A Few Travel Tips For Visiting Cancun Mexico
Having just returned from a wonderful vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, I thought I would share just a couple of helpful tips I discovered during our stay in this area of the Country.
It’s always helpful to read about what others recommend when visiting a new country, especially for the first time. Here are a few things I discovered during our stay in Akumal.
Arrival At Cancun International Airport
Cancun Travel Tips #1
This was our second visit to this region of Mexico, so I was aware of the chaos that can take place upon arrival into the Cancun Airport (CUN). The arrivals area can be somewhat overwhelming and so much so when more than one flight has arrived around the same time. The area is quite small and can be quite congested and noisy at times.
As soon as you retrieve your luggage from the carousel, you then have to make your way to customs, where an agent will take half of your visitor card from you that you completed on your flight.
Airport Customs – Red Light Or Green Light
Cancun Travel Tips #2
If you happen to be traveling with someone that has a lucky horseshoe then this is where that person comes in handy! At this point you press a button beside the Customs agent and if you get a green light showing, you simply make your way outside and you are done.
For unlucky people like myself and you get a Red Light, then you have to head to another counter and have your bags searched. Luckily on this trip, there was only one flight and we were able to retrieve our bags first, so even though our bags were searched, it only took a matter of a couple of minutes.
If it is busy and you get a Red Light, just relax and leave home prepared for this to happen. Make it is easy for the agent to open your luggage and do a simple search.
Stay calm and be polite, after all, you are here for a vacation and it’s just a formality that we all have to deal with. The agent that searched our bags was very polite and performed his search quickly and with care.
According to Mexican authorities, there are plans to eliminate this process, in order to speed things up for those travelers arriving into Mexico. Our last visit to Tulum a few seasons ago, they still had this in operation, but the lights were updated. 🙂
Cancun Travel Tips #3
Today, especially for us Canadians traveling to Mexico, you are far better off exchanging your money and using Mexican Pesos during your stay. Since our last visit several years ago, surprisingly Canadian dollars are accepted by many large businesses.
For example, we chose to use a private shuttle van from the airport to our hotel in Tulum and they gladly accepted Canadian dollars as payment. Of course, American currency has always been widely used and accepted everywhere in most major tourist destinations in Mexico for years.
Just be aware of the current exchange rate before leaving home so you have an idea what you are been charged if using your home currency.
ATM Bank Machines In Cancun
Cancun Travel Tips #4
Once you leave the Customs area of the airport, there are 2 Bank ATM machines right outside the doors. One machine is for Mexican Pesos and the other is for USD currency. Beside the machines there is an information booth and the attendant will be happy to assist you if needed.
This was the first ATM I used during our stay with no trouble at all. Just make sure the ATM’s are Bank machines whenever possible, to avoid any excess fees when using them. Most of the major resort hotels will also exchange your home currency for you at very reasonable exchange rates as well.
Both these options are far better than exchanging your money for Mexican Pesos at your home bank or currency exchange booths at the airports.
Hang On to Your Luggage At The Airport
Cancun Travel Tips #5
After leaving Customs, you will be hounded by people of all kinds wanting your bags, time share representatives, taxi drivers and used car salesman! Just be polite and say “No Gracias” and make your way to your prearranged shuttle service representative who will be holding up a sign for you.
Things are busy, but airport representatives are easy to spot and will direct you accordingly.
Airport – Hotel Transfer Service
Cancun Travel Tips #6
Taxis are well marked and easy to recognize. Drivers are clean, polite and courteous and are regulated. Always make sure you ask what the appropriate fare is to your destination before proceeding.
Fares are pretty much set to and from the airport, it’s only when taking a taxi in other areas or at night that you need to use caution as not to be cheated by the driver.
If you feel that the fare is too high, tell the driver and ask to see his official tariff sheet. For the most part, drivers are honest and don’t be afraid to bargain with them as well. After all, you are in Mexico and that’s part of the adventure!
Bring Your Own Snorkel Equipment
Cancun Travel Tips #7
If you are planning to do a lot of snorkeling, especially in the Akumal and Tulum area, then I strongly recommend packing your own set of mask, snorkel and fins.
You will not be disappointed, this part of Mexico is home to the world’s second largest reef and the marine life is amazing!
A water proof camera is also great to have for those underwater photos!
Bring a small bottle of liquid dish or laundry soap to rub inside your mask to keep it clear when in the water. Works like magic preventing your mask from fogging up!
Pack Plenty Of Sunscreen
Cancun Travel Tips #8
Be sure to pack lots of good quality sunscreen. The sun is hot and you will burn very quick if unprotected. If you forget to pack your own or run out during your stay, you can easily expect to pay up to $20usd for a small bottle of name brand sunscreen at the local shops in the area.
Basic Travel Necessities
Cancun Travel Tips #8
We always leave home prepared with a small first aid kit and a few other non -prescription travel health products in case of unexpected minor illnesses that may arise.
Items such as …
|Bug and after bite lotion|
|Polysporin for cuts and abrasions|
All Inclusive Resorts
Cancun Travel Tips #9
We always make sure to have small bills handy either in usd currency or Mexican pesos to use as tips for bartenders, waiters and house cleaning staff. These people work very long hard hours making minimal amounts of money.
A small gratuity gesture ever so often goes a long way in gratitude and they will remember you for this during your stay.
Just a few simple suggestions and Cancun Travel Tips that I found useful during our recent visit to this region that I thought might help you out on your next vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
There is a strong travel advisory for the Yucatan Peninsula area do to heavy Mexican Drug Cartel violence in this area. It is strongly advised to stay within the tourist hotel zone at all times and not to wander off on your own in the non tourist areas, especially in the evening hours.
Update November 2020:
Quintana Roo’s State Governor, Carlos Joaquín González announced that the hotspots of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen have officially reopened for tourism. It is advised to check with your local professional travel agency for more complete up to date details on openings.
Below, I’ve have listed Visit Cancun Official Tourism Website. This website offers everything you need to know for planning a vacation to this beautiful part of Mexico!
Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂
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