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Getting Around Cancun

Feb 28, 2008
As there is so much to see - both within Cancun's Hotel Zone and beyond the city - you should make preparations for getting around. Even if your hotel or resort offers some shuttle services, you will most likely make use of other forms of transportation while in Cancun. In fact, nearly every visitor to Cancun takes advantage of the transportation options provided by public buses, taxis and rental cars. Regardless of your budget and how you want to see Cancun, you will be able to find reliable and affordable transportation when visiting the city.

If you are staying in the Hotel Zone, the public bus system is one of the most effective ways to get around Cancun. Routes 1 and 2 (shown on maps as R1 and R2) service the entire Hotel Zone and run throughout the night. As fares in the Hotel Zone typically cost only 75 cents, there is certainly no more affordable way to get around the most exciting part of Cancun. However, it is advisable to keep Mexican pesos on hand when riding buses in Cancun, as you might have difficulty getting change with American currency. It is also a good idea to pick up a copy of "The MAP," a free pocket guide that details all of the local bus routes. This locally-produced guide will be readily available at the airport when you arrive in Cancun or at your resort.

If you plan on riding buses to get from your hotel to the beaches and activities of the Hotel Zone, it is important to remember the kilometer markings of your destinations. Nearly all of the buses servicing the Hotel Zone remain on the 25km route - Avenida Kukulcan - that runs from the mainland to the end of the peninsula. The area closest to the mainland - also known as 'the top of the 7' because of the overall shape of the Hotel Zone - comprises kilometer markings from 0 to 7.5. If you plan on going out at night, you will find that many of the popular bars and nightclubs are located at the corner of the '7' at kilometer marker 7.5. Most of the resorts and best beaches in Cancun are located on the eastern side of Avenida Kukulcan from kilometers 8 to 20. When riding buses in the Hotel Zone - especially between kilometers 8 and 20 - you may want to remember some landmarks in addition to the distance markers to avoid missing your stops.

The public bus system also makes regular trips to downtown Cancun, known as El Centro. Running each day from 6 am to midnight, Route 1 picks up passengers all along the Hotel Zone and drops off in front of downtown Cancun's most popular outdoor market on Avenida Tulum. While in El Centro, you can enjoy a number of authentic Mexican restaurants and shop for everything from clothing and jewelry to locally-made arts and crafts. If you want to travel affordably outside of Cancun, you can also find routes to plenty of exciting destinations from the Cancun Bus Station located on Avenida Tulum.

While not as affordable as public buses, taxis also provide an effective way to get around Cancun. Regardless of where you are staying, you shouldn't have any trouble hailing a taxi at any time of day. Generally, fares within the Hotel Zone range from $6-10, but it is possible to negotiate prices with any cabdriver. If you want to take a taxi to El Centro, fares generally start at $8 and can be much higher depending on the length of the trip. As taxi service is in highest demand at night as a safe way to visit bars and clubs, some drivers may ask for higher fares. Yet, if you negotiate a price with your driver before getting in, you shouldn't have any trouble finding an affordable ride.

For those that want to carve their path or travel outside of Cancun, there are several car rental agencies located in the Hotel Zone. While a car rental might be impractical for tourists spending most of their time within the Hotel Zone, adventurous travelers will have a chance to see Cancun and the spectacular sights of the Mayan Riviera their own way. Though it is possible to visit destinations such as Chichen Itza and Tulum with organized tours, car rentals can allow tourists to spend as much time as they like at such sites and even make stops along the way. If you simply want to explore the Hotel Zone and El Centro on your own schedule, a scooter or moped rental might be a good option. However, as driving in Cancun can be difficult for the uninitiated, scooter rentals are typically recommended to those who have ridden before.

Regardless of what type of traveler you are, there are plenty of ways to get around Cancun quickly and affordably. If you make a good plan for yourself, you shouldn't have to worry about transportation at all. After all, with so much to see and experience in Cancun, you'd rather spend your time having fun.
About the Author
Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Cancun and Mexico tourism for the Marriott Resorts.
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