Where can Americans find luxurious all-inclusives, white sands, and the classic, postcard-ready view of clifftop ancient Mayan ruins overlooking the bright-blue Caribbean?
Hint: it's not Cancun.
Surprisingly enough, up until last year, this paradise beach town did not have its own international airport, forcing vacationers to fly instead to Cancun International before traveling onward for an hour and a half by bus or car if we're excluding congested traffic.
That's right, we're talking about Tulum, one of the most popular beach destinations for Americans going South of the border.
If the whole point of a vacation is for it to be convenient and relaxing, not having a nearby airport is not ideal. Luckily, Tulum's new Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport (TQO for IATA) opened its doors in December 2023, bringing tourists closer to the trendy beach town.
It has officially eliminated the need for complicated, stressful landside transfers, and starting this spring 2024, Americans will be able to fly nonstop to Tulum from as many as 9 U.S. cities, with 3 of their favorite airlines:
Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami
American has made improving connectivity to Tulum a priority in 2024, being among the first to announce flights ahead of the airport's opening. Starting March 28, the carrier will link an initial three U.S. cities to the new Mexican Caribbean hub.
Those are Charlotte in North Carolina, Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas and Miami in Florida. Americans flying from all three departure points will benefit from year-round daily flights, though Dallasites will enjoy the highest frequency with two daily flights confirmed.
Flights from Charlotte (CLT) depart at 11:28 AM, landing in Tulum (TQO) at 1:42 PM. Returning to Charlotte, take-off from Tulum is scheduled for 2:42 PM, and the arrival time is set for 6:45 PM. Prices for one-way tickets, which do not include complimentary, larger check-in bags start from only $273.
From Dallas (DFW) the first flight is scheduled for 8:30, touching down in TQO at 11:20, while the second daily Tulum-bound flight leaves at 12:22 PM, landing at approximately 3:10 PM. On the reverse route, takeoffs and landings are planned for 12:20 PM – 3:33 PM and later at 4:10 PM – 7:23 PM, respectively.
Basic Economy tickets cost as cheap as $293, and the flight time is similar to that of flights originating from Charlotte. Finally, Miami (MIA) customers should aim to be at the airport for flying at 12:05 PM, landing in TQO at 1:15 PM. Coming home, departure is set for 2:15 PM, landing in MIA 5:10 PM.
Due to the geographical proximity between Miami and Mexico, flights are shorter, totaling a distance of just under 2 hours, and fares can be cheaper than Charlotte's or Houston's, with tickets selling for as low as $222 one-way on select April dates.
American's Boeing 737 service to Tulum will offer high-speed WiFi, varied entertainment options, and in-seat power sockets for all passengers, making the expected two to three-hour flight time fly by (pun intended).
American's main competitor on the full-service market, Delta has chosen its strategic Hartsfield-Atlanta hub (ATL) to debut Tulum flights. Atlanta is the busiest airports in the United States, handling over 100 million passengers every year, and it will now be connected to the Caribbean resort town year-round.
Identically to American, Delta's new service is launching March 28, except they have deployed a 160-seat Boeing 737-800, with First Class, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin options, the latter of which is their equivalent to a Basic Economy.
Departure time from ATL is scheduled for 11:10 AM, arriving at 1:00 PM. Return flights, on the other hand, take off 2:25 PM, landing back in Atlanta later at an estimated 6:08 PM. Flight times for outbound and return flights are 2h50 and 2h43.
Main Cabin tickets cost $272 to book this spring, but if you're flying to Tulum for some pampering, you might want to look into booking First Class ($959 for the roundtrip), as the list of inclusions is extensive. According to Delta, customers will enjoy chef-curated meals and complimentary wine, beer and spirits.
Fort Lauderdale, Orlando
America's most loved, or most hated budget carrier depending on who you're asking, Spirit went ahead and confirmed two Tulum flights from Florida beginning, surprise, March 28 (we suspect early spring will be a pretty exciting time to visit this Caribbean gem).
The chosen hubs are Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and will operate daily throughout 2024, making it easier, and cheaper for Floridians to reach Tulum without recurring to layovers in other Stateside or Mexican airports.
From Fort Lauderdale (FLL), departure and arrival times are scheduled for 10:25 AM and 11:15 AM, while returning flights from TQO are planned for 12:20 PM, touching ground at 3:12 PM. As you can see, it takes less than two hours to complete the journey.
As for Orlando (MCO), you should make plans for taking off at 1:00 PM and arriving to your resort after landing at 2:10 PM. Returning home, your departure is 3:00 PM and arrival back at MCO 6:10 PM. Inaugural flights will operate on an 182-seat Airbus A320, and tickets cost an affordable $149 one-way.
Chicago, Houston, Newark
Joining in on the fun, United Airlines is inaugurating a Boeing 737-900-operated service to ever-busier Tulum from an additional three hubs, namely Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Houston-Intercontinental (IAH) and Newark (EWR), once-daily each.
Starting with Chicago, outbound flights leave at 9:13 AM arriving at 1:00 PM; returning flights are scheduled for 2:10 PM, landing 6:05 PM. The total flight time is just under four hours, and one-way ticket are available from $328 on United's most restrictive Basic Economy fare.
Over in Houston, passengers should be ready for take-off at 9:35 AM (landing 11:55 PM at TQO). On their way back, departure is scheduled for 1:05 PM, while arrival in IAH is expected at 3:31 PM. The cheapest tickets on this 2h20-long route cost $372.
Finally, Newark travelers will be flying at 10:07 AM and landing 1:15 PM. As for return flights, 2:25 PM is the time of departure from TQO and 7:23 PM the time of landing back in EWR. Basic Economy tickets can be booked for only $364 one-way this spring.
Where You Can Find Nonstop Tulum Flights This Spring In The U.S.
In sum, the nine cities you will be able to fly nonstop to Tulum from the United States in the near future are:
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan Area, Texas
- Miami, Orlando
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Chicago, Illinois
- Houston, Texas
- Newark, New Jersey
From next summer, travelers who still have no option but to fly to Cancun for cheaper rates will also be able to reach Tulum hassle-free, and in a much more affordable manner, by boarding the Maya Train, expected to launch between the two resort spots after June 2.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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