One Mistake That Can Cost You Serious Money at the Cancun Airport

Foreign tourists await the departure of their flights, at the Cancun Terminal 2 airport

Foreign tourists await the departure of their flights, at the Cancun Terminal 2 airport | Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images

Cancun, Mexico, remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world — and when you consider the proximity to the turquoise Caribbean and white sand beaches, it’s not hard to see why. Statista notes in 2017, Cancun saw 6.76 million visitors — and that number is expected to jump by several million by 2025. And that also means millions more will be rolling through the Cancun airport.

Whether you’re a pro traveler or you’re not quite familiar with how it all goes down, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. Additionally, there’s one mistake you absolutely should not make when flying in and out of this airport.

The layout of the airport

Scared of navigating the airport? Though Cancun remains a massive tourist hub, the airport itself is quite easy to get through — and that’s partially due to its relatively small size. It’s important to note there are currently three terminals, though the fourth terminal is set to open October 10.

Terminal 1 is primarily for charters and private flights, Terminal 2 is for domestic flights, and Terminal 3 is where your international flights can be found. Terminal 4 is set to be for international flights as well.

When it comes to getting to your desired destination from the Cancun resort once you’ve arrived, there are plenty of options here as well. Private taxis or shared vans are popular amongst tourists and can easily be found at the airport. Otherwise, you can also opt to take the ADO bus that leaves from terminal 2 to the center of Cancun or Playa del Carmen, Sunset Royal Beach Resort suggests. From the airport, you can expect to reach your resort in 15 to 60 minutes.

Know what you can and cannot bring into Mexico

You may be surprised by what you should and shouldn’t bring into Mexico. Documentation is vital, of course, so make sure you’re traveling with an up-to-date passport and secondary identification. If you’re visiting on a visa, it’s equally important to check the dates on that as well.

As for personal items, it’s important to note you can only bring one laptop and three cellular phones per person into the country. If you have medical needs, you can also only bring in one glucose-testing device and one blood pressure instrument. And if you’re visiting in hopes of bringing sporting equipment (perhaps for a tournament or just to play with friends), there are restrictions here as well as outlined by Discover Baja Travel Club.

Don’t make this mistake: Losing your Mexican tourist card

Here’s the one mistake that can cost you and your family a lot of money depending on how many people you’re traveling with. Mexperience notes if you’re visiting Mexico and will be traveling beyond the 35-kilometer “free zone,” you’ll have to fill out a Forma Migratoria Multiple card, or FMM for short. These cards are for those who will be in the country for 180 days or less and are passport holders of a country that doesn’t require a visa to enter Mexico.

The card includes your name, nationality, passport number, and country of residence. Your international flight crew will hand them out to you on the plane, and they’re available at the airport once you land.

Once you pass through immigration, it’s vital to hold on to the half of the stamped form the immigration officers hand back to you. This is because before leaving the country, you must hand it back to airport personnel. If you don’t have your FMM when leaving, you can expect a fine of around $40 USD per card lost (you can see how this gets expensive in a group setting). Additionally, this can cause unforeseen delays, which may cause you to miss a flight. Be sure to keep this card safe.

Another mistake: Asking the airport regarding your lost luggage

It may seem intuitive to ask airport personnel about any lost luggage, but it’ll get you nowhere fast. In Cancun, the airlines are the ones who handle the luggage exclusively, and the airport can’t help. If you’ve arrived and your luggage is nowhere to be found, contact your airline. They’ll be able to help you locate your belongings.

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