Tulum Airport – The New International Airport Near Tulum

tulum airport

Tulum is a popular tourist destination in the Mexican Caribbean, known for its beaches, ruins, and cenotes. However, getting to Tulum can be a challenge, as it is located about 130 kilometers south of Cancun, the main gateway to the Yucatan Peninsula. Currently, most visitors to tulum have to fly to Cancun Airport and then take a bus, taxi, or private transfer to get to the Tulum airport, which can take up to two hours or more, depending on the traffic and the road conditions.

However, this situation is about to change, as a new international airport is being built near Tulum, that will offer direct flights to and from major domestic and international destinations. The new international airport itself, named Tulum International Airport, is expected to open in December 2023, and will have a capacity of 4.5 million passengers per year. The airport will be located about 35 kilometers west of Tulum, in the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, and will cover an area of 1,500 hectares.

The new airport is part of a larger project called the Tren Maya, a railway system that will connect the main tourist attractions and cities of the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Cancun, Tulum, Merida, and Palenque. The Tren Maya is a flagship initiative of the Mexican government, that aims to promote the economic, social, and cultural development of the region, as well as the preservation and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage.

The status and location of the new Tulum International Airport, and when it is expected to open.

The construction of the new airport began in March 2021, after the Mexican government awarded the contract to a consortium of Mexican companies, led by Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR), the operator of Cancun International Airport and eight other airports in Mexico City. The consortium also includes Mota-Engil Mexico, a subsidiary of the Portuguese construction company Mota-Engil, and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), a state-owned infrastructure company from China.

The new airport will be located about 35 kilometers west of the Tulum airport, in the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, and will cover an area of 1,500 hectares. The airport will have a single runway of 3,600 meters long and 45 meters wide, capable of handling large aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. The airport will also have a terminal building of 45,000 square meters, with 18 gates and 36 check-in counters, as well as a control tower, a fire station, a fuel station, and a cargo terminal.

The new airport is expected to open in December 2023, and will have a capacity of 4.5 million passengers per year. The airport will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will offer flights to and from major, domestic airports and international destinations, such as Mexico City, Cancun, Cozumel, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. The airport will also be connected to the Tren Maya, a railway system that will link the main tourist attractions and cities of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Buses between Tulum Airport and Cancun International Airport

There are direct buses departing from Terminal de Autobuses on Tulum and arriving at Cancún International Airport T4. Journeys depart every four hours, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 1h 45m.

The benefits and challenges of the new airport, and how it will boost tourism in the region.

The new airport will provide several benefits for the region, such as:

Reducing the travel time and cost for visitors who want to go to Tulum and the surrounding areas, such as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the Coba archaeological site, and the Riviera Maya. Instead of flying to Cancun and then taking a bus, taxi, or private transfer to Tulum, which can take up to two hours or more, visitors will be able to fly directly to the Tulum international airport and reach their destination in less than 30 minutes.

Increasing the connectivity and accessibility of new Tulum airport and the region, by offering direct flights from major domestic and international destinations, such as Mexico City, Cancun, Cozumel, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. This will make Tulum more attractive and competitive as a tourist destination, and will also open new markets and opportunities for the local tourism industry.

Creating new jobs and economic opportunities for the local population, especially in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The new airport will generate an estimated 15,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, and another 4,500 jobs during the operation phase. The new airport will also stimulate the demand and supply of tourism services, such as transportation, accommodation, and entertainment, and will increase the income and welfare of the local communities.

Promoting the sustainable development and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the region, by implementing environmental and social responsibility measures, such as using renewable energy sources, recycling waste, and supporting local communities. The new airport will use solar panels, wind turbines, and biogas plants to generate its own electricity, and will also have a rainwater harvesting system and a wastewater treatment plant. The new airport will also respect and protect the biodiversity and the archaeological sites of the area, and will collaborate with the local authorities and organizations to promote the education, health, and culture of the local population.

However, the new airport also faces some challenges, such as:

Ensuring the safety and security of the airport and the passengers, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential threats from organized crime and drug trafficking. The new airport will have to comply with the national and international standards and regulations for the prevention and control of the spread of the virus, and will have to implement strict sanitary and hygiene protocols for the staff and the passengers. The new airport will also have to coordinate with the federal and state security forces to prevent and combat any criminal activity or violence that could affect the airport and the region.

