Advantages lots of shops and restaurants,
Disadvantages tax, big ques on arrival, poor air conditioning
|Is it worth visiting?|
My husband and I choose to go to Cancun on our honeymoon last month and flew in and out of Cancun International Airport (CUN). We flew with First Choice as the flights were included in our package holiday and had very smooth flights indeed.On arrival at Cancun Airport they attached one of the tunnels to the plane meaning that we could simple walk straight into the airport without having to get one of the small buses and feel like sardines! The first thing we noticed was the heat, we had come from about 15 degrees in England to around 35 degrees to the midday Mexican heat. This was not helped by the poor air conditioning inside the airport.
On the plane on the way into Cancun we were given immigration forms to fill in which we were told we would need to hand in on arrival. After a short walk and down a couple of flights of stairs we got the arrivals section where we were met by a rather large queue This que was for passport and imigration control, thinking it would move quite quickly I was not too bothered. But the queue did not move quickly at all, we were in fact queuing for around an hour to have our passports and immigration forms stamped. This seemed to be due to a combination of three flights arriving at once and lack of staff.After this procedure we were able to collect our cases from the conveyer belt, this was fairly quick and our cases were amongst the first to come around. I was very pleased that the cases were undamaged and all intact. Then the next queue came, this was to place all of you luggage through scanners. Although this queue only took around 20 minutes.
After this it was a little confusing, we had been advised not to approach anyone asking if we needed help with our cases but just to walk straight out of the airport and look for the first choice rep who would direct us to our coach for the hotel transfer. We were fine as just walked past everyone offering to take our cases for a charge to the coach for us but I could see how someone could easily get confused as there were a lot of them about and some shouting the names of the holiday companies.Once out the airport we found our First Choice rep and coach easily, but the whole process did take around 2 hours which is much longer than I have experienced in any other airport.
On the return to the airport it seemed much smoother. We did have to queue to get through the check in desk but this only took about 20 minutes even though the queue was again very long.You also need to be aware that not only do you need to have in the immigration form again on departure (if you lose yours it cost $50 for a new one to be issued), you also need to pay the departure tax. We were informed of this very well by our First Choice rep but I have known some people that have been and have not found out about it until they are at the airport. The departure tax while we were there cost £39 each, although you can pay in Pesos', Dollars and Euros too, but it has to be in cash. This was paid at a small desk half way around the check in queue
A tip for the departure tax as it is very expensive especially for a family travelling as children have to pay the tax too is to look at the exchange rate while you are on your holiday. We worked out that if we changed our pounds to peso's then with the exchange rate we would only end up paying £33 each for the departure tax.After check in we quickly got through passport control and found the duty free section. The duty free shop was big and had a good selection of alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, sweets and perfume. It is just a shame you have to stick to the allowance when travelling out of Europe or I think I would have enough alcohol to last a year at those prices!
There was a great selection of shops and eateries to pass the time quickly in the airport. We decided to go to the dominos and had a meal of an individual pizza and drink each which came to about £9 which I didn't think was too bad value for an airport. There were also plenty of seats even though the airport seemed very busy. I used the toilets at the airport and they were very easy to find and clean.There were also plenty of monitors around the airports you could keep an eye on whether your flight was on time and when they had assigned a gate to your flight. The tannoy announcements were also very clear and were repeated in Spanish and English.
When called to our flight we found the airport very easy to navigate around, there were plenty of signage and we found our gate easily. We boarded the plane using one of the tunnels which was again much easier than using the sardine buses. We were due to depart on time but had a small delay due to the tug which pushes the plane back breaking down. But the airport staff quickly pushed the broken tug away and brought another, meaning we were only delayed for a short time.All in all I found Cancun International Airport to be rather a good experience. Apart from the queuing on arrival and the airport tax there was plenty to do and I think even if we were delayed the time would have passed quickly as we didn't get around all of the shops. The only thing I would like to see is improved air conditioning!
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