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Is It Safe To Take An Uber In Cancun?

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It was recently announced that after a lengthy legal ordeal, Uber has finally become officially legal as a private ridesharing service in the state of Quintana Roo. If you’re one of the millions of tourists who’ve been to Cancun in the past few years, you’ll know that the familiar app operated in a legal gray area. 

White Jeep Wrangler on the street on Isla Mujeres near Cancun, Mexico.

What’s more is that local taxi drivers have been pushing for years against Uber coming into Quintana Roo, saying that Uber drivers should have to follow the same guidelines as taxi drivers are required to do under the state mobility law. And many taxi drivers still agree on this and are pushing back against Uber drivers being able to operate wherever they want in Cancun and the rest of the state.

So, this month’s ruling in Uber’s favor does not mean that it will be as simple as clicking a few buttons to call your Uber from your Cancun hotel or airport. The reality is that taxis have dominated Cancun and the Riviera Maya for years now. And with Cancun being such a massively popular travel destination, the stakes are high.

Taxi Vehicles Sitting in the Taxi Waiting Area in Cancun Hotel Zone.

As a result, tensions have been rising between taxi drivers, Uber drivers, and tourists are sometimes caught in between. Such a big change certainly does bring up a lot of questions, namely: Is it safe to take an Uber in Cancun? We break it down for you below

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Cancun Hotel zone boulevard with cars driving down the road

Travelers Can’t Simply Call An Uber From The Airport Or Their Hotel

Tourists to Cancun should definitely note that while Uber is technically available in Cancun, don’t expect that you’ll be able to rely on the app once you land and catch an Uber to pick you up from the airport like you would in Miami, New York, or LA.

In this sense, the arrival process for travelers to Cancun hasn’t changed much because Uber drivers are still unlikely to be able to come into the airport and operate.

cancun airport sign

The safest way to get to your destination from the Cancun Airport is still to pre-book your transportation and make sure your licensed driver is there to pick you up once you arrive to take you to your hotel. If you’re headed to Playa del Carmen or Tulum from the airport, you can still pre-book a taxi/minivan or take the ADO bus to your destination.

close up of hand holding a phon with the Uber app open. steering wheel in background.

The same goes for your hotel. We reported last week that Uber is currently not able to operate in the busy Cancun Hotel Zone safely, which means that trying to book an Uber from your accommodation could be very risky. Earlier this month, a taxi driver was caught attacking an Uber driver who was transporting tourists from the Hotel Zone.

Your hotel will warn you against booking an Uber, especially so close to the hotel property, so it’s best to follow their guidance if you want to stay as safe as possible.

Taxis parked outside on main street in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Tensions Between Taxi Drivers And Uber Drivers Continue

The incident of a taxi driver being aggressive with an Uber driver in Cancun wasn’t a singular event, so travelers in the region should definitely be aware of the tensions that still exist between drivers in order to avoid being caught in the middle of any potential disputes.

The thought of Uber operating everywhere in the region could mean cheaper rides for tourists, as taxi fees from the airport and from the Hotel Zone have steadily gone up (especially over the past few years). The current rate from the airport to the Hotel Zone can be as high as $60 USD one-way, and there’s no update thus far on how much an Uber ride would cost when, or if, the ridesharing app begins operations in the major tourist zones of Cancun.

SUV driving on the road with palms on a sunny day near Cancun, Mexico.

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