Managing the environmental and social impacts of the airport and the increased tourism, such as the noise and air pollution, the water and land use, the waste generation, and the displacement and marginalization of the indigenous and rural communities. The new airport will have to monitor and mitigate the negative effects of the airport and the tourism on the environment and the society, and will have to balance the interests and needs of the different stakeholders, such as the government, the private sector, the civil society, and the local population.

Balancing the demand and supply of the airport and the tourism services, such as the transportation, accommodation, and entertainment options, and avoiding the overcrowding and overexploitation of the resources and attractions. The new airport will have to plan and manage the capacity and the operations of the airport and the tourism services, and will have to ensure the quality and the diversity of the offer and the experience for the visitors. The new airport will also have to promote the responsible and respectful tourism, and will have to encourage the visitors to explore and enjoy the region in a sustainable and ethical way.

The new airport is expected to boost tourism in the region, by attracting more visitors and increasing the length and quality of their stay. According to the projections, the new airport will generate an additional 1.5 million tourists and 3 billion dollars in revenue per year for the region. The new airport will also contribute to the development and integration of the Tren Maya, a railway system that will connect the main tourist attractions and cities of the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Cancun, Tulum, Merida, and Palenque. The new airport and the Tren Maya will create a new and unique tourism product for the region, that will combine the natural, cultural, and historical richness of the area, with the modernity, comfort, and convenience of the infrastructure and the services.

The airlines that have announced flights to and from the new airport, and the destinations they will serve.

Several airlines have announced flights to and from the new airport, and the destinations they will serve. Some of the airlines announced services and destinations are:

Viva Aerobus: The first airline to announce flights to the new airport, starting from April 2024. It will offer domestic flights from Mexico City, Cancun, and Cozumel, and international flights from Miami and New York. Viva Aerobus is a low-cost airline based in Mexico, that operates domestic and international flights to more than 40 destinations in Mexico, the United States, and Central America. Viva Aerobus is known for its cheap fares, its flexible and customizable services, and its modern and fuel-efficient fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.

Aeromexico: The flag carrier of Mexico, that will offer domestic flights from Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Tijuana, and international flights from Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas. Aeromexico is the largest airline in Mexico, that operates domestic and international flights to more than 80 destinations in Mexico, North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Aeromexico is known for its high-quality service, its wide network of routes and alliances, and its diverse and comfortable fleet of Boeing and Embraer aircraft.

American Airlines: The largest airline in the world, that will offer international flights from Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas. American Airlines is the flag carrier of the United States, that operates domestic and international flights to more than 350 destinations in 50 countries. American Airlines is known for its extensive and convenient network of hubs and routes, its premium and loyal customer base, and its varied and modern fleet of Boeing, Airbus, and McDonnell Douglas aircraft.

Delta Air Lines: The second largest airline in the world, that will offer international flights from Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City. Delta Air Lines is a major airline in the United States, that operates domestic and international flights to more than 300 destinations in 60 countries. Delta Air Lines is known for its reliable and innovative service.

Cancun Airport – The Main Airport for the Yucatan Peninsula

Cancun Airport, officially known as Cancun International Airport, is the second busiest airport in Mexico and the main airport for the Yucatan Peninsula. The airport is located about 16 kilometers southwest of Cancun, the largest and most popular city in the region. The airport serves more than 25 million passengers per year, from more than 50 countries and 170 destinations. The airport has four terminals, two runways, and a wide range of services and facilities for travelers.

Cancun Airport is the main gateway to the Mexican Caribbean, a region that includes popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya. The airport offers flights to and from various domestic and international destinations, such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Toronto, London, Paris, and Madrid. The airport also connects with other international airports elsewhere in the region, such as Cozumel Airport, Merida Airport, and Chetumal Airport.

Cancun Airport is the most convenient and accessible option for travelers who want to get to tulum or visit Tulum and the surrounding areas. The airport is only about 130 kilometers north of Tulum, and there are several transportation options available to travel from the airport to Tulum, such as bus, taxi, private transfer, or car rental. The travel time and cost to tulum will vary depending on the mode of transportation and the traffic and road conditions, but it usually takes between one and a half and two hours to reach Tulum from Cancun Airport.

