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CUN / Cancun International Airport master thread - what you need to know

Old Feb 26, 2013, 9:19 am
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Bienvenido to the Cancn International Airport / CUN master thread. Please feel free to add observations and suggestions, naturalmente. And you can also PM the original poster as a way to call attention to something in the original post that needs modification or change. Gracias!

Link to ASUR official Cancn International website in English (mostly useless, lists arriving and departing flights)

Link to fake Cancn International Airport website (useless and grossly outdated)

See post #1 in this thread for more extensive information.

Terminals "Terminal 1 is used by some low-cost and charter domestic airlines; Terminal 2 is used by all of the scheduled domestic airlines and some international flights; and the new Terminal 3 handles primarily international operations of airlines from North America and Europe." (Wikipedia)

Terminal 1: Charter flights, and Magnicharters, TAR and VivaAerobus.

Terminal 2: Mostly domestic flights, some international arrivals from USA/Europe. Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromxico, Aerotucn, Air Transat, Avianca group, Copa, Cubana, Finnair, Interjet, LatAm, Southwest, Tui group, Volaris,

Terminal 3: The primary arrival terminal for interational flights from USA and Canada. air berlin, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, Air Europa, Air France, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Frontier, Interjet, JetBlue, LOT, Lufthansa, Spirit, Sun Country, United, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, WestJet.

Terminal 4: The newest terminal, some flights from United States, Canada, Europe, and South America. AirEuropa, Airfrance, Condor, edelweiss, Eurowings, Frontier, Icelandair, Interjet, Lufthansa, Southwest, Sun Country, Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic, Westjet
Some may be seasonal, see others at Wikipedia (link)


Most recommend arranging transport in advance; see the thread in limos, taxis, transfers here. The airport authorized taxis are charitably described by some as a "taxi mafia", and unless you know how to deal with this ilk avoid them. Uber/Lyft is not allowed to pickup at the airport, although they can dropoff.

N.B. Members are reporting lengthy delays checking in (high demand times suggest 2.5-3.0 hours prior to departure) and delays on arrival for immigration and customs, particularly during high traffic times / high season. This can vary according to demand - spring break, Christmas plan for long lines.

Travelers from the USA no longer need to complete an FMM form on arrival, just the passport and flight# is enough to get through immigration.
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CUN / Cancun International Airport master thread - what you need to know

Old Apr 16, 2009, 7:46 am
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Arrow CUN / Cancun International Airport master thread - what you need to know

BELOW: Airport information, Departures, Arrivals, etc. sections

Note: For requirements for visiting Mexico as a tourist ("tourist card", visa etc.) please see Requirements for visiting Mexico as a tourist ("tourist card", visa etc.)

Cancn International Airport
Carretera Cancn-Chetumal KM.22 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mxico 75220
Phone: +52 998 848 7200
Official (ASUR) website
Note: Googling may present spurious CUN websites offering transport and other services; cancun-airport net and com are NOT official sites!

Cancn airport is 13 mi / 20 km southwest of Cancn city, and less than that to the Zona Hotelera, the hotel zone east and south of the city. It has three terminals: Terminal 1 (yellow on map below) is the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) for nonscheduled flights, Terminal 2 (red on map below, domestic and some international / charters- see which airlines serve T2 here), and Terminal 3 (orange map below - most scheduled international; see which airlines serve T3 here) are the more usual international and domestic terminals.

The terminals are connected by a shuttle bus with no fixed schedule; the shuttle departs when it fills up.

CUN has ~10 million passenger movements a year and is the second most important hub after Mexico City. As most airports, it can get crowded during an incoming flight arrivals node. You can connect at CUN for the Caribbean, the Americas and even Cuba.

Cancn and vicinity map (airport lower left)
(Primary hotel zone between Club Med and Convention Center)

Overall CUN airport map

CUN Terminal 2 map

CUN Terminal 2 Second Floor map

CUN Terminal 3 map

ARRIVALS: When you checked in or on the aircraft, you were given two forms: FMM ("Tourist Card" and the Mexican Customs form; it's wise to fill these out completely prior to arrival. (If you did not receive them, you can get these prior to immigration and fill them out.)

As you depart the aircraft, you will follow the corridors and escalators to MIGRACION (immigration) queue, where the officers at the kiosks will check your passport and immigration document (FMM). Normally, they will give you 180 days (FMM is a multiple entry permit), but if they do not and you are staying past the time on your FMM, you will have to get an extension later - inconvenient at best. The officer will give you back a half of the FMM "Tourist Card" - you are required to have this with you, but more importantly, you will be asked for it on departure - failure to present it will result in a fine and a hassle getting a new exit document.

