Flying to Cancun

Cancun Travel Blog

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After travelling around South America with friends from home I was off on my own to see more of Latin America on a couple of group tours. I first decided on going with Tucan Travel mainly because they have a 171-day tour almost entirely around South America that looked like just what I wanted to do. That tour only runs once a year so between when my mates went back to Australia and that tour starting I had just over a month to see other places. I had heard great things about Central America from friends so I decided on doing a 35-day Tucan Travel tour from Mexico to Costa Rica.

The start of my Central America tour was in Cancun, Mexico on November 8. I wanted to get in to Cancun a couple of days early so I could have time to get some cash changed and to photocopy some documents. Before I left Salta I booked in a dorm room at a hostel in downtown Cancun near to the start hotel for the tour. To get to Cancun I had to take connecting flights via Buenos Aires and Mexico City.

I got a taxi to the Salta airport after saying farewell to Liz and Ryan. The airport was small but very modern and not long after checking in we were boarding and flew off to Buenos Aires.

On the flight I sat next to a New York couple who both got out Amazon Kindles to read with. I had never seen one before since they aren't available in Australia so after pointing that out I had a bit of an ogle. They are great little machines but even if I had the chance to get one I would be keen to see what the Apple tablet comes out like first (for far future readers the tablet has not been officially announced but is widely expected to be soon).

My next flight was from Buenos Aires to Mexico City, so I was going to have to find my way from the domestic airport to the international airport somehow. Towards the end of the flight to Buenos Aires I asked the New York couple if they were going on to the separate international airport straight away. They said yes but weren't sure how, but helpfully a local guy in the seat in front turned around and told us of a bus service that is much cheaper and safer than taking a taxi.

When I landed in Buenos Aires I got my bag and found the bus company to get across to the international airport. After a short wait I went in one of their vans with a few other people and went off. The traffic was slow but after a bit of a trip we were driving right through the middle of the city centre. It was very interesting to see the huge bustle of the late afternoon with people everywhere. One thing that stood out was the enormous lines that had formed to catch the public buses. It seems like something is very wrong with that system if that is the norm.

Near the city centre we drove into the bus terminal of the company and we were sent off the van to wait for a bus to take us the rest of the way. We waited about half an hour before the big bus arrived. The drive out to the international airport was a long way and the peak hour traffic made it pretty slow going. I watched the sun set over the clogged freeway and by the time we got to the airport it was well and truly dark. I hadn't really paid much attention to how long it was taking, so when I walked inside and realised it had taken two hours to get from one airport to the next I was fairly shocked. Thankfully I had a four hour window between flights so I wasn't in any kind of hurry.

I checked in to my flight and also the connecting flight to Cancun since both were with Aeromexico. I made my way through customs and into the vast number of boarding gates. It was a fairly boring couple of hours wait that I attempted to subside with a tasting of a local Argentinean beer. The boarding call was made on time and I headed on to the plane.

The flight to Mexico City was overnight and I did exceedingly well at getting to sleep with my eye mask and ear plugs to aid me. It was a very basic flight considering the distance with pretty awful food and there were no video units. The woman I sat next to only seemed to speak Spanish so conversation wasn't high on the agenda.

I arrived in Mexico City just after sun break. The security presence was well on display with many federal police around with sniffer dogs. Getting around the airport was really easy and very quickly I had checked my bag in for the flight to Cancun. I had about three hours spare before the flight so I walked around and found a Starbucks where I got a coffee and sat on my laptop for most of the time.

My flight to Cancun was painless and soon we were coming in towards the coastal city. The landing was quite interesting because we landed on a runway and then taxied the airplane over a bridge that went above a packed highway to get to the airport terminal. It must be a funny sight to drive along and see a commercial jet driving overhead.

The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane was the sheer humidity. It was heavily overcast and hot and intermittently raining. There is hardly any humidity back home in Melbourne and we didn't get any in South America so it was a fair shock to the system. I had some lunch in the airport and then organised to get a collectivo (communal van) to my hotel in downtown Cancun.

The collectivo was fairly full of people who were all staying in hotels before mine. I hadn't really looked into what Cancun was like before I got there, other than just knowing that it was big during Spring Break, so driving around the gigantic scape of monster hotels was very surprising. Cancun is incredibly manufactured and exaggerated, kind of like Vegas but not to the same level and obviously without the casinos. It was funny to drop all the people off at these huge luxury hotels and then arrive in the downtown area and get dropped off at my dingy rundown hostel.
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photo by: Marina2710