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Is There Uber in Cancun: 2022 Guide

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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!

Update – 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. Check the comments at the end of this post for the latest info from recent travellers to 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 the rest of Mexico – 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. 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.

If you don’t want to take a taxi from the airport in Cancun, you could pre-book a private transfer instead. You can give them your flight details so the driver will be ready and waiting for you when you land – making life MUCH easier! Click here to check the latest prices.

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, it’s 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 a few years ago 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!

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38 thoughts on “Is There Uber in Cancun: 2022 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!!

    2. 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 :)

    3. We just came from a highway chase. Two taxi drivers wouldn’t let us go. Luckely our uber driver had a friend with him to hold them back. But one got on to us and tried to get us of the road. Luckily a policecar appeared and the taxi backed off. It was very dangerous. After the ride i found this blog. We didn’t know of the taxi mafia.

      1. Oh my gosh that’s so scary! I hope you’re ok? It’s so horrendous the way taxi drivers feel empowered to behave like this. I don’t know what the best advice is, because on the one hand, using Uber in Cancun could be dangerous if taxi drivers realise that’s what you’re doing. But on the other hand many taxi drivers, like these ones you encountered, are clearly criminals and dangerous so it’s not a good idea to support them either. For me personally, I’ll always stick to Uber and just try to do it carefully.

    4. Dear Emily, this is a Mexican boy who has lived all his life in Cancun. As you have well explained, taxis not only feel empowered, they HAVE the power to commit crimes against Uber drivers, or charge the rate they want since (below, a secret that only citizens know), the union of taxi drivers pay for the state governors’ campaigns, so they have many rights over the law. That is why Uber has not been able to function legally, thanks to the corruption that exists in my beautiful Mexico. NO citizen likes to use Taxi, but we are practically forced by not being free to use other platforms. I have an AirBnb, and the recommendations that I give to my guests are; Always use Uber, if it is not available to use a second application that works like Uber and is called Cabify, they work with the state taxis but it is safer because you can see the rate before confirming the ride, you can see the plates of the vehicle and they have tracking. I also advise you to use an ADO bus to and from the airport since the price per person is $ 90 MXN (about $ 5 USD), and if you want to go to the hotel zone, use Route 1 or 2 which costs $ 12 per person ( 3 or 4 dollars per person), I mean, practically never use Taxi. Please excuse my bad English, I am not fully bilingual yet.

      1. Hi Alejandro! Thank you so much for your insight, it’s so helpful to hear from another local about this. The taxi unions in Cancun are awful, such a shame to see that corruption. Especially because Mexico is one of my favourite countries in the world – I love almost everything about it!

        Gracias por su comentario y su conocimiento. Su ingles es MUCHO mejor que mi espanol!!

    5. We used Uber all the time in Cabo several years ago. We couldn’t get one from the airport on arrival however we did get one to take us back when it was time to leave. They were all great. No issues whatsoever. j Last year in Cancun, we were on the hotel zone and found the bus system to be the least cost with very little waiting. The locals were always friendly and helpful when we weren’t sure where to get off. That is our favorite mode of transportation so far. We are planning another Cancun trip off the hotel zone and will certainly be choosing Uber over a taxi when we can’t hop on a bus.

      1. Thanks so much for commenting Bonnie! The buses are great and so convenient – I used them a lot when I was there too. I’d definitely encourage anyone travelling in Cancun to give them a try, especially to and from the Hotel Zone. But I think for safety, the Uber app is just the best because it tracks your location and everything – so I think it’s great for travellers who are maybe unsure about using public transport. Was Uber still working fine when you last visited Cancun?

    6. Thank you so much for all this information. I’m going to cancun in one week for a family vacation and, I was wondering about all this uber situation. I’ll stay at hacienda tres rios and planing to visit Playa del Carmen one day (closest place to the resort). Hopefully I will be able to get a uber to pick me up from resort. If you guys have any referrals for uber or taxi drivers that I can contact would be great. Thanks

      1. Hi Rony. I don’t have any referrals for specific drivers but in my experience Uber drivers were always nice and much better than taxi drivers. However you may struggle to get an Uber driver to come into the “Hotel Zone” in Cancun or right into your resort, so you may want to walk away a bit before trying to order. They’re very afraid of the taxi drivers who threaten them. Alternatively, the ADO buses run frequently to Playa del Carmen and they’re incredibly comfy and convenient so that’s another option :)

    7. I’m in Cancun right now and found your article precisely because of that, the Uber app keeps telling us that there are no cars available. I know get that is because we are in the hotel area so yeah, don’t even try to open the app here.
      Thanks for the info!

