Five Beginners’ Tips and Great Reminders for Traveling to Rivera Maya
Having personally and professionally traveled to Cancun and Riviera Maya over 24 times, Fox Travel Advisor Paula Bursa is no stranger to breathtaking sunrises, ocean breezes, new adventures and those early mornings in winter arriving at the airport to make that long-awaited flight to paradise for a week. As one of Fox’s Sun and Fun Experts, Paula shares her tips for first timers traveling to Cancun or Riviera Maya, Mexico.
If you’ve traveled into the Cancun airport before (airport code CUN), you likely have a good sense of what I am about to tell you. But for those who are new(er) to this zone, or for those looking for a reminder, these tips and updates could make all the world in helping you save money, save time and most of all, feel more relaxed in your upcoming vacation travel experience.
- Immigration Forms No More: If you’ve traveled internationally, or specifically to Mexico before, you’ll recall the forms handed out on their airplane or as you depart into customs. Recently, Mexico has done away with these forms, so your ease in getting off the plane and finding your spot in line is now one step easier.
- Customs: The exciting inevitable, this is still a process to plan for. While the lines seem daunting, the actual time to get through is about thirty to forty-five minutes, give or take. Every day can be a little different but expect that to be approximate. If a restroom break is needed, a group hack would be to get in line and one by one grab that restroom break while the team holds your spot.
- Baggage Delays. I’m sorry. I came right out and said it. It’s been a documented hour and (and sometimes up to two) to get baggage. And yes, that is IN addition to the wait you just had in customs. The reason this is important to know is a) so your expectations are level set and b) you can consider your options. Some, knowing this expectation, review their baggage needs and opt to stick with carry on. I have yet to make that smart move, but perhaps one of these days.
- The Red Zone: If you haven’t heard this term before, it relates to the inner concourse between exiting baggage claim and seeing the sky above your head. It’s a hallway filled with people trying to sell time shares tours, taxi services and other excursions at extremely higher prices than should be and at times (ok often times) through misleading or complete non-truths (if you hear, “Marcus sent me to pick you up”, know you found yourself in a potential scam).
- Transportation: If you are traveling with one of our preferred partners like Apple Vacations, mostly likely your transportation is already taken care of for you by a trusted partner like AmStar. If you prefer something more direct or private than the AmStar large shuttle bus, Fox World Travel loves to recommend Lomas Travel. You may be wondering why I am name dropping here, but it’s for good reason. Item #2 above this talks about the “red zone”; if you AREN’T set up with a reputable company that you have made PRE arrangements with, you will absolutely pay for your lack of planning in not just exceptionally higher fees, but likely wasted time and potential unplanned, unasked for detours to a resort time share you did not request.
Moral of the Story—Don’t let this deter you! Mexico is one of the most beautiful, tropical, relaxing destinations in the Caribbean with a plethora of genuine, service-driven natives. However, like any other large, tourist-centric city, it’s also ready for the unprepared. So, get a head of the game and know your landscape before you travel. If you are left reading this with a few more questions, that’s what you’re travel advisor is here for. To hold your hand before, during and after.
- A beer outside the airport is $12; mixers are more. Don’t expect a $20 to get you two drinks.
- When ordering from a restaurant, ensure you take a picture of the price so it matches your bill (PS- It’s illegal to add tip to a check in Mexico, so be cautious of this trick).
- Two4One drinks are usually not worth the gimmick; steer clear if you prefer proper portioned pours.
- If you run across a local who says, “Hey- do you remember me? I was your waiter!” He wasn’t. 😊 He just wants you to stop of a second and shop in his shop.
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