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Cancun Bus System
The bus system in Cancun is very convenient and cheap. That's the
first thing everyone mentions to tourists. But what do they leave out? Read on...
The fare is about 7.50 pesos it changes constantly , which works out
to about 60 cents US.
The bus driver will hand you a ticket. Usually this has a coupon for
some kind of mild discount. In 2 weeks I didn't take advantage of any of them. You are
supposed to hold onto the ticket during your ride. An inspector might jump on the bus and
ask to see it. I wish I could say this never happened but in my 2 weeks of riding the bus
it did happen twice. The good news is they don't mind if you have to uncrinkle it from a
little rolled-up ball.
Some people hand their ticket back to the driver as they get off.
This is apparently a tip to the driver who gets to re-sell the same ticket to someone
When you are going down into the hotel zone, you can hop aboard any
bus with the sign "zona hotelera" on the front.
When you are coming out of the hotel zone, only Route 1 and Route 2
go to the downtown area. Route 1 goes to Avenida Tulum and goes down it. You will know
you've reached downtown when you see "Rolandi's" restaurant on the right and
then a flea market on the right. Route 2 crosses Avenida Tulum at the bottom and you
should get off at that point. When I took Route 2, sometimes the driver would call
attention to this spot and sometimes not.
For short trips up the hotel zone, you can also try other routes,
just remember they are going to turn off someplace before getting downtown.
Don't panic when you see signs with arrows indicating
"Tulum", "Xel-Ha", "Coba", and so on. These are the names of
archaeological sites a long way outside of Cancun, but they are also the names of main
streets in Cancun.
Pick-up and Drop-off
Buses come along every minute or less, so you should never have to
wait any appreciable time.
Most areas have frequent blue signs signalling bus stops. For areas
with no such signs (such as where a lane is blocked off for road construction), you can
signal the driver to stop at a spot where there is room to pull in.
Buses will wait a long time for you to reach them if you are
approaching a bus stop while one is there. Sometimes you would rather just wait for the
next one but they'll guilt you into jogging to it.
If you are not sure where your stop is, you can tell the driver your
destination in advance and they will call out when you arrive.
The driver may let you off between stops if traffic is light and
they can pull over safely.
The official way of signalling a stop seems to be pressing a button,
but the buttons are only above some seats and often don't appear to work. The better way
is to walk right up to the front of the bus and look ready to get off; wave your arms
frantically if he drives past your stop.
Route 1 has uncomfortable hard blue plastic seats. They are made for
people with skinny behinds -- clearly not designed to a North American standard. :-) Take
Route 2 if you have a choice, or one of the higher-numbered ones if your trip is only a
little way within the hotel zone. All the other routes have softer cloth seats.
The buses are very noisy manual shifts. It looks like the driver is
wrestling with a big upside-down 5-wood. You will feel each gear shift. To minimize noise
and bumpiness, sit towards the back of the bus once you get past the stage of asking
frequent questions of the driver.
11 PM seems to be a popular closing time for businesses. Try to
avoid taking a bus out of the hotel zone around this time as the bus may get very packed.
Because the drivers are incented to carry as many passengers as they can, they will
happily let more people cram aboard.
Time for Bus Rides
I did some timings on typical bus rides (including stops) to see how
convenient it really is. You wait almost no time to get picked up but the total time is
approximately 5 times as much as taking a taxi over the same distance. At the other end of
the spectrum, the 5:14 from my hotel to Plaza Kukulcan takes about 35 minutes to walk.
|From - To
|Club Med - Omni Hotel
N/A, I'm timing from the Omni hotel to downtown
|Omni - Plaza Kukulcan
|Plaza Kukulcan - Plaza Flamingo
|Plaza Flamingo - Señor Frog's
|Señor Frog's - Plaza Caracol
|Plaza Caracol - La Boom
|La Boom - Downtown
Cancun Taxi System
The taxi system in Cancun is about as convenient as the bus system.
Every second car on the road is a taxi, and you find groups of them parked around hotels
and high-traffic areas.
One piece of advice you will always hear is: agree on the fare
before you get in the cab.
Fares to different parts of Cancun are posted outside the hotels.
Time for Taxi Rides
I found the taxi approximately 5 times as fast as the bus. See the
section on the bus system for a list of bus timings.
All the taxis are smaller cars than in the US. They are compact
cars, often resembling Mazda 323s, where 3 in the back is a tight squeeze.