commercial airport serving Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
North America > Mexico > Yucatán and the South > Quintana Roo > Cancún International Airport

Cancún International Airport (CUN  IATA) is in the beach resort area of Cancun on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. It is the second busiest airport in Mexico, serving more than 30 million passengers per year (2022). Two-thirds of the flights arriving in Cancun originate internationally, with large numbers of daily flights from the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and most major European cities.

Understand edit

Connections edit

Cubana flight to Havana leaving Cancun

Once viewed as only an "origin and destination" airport, Cancún International Airport has become increasingly attractive as an airport for making onward connections, particularly for European adventure travelers.

Due to the huge availability of inexpensive transatlantic charters coupled with the airport's growing number of flights to destinations in Central America and less-served destinations in southern Mexico, connections in Cancun can often be cheaper than connecting through Mexico City. Adventurous travelers looking to explore Central America can connect in CUN to onward flights to Belize City (on TropicAir), Flores and Tikal or Guatemala City (on TAG), or San Salvador (on Avianca). As a focus city for Volaris and VivaAerobus, Cancun has departing flights to dozens of smaller cities in Mexico including Oaxaca, Tuxtla Gutierrez, or some of the Pacific coast resort areas. Cancun can also be an excellent choice for flights to destinations shunned by American carriers, such as Havana (served by Cubana) or Caracas (served by Conviasa).

The downside of connecting in Cancun is that the airport doesn't assign flights to gates until the last minute, so you should avoid tight schedules, if possible. Getting between terminals is easy now that the airport has a reliable inter-terminal shuttle with buses that leave each terminal every 10 minutes.

Tourist Tax edit

As of 2023, the state of Quintana Roo charges a tourist tax of M$224 on all foreign visitors over age 15. The tax can be paid in cash in the airport when you depart, or anytime between arrival and departure using the VISITAX online portal. (Unofficially, the tax appears to be widely ignored.)

Immigration and Customs edit

Since August 2022, the FMM migration form no longer needs to be filled out, speeding up the historically long and tedious waiting time. A shorter customs form may be required of some foreign nationals, but can be filled out on site. Foreign visitors will have their passport scanned, stamped, and will be registered electronically with a 180-day visa. Travelers from Haití, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Brazil will receive a 30-day visa.

Touts edit

No airport in the world has as many touts as Cancun. The touts are aggressive and not above lying. Why the authorities can't run these bums off the property is a mystery that has befuddled millions of arriving tourists for years. Beware of anyone who approaches you and acts the least bit suspicious or aggressive. Don't let anyone carry your luggage. Don't buy tours from anyone in the airport. Timeshare salesmen are the worst. Don't accept any offer for a free tour, free dinner, free boat ride, etc. Also beware of people saying they are your ground transportation (especially if they aren't wearing a uniform from the company you arranged transport with). Beware of people who walk up to you saying they work for ADO (the bus company). The only ADO people you should talk to are the genuine ADO employees behind the ADO ticket counter and the uniformed personnel at the designated bus loading area.

Terminals edit

Terminal 2 in Cancun International Airport
Inside Terminal 3, Cancun Airport
  • Terminal 1: - (Gates 1-7A) Chartered flights typically arrive to and depart from Terminal 1. It is also used by domestic carriers Magni and VivaAerobus.
  • Terminal 2: Includes 31 gates in two concourses: Concourse A (Gates A1-A9 in the octagonal structure) are used for international arrivals and departures, and Concourse B (Gates B1-B22 in the main building) are used for domestic flights and flights to/from Cuba. There is a bank and food outlets in the (outside security) check-in area, and several restaurants and shops inside security in the boarding area. Two lounges are available: the MERA Business Lounge and the Lounge by Global Lounge Network. An immigration/customs area is in the arrival area.
  • Terminal 3: (Gates C0-C26) - Used for international flights from Canada, USA, and Europe. Most US carriers use this terminal. It includes shops, including duty-free shops, cafes, restaurants, and a MERA Business Lounge. An immigration/customs area is in the arrival area. Advisable to bring a long-sleeved shirt or jacket as the terminal is freezing with the way the thermostat is set there.
  • Terminal 4: (Gates 53-68) - The newest of the four terminals serves domestic flights from Aeromexico and international flights to Canada, USA, and Europe. Three lounges are in Terminal 4: a MERA Business Lounge in each of the domestic and international gate areas, and an Airtransat Lounge.
  • FBO Terminal: MAYAir (to/from Cozumel & Merida); Mayan Island Air, Tropic Air (Belize City); general aviation and private executive flights. The new FBO Terminal is now next to Terminal 3.

