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This Is How Early You Need To Leave For The Cancun Airport To Not Miss Your Flight

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Those flying in or out of Cancun in the coming weeks are being warned they might need to allot some extra commuting to and from the airport, as ongoing work on a strategic stretch of road linking the city to the mega hub is set to increase traffic jams.

Outside main entrance of cancun airport

Taking into account the road delays and the situation's unpredictability, this is how early you must leave for Cancun Airport to make your flight on time:

Traffic Jams Worsen Around Cancun Airport

Cancun Airport is the busiest in operation in the Caribbean region.

Serving as the gateway not only to the bustling city of Cancun but the wider Riviera Maya, Mexico's highly sought-after sunny hotspot, it hosts millions of air arrivals every month.

Cancun airport sign

While infrastructure within the airport itself has improved dramatically in recent months, particularly after e-Gates were launched, enabling Americans to cross the border with minimal hassle, attention has been brought to other issues facing travelers.

Although it is only 14km from town, the busy roads linking Cancun Airport to the Hotel Zone and other destinations in the Mexican Caribbean are normally crammed with private vehicles and shuttles, owing it to the airport's regional significance and the high frequency of flights.

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Beachgoers In Cancun Beach, Cancun Hotel Zone, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

Needless to say, delays are expected, and careful planning is normally advised, particularly for passengers checking in for international flights, but once you add in roadwork and associated waits and traffic diversion, the surprisingly long time it takes to cover the short distance may double.

Travelers Should Leave 40 Minutes Early

Due to the present construction, taxis are taking longer to reach the airport taking Colosio Boulevard, especially when traveling from development zones south of downtown Cancun or from the Hotel Zone.

Essentially, commuters could face a staggering 40-minute wait in traffic or more.


Besides traffic, once arriving at the airport, those who have not yet mastered the art of flying carry-on only must factor in a longer wait time for checking bags, as lines are bound to be exceedingly long over the summer, ahead of making it through security.

Due to these inevitable delays, travelers flying out of Cancun Airport are now being advised to leave for the airport between 4 to 4.5 hours early ahead of their scheduled flight, taking into account the 3 hours required for boarding procedures and the extra hour in traffic.

This is not the first time Cancun vacationers have been plagued by traffic chaos.


Late last year, at the peak of the winter travel season, road congestion was so severe travelers were forced to collect their heavy luggage and walk to the airport in order to make their flights before the gates closed.

Delays had also been reported as early as September 2022, proving Cancun's long-lasting traffic problem is yet to be addressed by local authorities, and will possibly not be solved in the immediate future, though there is a silver lining in sight.

Could The Promising Maya Train Solve Cancun's Transportation Problem?

Young Smiling Couple Checking A Map In A Train Station Ahead Of Boarding, Unspecified Location

Come December 1, Mexico's long-anticipated Maya Train will launch, linking Cancun Airport to all the major resort towns across the Mexican Caribbean. This includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, three destinations the train will serve.

The massive infrastructure project, the largest Mexico has seen in decades, will bring an end to Cancun's taxi monopoly, as they are currently the only viable transportation option for passengers other than overcrowded local buses, which are largely avoided by tourists.

train car

Some taxi drivers are so protective of their territory that they have shown aggressiveness towards Ubers operating in the airport, to the point they chase down cars to confront drivers registered with the San Francisco-based app, putting passengers in danger.

Their overpriced rates, at times more expensive than New York's, and a less-than-stellar service only add to the extensive list of complaints.

Once the Maya Train sets off on its inaugural journey, however, traffic jams along the airport route should become an exception rather than the rule, as more and more visitors are expected to take the fast-speed, highly-affordable rail service instead.

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