The features and facilities of Cancun Airport, and why it is the second busiest airport in Mexico.

Cancun Airport has four terminals, each with its own features and facilities. Terminal 1 is the oldest and smallest terminal, and it is mainly used for charter flights and low-cost airlines. Terminal 2 is the main terminal for domestic flights and some international flights, especially from Central and South America. Terminal 3 is the largest and busiest terminal, and it is mainly used for international flights, especially from North America and Europe. Terminal 4 is the newest and most modern terminal, and it is used for both domestic and international flights, especially from Asia and the Middle East.

Cancun Airport has two runways, each 3,500 meters long and 45 meters wide, that can handle large aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380. The airport also has a control tower, a fire station, a fuel station, a cargo terminal, and a general aviation terminal. The airport operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has a capacity of 32 million passengers per year.

Cancun Airport has a wide range of services and facilities for travelers, such as:

Information desks, where travelers can get assistance and guidance from the closest airport and staff.

Currency exchange offices, where travelers can buy or sell foreign currency at the official exchange rate.

ATMs, where travelers can withdraw cash from their bank accounts or credit cards.

Wi-Fi, where travelers can access the internet for free for up to 60 minutes per device.

Duty-free shops, where travelers can buy products such as perfumes, cosmetics, liquor, tobacco, and souvenirs without paying taxes or customs fees.

Restaurants, cafes, and bars, where travelers can enjoy a variety of food and drinks, from fast food and snacks to gourmet and international cuisine.

Lounges, where travelers can relax and enjoy amenities such as comfortable seats, TVs, magazines, newspapers, snacks, drinks, showers, and spa services. Some lounges are exclusive for certain airlines or passengers, while others are accessible for a fee or with a membership card.

Hotels, where travelers can stay overnight or for a few hours, either inside or near the airport. Some hotels offer shuttle services to and from the airport, as well as discounts and packages for travelers.

Car rental agencies, where travelers can rent a car from different local and international companies, such as Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, and Europcar. Some car rental agencies have offices inside the airport, while others have offices outside the airport and offer shuttle services to and from their locations.

Transportation services, where travelers can find different options to travel from the airport to their destination, such as bus, taxi, private transfer, or shared shuttle. Some transportation services have counters inside the airport, while others have counters outside the airport or can be booked online or by phone.

Cancun Airport is the second busiest airport in Mexico, after Mexico City Airport, and the 30th busiest airport in the world, according to the Airports Council International. The airport handles more than 25 million passengers per year, from more than 50 countries and 170 destinations. The airport is also the fourth busiest airport in Latin America, after Sao Paulo Airport, Bogota Airport, and Mexico City Airport.

The airport is so busy because it is the main gateway to the Mexican Caribbean, a region that attracts millions of tourists every year for its natural beauty, cultural diversity, and historical richness. The region offers a variety of attractions and activities, such as beaches, reefs, cenotes, ruins, parks, resorts, nightlife, and gastronomy. The region also hosts several events and festivals, such as the Cancun Jazz Festival, the Riviera Maya Film Festival, and the Day of the Dead celebrations.

The airlines that fly to and from Cancun Airport, and the domestic and international destinations they cover.

Cancun Airport is served by more than 60 airlines, both domestic and international, that offer flights to and from various destinations in Mexico, North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Some of the airlines and destinations are:

Aeromexico: The flag carrier of Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, and other cities, and international flights to Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Toronto, London, Paris, Madrid, and other cities.

Air Canada: The flag carrier of Canada, that offers international flights to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and other cities.

Air France: The flag carrier of France, that offers international flights to Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, and other cities.

American Airlines: The largest airline in the world, that offers international flights to Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and other cities.

Avianca: The flag carrier of Colombia, that offers international flights to Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and other cities.

British Airways: The flag carrier of the United Kingdom, that offers international flights to London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other cities.

Copa Airlines: The flag carrier of Panama, that offers international flights to Panama City, San Jose, Guatemala City, and other cities.

Delta Air Lines: The second largest airline in the world, that offers international flights to Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and other cities.

Interjet: A low-cost airline based in Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, and other cities, and international flights to Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities.

