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Mandatory Cancun Tourist Fee Under Fire For Causing Travelers Problems At The Airport

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At a recent high-level meeting that included the governor of Quintana Roo (the state home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, etc.) and the Hotel Council of the Mexican Caribbean raised a serious concern from the destination’s tourism providers.

The vice president of the Hotel Council of the Mexican Caribbean made the case that the current VisiTax (a tourist fee charged to Cancun travelers) is unfair and shouldn’t still be in effect.

For many travelers, the VisiTax is seen as an almost mythical extra charge, which is rarely properly explained.

Here is an explanation of what the VisiTax is, and the most important details such as; What happens if a traveler doesn’t pay?

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A Pandemic Bi-Product

The VisiTax is a new concept, first introduced in 2021 under the argument that the pandemic had put the destination’s financial security in serious doubt.

But now, 2 years later and with the area completely recovered from the pandemic’s vacation-busting effect, questions are being asked about why this tax is still being charged to travelers who already add a huge amount to the local economy.

On top of this, there is serious concern about how the tax is collected and the language used in its enforcement, which is seen as unnecessarily aggressive by many.

tourists in cancun airport

Who Has To Pay?

All non-Mexican visitors are required by law to pay the VisiTax when visiting Quintana Roo.

This also includes travelers staying in private vacation rentals and even short-term cruise ship visitors.

Three Carnival Cruise Ships in Cozumel, Mexico with Tourists Walking Around

What Happens If You Don’t Pay?

Despite some of the common stereotypes about Mexico as a nation, laws are applied strictly, especially when it comes to taxation and air travel.

Failure to pay the VisiTax is almost always treated calmly at first; travelers will simply be asked to make payment there and then to continue with their journey.

But, if officials believe a traveler is trying to get out of payment this can lead to a hefty fine.

Police outside of Cancun International Airport parked with other cars in front of a building.

On top of this, airport officials are within their rights to deny travelers the freedom to leave until the tax is paid. Which naturally can seriously impact travel plans and become an unwanted financial burden when the cost of a new exit flight is factored in.

While the Hotel Council of the Mexican Caribbean is pushing the topic, with the aim of either its removal or simplification, until change comes, the side-effects of pushing back against this tax by travelers is a losing battle.


How To Pay The VisiTax

There are many official tourism booths where travelers can pay this tax, as well as being able to pay at the airport itself.

It is also possible for travelers to pay online, which is a very straightforward process that provides travelers with an email receipt to show upon their departure.

Traveler using their phone while wearing headphones

Important Warning

For travelers who prefer to pay online, please be aware that there are several scam payment sites that pretend to be official payment portals.

Many of these sites rank higher than the official payment websites in search engines, which can easily catch relaxed travelers off guard.

To pay online, only use the following official website, which is government-run:


If in doubt about the validity of the site you are on, double check the web address has at the end; this shows it as an official Mexican government website.

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Tired of Whiners

Thursday 21st of September 2023

Its 224 pesos, if you can't afford that you shouldn't be travelling.


Monday 18th of September 2023

Another cash grab for more taxes. The government has no money left as it has all been overspend on the Mayan Train. Another government scam.


Friday 15th of September 2023

Wow.. And to think people would lose minds if the USA charged a hefty fee for people crossing the borders illegally.


Friday 15th of September 2023

Honestly I think it was like $13 or something. It's not a huge deal considering they sent 7000 National Guards to keep tourists safe. Booking agents, airlines etc should enforce so that tourists are not doing something illegal by entering. Many don't know about the tax. You go to Bahamas you pay taxes. What is the difference. Don't pay then don't enter.

David Middleton

Thursday 14th of September 2023

There's also a boarding access fee too, the airport authorities would not let my girlfriend and her sister bord a jet back to the US unless they showed they had 5k cash on them my girlfriend's mom lives there. mexico didn't take any money they just wanted them to have it, my girlfriend's sister told me that's why she don't go see her mom any more is this fee. I don't know why any one want to go to Mexico any way it's just a 3rd world country.