Flying Into the Cancun Airport

Flying Into the Cancun Airport

Our flight to Cancun was definitely a party plane!  I’ve only seen such happy, cheerful passengers on the way to Vegas.  Everyone was relaxed and ready to start their beach time!

Cancun

Immigration & Customs in Cancun

You must complete both customs and immigrations forms to enter Mexico via the Cancun Airport.  Every person in your party must complete an immigration form, but only one customs form per family is required.

You can download and print the immigration form ahead of time, but there are lots of misspellings and it doesn’t look like the form you are provided on the plane.  I had no confidence that immigration officers would accept my preprinted forms, so I went ahead and completed the official-looking forms the flight attendants gave us.  What else are you going to do on a plane, anyway? Just be sure to bring a pen and keep your passports handy.

Once you arrive, you’ll go through immigration and then gather your luggage. Immigration was a breeze, and we were through before the luggage carousels even started moving.

cancun airportThere are plenty of free luggage carts available near the luggage carousels. We were very grateful for these because we may have overpacked just a bit!

After retrieving luggage in Cancun, you proceed to a final customs inspection and your luggage is sent through an x-ray machine.  Once you’ve fed all of your luggage through the machine, you hit a button and pray for a green light.  If the light is green, you’re free to go.  If the light is red, you are subject to additional inspections. It’s like a game show!

We were not required to submit to additional inspections, but several others were.  The process seemed fairly efficient.

After receiving the green light at customs,  you proceed through sliding doors into the “fishbowl,” a corridor that leads to the outdoors and transportation options.

Surviving The Fish Bowl at Cancun Airport

The corridor at the Cancun airport is lined with vendors who approach from every direction.  Just keep marching forward and ignore or say “no, gracias.” If you show any signs of weakness, they will pounce. While we searched for an ATM to get pesos, vendors saw us looking about curiously and pounced. (We never found that ATM, either.  The only ATM we found in the Cancun airport provided American dollars–not pesos.)

Luggage carts can’t leave the Cancun airport, so you’ll have to leave them a few feet from the exit door. Fortunately, all of the drivers and transfer services are standing behind barricades right outside the door, so you don’t have far to go without luggage carts.

Transfer From The Cancun Airport

usa transfers logoWe booked a private transfer from the Cancun airport to our condo in Puerto Morelos through USA Transfers, after reading very positive reviews online.  (Note: this is an affiliate link and we may receive a commission if you book through this link.  We developed our affiliate relationship after this trip because we had such a great experience with USA Transfers.)

A USA Transfers representative was waiting immediately outside the exit doors and he directed us to a shady spot and promised that our van would be waiting within 7 minutes.  Indeed it was, and we were efficiently loaded into a modern, air-conditioned van and offered ice-cold bottled water.

We had pre-arranged to have a 1-hour grocery store stop on the way from the airport to our condo. We paid an extra $30 for this 1-hour stop, which worked out perfectly.  Our driver dropped us off at the front door of the supermarket and waited patiently in the van while we packed our cart with a week’s worth of groceries. We were so glad to drinks and snacks as soon as we arrived.

We were also able to get pesos from an ATM in the grocery store that was certainly more secure than any standalone ATM that we would have been left with otherwise.

Returning Home From Cancun

We booked a round-trip transfer with USA Transfers, so they were also our ride back to the Cancun airport. We had to be out of our condo several hours before our return flight, so we arranged to stop at Croco Cun Zoo on our return trip to the airport.

Although I really just booked this as a time-killer, it was one of our favorite experience on this trip! We had such an amazing time there!

Even with the stop at Croco Cun, we had a lot of time to kill at the airport.  Fortunately, Cancun Airport had plenty to keep us occupied.  We had a leisurely lunch there and then spent time browsing shops and spending the last of our pesos.

A couple of things to note about the Cancun Airport:

Tip 1: They do not provide gate assignments until shortly before your scheduled boarding time. Once at your terminal, you will have to listen carefully and keep an eye on the boards for your gate assignment.

Tip 2:  Charging outlets are had to come by. There were no outlets in the restaurant where we lunched, or in the seating area of the terminal. Eventually, we discovered a couple of outlets in Starbucks, but there were only a few.  We ended up sharing with another family who had a multi-port charger like this one.

Finally, we were on our much more subdued flight home.  Once we landed, everyone headed for the lines at customs and immigrations.  Fortunately, I had discovered the Mobile Passport App ahead of time, and we literally walked past every other person in line and were the first to the luggage carousel. We were definitely getting death glares from some of the other passengers. This is a free app provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Check out our post about the Mobile Passport App.

You may also be interested in these posts:

A Day in Cancun

Essential Beach Gear

Planning for Our Trip to Puerto Morelos

Do you have any tips about the Cancun Airport?  Or any other airport?  Drop them in the comments below.

Cancun Airport

I am a 40-something lawyer and mom of 3 teenage girls.

I love exploring new places, and when I can’t be on the road, I’m planning my next trip. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to travel in a pack of five.

Our trips range from budget-friendly road trips with the family, to more luxurious trips for work, either solo or with my husband, Kenny.

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