OK, you are in - go to the carousels and retrieve your baggage, proceed into the ADUANA (Customs) queues. Here you will approach the kiosks and present the officer your Customs / Aduana form, and if you have nothing to declare will be invited to press a large button on what looks like a miniature traffic light / robot. If the resultant light is green you are good to proceed (you may be asked to pass your baggage through an x-ray machine still). If you have items to declare or the light is red, you will be directed to a secondary inspection area for further inspection.

Now you will exit the customs hall into the arrivals area - many people milling about, crowded and little organization. This is a time to be careful! If you are being met, you may see someone with a handmade sign with your last name (or a reasonable approximation) on it, but they are just as likely to be waiting for you immediately outside the terminal.

As well, you will encounter porters and would-be porters, even though you may only be a few yards from where you want to go (and most will expect tips, a very few may try to hustle your bags form you). You may also encounter taxi and shuttle touts (ignore them!) and people offering you a variety of freebies - these are mostly timeshare sharks, and you want to avoid them (one American top FBI fugitive condo shark was recently caught by law enforcement here; he was in Mexico illegally touting condos). The only people I pay attention to are the occasionally encountered women dressed in Yucateca mestiza traditional dress handing out plastic bags with maps, brochures and helpful discount coupons.

It is against the law for anyone to approach
you or to solicit a fare from you. Cancun Airport
works closely with the Mexican Transportation
Authority, and the local Police to eliminate
any illegal activity.

At this point you may want to take brochures with maps and coupons from stands, and you may wish to use the cash machines / ATMs to your left inside the building to get some Mexican pesos. Outside, more crowds of people, official taxis, official shuttle buses and buses to the Costa Maya, and maybe your pre-arranged private transfer if you have arranged it. (We use www.usa-transfers.com paying and arranging it with the Internet in advance.) Keep on reading.

MEETING POINTS: Arrivals gates are limited, and inside the arrivals areas there are some shops and cash machines / ATMs, but no formal place to actually meet anyone inside. However, recently a restaurant named "Meeting Pooint" has been established outside the Terminals 2 and 3 arrivals gate.

LEFT LUGGAGE: The CUN airport site says there are lockers available for $100 peros per 24 hours, but they are smal llockers unsuitable for larger pieces of baggage.

TAXIS: Irreverent residents of Cancn and Cozumel speak of the "taxi mafia" - the service is controlled and quite expensive. Nonetheless, if you use a taxi the price is per trip and not per person, taxis can hold 3 - 4 with some baggage, and ou must purchase tickets at the taxi kiosk first. There are often queues, and if you do not have your ticket you will not be allowed to board a taxi (DO NOT not take pirate or informal taxis cruising outside the terminal area or flogged by touts in arrivals; they are not safe.)

SHARED SHUTTLES: You can also purchase a ticket for a shared shuttle at a lower price. These air conditioned vans will make no more than five stops, and try to put you on a shuttle headed to a general area (zona hotelera, north of town, Playa del Carmen, etc.)

BUSES: Buses are scheduled every half hour after 10:30 am to Playa del Carmen (1 hr) and the Cancn main bus terminal (to Chichn Itz, Mrida, etc.) You can purchase your ticket in the arrivals hall, and proceed outside to look for the big red "ADO" bus. (See the Mexico Bus sticky here for more about Mexican buses, mostly quite comfortable and reliable). For Isla Mujeres, take a taxi or van to the Puerto Morelos Ultramar ferry terminal ("terminal del transborador Utramar a Isla Mujeres").

PRIVATE TRANSFERS and LUXURY TRANSPORT: The easiest way to travel to your hotel or the Ultramar ferry is by prepaid, pre-arranged van with air conditioning, cold water and knowledgeable driver. I have used www.usa-transfers.com with some success, both to and from the airport - in 2012, they were relable and waiting for me at CUN and at the Puerto Morelos ferry terminal. Others have used http://cancunvalet.com and www.bestday.com, given them high ratings; http://www.cancunmx.com offers transfers to Cancn, Riviera Maya and even to Chichn Itz and Mrida, and tours.

AUTO RENTALS: Yes, you can do it. But be aware of some crucial issues - you MUST have Mexican insurance, you MUST check the car out scrupulously (tale photos with your camera or mobile phone) and make sure all mirrors, jack, etc. are in the car before you leave. It helps to drive slow, look out for obstructions and "sleeping policemen" (TOPES) to slow people down that may be unmarked. For more information, see Mexico auto insurance - a primer and drive defensively and with great care.

