Is There Uber in Cancun: 2021 Guide

  • Mexico

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Take a look at my privacy policy for more information.

Is there Uber in Cancun

Wondering if there is Uber in Cancun, Mexico – and how it all works? There seem to be a lot of conflicting reports on the matter, so I thought I’d pop together a quick guide based on my own experiences – as well as research. Here’s everything you need to know about using the cab-hailing app in the Mexican party capital!

GET A FREE RIDE – if you haven’t downloaded Uber yet use my referral code emilyl8925ue to get a free ride. (I’ll get a credit if you do).

Is There Uber in Cancun?
Why Take Uber Over a Taxi?
How to Take Uber in Cancun
Uber from Cancun Airport
Is Uber Safe in Cancun?
Help Keep This Post Up to Date

All information in this post is correct to the best of my knowledge. I’ve fact-checked on local news websites, and spoken to local Uber drivers in Cancun. 

READ MORE: 9 of the Best Day Trips from Cancun

Is There Uber in Cancun?

This question has a bit of a yes/no answer. There IS Uber in Cancun, and it’s entirely possible to hail an Uber using the app. However, it’s not always straightforward, as Uber drivers still face a lot of issues from the local taxi companies.

Uber first became available in Cancun in 2016, but halted operation in December 2017 following a year of problems from the local taxi unions. Officially, the company has been operational again since 6th June 2019, following a ruling from a federal judge.

Uber Cancun Mexico

However, Uber drivers but still struggle against threats from the local taxi union, making it harder than normal to arrange an Uber in Cancun.

The issue is the local taxi unions, who act almost like a mafia. I’ve spoken to several Uber drivers in Cancun and the surrounding area. They told me that some taxi drivers are unhappy with the presence of Uber in their area, and they have made life incredibly difficult for the app’s partner drivers.

Officially, the taxi unions state that they are unhappy because Uber drivers don’t face the same licencing fees or regulations that they do. In my opinion, though, it has more to do with money. Taxi have gotten used to the easy money from inflating their prices for tourists – sometimes by almost 4x in my experience.

Taxi unions have formed a mafia-like presence, threatening Uber drivers with violence. Some drivers I spoke to told me of colleagues who’d had their car mirrors or windows smashed. Cancun’s Uber drivers have had to take precautionary measures, and it’s getting much harder for them to operate at all – which seems really unfair.

Why Take Uber Over a Taxi?

Put simply, taxis are more expensive. Most taxis in Cancun don’t have a meter and will often offer an inflated price based on how much money you look like you have. The reason I like using uber when I travel is that the prices are intrinsically fairer. The app forces drivers to be honest.

To give an example of taxi inflation, I recently took a five-minute journey from the bus station to the ferry terminal in Cancun. The taxi cost me 150MXN, and they refused to let me even try to haggle the price. They knew I needed the cab so it was a “take it or leave it” deal. On my return trip, I used Uber, and the same journey in reverse cost me just 40MXN. So the price of Uber in Cancun is MUCH cheaper.

is there uber in cancun

How to Take Uber in Cancun

First things first, you’ll probably need a local SIM card so that you can get online without racking up an enormous phone bill. Alternatively, you use a travel eSIM.

Next, download the app if you haven’t already. You can use my referral code emilyl8925ue to get your first journey free (I’ll get credit if you do!). I’d recommend setting up your account before setting off for Mexico.

Uber in Cancun works the same as it does anywhere else. However, due to all the troubles with the taxi companies, many Uber drivers still try to operate a little “under the radar”. This means you may struggle to get one to pick you up in places where lots of taxis commonly wait – such as the ADO bus station or the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal.

Wait until you’re out of sight of taxis before ordering an Uber and it will be easier for everyone. If you can see a taxi rank area, walk away and out of sight before ordering your Uber. Just going around the block is usually enough.

Also – it might be better to sit in the front of the car rather than the back. This way, you look like you’re getting a lift from a friend, rather than an Uber driver. If taxi drivers hassle me when I’m waiting for an Uber, I tell them “esperando por un amigo” (I’m waiting for a friend). You could also say that the driver worked for your hotel, if anyone was ever to ask. But I’ve never had a single problem!

Uber from Cancun Airport

On multiple visits to Cancun, I’ve tried to order an Uber in Cancun Airport and received the message “Uber is currently unavailable in your area”. Having spoken to local friends, I’m told that Uber cars are not allowed to go to airports in Mexico, so chances are you won’t be able to take one from the airport. You should be able to take one to the airport, though.

I’ve heard reports that some drivers will park in the carpark, and walk inside to meet you at the pickup point, before walking you back to their car and paying for parking. However, I was unable to even try to order a car when I was at the airport.

airport tower
Vigilance Tower at Cancun Airport

Is Uber Safe in Cancun?

The above mentions of violence may put you off using Uber. But, in my experience, its always been safe to take Uber in Cancun. You should take some precautions, though. As mentioned above, it’s best to order your Uber away from any taxi ranks.

On the flip-side, taxis may not be any safer than Uber cars. I’ve heard reports of unlicenced cabbies robbing tourists, and recently 12 taxi drivers were arrested after being found with drugs and weapons. At least with Uber, the driver’s name and licence plate are recorded and your location is being GPS tracked through your phone – so they have accountability.

The main advice I’ve picked up from local friends is to avoid any Uber car that has removed its licence plate. Seems this might be done by more crooked drivers. If there’s no plate, cancel the Uber and walk a block before trying again.

Help Keep This Post Up to Date

Do you have any new information to share regarding the situation with Uber in Cancun? Scroll down to leave me a comment so I can keep this post as up to date as possible!

