Our Cancun Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help you plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Mexico. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from Cancun International Airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need?

    We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. You’ll also learn about the most popular landmarks in Cancun such as El Rey Archaeological Zone, Cancun Underwater Museum, and Cenote Suytun. It’s all compiled in this Cancun Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip to Cancun, Mexico.

    1

    When is the best time to travel to Cancun?

    Cancun has a tropical monsoon climate, with average temperatures ranging from 24ºC to 30ºC all year round.

    • The rainiest time of the year is between June and January, with an average of 11 rainy days per month. Note that even during the driest time of the year, between February and May, you can expect 4-5 rainy days per month.
    • December–April is the best time to visit Cancun, despite the fact it’s peak tourist season, with hotel and flight prices rising accordingly. Try to book your hotel at least 3 months in advance.
    • May–August is also a great time to visit; although the weather is hotter and more humid, you’ll avoid the peak season’s throngs, and flight and hotel prices are more affordable.

    photo by dronepicr (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Cancun basics

    • Languages:
      Primary: Spanish
      Most of the Mexicans working in the tourist industry speak English 
    • Plug types: A and B
    • Electricity: 110 V
    • Currency: Mexican peso (Mex$)
    • International dialling codes: +52 998
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
    3

    How to get to Cancun?

    One of the busiest and largest airports in Mexico, Cancun International Airport (CUN) lies 14 km south of the city centre. It features no less than 4 passenger terminals and 2 runways. Here, you’ll find a great range of dining and shopping options as well as facilities including free Wi-Fi and banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to reach Cancun’s Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera).

    • There are no taxi ranks at Cancun Airport.
    • Airport taxi services range from shareRide and taxiX to taxiXL and taxiSUV, each offering a good choice of vehicles. Prices are often cheaper if you book your transfer in advance, online.
    • A wide range of buses and shuttles are also available to get you to your hotel.
    • Rides to the Hotel Zone take about 20–30 minutes.
    • Car rental agencies are also available at the airport.
    4

    How to get around Cancun?

    The Hotel Zone is the main tourist area in Cancun. It’s an 11-km-long coastal strip bordered by the Caribbean Sea. This area hosts a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options. You can easily explore the immediate surroundings of your hotel on foot.

    Scooters are available for rent in the Hotel Zone, but it’s not recommended due to the chaotic traffic and frequent congestion. For longer journeys to Downtown Cancun or nearby beaches, it’s best to use public and private transport services.
     

    Cancun public bus services

    • Cancun public bus services are the cheapest way to get around the city. It’s considered one of the greatest bus systems in Mexico.
    • Lines R1 and R2 are the 2 main lines available to reach Downtown Cancun from the Hotels Zone.
    • Bus stops are easy to spot. They usually display a simple blue or black sign with a white pictogram of a bus.
    • Tickets can be bought directly on the bus, but it’s best to have the exact change.

    photo by Ralf Peter Reimann (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    5

    What are the main annual events in Cancun?

    Day of the Dead

    • First 2 days of November
    • One of the most famous events in Mexico, Day of the Dead is a celebration of life. Cancun is decorated with brightly coloured skulls and other usually morbid icons in festivities dedicated to the “Lady of the Dead”.
    • Where: Throughout the city

    Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day)

    • Mid-October
    • Celebrated in many South American countries, Dia de la Raza is held on the day Christopher Columbus arrived in America – 12th October. Expect live music, processions, bullfights and many festive events throughout Cancun.
    • Where: Throughout the city

    Fiesta de la Playa en Cancun

    • August
    • Organised by several beach clubs and held along an 11-km stretch of sand, Fiesta de la Playa en Cancun is one of the largest beach parties in the world. It features DJs performing, surfing competitions, concerts, soccer tournaments, and many more fun events.
    • Where: Between Cancun and Punta Nizuc
    6

    What are the main landmarks in Cancun?

    El Rey Archaeological Zone

    The El Rey Archaeological Zone is an ancient Mayan site towards the southern end of Zona Hotelera. The Mayan ruins reveal a civilisation that was dedicated to fishing and maritime trade. It features 45 stone structures, including a Mayan temple and the burial site of an important figure.

    Cancun Underwater Museum

    The Cancun Underwater Museum displays about 500 lifelike sculptures beneath the waters of the Cancun National Marine Park. Founded in 2008, these unique installations were created as part of the efforts to protect the Mesoamerican reef system and promote new coral life in Cancun.

    Cenote Suytun

    Cenote Suytun offers an amazing semi-open underground swimming hole with stunning stalactites, a walking platform, and plenty of amenities from bathrooms to lifejacket rentals. The best time to catch the natural light beam through the roof is before 2 pm.

    Chichén Itzá

    Chichén Itzá is among the most important Mayan ruins in Mexico and offers photo opportunities in sophisticated ruins with a complete step pyramid and an ancient Mayan calendar. It’s a Pre-Columbian city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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