The vibrant coastal city of Cancun is the door to the Mayan Riviera. Here you’ll find a lively nightlife scene, lots of shopping and restaurant options, and stunning beaches with turquoise waters.
Cancun’s location makes it the perfect jumping-off point for a number of day trips, combining adventure, history and culture. From Cancun, you can explore the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza or go swimming at the nearby Cenote Ik Kil and Balankanche Caves.
Cancun has so much to offer and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. It’s definitely worth a spot on your itinerary. Just keep in mind that it’s more for tourists who want to go on a relaxing holiday. If you’re looking for a more authentic Mexican experience, you’ll have to go elsewhere.
The best way to cover the 1,620km (1,006 miles) from Mexico City to Cancun is via a 3.5-hour flight (already including transfers) with combined fares from 668 MXN ($32.50). Alternatively, you can take a 26-hour bus with rates from 1,747 MXN ($84).
A flight from Mexico City to Cancun takes just a little more than 2 hours. Even if you add the airport transfers, it’s still just about a 3.5-hour journey. And if you book some time in advance, you’re more likely to find yourself a cheap flight, much cheaper than a bus ticket!
Even for the most seasoned travellers, sitting for 26 hours on a bus is a long time! Which is why flying is hands down our recommended option for this route. If the bus has any advantage though, it’s the opportunity to get a close-up look of Mexico’s unexplored little towns.
A suggestion for those who do choose to fly: consider including a carbon compensation fee to help reduce your impact on the environment.
Flights from Mexico City to Cancun are both fast and cheap, making them the most convenient choice when travelling on this route.
While we’re not always in favour of taking flights due to its environmental impact, we can’t deny that it’s the best option to get from Mexico City to Cancun.
Step 1: Mexico City to Mexico City Airport
Duration: 45 minutes Cost: 30 MXN ($1.50)
Flights from Mexico City to Cancun depart from Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX), located 10km east of the city centre. You can get there in 4 ways: a 45-minute Metrobus, 25-minute taxi/Uber, 30-minute minivan, or 50-minute Metro.
For a combination of budget and convenience, we recommend taking the Metrobus, which only costs 30 MXN ($1.50). Take Line #4. You can ask the assistance of your hotel for the nearest bus stop or you can board one at Republica de Argentina, the closest bus stop to the main square.
If you prefer a private and fast ride, we recommend hailing an Uber with rates from 200 MXN ($10).
Staying outside of Mexico City centre? A Metro ride is the cheapest option at 5 MXN ($0.25). Note though that you may have to make at least one train transfer.
Another convenient option is a shared minivan that will pick you up from your hotel and take you straight to Mexico City Airport. Fares start from 180 MXN ($9) from the city centre and 315 MXN ($15) from other areas. You can conveniently book your shared minivan ticket via BookAway.
You shouldn’t have a hard time getting a flight from Mexico City to Cancun. There are plenty of schedules to choose from, with flights departing every 20-40 minutes from 06:00 to 23:00.
Ticket prices start from 540 MXN ($26) and flight time is a little over 2 hours.
You can choose from 4 airlines covering this route: AeroMexico, Interjet, VivaAerobus and Volaris.
In terms of service, AeroMexico is a bigger airline and their service is superior, but this tends to come at a higher price. Interjet has mid-range prices, while VivaAerobus and Volaris are the most affordable options.
To get the best rates, it is better to plan ahead and book some weeks in advance.
If you want to head straight to Cancun city centre or the beach/resort area once you arrive, you can do it by bus, shared minivan or with a private shuttle. All three options have an average duration of 30 to 40 minutes.
The bus is the cheapest option with ticket prices from 98 MXN ($5). These buses, operated by ADO, depart from the airport roughly every hour from 08:20 to 21:40. They park at Cancun’s main bus terminal, just within walking distance from many hotels in the city centre.
Shared minivans are a good option if you want to be dropped off at your hotel’s doorstep but don’t have the budget for a taxi. They depart every hour, 24 hours a day from Cancun Airport. You can book this service on BookAway, with rates starting at 158 MXN ($8).
The most comfortable option is to hire a private transfer, but as with most things, this comes at a higher cost. Rates start from 500 MXN ($24) for a 4-seater car. We recommend booking your ride online beforehand via BookAway for more spacious cars and trusted drivers.
If flying’s not really your thing, there are also buses operating direct trips from Mexico City to Cancun. But there’s a catch, they take around 26 hours to complete the journey.
We don’t really recommend the bus as apart from the travel time taking more than 1 day, fares are at least 2x more expensive compared to taking a flight. But if you’re up for it, make sure to stock up on water, snacks and maybe a podcast or two to pass the time.
Step 1: Mexico City to Cancun
Duration: 25.5 hours Cost: 1,732 MXN ($83)
Buses from Mexico City to Cancun depart from ADO’s northern bus terminal called Central Mexico Norte.
Mexico’s most popular bus company, ADO, is the sole operator in this route. It offers first class buses with AC, reclining seats and a toilet. There are 4 bus departures daily.
Throughout your journey, the bus will make a few stops in different towns including Villahermosa, Campeche and Merida. Here, you should be able to stretch your legs, go to the toilet and grab a few snacks to keep you going for the rest of the trip.
One “advantage” of taking the bus is that if you had chosen to fly, you probably wouldn’t have the chance to see these smaller cities within Mexico. We’re not sure whether this “advantage” is worth the 25.5-hour ride though!
You can easily book your tickets online via ADO’s website, or you can buy your ticket directly at the bus terminal. Buses park at ADO Bus Station in Cancun city centre.
Duration: 5 – 25 minutes Cost: from 15 MXN ($0.70)
Cancun’s main bus terminal is conveniently located within the city centre, with many hotels and hostels located close by or just a few blocks away. This gives you the perfect opportunity to exercise your legs after the long bus journey.
However, if you are staying further away or in the beach areas, you may want to take a taxi to get to your final destination. Taxis are available from outside of the bus terminal and are metered, so rates will depend on the distance and time. An average taxi ride to the beach area is around 210 MXN ($10).
Another option is to use public transport. Buses pass in front of the bus terminal on Avenida Tulum and lines R-1, R-3 and R-38 can take you to the beach and hotel area. The rate for the buses is 15 MXN ($0.70), to be paid directly to the bus driver.