      1. Oh thanks for the latest update Saira :) Annoying it doesn’t show any cars in the hotel area now. But when I was there last you could take a cheap bus from the hotel zone towards the downtown and it’s easier to grab an Uber there :)

    8. Great article, helped me out a lot on my trip! (Sep-Oct 2021) Can confirm that Uber works exceedingly well in downtown areas of Cancun, but not so much if you try to get one to pick you up in the hotel zone (drop off is no problem). Taking the bus back into downtown area and getting an Uber on a sidestreet works very well. The prices are fantastic and all the cars are clean, have seatbelts, air conditioning, and friendly driver’s! Such a better experience over haggling with Taxi’s.

      1. Thanks so much for the update Zach! Travelling by Uber is definitely so much more convenient and comfortable than the taxis in Cancun – and I personally think it’s safer, too. Uber drivers have to maintain their ratings etc, whereas the taxi drivers seem to have no one to answer to!

    9. Vacationing in Cancun at this very moment. When we arrived we were completely unavailable to get an Uber at the airport. Taxis swarmed us like hawks and we ended up paying $40 US Dollars to our hotel in cancun city not the hotel zone. In downtown Cancun we were able to find Uber fairly easy although we were asked to be decrete and act like we were friends or cousins. And if possible for one of us to ride in the front and not both of us in the back. Taxis charged on average 3-to-5 times more for the same ride. Complely ridiculous and absurd. The Taxi unions operate bordering on mafia style tactics and predatory charges. We’ve gotten a fair and honest taxi driver. They exist. But unfortunately they are few and far between. So sad. We’ve traveled all over the US and to several countries abroud including around Northern and Southern Mexico. Cancun is a very sad and frustrating place to navigate with taxis.

      1. It really is isn’t it – such a shame as it can make tourists feel so unwelcome. I always take the bus from the airport, they’re super frequent and really affordable – and ADO buses are also really nice. From the downtown bus station it’s much easier to take an Uber. A bit less convenient and quick, but I’m always on a tight backpacking budget so can’t afford $40 for a short taxi ride! Have fun with the rest of your holiday – hope it gets easier :)

    10. In Cancun now, the bellboys (or bell men) at our hotel in the HotelZone said “Ubers don’t work here.” Meaning there was no Ubers. My app shows their available but he insisted they aren’t here. Taxis are crazy expensive. A 6 mile/ 9 mile cab ride was $20!!! The Uber app said the ride would be $5. 4x as much for a taxi.
      The bellboys have a notebook with pricing for taxis from the hotel to certain hot spots and they can give you the price, but the taxi driver always add $5 to $10 on top of the price. Best to negotiate before you get in cab.

      1. Uber are definitely available in Cancun but the taxis and hotel chains won’t let them pick you up on the hotel strip. If you walk out of your hotel and down the road a bit, you should be able to order an Uber no problem. Best to follow the tips in my post, sit in the front, pretend its a friend etc. If you want to save money then Uber is your best friend in Cancun :)

    11. March 2022 — I’m staying at an Airbnb in Playa del Carmen (not near any big hotels) and I’m getting the “Uber is unavailable in your area” message.

      1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for commenting with the latest info. I don’t think there is Uber in Playa del Carmen, there wasn’t last time I was there and it’s a fair bit smaller than Cancun. There is still Uber in Cancun but it’s made tricky by the taxi drivers unfortunately.

    12. I tried to take an Uber in downtown Cancun by the ado station and got the “Uber isn’t available in your area” sign so I don’t think it’s just the beach hotel zone

      1. Oh dear that’s not a good sign – it was still working down at the ADO station last time I visited. Have you tried it again since? Wondering if it’s just that area of the city or if it’s city-wide? Uber’s website still claims Uber is available in Cancun but if there are no drivers left or something then it would show unavailable I guess. Let me know if you get a chance to try again elsewhere in the city.

    13. Update from April 2022 – Uber is now most likely always 50% cheaper. There are still many people, who told us Uber is still illegal and tried to scare us with “horror stories” about being robbed by Uber drivers and so on. From my point of view, I made the bad experiences with the taxis since these are very unfriendly, charged very high prices. Uber were always right on time, always showed up and we had never a problem for several rides.

      1. Thank you for commenting Caro – good to know Uber is still working great in Cancun. It’s so helpful to get an update so thank you very much :) In my experience, Uber was always cheaper, friendlier, safer and more convenient than taking a taxi.

    14. Hi there,
      Thank you for all this awesome information. Going to Cancun in a few days and looking forward to using Uber. Praying not to get bullied :s

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