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Travel to Cancun from the United States: A Guide

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Are you dreaming of palm trees, warm breezes, and swimming in the turquoise Caribbean waters of Cancun? Maybe you’re wondering if you can travel to Cancun from the US right now. The good news is that Mexico is open for tourism and Cancun is welcoming visitors from all over the world.

Tourism is alive and well in Cancun with only limited restrictions for travel. Have a look at our tips for traveling to make your journey and holiday stress-free. So, grab your suitcase and swimsuit. Cancun is waiting for you!

What Do I Need to Travel to Cancun?

Air Travel from the United States to Cancun

Direct Flights to Los Cabos, Mexico


Traveling by air to Cancun is by far the easiest means of travel to Cancun. Currently, there are numerous direct flights to Cancun leaving from major international airports throughout the United States including: American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines all have a strong network of non-stop flights from the United States.

Travel Requirements to Mexico

Tourist Card for Mexico

US Citizens are eligible to travel to Cancun visa-free. However, when entering Mexico via air or a land border, you must present a Tourist Card upon entry AND exit.

The Tourist Card, Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM), is an Entry Immigration Form that details information about foreign tourists visiting Mexico. Tourist cards are valid for up to 180 days and allow the holder to remain in Mexico as a tourist for the allotted time. Be sure to hold on to your tourist card and keep it in a safe place as you will need to hand it in when you are departing the country.

Mother and son at airport waiting for departure
Mother and son at airport waiting for departure.

While on the airplane, your flight attendant will hand you the form to be filled out before you land and shown at customs when entering Mexico. The tourist card must be stamped by an immigration official, otherwise it is not valid. If you happen to lose your card while on vacation, don’t panic, you can get a replacement card at the airport on the day of your departure. Just make sure you plan to arrive in plenty of time and be prepared to pay the replacement fee.

Something to note is that recently, Mexican immigration officials have been giving tourists specific amounts of time that they are allowed to stay in Mexico, instead of the blanket 180 days that they used to give everyone. Immigration officials at the border may ask to see your return ticket and stamp your tourist card and your passport with the specific number of days that you will be in Mexico. So be prepared to show your return ticket when you arrive in Mexico.

COVID Travel Requirements for Entering Mexico

Mexico has made it very easy for tourists to come to Mexico with very few travel requirements. Air travel is allowed into Mexico and being fully vaccinated is not a requirement. Up until recently, visitors and residents entering the country had to complete a health declaration form online and scan the QR code prior to boarding their outbound flights and again upon arrival in Mexico. However, on January 1, 2022, Mexico officially discontinued this form. Now the requirements to enter Mexico are the same as they were pre-COVID. There is no need to take a COVID test before departing from the US or undertake any form of quarantine upon arrival in Mexico.

Getting into Mexico is relatively easy, but getting back to the US does require proof of a negative viral COVID test result (PCR/NAAT or antigen test for current infection) for all travelers age 2 and up, taken within 24 hours of arrival to the US regardless of vaccination status. Antibody tests are not compliant with the requirement.

If you’ve already tested positive for the virus within the last three months, you will need to show documentation of recovery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the combination of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider stating you are cleared for travel constitute documentation of recovery.

Travelers to Canada must provide proof of a molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arriving in Canada. They must also enter their travel information, proof of vaccine, and quarantine plan (in the event of testing positive) in the ArriveCAN app prior to departure.

Currently, Mexico has had about 4,495,310 cases of COVID-19 and has administered at least 157 million doses of the vaccine.

As of January 10, 2022, 19 out of 32 Mexican states are listed as green in the national “stoplight” system. Green means that the risk of contagion is low, economic activity has resumed to near normal levels, and mask wearing is still recommended, but not necessarily mandatory, depending on the location.

Visitors are likely to find situations differ depending on where in the country they travel, with local restrictions varying. Stay up-to-date by checking the traffic light status chart, which is updated every two weeks.

Essential Travel Tips for Your Trip to Cancun

What to Do Before You Travel to Cancun

There are a few key things you’ll want to check off your list before heading to paradise that don’t involve packing to make sure your journey goes smoothly.