Flights edit

Some airlines operate seasonally, usually during the winter months in the northern hemisphere, or as charters while others operate more regularly year round. Chartered flights are typically booked through a tour operator or travel agency and not through the airline directly. The above can be subject to change and always mind the information given to you by the airline with your ticket and boarding pass, as well as the information provided by the airport online and via the information boards. Gates are assigned only minutes prior to arrival.

Most major airlines in North America, South America, and Europe offer scheduled flights to Cancun. Many add seasonal flights during the winter months. Many charter airlines, particularly from Canada and Europe fly to Cancun. Airlines operating in the Cancun Airport include:

  • Mexican airlines: Aeromexico, Magni, MAYAir, VivaAerobus, Volaris
  • Canadian airlines: Air Canada, Air Transat, Canada Jetlines, Flair, Sunwing, WestJet
  • US airlines: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, United
  • Latin American airlines: Aerolineas Argentinas, Arajet, Avianca, Conviasa, Copa, Cubana, LATAM, Sky, TAG, TropicAir, Wings
  • European airlines: Air Caraibes, Air Europa, Air France, Austrian Airlines, Azur, British Airways, Condor, Edelweiss, Eurowings, Iberojet, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, Neos, TAP, TUI

Ground transportation edit

Most visitors to Cancun arrange ground transportation before arrival, or they plan to take the ADO bus to the Cancun central bus station or the Playa del Carmen central bus station (see By bus, below). Official airport taxis are very expensive and not recommended. Local taxis and Uber drivers are not permitted to pick up passengers at the airport.

Local shuttles edit

There are many companies that provide the transfer service to the hotels in Cancún or the Riviera Maya. All of them have the option of pre-booking online; some of them can be booked when arriving but this may represent another waiting time.

There are several transportation firms that provide service to and from the airport for a reasonable price as well. Beware of touts who will surround you when you come out of customs clearance.

If you proceed straight, you will find the official information center where they can help you with the ground transportation options.

If you purchased shuttle services through online reservation and you don't find your driver, either call customer service yourself, or exit the building completely and find the many shuttle drivers outside.

Do not trust anyone inside the airport that starts a conversation unsolicited, trying to "help" you (usually airport employees wait for you to come to them, and not the other way round).

The legitimate drivers (and their reps) for these shuttle companies wait for clients outside the building, outside the exit glass doors, towards their vehicles.

If you are unsure of where your shuttle is, it is okay to ask other shuttle service employees outside the airport. They will almost always be friendly, not pushy aggressive touts like inside, and will usually walk you over to the person handling reservations for your shuttle.

The way many of these shuttle services work, is that they will have a person stationed outside throughout the day meeting people as they come out of the airport, confirming they're on the list of reservations, and then matching them to the next shuttle car via their service that is available. You should confirm that the person you're speaking to has some branding on their uniform or clipboard that confirms they are with the service you booked your reservation for.

By bus edit

There are buses to downtown Cancún bus station and to Playa del Carmen bus station. The Playa del Carmen buses generally do not drop people off at Puerto Morelos and web sites saying they do are outdated. Use ground transportation shuttle services (or colectivos) to get to Puerto Morelos.

ADO is the main long distance inter-city bus carrier in the Yucatan Peninsula. They offer regular bus service from terminals 2, 3, and 4 to downtown Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Merida Altabrisa, Merida Paseo 60, Cozumel (Bus + Ferry), and Chiquila (Bus + Ferry). Buses are new, seat 44 passengers, are air conditioned and have high-definition entertainment screens. Tickets can be pre-purchased through the ADO website, but due to the possibility of flight delays or long customs lines, it may be better to buy tickets in person at the ADO ticket counters. From the airport to Cancun, ADO charges M$110 or US$6 (April 2023) and goes every 10 minutes. Departures are from 8:00 until about 23:30. From the airport to Playa del Carmen, tickets cost M$240 (Aug 2023) and buses leave every 20-30 minutes.

