How to Reach Riviera Maya by Airplane

All of the towns in the Riviera Maya are services by Cancun International Airport

Photo credit: © Gabriel Patron
 

Although the Riviera Maya is comprised of a collection of towns along the coast of the Mexican Caribbean, at least one of which has a small airport of its own, the best way to get to this stretch of valuable vacation property is to fly to the international airport in Cancun.

Cancun International Airport

The heart of the Riviera Maya is Playa Del Carmen, about 45 minutes away from the Cancun International Airport (CUN). Using this airport to fly to a vacation in this region is extremely airport because every major international airline offers regularly scheduled flights to this destination. This means the likelihood of finding a direct flight increases significantly, and even when you can't find a direct flight, arranging a connection is easy as well.

The airport itself has two runways that lead to one domestic and two international terminals which are further split into 68 gates. Tourists who will choose to fly to their next destination rather than fly will need to switch to a smaller airline when they arrive, and to do this the airport offers a free shuttle from the international terminals to the domestic terminal.

Within the airport there are a number of services and amenities that travelers can begin with starting with duty free and specialty shopping, a food court, five sit-down restaurants, VIP and business lounges, a locker room, and medical and handicapped facilities.

Customs

When you arrive at Cancun International Airport, you'll be required to go through customs just as you would when you visit any foreign destination. Here, you'll have to present your customs form which you should have received and filled out on the plane, plus your identification. Canadian citizens can visit Mexico with just their birth certificate and a picture ID, but other visitors will need a passport and possibly a visa. After the official has reviewed your paperwork, you will then press a button to determine if you will be subject to further inspection. If the light turns green you can leave, but if it turns red, you'll have to stay and have your luggage searched.

If you're flying from the states this table can aid the planning process. The online booking services may not recognize the least costly options so it's useful to see which airlines actually fly direct to this location.

Cancun International Airport U.S. Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Austin, TX, USA AUS AirTran
Baltimore, MD, USA BWI AirTran
Chicago, IL, USA MDW AirTran
Chicago, IL, USA RFD Frontier Airlines
Cincinatti, OH, USA CVG Aeromexico, Frontier Airlines
Cleveland, OH, USA CLE Frontier Airlines, United Airlines
Detroit, MI, USA DTW Aeromexico, Delta Airlines
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA FLL Jet Blue, Spirit Airlines
Fresno, CA, USA FAT Aeromexico
Indianapolis, IN, USA IND Frontier Airlines
Kansas City, KS, USA MCI Frontier Airlines
Lansing, MI, USA LAN Frontier Airlines
Las Vegas, NV, USA LAS Aeromexico
Los Angeles, CA, USA LAX Aeromexico, Delta Airlines, United Airlines
Miami, FL, USA MIA Aeromexico, American Airlines
Milwaukee, WI, USA MKE AirTran, Frontier Airlines
Minneapolis, MN, USA MSP Delta Airlines, Sun Country Airlines
Orlando, FL, USA MCO Aeromexico, Jet Blue
Pittsburgh, PA, USA PIT AirTran, Frontier Airlines
Salt Lake City, UT, USA SLC Frontier Airlines
San Antonio, TX, USA SAT Aeromexico, AirTran
San Francisco, CA, USA SFO Aeromexico, United Airlines
St. Louis, MO, USA STL Aeromexico, Frontier Airlines

The following table shows which airlines fly directly from airports in Canada.

Cancun International Airport Canadian Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Calgary, Canada YYC Air Canada, Sunwing Airlines
Edmonton, Canada YEG Sunwing Airlines
Halifax, Canada YHZ Air Canada
Montreal, Canada YUL Air Canada, Sunwing Airlines
Quebec City, Canada YBQ Sunwing Airlines
Regina, Canada YQR Sunwing Airlines
Saskatoon, Canada YXE Sunwing Airlines
Sault Ste. Marie, Canada YAM Sunwing Airlines
Thunder Bay, Canada YQT Sunwing Airlines
Vancouver, Canada YVR Sunwing Airlines
Winnipeg, Canada YWG Air Canada, Sunwing Airlines
Cozumel International Airport Canadian Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Montreal, Canada YUL Air Canada

If you'll be flying from across "the Pond" the table below is relevant.

Cancun International Airport European Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
London, United Kingdom LGW British Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, Virgin Airlines

Flying to Riviera Maya from the Caribbean

See the following chart for scheduled air service from airports in the region. If there aren't any flights from an airport near your home, taking a connecting flight from another Caribbean airport may be a fine option.

Cancun International Airport Caribbean Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Belize BZE Maya Island Air
Cozumel, Mexico CZM MAYAir
Cozumel International Airport Caribbean Flights
To/From Airport Code Airlines
Cancun, Mexico CUN MAYAir

Traveling from the Airport

Once you've arrived at the airport, there are several different ways to get to your destination in the Riviera Maya. The first is to rent a car and drive yourself. Most destinations can be reached along Federal Highway 307, which is a very well maintained two to four lane highway that offers a straight and smooth path. Several international rental agencies are located just outside of baggage claim, and you can rent a car for between $30 and $150(USD) a day.

Many visitors will choose to take a bus over renting a car and either use local public transportation when they arrive at their destination, or rent a car when they get there. The buses that travel up and down are owned by ADO, and are luxury, first class vehicles. You'll rarely spend more than $10(USD) for a bus ride to the town you're visiting.

The final option is to hire a taxi to your accommodations. When you arrange this in advance, the driver will pick you up in baggage claim at the airport, then take you directly to where you are staying. The cost will depend on how many passengers you have and where you are traveling to, but you can expect to spend between $50 and $250(USD).

Cancun International Airport services the entire Riviera Maya, which makes it easy for tourists visiting this region by narrowing down their choices. After picking a flight, the biggest decision you'll have to make is which form of transportation you'll use to get from the airport to your accommodations.

Check out this chart if you want to reach some of the regional air charter companies.

Charter Operators
Name Phone Location
Aero Saab Main Office (998) 873-0501 Playa Del Carmen Airport - 1.3 mi. (2.0 km) South West of Playa del Carmen Mexico
Aero Saab Service from CUN (998) 873-0501 Cancun International Airport - 9.0 mi. (14.5 km) South of Cancun Mexico
Aero Saab Service from Holbox (998) 873-0501 Holbox Airport - Holbox Holbox
Aero Saab Service from ISJ (998) 873-0501 Isla Mujeres Airport - 1.2 mi. (2.0 km) North-Northwest of Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres
Cancun Executive VIP Transport (998) 850-3084 Cancun International Airport - 9.0 mi. (14.5 km) South of Cancun Mexico
Sky Tour (866) 420-9265 5.6 mi. (9.1 km) South West of Playa del Carmen Mexico
Tropic Air (800) 422-3435 San Pedro Airport - San Pedro Ambergris Caye
 

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