Cancun has had an unbelievable year in tourism, with a record-breaking high season earlier in the year, and the visitor influx has barely slowed down, even during the slower season. Now, as the next busy season begins, Cancun International Airport is seeing more than 600 operations a day. As a result of the huge influx of tourists, travelers should plan to leave early for the airport, as traffic jams are plaguing travelers going to the airport to return home.
In the past, even during the busiest times, Cancun airport would operate around 500 – 600 flights every day, but in recent days that number has surpassed the 600 mark. This comes as the popular tourist destination is just beginning to enter its next busy season, as American and Canadian travelers in the north begin to escape cold winter temperatures. The Riviera Maya, and more specifically Cancun, are known for being extremely popular among tourists from the U.S. and Canada.
The number one market in Cancun and the Riviera Maya region is the United States, which makes up more than 70 percent of travelers searching Mexico on Expedia in 2022. Furthermore, nearly 10 million Americans have visited Mexico so far this year, and around 4 million of those travelers flew into Cancun International Airport. The airport serves not only Cancun but much of the Riviera Maya area, and it is the busiest airport in the Mexican Caribbean region.
This past Saturday was another busy day at Cancun International Airport, maybe even one for the record books, as days as busy as it was are not common during the “off-season.” In total, there were 623 arriving and departing flights, according to the Southeast Airport Group, or ASUR. Of those flights, 207 were international arrivals, and 219 were departures destined for locations outside of the country.
Earlier in the year, tourists visiting Cancun were faced with ridiculously long travel times when going to the airport due to work being conducted on the busy Colosio Boulevard. At the time, Tourism officials were suggesting leaving the hotel as much as five hours before flight time to get to the airport in time. Then in September, once the work was underway and alternate routes were established, and drivers got used to them, drivers and officials were reporting that travel times were reduced to around 45 minutes.
Now, for different reasons, involving the massive amount of visitors traveling to the Mexican Caribbean right now, the time it takes to get to the airport is increasing again. Visitors traveling both to and from the airport are dealing with delays due to traffic jams, but it is those departing from Cancun airport that suffers the biggest inconvenience, as they risk missing their flights. For this reason, tourists heading back home should leave with plenty of time to get to the airport and get checked in before departure time.
International tourists are required to go through immigration before being allowed to make their way to their departure gate. Although the process has been made easier, now that travelers from the U.S. and various other countries no longer have to present a tourist card, the lines can still be long. If this is the case, added to the longer travel times, tourists who do not give themselves plenty of time run the risk of getting to the gate too late.
As Cancun and the rest of the Mexican Caribbean continues to grow in popularity, you can expect Cancun airport to stay busy, so it’s important to be prepared. Missing a flight could mean waiting days for another one, and nobody wants to end a vacation like that.
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