Read More

Beach Palace Cancun – Hotel Review

Backpacking Isla Holbox

27 Places to get off the Beaten Path in Mexico!

11 thoughts on “Is There Uber in Cancun: 2021 Guide”

  1. Hi Emily! Loved your post, especially because it is recent (from 2020) and talks about this so relevant topic for visitors, and locals, in Cancun.
    I live here for 30 years and give you extra feedbacks on your article:
    Short, urban rides within downtown Cancun are not really expensive, and probably Uber costs the same or more, but they are more comfortable, cleaner, safer, etc as you well explain. It is the longer rides, especially from/to/within the hotel zone, where Uber really becomes valuable, compared to abusive taxis which generally speaking to tend to be corrupt, dishonest and will try to take as much money from tourists as possible. Visitor should also know that not only taxi unions are an actual mob, they are in collussion or under protection of authorities, so not much luck trying to get help from the police at the airport or anywhere in the city. Try to avoid/hide from taxis and police officers is the general rule of wisdom for most locals, most of the time. Getting taxis at the bus station ADO is much more expensive because they are parked (wait) service, called “sitio”. But if you walk a few blocks and get a regular taxi then you pay the regular fare, unless the driver thinks it is a good idea to scam you and get you a special (super high) rate, just for you, so it ends up being the same as the sitio taxis. Trying to get an uber, as discreetly as possible, hiding from taxis, being smart and quiet, is your best, safest, cheapest way to move around Cancun with some comfort and air conditioned.
    90% of local people in Cancun would tell you that we hate taxis, we do not respect or feel protected by the police (especially traffic police), and it is a shame and evidence of corruption at all levels in Mexican government that Uber and other platforms cannot be legalized like virtually everywhere else in the world.

    1. Hi Mike! Thank you so much for this really detailed comment – I’m sure it’ll help a lot of travellers. I still can’t believe how scammy the taxis in Cancun can be, Uber is definitely loads better. Good to hear you can still get them atm, even if you have to be a bit sneaky still. Thank you :)

  2. Can you catch an UBER back and forth from the Cancun Hotel Area to Xcaret Park or other areas of Playa del Carmen?

    1. To be honest I’m not really sure. It’s quite a long way, so it might take longer to find someone who will accept the trip – but I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t. And if you struggle, then you can take an Uber to the bus station and there are comfy ADO buses to reach Playa del Carmen :)

    2. I was in Cancun a couple years ago and was able to get an Uber to Playa Del Carmen. I believe it cost around $30 for the hour ride. However, there is no service in Playa Del Carmen, so you can’t get one back. But their is a shuttle bus that is affordable and goes often.

  3. I just want to point out there are good taxi drivers. I found one and kept his name and phone number. The bad ones wanted 300-400MXN from my rental to Puerto Juarez, the driver I found charged me 80MXN.

    As a solo traveler, the only time I felt scared was when I was walking to my Uber in the hotel zone after leaving a restaurant. I knew all about going to a side street and being discreet. A taxi driver stopped me from walking to it, literally chest-bumping me to keep me from walking away and two more joined in. My language got foul and I had to shove my way out. There is a real danger in taking an Uber. I don’t know how they knew, but they did.

    1. Oh yes there absolutely are good taxi drivers, just like in any profession. I prefer to use Uber because at least it’s tracked – a bad driver gets reported, gets bad reviews etc. And of course, the app tracks your location which makes me feel safer. If you get in a cab with what turns out to be a bad taxi driver, like the ones you ran into whilst getting your Uber, you’d have no way to report them.

      When did this happen to you? It would help others to know if this is still happening as of recently – and also I might need to update the post again!

  4. I was in Cancun from Jan 16 2021 until Jan 23, 2021. I was able to get an Uber a few times around the Hotel Zone, and once a little farther out. The taxis are all the same, trying to constantly overcharge. I am a Gringo, but speak good enough Spanish to argue with them after, and negotiate a fair price, or just let them go. One tried to charge me $30 USD at the airport to go from one terminal to another, I told him I’d walk, then he went to $20, and I still said I will walk, He insisted it would take me 45 minutes, and I walked and it was barely 10 minutes. I’m going back in two weeks. Hopefully, I can find more Ubers, I hate the taxis. I’ll let you know

    1. Thanks so much for commenting! I’m with you – I hate the taxis so much. I get that they need to make money, and when I travel I don’t mind paying a bit more than locals do! But scamming people so much is just ridiculous. You can get a bus between terminals, its either free or like $1 or something, I’ve done it before – definitely not worth a $20 taxi ride!! It’s just so annoying as it makes everything into a constant battle for a fair price. Love Uber, hope they continue to do well in Cancun :) Enjoy your trip – I’m insanely jealous!!

  5. My boyfriend and I just got back from a trip to Cancun, and getting around was pretty rough. The Uber drivers are really scared of the taxi-mafia. At one point we were stranded late at night near a mall, trying for an hour to get an Uber, but they were too afraid of the taxis nearby. We finally had to give up and take a taxi, who was pissed off at us when we didn’t know how to give exact directions to our place. We ended up taking one more taxi ride while there, and the driver was again irritated that we didn’t know the exact location of our destination. I had to look up directions on google maps and direct the driver. We were only able to take an Uber once or twice with my boyfriend riding in the front (to look like friends, not customers), and only if our pickup spot was far away from the taxis.

    1. Thanks so much for the update – it’s really helpful! Such a shame that the taxi-mafia has the city so controlled, it’s so unfair and they rip tourists off way too much. I don’t mind paying a little over the odds but I personally can’t afford a $30 10 minute taxi ride! I found walking a block away from anywhere with a taxi pick up zone was usually enough to then order an Uber.

      Thanks again for commenting with up to date info :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.