7 min read

An insider's guide to Cancun Airport

An insider's guide to Cancun Airport

Traveling to the Mexican Caribbean is a whole experience. However, to get here, you may have to go through the big Cancun International Airport, so don't stress! In this insider's guide, we will explain everything.

Discounts on our best tours

Since in Cancun Sailing we are experts in Cancun, this time we made  a complete guide about Cancun Airport, prepared by tourism experts with experience in airports, hotels, travel agencies and, of course, in catamaran trips to Isla Mujeres 👀.

👇Check out our index to learn about the topic of your interest:

Mujer esperando en el aeropuerto

Cancun Airport General Data

Cancun International Airport (IATA: CUN) is one of the 16 airports that are part of Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste or ASUR. It is the second busiest airport in Mexico, after Mexico City International Airport. It is located 16 kilometers from Cancun and is one of the best-connected airports in Latin America.

aeropuerto (ingles) gif

📍Where is Cancun Airport?

Cancun airport is located 16 kilometers from the city of Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The transfer time from downtown to the airport is approximately 30 minutes, which may vary due to traffic or road repairs.

entrada al aeropuerto de cancun


How many terminals does Cancun Airport have?

At Cancun Airport, there are 4 commercial terminals and one FBO terminal that offers private services. If you are looking for the terminal where each airline is located, here is the list below. Attention: Ask your airline which terminal they operate out of. 


Cancun Airport Terminal 1 FBO

Terminal 1 del Aeropuerto de Cancún

This terminal is only for charter or private flights. It has 7 gates, 3 helicopter stands, 2 airstrips, VIP lounge, among many other services.

What airlines depart from Cancun Terminal 1?


Cancun Airport Terminal 2

Terminal 2 del Aeropuerto de Cancún

Cancun Airport Terminal 2 is used for domestic flights, but also receives flights from the United States, South America, and Europe. It has two arrival gates, domestic on the right and international on the left. It has 31 gates distributed in two buildings. In the main building, you will find lounges B1 to B22 on the first floor, from which domestic flights depart, while on the upper floor, you will find lounges A1 to A9 for international flights. In the satellite building, you will find lounges A14 to A21, which house large aircraft for domestic and international flights.

What airlines depart from Cancun Terminal 2?



Cancun Airport Terminal 3

Terminal 3 del Aeropuerto de Cancún

Cancun Airport Terminal 3 only operates international flights, mostly to North America and Europe. Its facilities, inaugurated in 2016, are the most modern among all terminals and have a wide range of services.

What airlines depart from Cancun Terminal 3?



Cancun Airport Terminal 4

Terminal 4 del Aeropuerto de Cancún

Terminal 4 of Cancun Airport was inaugurated in 2017 due to the high demand for flights. Flights from the United States, Canada, Europe and South America are received here. It has LEED Silver certification, which means it is a sustainable building. 

What airlines depart from Cancun Terminal 4? 



How to move from one terminal to another?

Transporte entre terminales del aeropuerto de Cancún

At Cancun Airport, you will find a shuttle bus that offers free transportation between terminals. Outside each terminal, you will see a bus stop where you can board this bus. The frequency of departures is between 10 and 15 minutes approximately. You can check the schedules on the clocks located at the bus stops.


  • Beware of people who charge you to transfer you between terminals. The shuttle is free.
  • Walking between terminals is not recommended as the distances are long, especially if you have luggage.


How to get to Cancun Airport?

These are the easiest ways to get to Cancun airport:

🚌 Autobuses ADO

ADO Terminal de autobuses de Cancún

Autobuses de Oriente (ADO) offers departures to the airport every 30 to 45 minutes from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. From Tulum to Cancun Airport, departures are almost every hour from 11:00 am to 4:15 pm. When you buy your ticket online, you can choose the terminal you wish to arrive at.

These buses only stop at their terminals, which means they do not stop at hotels or on the way. We recommend you plan your departure and transfer times to avoid missing your flight. You can take your luggage on board these buses.

How to get to the ADO terminal in Cancun?

Here is a map:



🚗Cancun Airport Car Rental

For the convenience of its visitors, the Cancun Airport has car rental and reception services from the following companies:

*To avoid any inconvenience, we recommend you make a reservation in advance from the agency's website.


🚐Transportation companies at Cancun airport

Several companies offer transportation services at the Cancun airport. Before booking one of these services, verify that the company is legal and trustworthy. You can check their networks or ask for references at the airport. Some examples are USA Transfers, Cancun Shuttle and Luxe.

The price may vary depending on the type of service (private or shared) and the distance you travel to your destination.


🚕Cancun airport TAXI

As well as the transportation service, you can find private cab modules at the airport as they are smaller vehicles. This service is usually faster and cheaper. However, the number of passengers is limited. Keep in mind that regular cabs cannot pick up passengers from the airport, and the price varies according to the distance to your destination.


🚘 Car

The Cancun airport has paid parking at each of its terminals. If someone gives you a ride to the airport, they can use the fast lane without entering the parking lot. Parking is paid at the machines located inside the terminals.


How to get from Playa del Carmen to Cancun airport?

Aside car rentals, private transportation, or your own vehicle, we believe the best way to go to Cancun Airport from Playa del Carmen is with ADO (bless them). In Playa del Carmen you will find 2 ADO terminals:


Other airport services

In addition to all of the above, the airport offers other services such as:

VIP Lounges Inmigration Restaurants
Lockers Lost and Found Luggage storage
Duty Free Shops Currency exchange Airline ticket booths
Customs Private airplanes Transportation services
120 V, A and B type sockets Timeshare and rentals Cargo service

High season at Cancun airport

Gente caminando en el aeropuerto

During high season the airport will be operating at maximum capacity, which means longer lines and less parking slots.