JetBlue: A low-cost airline based in the United States, that offers international flights to New York, Boston, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and other cities.

LATAM: The largest airline in Latin America, that offers international flights to Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and other cities.

Lufthansa: The flag carrier of Germany, that offers international flights to Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, and other cities.

Southwest Airlines: The largest low-cost airline in the world, that offers international flights to Houston, Baltimore, Denver, Orlando, and other cities.

Spirit Airlines: A low-cost airline based in the United States, that offers international flights to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Detroit, Chicago, and other cities.

United Airlines: The third largest airline in the world, that offers international flights to Houston, Denver, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and other cities.

Viva Aerobus: A low-cost airline based in Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, and other cities, and international flights to Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities.

Volaris: A low-cost airline based in Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, and other cities, and international flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and other cities.

WestJet: A low-cost airline based in Canada, that offers international flights to Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and other cities.

The best transportation options from Cancun Airport to Tulum, and the pros and cons of each option.

There are several transportation options available to travel from Cancun Airport to Tulum, such as bus, taxi, private transfer, or car rental. The travel time and cost vary depending on the mode of transportation and the traffic and road conditions, but it usually takes between one and a half and two hours to reach Tulum from Cancun Airport. The pros and cons of each option are:

  • Bus: The cheapest and most eco-friendly option, but also the slowest and least comfortable one. The bus service is operated by ADO, a company that offers regular and direct buses from Cancun Airport to Tulum. The buses depart from Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, and arrive at the Tulum bus station, located in the downtown area. The buses run every hour or every two hours, depending on the season and the demand.

Cozumel Airport – The Alternative Airport for the Mexican Caribbean

Cozumel Airport, officially known as Cozumel International Airport, is an international airport in the Caribbean island of Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico. The airport is located about 3 kilometers north of the city of San Miguel, the main and only urban area of the island. The airport serves more than 600,000 passengers per year, mainly from domestic and regional destinations. The airport has one terminal, one runway, and a limited range of services and facilities for travelers.

Cozumel Airport is the alternative airport for the Mexican Caribbean, a region that includes popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya. The airport offers flights to and from various domestic and regional destinations, such as Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Miami, Houston, and Dallas. The airport also connects with other international airports elsewhere in the region, and other nearby airports, such as Cancun Airport, Merida Airport, and Chetumal Airport.

Cozumel Airport is a good option for travelers who want to visit Cozumel and the surrounding areas, especially for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The airport is only about 3 kilometers from the city of San Miguel, and there are several transportation options available to travel from the airport to the city or to other parts of the island, such as taxi, private transfer, or car rental. The travel time and cost per trip will vary depending on the mode of transportation and the traffic and road conditions, but it usually takes less than 15 minutes to reach the city from Cozumel Airport.

The features and facilities of Cozumel Airport, and why it is a popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

Cozumel Airport has one terminal, which is divided into two sections: the domestic section and the international section. The terminal has a total area of 8,000 square meters, and can handle up to 1.2 million passengers per year. The terminal has 6 boarding gates, 4 for domestic flights and 2 for international flights, and 12 check-in counters. The terminal also has a control tower, a fire station, a fuel station, and a cargo terminal. The airport operates from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and has a capacity of 12 operations per hour.

Cozumel Airport has one runway, which is 2,550 meters long and 45 meters wide, and can handle medium-sized aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. The runway is oriented in a north-south direction, and has an asphalt surface. The runway also has a parallel taxiway, and a helipad for helicopter operations.

Cozumel Airport has a limited range of services and facilities for travelers, such as:

  • Information desks, where travelers can get assistance and guidance from the airport staff.
  • Currency exchange offices, where travelers can buy or sell foreign currency at the official exchange rate.
  • ATMs, where travelers can withdraw cash from their bank accounts or credit cards.
  • Wi-Fi, where travelers can access the internet for free for up to 30 minutes per device.
  • Duty-free shops, where travelers can buy products such as perfumes, cosmetics, liquor, tobacco, and souvenirs without paying taxes or customs fees.
  • Restaurants, cafes, and bars, where travelers can enjoy a variety of food and drinks, from fast food and snacks to local and international cuisine.
  • Lounges, where travelers can relax and enjoy amenities such as comfortable seats, TVs, magazines, newspapers, snacks, drinks, showers, and spa services. Some lounges are exclusive for certain airlines or passengers, while others are accessible for a fee or with a membership card.
  • Car rental agencies, where travelers can rent a car from different local and international companies, such as Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, and Europcar. Some car rental agencies have offices inside the airport, while others have offices outside the airport and offer shuttle services to and from their locations.
  • Transportation services, where travelers can find different options to travel from the airport to their destination, such as taxi, private transfer, or shared shuttle. Some transportation services have counters inside the airport, while others have counters outside the airport or can be booked online or by phone.

