Yes and No. Let us explain.
Uber is a global household name that has dominated the transport service world for a decade via a digital platform.
We, travellers, have depended on this app-based cab service for an equal amount of time, especially when seeking transport from airports to the booked hotels/resorts after a long flight or to travel around a town exploring it without having to stick to a strict schedule or costly budgets.
But in Cancun, you will find out (rather rudely if you come unprepared) that though the app works well, your request will most likely not be confirmed. Let’s dive deeper.
Why Are Uber Drivers Missing In Action In Cancun?
Cancun is a breathtaking beach destination. The beaches here are the total package, aqua blue waters, soft white sand, and just plenty of sun. But that’s not all, it’s full of cultural experiences and historical places that are just mind-blowing. But when it comes to Uber rides – nada.
To be fair Cancun is not the only town experiencing a lack of Uber drivers. In fact, it is the whole state of Quintana Roo. But there is a reason behind this insane situation.
Once upon a time, Cancun did have Uber available in its bustling streets. This was in 2016. But Uber faced a lot of challenges and obstacles in the form of the Local Taxi Union (a.k.a. Corporatives), who were not subtle in expressing their displeasure with the new transport service provider in town.
One of the main reasons behind these bold acts of displeasure towards the Uber drivers was Uber being able to forego the same payment regulations and license fees that the normal local taxi service providers have to undergo. There’s more to the picture obviously.
App-based ride-sharing services like Uber, have fixed rates –even with price surging during peak hours. You know exactly how much it’s going to cost you, no matter where you are heading. But with local taxis, they can change the prices to suit their fancy, especially when they know you are a traveller.
Uber helps avoid this issue, and this might have been very disadvantageous to some local taxi providers, who have made a habit of inflating prices at will to make an easy buck.
This resulted in Uber drivers being harassed and the service getting restricted, which unsurprisingly lead to the suspension of the service in 2017.
Reports from various travellers who visited Cancun at the time explained that though Uber was legally available, it was impossible to get a ride confirmed because of the intimidating presence of the Local Taxi Union – Some went as far as to state that it was unsafe not just for the Uber driver but the passenger who chose Uber as well.
Are Any App-based Local Taxi Services Available In Cancun?
Not any that we could recommend with confidence (right now at least). That said, it would be wrong to say that some local taxi companies are not making some serious effort to regulate their rates by introducing meters to cab drivers.
This would indicate a fixed rate per distance travelled. So drivers cannot demand any price they want- irrelevant of the travelled distance.
However, there are alternative options available. Let’s look at what those options are.
Travel Options Available In Cancun
Cancun Airport Transportation
It’s a private company that has been operating in Cancun, and it provides different options for airport transportation. This transport service is highly recommended since it even has service facilities for physically impaired travellers.
If you’re planning to visit any destination that is within Cancun and Riviera Amaya – Cancun Airport Transportation can help you with it. (They also provide tour transports)
The Local Bus Line
The local bus line is conveniently available along Cancun Hotel Region. So if you are looking to visit the restaurants and city tourist hotspots that fall within that bus line zone, then you can conveniently get a ride around.
These buses are available day and night. And according to countless feedback (apart from our own), they are safe and hassle-free.
ADO Bus Station
The ADO Bust station is at the centre of the city (on Uxmal Avenue). If you are planning to explore destinations outside of Cancan such as Tulum, you can use this mode. Some of the top benefits that come with this option are:
- Great prices
- If you have bulky luggage – there is space for that
- Tickets can be purchased online
- And trips include insurance- so great!
But…you have to expect all the features of public transport as well:
- There are pre-determined destinations the bus stops at
- It’s not a direct ride from one spot to the destination. There will be several stops.
That being said it’s still highly recommended. Learn more here.
If you are planning to head to Downtown Cancun to explore the region there – like the Malecon Tajamar, you can always ask your hotel to arrange a taxi. This is another option available, and it’s quite easy and safe, but a little costlier than taking an Uber (obviously).
Renting cars in Cancun is also well recommended – here’s why. Because you can travel at your own pace, not worry about travelling to a pre-determined location to get the transport or have to stop in so many places during travel.
Take time because it’s your dime. A little more expensive, but it really helps create a better experience overall.
Yes, Taxi services are available. However, given that they operate on an aggressive front and have monopolized the taxi service platform in Cancun, they do play by their own rules.
There’s no real harm in using them, as you would be supporting the local economy, which is expected of a traveller, however, there have been many instances where taxi drivers have inflated prices based on a whim if they realize you are not a local.
Like In Cancun, Is Uber Inactive In Other States Of Mexico?
No, Uber is readily available in many places of Mexico – especially travel favourite areas. And we are super happy about that. Some of these areas are:
- Puerto Vallarta
- Los Cabos
- La Paz
Frequently Asked Questions
Was the Uber suspension lifted after 2017?
Following the federal rule that was passed along in 2019, Uber began its functions. However, Uber drivers are still facing much intimidation from local taxi service entities.
Are there trains in Cancun?
Mexico is currently implementing a project named the Maya Train; this major project is expected to connect travel-favourite places like Cancun, Tulum and Playa Del Carmen.
It has already faced a fair amount of scrutiny, due to some of the flaws in the set plan. But the project is expected to complete in 2023.
How much can a taxi roughly cost from the airport to the Cancun Hotel Zone?
Approximately 51 USD (*subject to change)