These are the peak season dates for Cancun Airport:

  • Winter Vacation (December 20th to January 15th)
  • Spring Break and Easter (March 11th to April 22th)
  • Summer Vacation (end of July to end of August)
celebración en mexico

The following dates are national vacations or special celebrations (which are longer weekends) in Mexico and it is common for Mexicans to make national trips, so take your precautions.

  • Mexican Constitution Day (February 5th)
  • Birthday of Benito Juárez (March 21st)
  • Labor Day (May 1st)
  • Mexican Independence Day (September 16th)
  • Day of the Dead (November 1st and 2nd)
  • Mexican Revolution (November 20th)


Baggage at Cancun Airport

Things I can't carry on:

Checked baggage

equipaje documentado

  • Weapons, ammunition or replica weapons, including sporting arrows, glue or heat guns, heat guns, etc.
  • Explosives
  • Cases or heavy and blunt objects
  • Battery-powered devices. You have to remove the batteries before check-in. 

Carry-on baggage

equipaje de mano

  • In your carry-on baggage you may not carry the above and the items listed below.
  • Liquids or gels of more than 100 ml. or 3.4oz. in your carry-on baggage (with the exception of baby formula and prescription drugs).
  • Sharp objects
  • Handcuffs

Tips about luggage

  • Weigh and measure your luggage at home. Make sure it does not exceed the dimensions indicated by your airline or you may have to rearrange it.
  • Oversized baggage: Check with your airline on how to check oversized baggage such as sports equipment, large musical instruments, and stuffed animals. Your airline will usually charge you for an extra piece of luggage, extra kilos, or both.
  • Mascota a bordoChecked pets: If your airline offers this service, you will be able to transport your pet in the hold of the plane. For this modality, you have to go to the check-in counter and fill out some documents with your and your pet's information. It only applies to dogs, cats and some birds. The animals must always go in a rigid kennel type cage of the appropriate size for your pet. Not all aircraft models can offer this service. This type of transportation could be dangerous or even deadly for some breeds of animals. Check with your airline for more information.
  • Pets in cabin: Ideal for transporting small pets. For this modality, you have to go to the check-in counter and fill out some documents with your and your pet's information. The animal must remain in its cage during the entire flight. The cage with the pet goes on the floor in front of the passenger. Check with your airline for more information.
  • Emotional support pets: This service is free of charge. For this modality, you have to go to the check-in counter and fill out some documents with your and your pet's information. These animals can enter the aircraft without the need for a cagee. Verify with your airline the types of pets allowed (since most of them only accept dogs). Check with your airline for more information.
  • Cargo service at Cancun Airport: At this airport, you will find different cargo companies that will help you transport the luggage you can't take on your flight. Usually, the airlines have cargo centers, and you can check prices directly with them.

Tips for surviving Cancun's airport

Mujeres mirando vitrina de alimentos-1


Yes, Cancun Airport has free public Wi-Fi. Though, it is important to know that sometimes the speed is (kinda) slow due to the number of people connected to the network. As an alternative, we recommend using the restaurant's private networks while consuming there or previously downloading all the documents you will need, such as your boarding pass and itinerary, on your device.

Arrival at Cancun airport

  • Check-in before arriving at the airport. In high season the lines at the Cancun Airport are very long.         
  • Check your arrival terminal so you don't have any problems with your transportation.  
  • Bring clothes according to the weather. Cancun's weather changes between hot and rainy. During January and February, it can be a little cool for some, so it is advisable to bring a sweater.
  • If you stop by Cancun, make sure that your connection isn't too short and that your luggage will be checked until your final destination, so that you can transfer to the boarding gate with peace of mind.

During your stay at the Cancun airport

  • Fill out your customs and immigration forms on the plane to save time (we recommend you bring a pen).
  • Keep your passport and all your documents handy.
  • Carry cash with you. Mexico is a country with tipping culture, and it is polite to tip people who offer you quality service. Usually the people who receive tips at airports are those who help you carry your luggage, drivers and waiters.
  • On your way out, do not waste your time talking to timeshare agents, or you may miss your transportation.
  • Avoid changing money at the airport, because the exchange rate is always high. Better wait until you get to the city, where the rates are usually lower.

Departure from Cancun airport

Boulevard Kukulkán de Cancún
  • ⚠️Boulevard Colosio is the avenue that takes you from the city to the airport, and Boulevard Kukulkán is the avenue that takes you from the hotel zone to the airport. Both roads tend to get congested due to the number of people who travel them and the constant repair work. Take precautions.
  • Arrive early for your flight and research your departure terminal. Take into account transfer times, traffic, lines at the ticket counters, and lines at the security checkpoint.
  • Don't buy anything outside the security checkpoint. Inside you will find the same things, more variety and you will not have problems with their entrance.
  • Once through the security filter, measure your time in the restroom and stores so you don't miss boarding.
  • You can find the gate on the screens half an hour before the departure of your flight.

We've put together this guide to help you have a spectacular trip to Cancun and, as you'll see, the tips are not much different from any other airport in the world.

Being prepared and on time is a big part of a successful adventure, so we wish you a safe trip! If you have more questions, we invite you to leave us a comment 👇 and we'll answer them.

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