ADO airport buses at CUN Terminal 2
  • Terminal 2 - The "airport bus station" is in the bus parking lot outside the domestic arrivals doors at Terminal 2. For international arrivals you turn right, after coming out of the building to the ticket counter, or cross to the bus boarding area.
  • Terminal 3 - At Terminal 3 it's a right turn from outside the arrivals doors and past 'Air Margaritaville' & 'Mini-Market' building (formerly 'Coconuts Welcome Bar').
  • Terminal 4 - The bus stop is a right turn from the Mini-Market and Welcome Bar Building past the shuttle parking lot (where their reps are located) to the next parking lot (bus parking lot) beyond. There are reports of price gouging at Terminal 4, so heed the usual warnings about touts and non-official sales personnel, or you can safeguard yourself by buying the tickets through the ADO app.

The bus parking lots (at each terminal) where the ADO bus stop is at are also the same parking lots for travelers boarding a bus chartered by their tour operators to get to their hotels or to another destination. There are also free shuttle buses to other terminals outside the arrival doors. Ask for their locations.

By train edit

Signs to free Tren Maya shuttle

Cancun International Airport has the largest station on the new Tren Maya 1,500 km high-speed intercity rail network. The Cancun Airport station is located on Quintana Roo state highway 180, on the airport grounds on the opposite side of the runway from the main terminal buildings. Free shuttle buses from all four of the main airport terminals go to the train station. In the terminals, follow signs for "Ground Transportation". Shuttles board in the same area as ADO buses and hotel shuttle services, just look for the signs with a Tren Maya logo and the words "Transporte gratuito".

The train station is big with 9 platforms, but is easily navigated. As of December 2023, only the section heading west (toward Merida, Campeche, and Palenque) is complete. The section heading south toward Tulum and Chetumal is expected to open in February 2024. Tickets can be purchased at ticket counters in the train station or through the official Tren Maya web site. A ticket from Cancun to Palenque costs M$1199 for local residents (the 5 states of the Yucatan), M$2123 for Mexican citizens, or M$2850 for foreign travelers.

Tren Maya, offers high-speed rail transit throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, including several Mayan archaeological sites.

All rail cars have air conditioning, reclining seats, electric sockets, and available entertainment services. Three classes of train are available:

  • Xiinbal for basic passenger service,
  • Janal with different seating configurations and dining cars serving regional food and drinks, and
  • P’atal for long-distance travel (such as Cancun to Palenque) with sleeping cabins

Get around edit

An inter-terminal shuttle bus service operates between terminals 1, 2, 3, and 4. It does not go to the FBO terminal. Look for the designated shuttle bus stop outside the arrivals doors. Buses operate throughout the day and depart each terminal every 10 minutes.

Wait edit

Inside a Mera Lounge at Cancun Airport

Lounges edit

There are no VIP lounges in Terminal 1.

There are three VIP lounges in Terminal 2, all inside security:

  • Aeromexico Salon Premier - available to Aeromexico first-class passengers and very frequent fliers: 7am-9pm
  • Mera Business Lounge - available for up to 3 hours for a US$35 fee, massage chairs, food, drink, charging stations, WiFi: 7am-9pm
  • The Lounge by Global Lounge Network - available to members of the Priority Pass network: 6am-last departure

There are two VIP lounges in Terminal 3:

  • Mera Business Lounge (inside security) - available for up to 3 hours for a US$35 fee, massage chairs, food, drink, charging stations, WiFi: 11am-6pm
  • The Lounge (outside security) - available to members of the Priority Pass network: open 24 hours

There are three VIP lounges in Terminal 4, all inside security:

  • Mera Business Lounge (national departures) - available for up to 3 hours for a US$35 fee, massage chairs, food, drink, charging stations, WiFi: 6am-10pm
  • Mera Business Lounge (international departures) - available for up to 3 hours for a US$35 fee, massage chairs, food, drink, charging stations, WiFi: 6am-10pm
  • The Lounge (Air Transat) - available to select Air Transat passengers: open 24 hours

Departing from Cancun edit

Beware of leaving Mexico with enough money. The Mexican Government charges a travel tax of around M$900 (US$45) to leave the country from the airport. Most major air carriers may already have the travel tax charged to the price of the ticket, though it is highly recommended that travelers check this before leaving to/from Cancún. The current collective travel experience (from TripAdvisor) shows that almost all airlines flying from the US have already included this tax in their airfare, so there is no need to pay again when leaving Cancún. It seems that only charter flights from the UK do not include this tax and UK travelers may need to pay upon leaving. At terminal 4, there is no one who could even collect the tax - there is no government/police passport control, only exit passport control is done by the airline and airport security.