DEPARTURES: DO arrive three hours prior to departure for international and two hours for domestic flights. Really! T-2 hs 134 check-in counters, T-3 has 34. CUN can get very crowded, particularly during peak hours and during high season, long weekends and holidays (be aware Mexican holidays are plentiful and CUN is a preferred place for Mexico City residents ("Chilangos" to vacation). That may also be the very times senior staff are on holiday themselves! Arrive at the airport early for check-in, immigration (don't forget to turn in the half of your "Tourist Card' Form FMM you kept when you were given it back on arrival - if you do not have it allow even more time and ~$70 fine), lengthy security queues and random secondary inspection on US-bound flights as you board. I won't call it a zoo, because zoos are usually better organized.

Departures information can be seen here.

Terminal 2 is mostly domestic and charter; Terminal 3 serves mostly international flights (Terminal 1 is FBO).

LOUNGES: FlyerTalk thread: CUN / Cancun International Airport Lounges - info and reviews

● MERA Vip Lounges / Business Lounge (independent and unaffiliated with any airline) in Terminals 2 and 3
$27 per person admittance, credit cards accepted; Priority Pass and Diners Club card honored for admittance
Opening Hours: 08:00 - 21:00 daily.
Children under 12 years are admitted free and must be accompanied by an adult.
● Location: Terminal 3 Airside - MERA Lounge - after Security, exit the Duty Free Shop and turn right towards the 'Bubba Gump' restaurant. Turn right to the end of the hall where a sign indicates the Lounge entrance. The Lounge is only accessible to passengers departing on international flights.

Terminal 2 Airside - MERA Lounge - after Security, take the escalators on the right hand side towards Gate A. The Lounge is located behind the escalators.
Additional Information: Telephone access, fax and conference facilities are all subject to payment.
Lounge Facilities:
  • Air Conditioning
  • Conference Facilities Available
  • Screens with flight and boarding info
  • TV Screens with news and sports channels
  • Ulimited Internet Access
  • WiFi Available
  • Local Telephone calls
  • FAX
  • Open Bar
  • Coffees, tea, soft drinks and juices
  • Canapes
  • Magazines and Newspapers
  • Disabled Access
  • Kids area
  • Children under 12 enter free
  • Massage chairs
  • Bathrooms
Terminal 2 Aeromxico Saln Premier for their Business passengers, elites and SkyTeam eligible passengers:
Saln Premier Cancn
Located airside on the second floor of Terminal 2
Hours: 05:00 - 02:00 hrs

DUTY FREE SHOPPING: Duty Free shops are available airside for departing passengers only; there is no Duty Free shopping for arriving passengers.

LOST AND FOUND: For all luggage related issues or items left on an aircraft, contact the airline you flew in on. For items lost and found in the airport area, contact the Security Office, open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily only. They can be called at +52 998 848 7200, but you may not easily find someone who speaks other than Castilian Spanish. Items must be claimed in person, and the officers will ask questions in an attempt to identify the legitimate owner.

Last edited by JDiver; Dec 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm Reason: working / update (26 Dec 2013)
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Old Apr 27, 2009, 8:36 am
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Taxi from CUN to Cancun Hotel Zone?

I don't remember having this problem the last time I was in Cancun. We landed around 9pm from IAH and did like most savvy travellers and headed to the regular taxi line. We were given a price of $60 USD which we thought was way too high considering it is just a few minutes to the hotel zone. We went back in and kept getting the same answer. Finally we decided it was worth it to ask one of the gypsy cabs how much and he offered us the prices of 300 pesos which sounded much more reasonable. The "official" taxi line driver kept following us and finally relented and let us take the official for only 300. How do we avoid this in the future? I honestly never saw another taxi stand any where near the arrivals area. I don't want to take a shared shuttle service.
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Old Apr 28, 2009, 12:48 pm
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Can you take a bus for like a buck to the hotel zone? Maybe that was from hotel to hotel?
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Old Apr 30, 2009, 4:36 am
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I've been quoted 500 Pesos as well, but a taxi from the Hotel Zone to the airport is around 250, so 300 sounds fairly reasonable.

The bus to Cancun goes to the main bus terminal there. From there it's still another 30 minutes to most of the hotels in the Hotel Zone. And I am not sure whether it still runs at 9pm. It's really cheap though.
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Old Apr 30, 2009, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by cathaana
I've been quoted 500 Pesos as well, but a taxi from the Hotel Zone to the airport is around 250, so 300 sounds fairly reasonable.

