I landed in Cancún Airport, and I was immediately reminded of home (Florida, USA) as the sliding doors led me to a hot and humid, spring environment. “YYYYEEEESSSS!!!” Some girls exclaimed right behind me. They were probably coming from a winter wonderland. But I was coming from Mexico City, land of awesome weather year round.
I took the airport’s free shuttle to Terminal 3, where my friend, Christy, would be arriving in a couple of hours. If you do have to transfer terminals, the free shuttle makes it easy, unless you are in a time crunch! It only stops by every 30 minutes, and it takes a while to get to each terminal. So I suggest planning accordingly.
Once Christy landed and walked through the madness of taxi companies trying to get clients, and tour companies picking up eager travelers, we had the first one of many rip-off experiences in this major tourist center. Please feel free to learn from us to avoid the scams all around so you can have more money for drinks and tacos!
We were planning to take the ADO bus, which we were told charges $208 Mexican pesos (10USD) to take you from the airport to Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue (really close to our hotel). While you are trying to figure out how to get out of the airport, you will be approached by so many men telling you they can give you a great deal on transportation. They even had us speaking with an “ADO bus representative,” who showed us a laminated schedule and prices for ADO company. This was completely fake. They made it seem as if the next bus was not leaving for a few hours, and their prices show $600 pesos ($30 USD) for a one way ADO bus ride. This is a hundred percent false.
We were tired, hot, and confused, so we went with the taxi ride that charged us a whopping $1,200 pesos ($60USD) to take us to Playa del Carmen. Not only did we each pay $50USD more than what we would have paid to go on the ADO bus, but we also almost got into a car crash as our driver was on WhatsApp and did not see the traffic stopped ahead. Thanks to Christy’s warning, he was able to brake a few inches away from our death. I was so sure we were crashing, I held on to the handle, closed my eyes, and relaxed my body…Because if I am going to die anyway, I at least expect to depart in my chillest state of being.
It’s worth mentioning that living in Mexico City for two years means that I am accustomed to fair prices in Mexico, for a Mexican salary. I realize the $60USD for a one hour taxi ride may seem reasonable in other countries. But my Mexican friends got my distress over this ridiculous expense. Some people make $200USD a month for a full time job! So a $60USD cab ride really is out of proportion.
The frustration washed away as we arrived to our boutique hotel. We dropped our bags in the beautiful room with a hammock and balcony before heading out to lunch. SOHO PLAYA HOTEL is seconds from the popular 5th Avenue, packed with tour guides selling you overpriced adventures, restaurants with spectacularly selected Mexican decor to wow your senses, and all the shops you can think of to bring presents to loved ones back home. I loved it all. I tend to travel to lesser known cities, and like finding the road less traveled. I tend to eat where the locals eat. However, for this particular vacation, I loved being the tourist. And if you come to Playa del Carmen, you do not have much of a choice, so best to embrace it.
Stay tuned for the next post where I will take you to one of the highlights of our trip (Mayan ruins) and more interesting mishaps.
Have you ever been to a place so touristy, you could not escape the rip-offs? Comment your experiences below, and see you next Saturday for more Quintana Roo!
p.s. this blog entry is not sponsored by ADO. But here is their website so you make sure to get the best deal out of Cancun Airport. http://www.ado.com.mx