Cancun is a vibrant beach city overlooking the Caribbean Sea. With its crystal blue sea and snow-white sand, the city can be too touristy for some visitors. But its location on Mexico’s east coast makes it the perfect jumping-off point to other destinations like Chichen Itza, Isla Mujeres and Holbox.
Depending on what you’re looking for, Cancun can just be a short stopover or a holiday destination by itself. You’ll find most tourists in the Hotel Zone, which is full to the brim with all-inclusive resorts, restaurants and lively bars.
Our advice is to question what you want to get from your visit to Mexico. If it’s a relaxing holiday surrounded by luxury and comfort then Cancun is perfect. If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican experience, it’s better to go somewhere else.
The only way to cover the 4,440km (2,758 miles) from Tijuana to Cancun is by flight. Travel time is 5 hours 20 minutes for direct flights and about 8 hours for indirect flights (both including airport transfers). Combined rates start from 2,010 MXN ($98) and 940 MXN ($47), respectively.
Since you are going from one side of the country to the other, there are no direct buses or any land transport between Tijuana and Cancun. And if there were, it would take around three days to complete the journey. We’re guessing that not many people would want to sit on a bus for that long!
Flying directly is definitely faster, but also often more expensive than those making a layover in Mexico City or Guadalajara. An indirect flight, on the other hand, may be a few hours slower, but it costs only half the price of travelling direct.
When flying, we hope that you can consider to include a carbon compensation fee to help reduce your impact on the environment.
There are plenty of flights operating from Tijuana to Cancun. But before you choose which one to take, it’s important to take note of 2 factors: time and budget.
If you have to go fast, then prepare to spend at least 1,800 MXN ($88) for a 4-hour-15-minute direct flight. But if you don’t mind taking it a bit slow, then you can save a lot of money with a 7-hour indirect flight with fares from 730 MXN ($37).
Step 1: City centre to Tijuana Airport
Duration: 15 minutes Cost: 110 MXN ($5.50)
Flights from Tijuana to Cancun depart from Tijuana Airport, located north of the city, next to the border with the United States. To get to the airport, you can do it by taxi. An average ride from the city centre will cost around 160 MXN ($8).
As a cheaper alternative, Uber is available in Tijuana and the rate to the airport is around 110 MXN ($5.50). It takes around 15 minutes to get to the airport from the city centre.
Step 2: Tijuana to Cancun by Direct Flight
Duration: 4 hours 15 minutes Cost: From 1,800 MXN ($88)
Direct flights from Tijuana to Cancun are definitely faster, but very expensive. Flight time is around 4 hours 15 minutes and airfares start from 1,800 MXN ($88).
VivaAerobus and Volaris each offer one direct flight daily. These flights depart late in the evening so you will arrive in Cancun early morning the next day.
As we previously mentioned, if you’re looking to save money, flights with a layover in either Mexico City or Guadalajara are your best option. Fares for these indirect flights start from 730 MXN ($37) and the journey takes around 7 hours.
There are 3 airlines offering indirect flights from Tijuana to Cancun: VivaAerobus, Volaris and AeroMexico. To find the best rates, it is best to book at least several weeks in advance.
When you arrive at Cancun International Airport, there are two main areas where most visitors will stay, downtown Cancun or the Hotel Zone on the beach.
To get to any of them, you can use the bus, shared minivan or a private shuttle. All three options have an average duration of 40 minutes.
Buses from Cancun Airport to the city’s main bus terminal depart several times a day from 08:20 to 23:10 (roughly every 40 minutes). A ticket costs 98 MXN ($5) and you can book one online via ClickBus.
Shared minivans drop you off at your accommodation. Rates start from 157 MXN ($7), more budget-friendly than a taxi since you are sharing the ride with other travellers. They depart every hour, 24 hours a day, from Cancun Airport. You can book the minivans on BookAway.
Private transfers are provided by several companies that offer different vehicle options. You can compare some of these companies and book online through BookAway. Rates start at 456 MXN ($23).
If you prefer a homely feel compared to hotels then definitely stay at Estancia. The owners will instantly make you feel welcome and are always there to offer advice.
The homestay offers a very convenient location, close to the local markets and not too far from the ADO bus station. The rooms are clean and spacious, plus a steal for their price. If you fancy doing some cooking whilst in Cancun, you can make use of the communal kitchen.
Looking for a unique sleeping experience? The Yellow Capsule Hotel will definitely give you that. Instead of traditional rooms, you’ll get to sleep in a pod. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the future when you clamber into your bright and spacious pod.
The capsules are clean and include everything you need for a comfy stay, a mirror, outlets, a safe and storage space. When you’re done hangin around in your pod, you can chill at the hotel's terrace and enjoy their free breakfast.
Viento Suites is somewhat of an escape from the busy and hectic cancun. Once you’re inside the walls of the hotel, chilling in the garden beside the swimming pool, you’ll forget about the outside world.
The location couldn’t be more perfect. It’s situated within Downtown Cancun but also very close to the Hotel Zone and beaches. The rooms look like those from a high-class hotel, but without the extortionate prices.
Resorts in Cancun can cost you a bomb! Sina Suites gives you that resort-style feel without the high prices. Ever wanted your own private marina in a hotel? Now you probably do, and Sina Suites has one. It also has a large swimming pool set amongst gardens that overlook the lagoon.
You can enjoy a continental breakfast and delicious Mexican food in their poolside restaurant and bar that sits underneath a traditional thatched hut! You’ll also get more than just a room, most suites also offer a kitchenette and balcony.