  • Pay the new mandatory tourist tax called “Visitax” online
  • Fill out your Tourist Card on the plane or online
  • Make sure your mobile is unlocked if you want to get a Mexican SIM card or sign up for an international plan with your home mobile carrier
  • Bring at least 2 credit or debit cards so you have a backup should any complications arise

Mobile Tips

It’s always nice to have use of your mobile for calling Ubers, getting directions, or making reservations. Many American carriers such as T-Mobile even include Mexico in their plans, meaning you won’t need to change your SIM card.

If you do decide to get a Mexican SIM, the biggest mobile provider is Telcel and it’s super easy to get set up with them for data packages as long as your phone is unlocked.

If you just need sporadic Wi-Fi use, most hotels and cafes do offer free Wi-Fi.

Mexico Travel Apps

Putting the right stuff on your phone is almost as important as putting the right stuff in your suitcase. A few travel apps that are helpful in Mexico include: Uber, Google translate, WhatsApp, and XE Currency.

What to Bring to Cancun?

Holiday suitcase

We all dream of living in our shorts, swimsuit, and flip-flops and Cancun has the perfect climate for warm weather outfits. Depending on what time of year you travel to Mexico, you’ll want to be prepared for a night out on the town, surprise rain showers, scorching sun, and sightseeing excursions into the lush jungles of the Riviera Maya during your holiday to Cancun.

Here’s Your Cancun Packing List:

  • Warm weather clothes (casual beach wear and dress for nights of fine dining or clubbing)
  • Sweater or light jacket for cool tropical evenings
  • Lightweight rain jacket and umbrella for the rainy season
  • Sandals and flip-flops
  • Sneakers for jungle adventures
  • Bathing suits (bring a few to rotate)
  • Bug spray and sunscreen
  • Medications (don’t’ forget to bring non-drowsy Dramamine if you want to go on a boat trip)
  • Sarong or quick-dry towel for water activities
  • Extra change purse so you can carry cash in a few different spots
  • A daypack or large tote bag to pack all your goodies for day trips and sightseeing
  • Charging plugs and cables for your devices. You don’t need to bring adaptors because Mexico uses the same outlets as the US.

How to Stay Safe and Healthy in Cancun

It’s never a bad idea to be extra vigilant when you’re in a new country, but you don’t want fear to ruin your holiday. It’s all about being smart and aware. By following some simple tips, you can keep safe and stay healthy when you travel to Cancun.

Cancun is a world-famous destination for international tourists who come to enjoy the natural beauty, culture, and affordable holiday activities and accommodations. Restaurants and hotels in touristy areas are set up to cater to western traveler’s needs, reducing the need to be overly cautious about everything you eat and drink. The cuisine in the Yucatan is unique and delicious, eat until your heart’s content. But, do stick with bottled water to save yourself from missing out on your days in paradise.


While Cancun is a safe city, there is crime. Don’t make yourself a target by wearing expensive jewelry, being careless with your mobile, or flashing lots of cash when paying for items. Keep your cash in separate places (wallet and purse pocket) with smaller currency in your wallet.

Whether you are a solo traveler, couple or group, avoid walking on dark and empty streets at night. Stick to crowded and well-lit streets.

Wear your face mask in crowded areas, bring hand sanitizer and remember to apply it often, also practice social distancing and avoid getting too close to others who are not traveling with you.

Choose a resort that has a reputation for its health and safety standards, like Garza Blanca Cancun.

Understanding Money in Mexico


Mexico uses the peso (MXN). The average 2022 exchange rate is 20 pesos to the dollar. Download the XE Currency app for daily currency rates and exchanges.

How To Get Money

ATMs: It’s not hard to find an ATM in Mexico, especially in popular tourist areas. Generally speaking, the transaction fees on the Mexican side are quite low ($1-2 per transaction). You’re better off withdrawing your maximum daily limit to avoid multiple transaction fees for small withdrawals.

Cash Exchanges: There are plenty of cash exchanges in popular tourist zones, but you never get a very good rate from them.

Credit Cards: Mexico is still very much a cash-based society, but it’s becoming easier to use a credit card. You’ll have no problem using your card to pay for your hotel, rent a car, shop at larger shopping centers, pay entrance fees at major attractions, and at nicer restaurants and bars.

We hope that you have found our travel to Cancun guide useful and that it will come in handy when you decide to live the vacation of a lifetime in a beautiful tropical paradise. Happy travels!


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