What To Know
SPEAK THAT SPANISH (even just a little), it will help a lot! Especially when it comes to negotiating souvenir prices and restaurant deals. If you speak Spanish, most restaurants will give you %15 off. If you are a local you get the locals discount.
BRING CASH. Most places are CASH ONLY. For people in Tulum: do not get money at an ATM on the beach. It’s extremely expensive ($10 + 8% extra fee of whatever you take out)! Get money at ATMs at a bank (Scotiabank) somewhere in the city center, it’s much cheaper. Also be careful with street ATMs because a lot of them get hacked by thieves and they steal credit card numbers.
TIPPING: It’s a tipping culture, so leave a little something if you’re happy with the service.
PARKING: Parking around Tulum town and Valladolid is generally free. Tulum beach parking spots tend to be paid, but rates are reasonable.
DO NOT SPEED. Also, WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS. Seriously, the po-pos here like to catch tourists who are careless. That said, if you follow the rules, it will be very chill. It is extremely safe and pleasant to drive around. Highways are new, clean and perfectly paved.
DO NOT DRINK FROM THE TAP! Don’t brush your teeth tap water too. And try not to open your mouth in the shower. You don’t want to ruin your trip with an upset stomach! Make sure to ask if the ice in your drink is made from filtered water as well.
MAPS: Download the general Cancún area as an offline map, just in case. Here’s how. You don’t wanna get lost in the middle of nowhere when you lose your internet connection.
AIRPORT WIFI: There’s no wifi until you exit immigration at Cancún Airport. The wifi post-immigration is the Google wifi network.
AIRPORT BUSES: If you are arriving solo and taking a bus from the airport, please use ADO (red logo), they have the best reviews. Don’t be fooled by bookers that offer you ‘better deals’, best to stick to ADO. Their booth is out on the right side as you exit Cancún Airport Arrivals.
AIRPORT SERVICED TRANSFERS: If you don’t wanna rent a car or take the bus, We highly recommend pre-booking a transfer from USA Transfers. Do not get a car from Super Shuttle at the airport, it’s really expensive.
CAR RENTALS: Car rental booths are in the airport, straight after immigration. If you’ve pre-booked online, go there to claim your car. If you haven’t, this is where you book it. Be sure to leave space on your credit cards for a damage deposit. You get all this back, of course, unless you damage the car. But just know that you will need space on your card for this.
SIM CARDS: You cannot buy SIM cards at Cancún Airport. Just be prepared and use the wifi first. That said, you can buy SIM cards at any OXXO (their version of 7-Eleven) or gas station convenience store. TELCEL is the most recommended network. If transiting through the US, you can typically buy a SIM there.
SUPERMARKET: If you are heading straight to Valladolid, there is a supermarket called SuperChe right as you enter the town. You can get bottled water and stock up on Adobo Lays chips there. Heh. If you are headed to Tulum, head for Chedraui supermarket, it’s a huge one that will have everything you need.