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Connecting Flight in Cancun - Question abt Airport & Customs


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Tags: cancun, Cancun Airport, customs, Connecting Flights
  • Added on: July 6th, 2010
I am flying from Chicago to Guatemala City this fall.

The cheapest airfare I've found (by about $200) connects in Cancun, Mex with a 1 hour layover. However, I'd rather pay more for a different flight with a longer connecting time if I'm likely not to make my connecting flight. So, a couple of questions...

Since I will be coming from the US, will I need to go through customs in Cancun, even though my final destination is Guatemala City? I believe in the US, you have to go through customs at the point of entry, not your final destination. Not sure if this is the same elsewhere in the world. (Also, for any seasoned travellers, how much time would you allow to get through customs? I know it probably varies greatly depending on day, time, airport, etc... but as a minimum, how much time would you allot?)

Also, for anyone that has ever been to the Cancun Aiport before (I have not), is it fairly easy to navigate without knowing Spanish? (I assume the signs are only in Spanish, right?)

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide! :D


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Location: Pacific Northwest

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2010
The Cancun International Airport is very easy to navigate and is not too big, compared to some other airports. I am not sure about going through customs for connecting flights to other countries, though. If it is the same airline for the whole trip, it shouldn't be a problem. You might contact the airline to ask.
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Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: July 9th, 2010
CUN is very easy to navigate, all signage in the airport is in English as well as Spanish, everyone working in contact with people in the airport speaks English, and customs is painless. I'm not sure you'll need to clear customs there, if you are connecting to Guatemala City. I've only connected there once internationally, and that was on the way to Havana. Staying overnight, obviously I had to leave the international area of the terminal and clear immigration.

At any rate, don't worry too much about it. If you get stuck overnight, walk toward the terminal exit, buy a Riviera bus ticket to Playa del Carmen (45-60 minutes), and enjoy a night out there.


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  • Added on: July 11th, 2010
As I recall, you exit the plane directly into the international terminal, which is a separate building from the others, and there's no immediate requirement to proceed through customs until you wish to exit the terminal area. The gates, restaurants and shops are all upstairs, and the immigration/customs area is downstairs on the way to the check-in counters, ATMs, and bus/taxi stations. The immigration line is first, then the baggage claim, and then customs.

I think you will be fine in terms of navigating. It's a small terminal, the signs are bi-lingual, and the staff is accustomed to armies of spring breakers coming through. If you have checked luggage you might want to check with the airline whether you'll be required to claim it, run it through customs, and then re-check it for the connecting flight. That could take some time, maybe an hour or two, if you are flying on the weekend with hoards of vacationers. If you are doing carry-on only you'll have no issues.


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  • Added on: July 12th, 2010
I did a connection to Lima through Sao Paulo Brazil, and never had to leave the International Arrivals area. All connecting flights should be sent directly to the next flight you are expected at. The same goes for when I went to Europe. I see no reason why it would be different in Guatemala.

You only go through customs and Immigration if you want to leave the terminal.

That's not to say there is no security check. Brazilian security searched my carry on bags and took a quite nice blowpipe souvenir, saying it was a weapon. Peruvian security didn't think so, so be careful about your carry on. Different countries have different ideas about permissible items, and you won't have time to go through the process again before the flight arrives to check that item.

oh, one more thing. I could have stayed, lost my flight home, checked it on another plane, and probably PAID for that plane, but decided not to... oh, couldn't have checked it either. Didn't have a Brazilian visa...:(


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  • Added on: July 13th, 2010
Thank you all for your responses! Sounds like Guatemala by way of Cancun it is! :D

Amit Innes

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Joined: October 1st, 2010

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  • Added on: October 1st, 2010
Where did you see a flight that goes to Cancun and than to Guatemala ?
Or is anyone knows a cheap flight from Cancun to Guatemala ?

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