Some recources mention departure tax of USD 11 which was supposedly introduced by the state of Quiatana Roo upon all foreign travelers leaving the state through the airport. This tax can be paid on governmental website and various scam websites which charge an extra fee aside from the tax itself, or should be payable in cash at the airport. However, as of February 2022, there is no one collecting the money at the airport or checking the QR codes which should be obtained when paying the tax online. There are several people standing in the departure hall of the airport and holding signs saying the tax should be paid, but these people are not enforcing the payment, they are not even actively approaching people leaving the state. It is unclear if this a real tax or some complex scam; in either case, it makes no sense to pay the tax only, if someone starts collecting it, just pay it in cash.

Also beware of going through security too early. Food and drink prices almost double (US$4 for 1/2 litre of water) and you can't easily go back out. The Duty free shop at Terminal 4 is more expensive than supermarkets in Mexico, so you better buy your Tequila before going through security. There is a free Wifi at Terminal 4. Terminal 1 is due to its mostly domestic connections more reasonably priced.

Eat and drink edit

Bubba Gump restaurant in the Cancun Airport

There are restaurants, fast food counters, and small shops in all four terminals. Most are ordinary US chains serving the same bland, greasy, overpriced food you get back home. There are no distinctively local food offerings in the airport, so eating in Cancun before heading to the airport is a good strategy.

Restaurants edit

Sit-down restaurants are available in all terminals and generally serve from 6am to midnight. Restaurants include:

Terminal 2:

  • Gwacamole Grill (outside security area)
  • TGI Fridays
  • Kahlua Cafe

Terminal 3:

  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • Guy Fieri's American Kitchen
  • Gwacamole Grill
  • Berryhill
  • Peking Express

Terminal 4:

  • Johnny Rockets
  • Maison Kaiser
  • Sushi Tequila

Fast food such as Burger King, Dominos Pizza and Starbucks are available in most terminals, particularly in the food courts in Terminals 2 and 3. There are also several Grab N Go stands selling snacks, sodas, gum and candy.

Bars edit

Alcoholic drinks are available in the VIP lounges, in several of the restaurants, and in a couple bars.

Terminal 2:

  • Corona Beach Bar
  • Jose Cuervo

Terminal 3:

  • Jimmy Buffet's AirMargaritaville

Buy edit

Terminals 2, 3, and 4 have shopping arcades with lots of stores ready to sell you things you don't really need at prices far higher than you'd pay back home. Popular U.S. and European brands can be found including stores for Victoria’s Secret, Harley Davidson, Ray Ban, and Hugo Boss. Some of the more distinctive stores in the airport include:

  • Los 5 Soles - Mexican handcrafts, jewelry, and quality souvenirs
  • Kipling - handbags and luggage (just in case you need some more bags to lug around)
  • ¡Ay Güey! - contemporary design Mexican memorabilia
  • Sunglass Hut - it might be better to stop here when your flight arrives rather than when departing...just sayin'
  • Pineda Covalin - clothing and accessories
  • Rogers Boots - boots, shoes, belts and accessories

Duty-free shops are in Terminals 2, 3, and 4. They sell alcohol, perfumes, jewelry and other items.

ATMs can be found in all terminals. Santander ATMs tend to have lower withdrawal fees than competitors.

Connect edit

The Cancun area has reliable 5G service. Free Wi-Fi is available in the airport, without time limits.

Cope edit

Lost and found edit

If you lose something while in the airport, or want to turn in a found item, contact the airport's security office. That does not include lost luggage, which is handled by your airline. Questions about items that are lost and found within the airport can be referred to Tel: +52 998 848 7200 ext 21253, or Email:

Sleep edit

The 1 Hilton Garden Inn Cancun Airport is on the airport grounds, near Terminals 2 and 3, a free shuttle is available from all terminals. Other hotels within 4 km of the airport include 2 Courtyard by Marriott Cancun Airport and 3 Fairfield Inn & Suites Cancun Airport. Downtown Cancun hotels are more reasonably priced than those near the airport and can best be reached using the ADO bus to the Cancun bus station, then take a taxi or Uber to the hotel. The downtown Cancun hotels are good choices if you want an affordable room for the night and don't care about beach access and resort amenities.

If you end up having to sleep in the airport, you can get a shower or buy refreshments 24 hours a day at The Lounge In Partnership With Air Transat in Terminal 4 (near Gate 54).

Nearby edit

This huge airport travel guide to Cancún International Airport is a usable article. It has information on flights and ground transportation as well as some complete entries for food and beverage options at the airport. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.