Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Cancun Gauntlet

The company we are using to drive us from the Cancun airport to our hotel in the Riviera Maya sent us this information. I had heard there are aggressive salespeople at the airport, but this doesn't seem like a great way to start a vacation. I will be good once I am at the resort with a cocktail in my hand though.


If you have been to Cancun before, you already know this information, but it might be worth reviewing anyway.

After exiting the airplane you will be directed to Immigration where your passport will be stamped and you will be granted a tourist visa, which is usually for 180 days (varying by your country of origin.) As you exit the immigration area and enter the baggage claim, you will likely encounter salespeople calling out to you from their booths, sometimes in a very official-sounding tone, asking to see your passport, documents or transfer papers. Our advice to you is to politely wave off anyone who calls you over. There is no need for you to show any papers to anyone except at immigration and when passing the customs line. The only thing you might do is take any pamphlets that are offered, such as the Map-A brochure and 'Cancun Tips', because these do indeed have valuable coupons and maps in them for future use.

Once you get your luggage, you will pass through customs and will be asked to push a large button which will randomly give you a green or red light. If you get a red light, your luggage will be searched. A green light means you are free to proceed through to the exit.

Two more tidbits of advice: Aggressive luggage handlers will likely attempt to grab your bag(s) right out of your hands and put them on their luggage cart. The distance you need to carry stuff is not very far and unless you have a lot and can't manage it yourself, you should just say 'NO GRACIAS' to them and they'll leave you alone. And lastly, be wary of anyone who offers you a ride but then asks you where you are going. This probably means you are being 'slammed' by another transport company trying to get you to switch to their van (and, of course, pay their fee.)


lnnajman said...

I wish someone had sent me this before Puerto Vallarta. I got scammed 30 seconds out of customs.

Patrice said...

Were their people trying sell you stuff on the beach and other places or just in the airport?

lnnajman said...

Basically the minute I got through customs, some guy asked if I needed a taxi. And I said yes because I did. So he took my bag and walked me to the taxis. Turned out he was a porter, not a taxi driver. He said he was a taxi driver or at least implied it by asking if I wanted a taxi. And then he expected a tip. It was really disheartening to be scammed within 30 seconds of being in the country. I hadn't even made it through the airport.

The beach has tons of people trying to sell you stuff. But the hotel pool was AMAZING so everyone just stayed at the pool.