Cancun is a destination of two halves. The majority of visitors will head straight to the city’s Zona Hotelera, or Hotel Zone, to enjoy the many luxury resorts, and the stunning beaches of this purpose-made vacation peninsula. Other visitors will stay downtown, exploring the authentically Mexican aspects of this favorite destination.
But what if you want to spend your time between both parts of the city? Here we share the best ways to get around the city, whether that’s navigating between different parts of the Hotel Zone, or getting downtown for a day of exploration.
Getting from Cancun Airport to the Hotel Zone
As reported in The Cancun Sun previously, there are many ways to get to your resort from Cancun International Airport. Check that article out here, as well as a recent first-hand account of making the journey.
Getting Around The City
For getting around the city, or perhaps venturing further afield, here are Cancun’s main transport methods:
A public city bus runs throughout the Hotel Zone 24 hours a day and costs only M$12, or around 60 cents, per journey. The most useful buses run on the following routes:
These pass along the Hotel Zone’s main road, Boulevard Kukulcan, and connect up with downtown. This is great if, for example, you want to travel from the Southern stretch of the Hotel Zone up to the main entertainment district at Puerto Cancun.
If you’re looking to head out of Cancun, you’ll want to get yourself to the main ADO bus station, which is located in downtown Cancun. The main city bus routes, R-1, R-2, and R-27 will take you there, and from the ADO station, you can easily and cheaply travel to other destinations, such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Mexico’s ADO bus system is extremely safe, comfortable, generally runs to schedule (bus times can be viewed on the ADO bus website), and trips are very well-priced.
For short journeys, or where you’re not sure exactly where you’re going, a taxi cab is probably the best option. In the Hotel Zone, taxis are easy to find, as most resorts and shopping complexes have a taxi stand outside.
One thing to note when taking a cab is to agree on the price before the ride begins. Otherwise, unscrupulous drivers can charge an inflated fare that you will be obligated to pay.
A fun way to experience a very Mexican mode of transport is by taking a colectivo, or shared ride. These are generally small vans that run on popular routes in and around downtown Cancun, picking up passengers any time they’re flagged down. Due to making multiple stops on-route, journeys can take longer than usual, but that’s all part of the fun!
Prices are super cheap, and although speaking Spanish can help if you have questions, a smile and a ‘Hola’ will get you a long way.
If you want your own way of getting around, a rental car could be the way to go. Multiple rental agencies operate out of Cancun International Airport and many resorts in the Hotel Zone offer parking for guests.
Downtown Cancun is less driver-friendly and can make for a frustrating journey due to congestion from the number of cars on the road. If you do decide to drive downtown, the best parking options are located near the city’s popular Parque de las Palapas.
Downtown Cancun is best explored on foot if only to avoid the congestion on the roads, which can make traveling short distances time-consuming. It’s a relatively compact city and you can cover a lot of the main attractions downtown in a couple of hours walking.
Avenida Tulum runs through the center of downtown Cancun, right in the heart of the main shopping areas, and is an interesting and pedestrian-friendly place to explore.
Walking in the Hotel Zone is great if you’re only traveling short distances – your biggest challenge will be the heat, which can make a ten-minute stroll seem endless. But with wide, well-maintained sidewalks, this is a pleasant place to stretch your legs if the mood takes you.
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