Tourists who visited Cancun in August had a significant obstacle to overcome as they made their way home after vacation. Due to road construction and overwhelming tourist demand, the routes to and from Cancun International Airport have been significantly congested. Specifically to the Northern Hotel Zone. In early August, airlines asked Cancun tourists to leave their hotels five hours before their flights. Things got so bad that some tourists decided it may be quicker to get out of their taxis and walk to the airport. Construction along Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard is expected to last about a year, so tourists will continue to see delays.
However, there is good news. As the construction has continued, traffic times have reduced. Although travelers will still be met with delays, leaving their hotels five hours ahead of time is no longer necessary from the hotel zone. For now, alternative routes that bypass Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard are still clear, meaning congestion along the Boulevard has eased.
A recent report pointed out that heading to the airport via Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard from the northern entrance to the hotel zone now takes about 45 minutes. While certainly not the typical 15 minutes it would take if there were no congestion, it is an improvement over the beginning of August. It’s recommended to arrive at the airport three hours before departure, so every minute saved on the way there is a good thing.
To get an idea of how long travelers should expect a drive to the airport to take from the Northern Hotel Zone in Cancun, we’ve used Google Maps data for accurate estimates. At the peak of the construction congestion, tourists were driving through the entirety of the hotel zone and exiting via the south entrance to avoid the construction along Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard.
To test whether this is still a viable option, we compared the routes leaving from Puerto Cancun near the hotel zone’s northern entrance. We also chose the departing time as 8:30 am on a Monday, as this departure time showed the heaviest traffic. The results were as follows:
Northern Hotel Zone to Cancun International Airport
Via Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard
- Trip Time: 24 – 45 minutes
- Arrival Time: 9:15 am
- Distance: 11.3 miles
- How Soon To Leave Before Flight: 3 hr 45
Via The Hotel Zone
- Trip Time: 30 – 55 minutes
- Arrival Time: 9:25 am
- Distance: 20 miles
- How Soon To Leave Before Flight: 3 hr 55
Google maps future predictions have a consistent accuracy rate of 97%, meaning the data above can be trusted. This also means that for many travelers heading to the airport from the Northern Hotel Zone, there is no longer any reason to avoid Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard. However, the further south you go in the hotel zone, the shorter the trip time becomes. Travelers should check both before deciding which route to take, and local taxis will likely know which route would fare better.
Not everyone who flies into Cancun heads to the northern zone. Travelers frequently visit Playa del Carmen, Tulum, the Southern Hotel Zone, and the Riviera Maya. Estimated transport times for each area have been laid out below using the same parameters as the last example.
Playa Del Carmen
- Departure Location: Hilton Playa del Carmen
- Trip Time: 40 min – 1hr 5
- Arrival Time: 9:35 am
- Distance: 34.4 miles
- How Soon To Leave Before Flight: 4 hr 5
Southern Hotel Zone
- Departure Location: Club Med Cancun
- Trip Time: 14 – 16 minutes
- Arrival Time: 8:46 am
- Distance: 7.6 miles
- How Soon To Leave Before Flight: 3 hr 16
- Departure Location: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa
- Trip Time: 1hr 10 – 1hr 50
- Arrival Time: 10:20 am
- Distance: 68.4 miles
- How Soon To Leave Before Flight: 4 hr 50
- Departure Location: Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
- Trip Time: 55 min – 1hr 25
- Arrival Time: 9:55 am
- Distance: 47 miles
- How Soon To Leave Before Flight: 4 hr 25
While travel times to the airport are improving, it is important for every traveler to check the status of the roads before heading to the airport. Construction is ongoing, and road closures could take place with little notice. For now, it looks as if travelers can ease up compared to the beginning of August, especially those visiting the northern part of the hotel zone.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com