You have several transportation options, when traveling from Cancun’s airport to downtown Cancun or to the hotel zone. Bus service, private or shared shuttles, and rental cars are available, but each service has its own list of pros and cons.
ADO Bus: At a price of $4 USD, per person, for one-way service, ADO buses are your most economical option for getting into downtown Cancun. Buses from the airport run every hour, starting at 8:10am. The last bus is at 8pm. ADO is not just an airport transportation company. They are a major bus line, with routes throughout Mexico. Their vehicles are nice, clean, and air-conditioned and they have comfortable, reclining seats.
- Pros: Inexpensive. A great option if you are staying in downtown Cancun. Reservations are not required; you can buy your ticket after you are in Cancun.
- Cons: Depending on when your flight arrives, you may have to wait quite a while for the next bus to depart and this option is not available after 8pm. If you are staying in Cancun’s hotel zone, you’ll have to take a bus or taxi from the bus terminal, in downtown Cancun, to your hotel. That could make this option very time-consuming and expensive, if you end up paying for a taxi to take you to the hotel zone.
Shared Shuttle: This mode of transportation is great for individual travelers that don’t wish to take the bus or rent a car. Gray Line Cancun is one of the many companies at Cancun’s airport that offer shared transfers to area hotels. With shared shuttles, you have to wait until the vehicle fills up with passengers before you can begin your journey. Along the way, you stop to drop-off passengers at their hotels and, eventually, you make it to your hotel. Gray Line Cancun charges $30 USD, per person, for round-trip service between the airport and Cancun’s hotel zone. If you are not in a hurry, this can be a very nice way to travel to/from your hotel.
- Pros: An economical way to travel for one person traveling alone.
- Cons: Shuttle service with Gray Line Cancun is only available between the hours of 8am and 8pm. You have to stop to pick-up/drop-off passengers at various hotels along the way to your hotel or when you are traveling back to the airport, on your day of departure. This option can be pricey if there is more than one passenger traveling. If there is more than one person in the party, private transfers are cheaper.
Private Shuttle: Hiring a private shuttle is the fastest way to get to your hotel. You simply walk out of the airport terminal and locate your transportation company (each company holds up signs with the company name and logo on it, but some still hold up signs that show the client’s name) and, within minutes, you are on the way to your hotel. Your party will be the only passengers in the vehicle and you will only make one stop…at your hotel. There are numerous transfer companies in Cancun but USA Transfers is very popular and has an outstanding reputation. USA Transfers only offers private transfers. Prices start at $55 USD for a party of 1-3 passengers, staying in Cancun’s hotel zone. The price is per vehicle, not per person, and is for round-trip service. You can hire a shuttle at the airport, when you arrive, but their prices are horrendous. The minimum fee is currently $65 USD for one-way service to Cancun’s hotel zone. It’s much smarter, and easier on the wallet, to make a reservation in advance.
- Pros: This option will get you to your hotel the fastest, so you can start your vacation; personalized service. You are able to schedule pick-up times for any hour, day or night. Most companies will provide child safety seats, if you request them at the time you make your reservation (some companies may charge for this service, but USA Transfers offers car seats for free, based on availability).
- Cons: Advanced reservations are required and you must pay up front for the round-trip service. If you are staying outside of Cancun, the price for private service may not suit you budget. For example, USA Transfers charges $145 USD for round-trip service, for a party of 1-3 passengers, to Tulum (roughly 2.5 hours south of Cancun).
Rental Car: Avis, Hertz, and other internationally-known rental car companies have offices at the Cancun airport. There are also several smaller, lesser-known companies competing for a piece of the pie. Car rental rates are fairly reasonable but rental insurance is mandatory and you have to purchase that from the car company, like it or not. The insurance costs are often more expensive than the daily rental rate of the car. If you are adventurous and like to travel on your own schedule, you may wish to consider renting a car while in Cancun.
- Pros: Travel independently, on your own schedule.
- Cons: Driving a rental car makes you an easy target for local police that want to collect bribes from motorists. Driving in Cancun & Riviera Maya is not for the faint of heart. If you are not a defensive driver or if you easily get “road rage”, a rental car is not the best mode of transportation for you.