room for 8 people; Private Sedan rides for 4 passengers at $19; SUVs with a 5 passenger capacity at $24; and Private Buses with room up to 14 people starting $28. All rides for this route take 25 min.

Rides to downtown Cancún are the same price, with the same vehicle types available.

The route from Cancún’s Airport to Playa del Carmen can be done in 45 minutes with a Mozio ride for the price of $40 for a Sedan, $45 for a van for 8 people, $90 for SUVs with capacity for 5 people and $300 for private buses with room up to 45 people.

Similar services to Puerto Morelos take 20 minutes and cost $20 for a Sedan, $19 for a Van, $43 for a SUV and $33 for a 14-seater Private Bus.

Ridesharing services are not allowed in the airport zone.

The Mozio Recommendation

The most practical way to get to Cancún is flying in. This can be done from nearly any major airport in South, Central and North America or Europe. Getting from the airport to the place where you’ll be staying after arrival will be easily done by pre-booking your ride to your final destination. This can be done online by booking private transfers (including Mozio's Cancun International Airport Transfers) and with taxi companies. Most of the popular routes are covered by these services, especially by taxis.

There are not many counterpoints to choosing this option; waiting times are significantly reduced, decision-making can be easily done before you even get to the airport, and comfortability will be a plus in doing this.

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Getting AROUND Cancún

Getting around in Cancún is generally easy, transportation is plentiful and frequent and really not that expensive!

The most recommended way of moving around the resort is by bus. Whether you have to get from the hotel zone to the centre of Cancún, or from any of these locations to another town or surrounding area of interest, there will probably be a bus taking you directly there at any time of day -and even during night time.

But travelling in a large vehicle full of passengers and with many stops along the way can be a bit tiresome (especially during the hot summers of Cancún), so if you’re schedule is reduced or you’d rather choose comfort over pricing, taxis are the second best choice. This option is not a luxury although they are a bit expensive compared to bus fares. You’ll always find one and they’ll take you to most destinations inside and outside of Cancún for a fair price.

Ferry services will be necessary mostly to get you across the sea to the many touristic islands distributed alongside the mainland of this area. You’ll be able to take them from the piers in Cancún and Playa del Carmen although there are a few that function from the hotel zone.

Finally, rental cars are available but not your best choice due to pricing and the actual need to move around in a vehicle of your own.

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By Bus

Buses in Cancún operate through Boulevard Kukulcán in the hotel zone and Tulum Ave. in the centre. You can just hail them to stop and get on (sometimes drivers will let you board even if you're not at a bus stop!).

The bus system has a fixed price of $10MX ($0.50USD) per person (this is charged every time you board a bus) and $12MX ($0.60) if you’re travelling from the hotel zone. Keep in mind you’ll have to pay with local cash. They function 24/7 and with really high frequency, although you should probably be prepared for a rather cramped up space once you get on. Most drivers will know enough English to help non-Spanish speakers to get to their destinations. Once you’re arriving at your get-off point, you’ll need to let the driver know by pressing the stop button on the handrail.

Main routes for tourists are R1 and R2. The first one you should take to go the centre, Puerto Juárez, Wal-Mart, Plaza 2000, Mercado 23 or the Cancún bus station. The R2 goes to Wal-Mart and Mercado 28.

If you need to go somewhere outside the city like Playa del Carmen or Tulum (two among all the main destinations nearby) you can take an ADO bus from Cancún’s bus station at the Tulum Ave. & Uxal intersection. Most of the destinations are covered within the $2-$16 range (the less the distance, the lower the price).

By Taxi/On Demand (Uber, etc).

There’s plenty of taxis working 24/7 with enough frequency to just hail them from the street or asking for them at the front desk of your hotel. The important thing to know about taxis is that rides are not metered and that drivers tend to take advantage of this (especially if they see you’re a foreign tourist), so you have to be really careful in arranging the fare per person or per ride before you hop on the cab. This is usually not a major problem if you can communicate clearly with your driver, who can probably speak English.

Taxi fares to main locations are usually indicated on information displays at hotel receptions. The prices per Km tend to be a bit higher at the hotel zone, and a regular fare for a ride to town from there is around $10. $1.50-$2.00 is a good average fare calculation to move by taxi within the city.

Taking a taxi either to the airport or to other locations around the resort is probably not recommended due to high pricing; buy a bus ticket instead!