The bus to Cancun goes to the main bus terminal there. From there it's still another 30 minutes to most of the hotels in the Hotel Zone. And I am not sure whether it still runs at 9pm. It's really cheap though.
My problem wasn't with the taxi FROM the hotel zone, my problem was when arriving at CUN, the only taxi available was from "Gray Line" which we never saw other than at the airport. The taxis from the hotel were all quite reasonable.

I am not interested in taking a bus, I am trying to find out how to get a "regular" taxi from CUN.
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Old Apr 30, 2009, 8:02 am
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The taxi service from the airport is a ripoff really. I always use best day shuttle service from the airport and just take a taxi back to the airport from the hotel as the price is much less for a ride from the hotel to the airport. I pay about $18 for the two of us one way from the airport and about $25 for the return by taxi.
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Old May 1, 2009, 2:49 pm
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I'm not sure how many people were in your party but your price sounds like what we paid for 4 for a taxi to the hotel zone on our last trip. The taxi situation at CUN is unlike most airports and the rate is a ridiculous ripoff but it's SOP at CUN and not unusual at all. They also seem to inflate the price if you say that you need a ride to the JW, Ritz Carlton, etc.

You may have noticed, if you've been to Mexico before, that the bargains that used to be found in Cancun are no longer. Silver prices and booze prices were a shock on this last trip. I came home with only one $40 pendant and no booze whatsoever. It was cheaper at home.
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Old May 6, 2009, 4:43 pm
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In my experience the Cancun taxi drivers are the most rapacious in the entire country. It's a complete rip-off at the airport. You'll pay an inflated price going back too, but usually 200 to 300 pesos.

I take the bus out of principle. It does not go to the bus station first. It goes down the hotel strip and then to the station. So if you are staying at the far (north) end it can take a while, especially adding in the wait for it to depart, but it's comfortable and you can use the difference for a nice meal for two.
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Old May 13, 2009, 11:16 am
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And you havent seen what happens at Los Cabos SJD Airport with taxis. The thing is, in Mexico, Airports are considered Federal Zone, so regular city taxis arent aloud to take people from the airport, just to bring them from the city. Because of that, taxi lines have to get a permit to work at the airport, sometimes turning them into monopolies (that use to happen at MEX until this past year, when the government gave permits to a second and third taxi companies, bringing fares down). So they usually charge whatever they want or skyroquet fees.

My advice would be to take a registered Van or Shuttle Service or use the ADO. I use to fly a lot to CUN and whenever staying at the Zone, took the ADO bus to the ADO terminal and then switched to the regular bus and into the Hilton, Fiesta Americana or Westing hotels.
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Old May 14, 2009, 8:35 am
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Originally Posted by globetrots
I take the bus out of principle.
I'm renting a car out of principal. Daily rates are cheap in CUN, and even if they make me buy insurance, I still come out ahead than I would if I took cabs both ways. Not to mention I now have the flexibility to get around on my own if I choose...
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Old May 18, 2009, 11:55 am
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Taxi from CUN to Hotel Zone

Most airports in Mexico have a kiosk or booth to purchase the cab ride, and the price is calculated based on your destination. These kiosks are sometimes difficult to find, as you have to make your way through the multitude of tour operators selling you excursions.

We went to CUN last Summer, and paid 300 MXN for the taxi to and from the airport. Off-subject, we went to CZM earlier this year, and paid $8 per person from the airport to the hotel. What a different world, and they are only miles apart!
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Old May 20, 2009, 5:03 pm
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The cheapest way to get from CUN Terminal 3 to the Zona:
  1. Once out of the terminal, head for the free shuttle van to Terminal 2.
  2. Once at Terminal 2, hang a left to the ADO bus to Cancn Centro. Cost: 40 pesos.
  3. Once in Centro, catch the R1 bus to the Zona. Cost: 7 pesos.
  4. If you know where your hotel is, signal the bus driver and hoof it from the road to the cool and trendy lobby to check in.

Total cost at today's exchange rate: US $3.64. If you're traveling light (and why not, all you need are flipflops, shorts and T-shirts) it's the easiest and cheapest way to start your vacation.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 3:29 pm
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CUN Processing Time

What's the latest on time to get to the gate from check in at CUN if going back to the US?
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 9:27 pm
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It all depends on what airline are you flying, as CUN has two different terminals. Jet Blue departs from T2 and the US flag carriers from the new T3. On both, it usually takes me 10 minutes to go through security and get to my gate, even if the gate is far far away, like the A gates at T2. But also, I have dual citizenchips, so for me, no stamp needed when leaving the country.
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Old Mar 15, 2010, 9:03 am
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Factor in lots of time to check in, the lines out front can be horrendous.
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