Arriving at Cancun International Airport will give you your first flavour of Mexico, as you cruise in on approach you'll get to see the beautiful white sand beaches if you're sitting on the right hand side of the aircraft. Descend over thick jungle until out of nowhere the runway suddenly appears.
Immediately when you step off the plane the heat and humidity will let you know you're in Cancun. There are a few important things you need to know though, if you want to make it through the airport with the maximum of speed and minimum hassle to start your Cancun vacation the fastest possible way.
Cancun Entry Requirements
During your flight you should be given given two forms to fill out - one for Immigration (Tourist Card or FM-T) and another for Customs (Customs Declaration Form). You can see examples of the forms over in the right hand side "tip box".
It will speed up everyone's passage if you complete these before you land. However, if you don't receive the forms on the flight, extra copies are always available in the airport.
Please note that since January 8th 2007 all US citizens
will need a passport for their Cancun visit. A drivers license and
birth certificate are no longer valid forms of identification for
a visit to Mexico when travelling by air. If you arrive at your
departure airport without one you will not be allowed to board.
The FM-T form allows you to remain as a tourist in Mexico for up to 180 days, however, normally it is first issued for 30 or 60 days. If you wish to stay any longer than this then you will need to visit the immigration office in Cancun.
Look after your FM-T you will need to produce this again for your return journey, if you lose it it can cause problems and delays.
All passports will need to have at least 6 months remaining from your date of entry, this is to match the maximum period your FM-T can be valid for.
Rumor has it that the customs red light shows up at a frequency of 1 in 10. Watch the guys in front of you and shuffle your position in the line!
Once you have passed immigration and have collected your bags you will now have to queue again to pass customs. All bags pass first pass through an electronic scanner and at this point you hand in your customs form and if you have 'nothing to declare' you will be invited to press a button which will show either a green or red light.
A green light indicates that you can pass whereas a red light will indicate that your bags will be hand searched. Searches are normally cursory unless of course something is discovered which may arise further suspicion, the list below indicates the most common restrictions:
Cancun Aiport Transfers
The first thing you will notice is that there will be many people thronging the arrivals exit. There will be a mixture of porters, van drivers, travel reps, and people handing out vouchers and brochures. It can be a little daunting at first, I tend to steer clear of the porters who want to carry your bags, your transportation may be very nearby and a healthy tip will be expected.
Try not to get into lengthy conversations with people who are offering free trips or meals, these are timeshare sharks and there is no such thing as a free lunch. However, do look out for the ladies in Mayan dress handing out small plastic bags. These are filled with money off vouchers and useful maps and guides.
Cancun Travel Advisories
Before traveling to Cancun it is wise to check on the latest Mexico travel advisory advice issued by your Government. Quick links can be found below