Uber works in Cancún but it functions somewhat under the shadows. Uber drivers face a lot of issues regarding harassment from taxi drivers and companies that do not want them to work in Mexico. Because of this, taking an Uber is possible but requires minimal precautions like hailing your ride to a zone not so full of taxis or being somewhat concealed when getting on. Other than this, it’s still pretty safe to move around using Uber but if you’d rather avoid any possibility of conflict our recommendation is that you take taxis.

Costs of Uber in Cancún are just over half the price in relation to taxi fares, so a ride from the hotel zone to downtown Cancún can be around $6 (this can always change due to surge pricing).

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By Boat/Ferry/Water Taxi

Taking ferries is usually done to get to the islands around the resort that keep some kind of touristic interest. These are mainly four: Isla Mujeres, Contoy, Holbox and Cozumel. The first two are mainly visited as day trip destinations since they’re smaller, while Holbox and Cozumel are usually recommended to visit with some time due to their scale and the transportation logistics involved.

Isla Mujeres and Contoy are connected between them and with Cancún by ferry services offered by different companies. These are usually included with a tour package or you can take a ferry to visit them by yourself (this last option is not available for Contoy).

The ferries from Cancún to the Isla Mujeres depart from the Terminal de Ultramar at Puerto Juárez and round trip tickets cost $15. They work from early in the morning (6:30 a.m.) to late evening (10 p.m.). Ultramar Ferry lets you book your tickets online!

Getting to Contoy is a bit more expensive and not as easy because it’s a restricted area and a special permit is required to get in. You can generally obtain these when you book for a tour like the ones offered by Isla Contoy Tours. They generally include a short trip to Isla Mujeres too, so both can be visited during the same trip.

Going to Holbox is only possible by taking the ferry service departing from a small village to the North of the Quintana Roo state called Chiquilá. To get there from Cancún you can drive East through route 180D and deviate North when you arrive at the intersection with route 5; take a taxi or private transfer there, or you can take an ADO bus from Cancún’s bus station for $13 (keep in mind there’s only two buses, one at 8:30 a.m. and one at 02:15 p.m.).

Once you’re at Chiquilá you can take a ferry from one of the companies that offer the service: Holbox Express and 9 Hermanos. There is no difference between the two services. The ferry frequency is from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. when going to Holbox and 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. when coming back to Chiquilá. The one way ticket costs around $7.55.

Reaching Cozumel by ferry is only possible from Playa del Carmen. The ferry terminal is located in Playa del Carmen centre and the services work from 08:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. with the last service returning back from Cozumel at 21:00.

Mexico Water Jets offers this service for around $13. You will arrive at the San Miguel pier in Cozumel.

Bike Rental

Renting a bike is possible in Cancún, either by day, for half a day or hiring a guided cycling tour. Elite Cyclery offers both these services among many others. The cheapest road-bike can cost $2 for half a day and $2.50 for a full day (with equipment) and the prices lower according to the number of bikes you rent at the time.

Car Rental

Driving a car (especially a rental) is not the most recommended option in Cancún if you’re a tourist. Speeding and abrupt driving is not uncommon in Mexico and the police frequently stops tourist drivers with occasional expectations of bribes.

That being said, renting a car is available nearly everywhere in the general area of Cancún. There are car rental buildings located in the hotel zone, downtown area, the airport and most of the Cancún resort towns. Prices for renting a car per day start at around $55 and lower according to the number of days you rent it for. Requirements are a legitimate passport, valid driver’s license, credit card and paying a collision waiver insurance.

Companies working include: Firefly, Thrifty, Dollar, Avis, among many others.

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Frugal Option

The cheapest way of moving around in Cancún is definitely bus riding. This is not only a budget choice but also a practical one; since most of the routes covered are the ones travelled by tourists, frequency rates are very high and the buses work during night time too. A disadvantage of this option might be not being able to pay with other than the local cash, and having to travel in a cramped up space sometimes.

Compromise Option

The compromise option between price and practicality is probably using the Uber app to ask for a ride or hailing a cab in the street. This is definitely more comfortable than riding the usually full buses and it can cover the same routes and time frames. The prices are higher but not all-together expensive. The cons of this option are the possible issues between taxi and Uber drivers (if you choose using this app) and the fact that many taxi drivers like to take advantage of tourists. However, you shouldn’t worry too much about the first issue since it’s not reportedly common, and the latter can be avoided by communicating clearly with your taxi driver before boarding the vehicle.

Rideshare Services Available

Ridesharing services in Cancún include Uber, Easy Taxi and BlaBlaCar.

