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Cancun Tour & Transportation

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Cancun Tour & Transportation Info

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A Brief Cancun Tour...

Cancun (which means “Golden Snake” in Mayan) is divided into two main parts.  If you're going to be spending Spring Break in Cancun you primarily need to be familiar with the island, as explained in our Brief Cancun Tour below:

And if you need still more info, check out more guides to cheap flights, maya culture, restaurants, hotels, apartments and much more in Cancun, Mexico.  Another great resource!

Isla Cancun

An ariel view of Cancun IslandThe bulk of the resorts and night clubs in Cancun are located on the L-shaped island (a.k.a. Isla Cancún, also called the "Zona Hotelera"), which boast about 16 miles of pristine white-sand beaches opening onto the turquoise-green water of the Caribbean.  This is where almost all of Cancun Spring Break happens.

The vast majority of hotels are located on the island, along the powdery white sand beaches facing the Caribbean Sea.  The “back side” of the island faces the Lagoon of Nichupté, a popular Cancun tour stop where there is plenty of water skiing, sailing and jet ski rentals for touring the mangroves and open water.  Many of the cheaper hotels on the island are lagoon-side, rather than facing the ocean.

Not to be overlooked, though, is the north-end of the island, which faces the Isla Mujeres.  The beaches here are some of the most popular for a Cancun tour as they are shielded from the occasional strong current and choppier water of the Caribbean.  We cover the popular Cancun Spring Break beaches over here.

Getting around during your Cancun tour is never a problem as there is a single main road stretching the length of the island called Paseo Kulkulkán.  The bus system and taxis are easily used (more on that here) and most drivers speak basic English.  You will get to know the main hotel landmarks and the major Spring Break Cancun hot spots that are near them. 

Be aware that the farther south you stay on the island, the longer you will wait in traffic to get to most of the hottest night spots, which are grouped toward the top end of the island.

Cancun City

Just across the Playa Linda Bridge is Cancún City (also called Centro), where you’ll find all the establishments of modern life compressed into about 10 city blocks.  Many retail stores here are less expensive compared to their counterparts on the island.

Cancun Spring Break 2006 does not focus here, but those wanting a break from the beaches, bars and clubs will have fun making a day trip into the City.  Local craftsmen, open air markets, and un-Americanized restaurants are found in the Centro. There's even a weekly bull-fighting match!  All great Cancun Tour stops.  You will need a little skill in speaking Spanish to move comfortably here, but most locals do speak basic English.

The Cancun airport is also located on the mainland, towards the southern end of the island, and is just a short drive away any beach-front hotel.  Unless you're planning on making the mother of all road trips (which we do not recommend), your Cancun Tour will begin here.  Get more Cancun Flight & Airport Info here.

Getting Around Cancun

Cancun transportation is readily available, but costs can run the gamut if you do not come prepared.  This guide explains how to get around Cancun- both safely and cheaply.

From the airport to your hotel...

Chances are that your travel agent or Cancun tour operator has arranged transfers for you to and from the airport.  If so, take them. 

Otherwise, you’ll be laying out some cash before you ever make it to your hotel room.  A private taxi will cost around $35 to $40 (U.S.) dollars one-way to get you to the Hotel Zone on the island.  Those staying in downtown Cancun (Centro) will pay about $20 (U.S.) one way.  Be sure to negotiate the rate before getting into any taxi, otherwise you may get a Cancun tour that will be overly expensive.

A much cheaper, but less private alternative, for your Cancun tour is to take one of many shuttle buses available (also called colectivos).  These cost about $8 (U.S.) and you can buy tickets from a kiosk at the exit of the airport terminal.  Note that most colectivos do not offer return service to the airport, but any taxi can return someone to the airport.  Use your hotel staff as a guide to figure out who to use and what to pay.  Or, we say again- use the transfers provided by your Cancun tour operator or travel agent.

From your hotel...

Once you make it to your hotel, you’ll be glad to know that most of your daily needs will be within walking distance, especially if you’re staying in the Hotel Zone on the island.  There will be times, however, during your Cancun Tour that you’ll want to check out a different beach, go to one of the more popular clubs, or perhaps explore the city back on the mainland.  This is where Cancun transportation comes in handy.

Typical Cancun busFor times like these, we recommend you take a bus for getting around Cancun.  Cancun Tour buses cost $6.5 pesos (No American coins) per person/ one way.  There are 4 buses R-1 (to your left here), R-2, R-15 & R 27. If you are traveling within the hotel zone it really does not matter what bus you take.  Check with your hotel for a bus route listing, though, if you are going outside the Hotel Zone.  Buses run between 6 AM and 10 PM daily.

A special word about Cancun Tour buses- they tend to go very fast and care not about where you want them to stop, unless you can get to the red button (which may or may not work) on the handrail.  These are not American buses, which make stops at every marked point along their route. 

You will need to yell when it is time to stop.  Sounds bad, we know, but Cancun Tour buses can actually be amusing.  We have some more special insider tips about buses in Cancun here.

Also, most drivers speak very little English- so telling them where to stop will get you little more than a head nod and a smile.  To catch a Cancun tour bus, you’ll need to waive your hands because drivers are not likely to stop otherwise.  When its time to get off the bus, duck you head and move forward politely but strongly- otherwise you’ll miss your stop.

Perhaps taking a Cancun tour bus does not appeal to you.  Perhaps you want to be a high-roller.  Not to worry, Cancun has something for you too.  Private car rental is available, as is limo service (with a fully stocked bar, of course).  A Cancun tour in style is possible- for a price.  Check with your hotel front desk to make arrangements for these services.

Vehicle Rentals for a Cancun Tour

Cancun mopeds lined up for rentalYou will also no doubt notice that there are mopeds available for rental everywhere.  These cost about $30 (U.S.) per day and include a crash helmet and instruction on how to lock the wheels once you park.  Perhaps you like the idea of riding on a moped through very congested traffic- then this is for you.  Personally, we like our chances on the bus.  Be aware, however, to read your rental contract carefully as to who is responsible for repairs, theft, or vandalism to the bike.

Spring Breaker Reviews

Have you braved the bus system in Cancun and lived to tell about it?  We're always looking for Cancun Tour advice, stories, photos and comments from our fellow Spring Breakers to enhance this site and keep our information as timely as possible.  If you have something to add, please submit your Cancun Tour and Transportation tips here.