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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Cancun Money-Saving Tips

Airport Etiquette

Plan on spending at least 90 minutes in Customs and Immigration when entering the country, and arrive two hours early to the airport prior to your international departure.

Hop on the Bus

Buses in Cancún run 24 hours a day, cost less than $1 per ride, and are a much cheaper alternative to renting a car. The two major routes, R1 and R2, will take you downtown, to Puerto Juarez, and to the local Wal-Mart, Mercado 28, and Plaza 2000.

Talk is Cheap

Don’t risk racking up pricey long distance rates with your U.S.-based cell phone. Instead, buy a Ladatel phone card (sold at most stores and money exchange booths) to pay only $1 to $2 per minute. To reach the U.S. dial 001, the area code, and the phone number.

Don't Accept Torn Money

Mexico has strict laws on defaced currency. If given a torn bill in return after paying for something, ask politely for one that isn't ripped. Ruined currency can't be passed in Cancún, even as a tip, so accepting defaced currency will make you lose money. However, it is possible to exchange damaged currency at the bank for new bills.

Take the Ferry

If you want to visit Isla de Mujeres, ferries leave every half hour from Puerto Juarez for only 70 pesos (about $6) each way. The ferries are extremely comfortable, with air-conditioning and television screens for entertainment.

Save on Authentic Mexican Cuisine

Main courses at Labná Restaurant ( start at under $7 and are prepared by Yucatecans with a traditional paste made from achiote seeds, garlic, black pepper, oregano, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and vinegar. The restaurant is also located near Parque de las Palapas, a park that often comes alive with free music and a variety of vendor carts.

Don't Rule Out Hostels

If you're planning on spending the majority of your vacation at the hotel, the mainstream resorts may be a better bet. But if you want to take advantage of Cancún's gorgeous beaches, colorful culture, and historic sites, staying at a hostel will save you hundreds of dollars on your trip cost. Read reviews on the dozens of hostels located all over Cancún on HostelWorld ( to decide which one is best for you. Most rooms go for less than $20/night.

Don’t Rent a Car

In a city where traffic can be thick and locals think nothing of tailgating or speeding, it’s best to rely on the excellent and reliable taxi and bus system. The only time to consider renting a car is if you want to take a day trip to Playa del Carmen or Tulum, which are been 60 and 90 minutes away.

Skip the Phrasebook

Don’t worry if you don’t know Spanish. Cancún caters to tourists (mostly American), so English is readily spoken. Road signs and restaurant menus are also in English.

Stick to Bottled Water

A common ailment among travelers to Mexico is diarrhea, typically a result of drinking contaminated water. Drink only bottled water, and avoid ice, fruits, vegetables or anything else that may have been washed in tainted water.

Be Cautious with Valuables and Cash

When leaving your hotel, don’t wear flashy jewelry or anything else that could attract unnecessary attention. Also, never carry large amounts of cash. Though Cancún is relatively safe, there have been reported cases of thefts, especially outside of nightclubs. Also, don’t venture out alone at night beyond the touristy regions.

Currency Exchange

To swap your dollars for pesos, head to HSBC, which has branches in El Centro and Zona Hotelera. El Centro: Ave. Tulum 186; 011-52-998-881-4122; Zona Hotelera: Plaza Caracol, Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 14.5; 011-52-998-840-6257. Major credit cards and U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere, however. Contact your credit card company in advance to determine the additional fees associated with currency exchanges when making purchases overseas.

How to Stay Plugged In

Cancún is one of the more sophisticated and modern regions of Mexico. Your U.S.-based cell phone will work well here, but you’ll be billed for international roaming fees. High-speed Internet access is readily available, and most hotels offer cable TV with many U.S.-based (English speaking) channels and networks, from CNN to MTV.

What to Bring

Pack for a tropical beach setting, and don’t forget sunglasses, sun block, a hat, beach shoes, your camera, batteries, prescription medications, and other toiletries and incidentals. These items are all readily available throughout Cancún, but you’ll typically pay a hefty premium.

Compare Rates to Cancun

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