Cancun Day Trip Destinations

Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá is an archaeological point and one of the most important landmarks of Mexican history and Mayan culture. The majestic city located in a 15 Km2 precinct is believed to have been the religious, cultural and political centre of the Mayan civilisation. It’s one of the seven wonders of the modern world and it’s been part of the world heritage list since 1998.

With its millenary buildings (like the renowned Chichén Itzá Pyramid) and the jungle taking over its surroundings, this is one of the locations you can’t miss if you want to have a wonderful experience while getting to know the roots of the American civilization in this region.

Getting there is possible with a guided tour or by your own means if desired. Cancún and Mérida are the closest urban centres from where you can easily travel to Chichén Itzá by bus, car or private transportation services.

Guided tours can be hired from most of Cancún’s hotels. If this is not the case, you can check out this website. They usually consist of a full day excursion with a meal and transportation included through Chichén Itzá’s archaeological complex, the Ik Kil cenote and Valladolid.

Bus tickets to Chichén Itzá can be bought in Cancún bus station at Tulum Ave. & Uxal. The only bus that takes you to the archaeological site departs at 9 a.m. and takes around 3h 30m (many stops along the way) to get there. It costs around $8.

If you’re staying in Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Puerto Morelos it’s convenient that you take a bus to Cancun’s bus station first.

If you’re travelling by car from Cancún the best option is driving East straight through the toll freeway 180D and deviating South to Piste through the 79 road. Once you've past Piste you can take the 180 again in the Southeast direction to get to Chichén Itzá.

Getting there from Playa del Carmen involves the same process but you’ll have to go down road 305D heading Northwest to arrive at 180D first.

Tulum connects with Fed Hwy 180 through route 109. 180 will get you to Valladolid from where you can go North to take the 180D.

Entrance to the archaeological complex costs $25 for foreign tourists and $10 for national visitors.

Booking Mozio can get you there in 2h30m in the most comfortable and safe conditions. Fares start at $297 for a 7-seater private van, $297 for a private sedan, $350 for a 4-passenger SUV and $489 for a private bus with a 14 people capacity.

Chichén ItzáPhoto by Francis Nie on Unsplash

Xel Há

Xel Há is an ecotourist park and aquarium located around 122 Km South of Cancún and around 13 Km North of Tulum.

The park opens up at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. The entry ticket costs $85 in the low season and $98 in the high season, and it includes access to all activities inside the park (except for swimming with dolphins) as well as food and drinks there.

Getting there by bus from Cancún is very simple from the bus station located downtown. ADO buses depart from there and cost only $8. You only have to keep in mind that the trip will take around 2h 40m and that bus frequency is very limited, with only three buses departing from Cancún at 7:50 a.m., 8:45 a.m., and 9:45 a.m; and only two returning back at 5:40 p.m. and 6:10 p.m.

If you’re in Playa del Carmen you can either take the ADO bus from the bus station too or you can also take a colectivo that will depart from Calle 2 between 15th and 20th Avenues. You’ll easily notice them because there will be someone announcing the trip to Tulum by yelling. Colectivos will leave when they’re full (expect a very cramped up space) and they will stop at your destination by request. You’ll pay once you get off; this route price is around $2.

Getting there from Cancún by car is very simple: just go towards the South of the city and take the Fed Hwy 307 following the signs straight through Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen to arrive at the park just a few Kilometres before getting to Tulum. The same road in the same direction can be taken from Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen. If you’re coming from Tulum you can take the 307 northwards and arrive very easily to Xel Há.

If you’d rather handle your own arrival and returning times to Xel Há, the recommended option is that you hire a private transfer like the ones Mozio offers. These services include transportation of your choice from the hotel zone in Cancún to the Xel Há park with options like: a private van ride for $81; a private bus for $97; a Sedan for $107; a SUV for $107. The rides all take considerably less than buses and colectivos, getting you there in around 1h 30min.

Isla MujeresPhoto by David Emrich on Unsplash

Isla Mujeres

If you’d rather relax and enjoy the beach by the sea or stroll around a less crowded place, then you can visit this island located just 20 minutes across the water from Cancún. The name Isla Mujeres ('Women Island' in English) comes from the reaction of Spanish conquerors to the images of women that the natives of these lands left on the shore as offerings for the Mayan goddess of fertility Ixchel. The island is an ancient sacred place that has come to be now one of the most popular places to visit among tourists.

Activities are very diverse, with the possibility of visiting historical landmarks -like the ruins of the temple dedicated to Ixchel and the Hacienda Mundaca-, scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking and swimming with dolphins; getting to see the sea turtles, visiting the underwater art museum there and walking along the sea in the beautiful beaches of the island.

Getting there is possible by ferry from Puerto Juárez (if you’re on foot) and with a transborder from Punta Sam if you’re driving a car. The ferries from Puerto Juárez in Cancún depart from the Terminal de Ultramar and the round trip tickets cost $15. Crossing to Isla Mujeres will take 20 to 30 minutes. They work from the early morning (6:30 a.m.) to late in the evening (10 p.m.). Ultramar Ferry lets you book your tickets online for this route.

To get to Puerto Juárez from Cancún, take the R1 marked to “Puerto Juárez” from the hotel zone and ask the driver to indicate the stop if you’re not very sure of where to ring the stop button. Another way of approaching Puerto Juárez is to go to Cancún’s bus station (R1 bus from Cancun’s hotel zone) and then grab a taxi there. This will cost around $5)

There is an option to go to Isla Mujeres directly from the hotel zone, but the frequency of the ferries from here will be very limited. If you have spare time on your travelling schedule you can do this from Playa Tortugas, El Embarcadero or Playa Caracol ferry terminals. These terminals are all located at different points of Bv. Kukulcán. The cost of the return tickets from any of these locations to Isla Mujeres will be $21 and the services will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a late afternoon ferry going back to the hotel zone.

If you’re driving a car and want to be able to use it during your visit to Isla Mujeres, you’ll have to get to Punta Sam so you can use the transborder to get to Isla Mujeres. To do this, head downtown through Bv. Kukulcán and take a right at Bonampak Ave. After this, continue to follow the avenue to arrive at Punta Sam. Transborder will operate every 2 hours from the early morning with the last service coming back from the island at 07:45 p.m. The price of the transfer will be approximately $15 and take 45 minutes to get you to the island.

Private transfers can be used to get to Puerto Juárez from where you can take the ferry to Isla Mujeres. Mozio allows you to get there for $25 in a private van for 8 people, $32 in a sedan for 4 passengers, $43 in an SUV with a 4 people capacity and $48 for larger groups of up to 14 people.

Cenote Zacil-HaPhoto by Roberto Carlos Roman

Cenote Zacil-Ha

If you’re looking to take a break from the overcrowded areas and the constant hassling of vendors from all kinds, chances are you'll want to take a relaxing dip in the Zacil-Ha Cenote’s clear turquoise waters. This cenote is a great day trip option if you want some refreshment of the agitated movement of the urban and hotel zone in Cancún and also if you don’t want to pay too much for a day time attraction.

The waters here are not the deepest for a cenote, ranging from 5 metres deep to 10-15 metres deep in the edges. There is also a very cheap zip-line ($1), the chance to rent snorkelling equipment if you don’t have your own, a snack bar, palapas with hammocks to relax in and platforms made out of wood that surround it for walking comfortably while enjoying the view. The entry cost is around $3 with a small extra fee if you want to bring in your own food.

The closest place from where you can get to Cenote Zacil-Ha is Tulum. So, going there from Cancún has a certain degree of difficulty and extra cost. If you wish to do so anyway, the cheapest way is to take an ADO bus to Tulum from Cancún’s bus station, after 1h 30m you’ll arrive to Tulum and from you’ll have to take a cab or private transportation to the cenote (there are no public bus services going there).

If you’re going from Playa del Carmen, costs can be reduced by taking a colectivo to Tulum at the Calle 2 between 15th and 20th avenues. This will cost $2 and you’ll have to take a taxi or private transfer to the cenote afterwards.

If you’re driving a car then going to the Zacil-Ha cenote will have a minimum cost and the most direct transportation of all options. From Cancún you’ll have to leave the city towards the South and take the 307 Hwy that leads you through Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen to Tulum, then leave Tulum towards the Northwest taking route 109. After this, it’s only a couple of Km until you reach the cenote. The trip will take 1h 40m from Cancún and the roads taken are the same but with less driving distance from Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

If you choose to go comfortably from Cancún with a private transfer, Mozio will provide the service for this route at $80 for a private van ride (8 people), $107 for a sedan option (3 people) and an SUV option (4 people) and $122 for a private bus (14 people). Prices will be considerably lowered by hiring this transfers from Playa del Carmen or Tulum.

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