Cozumel Airport is a popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, because it is located in the island of Cozumel, which is one of the best places in the world for underwater exploration. Cozumel is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest coral reef system in the world, and has more than 40 dive sites, with a variety of coral formations, marine life, and underwater landscapes. Some of the most famous dive sites in Cozumel are Palancar Reef, Santa Rosa Wall, Colombia Reef, Punta Sur Reef, and El Cielo. Cozumel also has several snorkeling sites, such as Chankanaab Park, Dzul Ha, and Paradise Reef, where snorkelers can enjoy the shallow and clear waters, and see colorful fish, coral, and sea turtles.

The airlines that fly directly to and from Cozumel Airport, and the domestic and regional destinations they cover.

Cozumel Airport is served by more than 10 airlines, both domestic and regional, that offer flights to and from various destinations in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Some of the airlines and destinations are:

  • Aeromexico: The flag carrier of Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Mexico City, and international flights to Miami and New York.
  • Air Canada: The flag carrier of Canada, that offers international flights to Toronto and Montreal.
  • American Airlines: The largest airline in the world, that offers international flights to Miami, Dallas, and Charlotte.
  • Delta Air Lines: The second largest airline in the world, that offers international flights to Atlanta and Minneapolis.
  • Interjet: A low-cost airline based in Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Mexico City and an international flight to Monterrey.
  • Mayair: A regional airline based in Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Cancun, Merida, Veracruz, and Villahermosa.
  • Sun Country Airlines: A low-cost airline based in the United States, that offers international flights to Minneapolis and Dallas.
  • Sunwing Airlines: A low-cost airline based in Canada, that offers international flights to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
  • United Airlines: The third largest airline in the world, that offers international flights to Houston and Newark.
  • Viva Aerobus: A low-cost airline based in Mexico, that offers domestic flights to Mexico City and Monterrey.
  • WestJet: A low-cost airline based in Canada, that offers international flights to Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

The transportation options from Cozumel Airport to San Miguel or other parts of the island, and the pros and cons of each option.

There are several transportation options available to travel from Cozumel Airport to San Miguel or other parts of the island, such as taxi, private transfer, or car rental. The travel time and cost vary depending on the mode of transportation and the traffic and road conditions, but it usually takes less than 15 minutes to reach San Miguel from Cozumel Airport. The pros and cons of each option are:

  • Taxi: The most common and convenient option, but also the most expensive one. The taxi service is operated by the Cozumel Taxi Union, a company that has a monopoly on the taxi service on the island. The taxis are available outside the airport terminal, and have fixed rates depending on the destination and the number of passengers. The taxis can take up to 4 passengers, and can also carry luggage and equipment. The taxis accept cash and credit cards, and can also be booked in advance by phone or online.
  • Private airport transfer: The most comfortable and personalized option, but also the most luxurious one. The private transfer service is offered by different local and international companies, such as Cozumel Airport Transfers, Cozumel Shuttle, and Cozumel Tours. The private transfers are available by reservation, and have variable rates depending on the destination, the number of passengers, and the type of vehicle. The private transfers can take up to 10 passengers, and can also carry luggage and equipment. The private transfers accept cash and credit cards, and can also be customized according to the preferences and needs of the travelers.
  • Car rental: The most flexible and independent option, but also the most challenging one. The car rental service is offered by different local and international companies, such as Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, and Europcar. Some car rental agencies have offices inside the airport, while others have offices outside the airport and offer shuttle services to and from their locations. The car rental rates vary depending on the type of car, the duration of the rental, and the insurance coverage. The car rental requires a valid driver’s license, a credit card, and a minimum age of 21 years. The car rental also involves driving on the island, which can be difficult and risky due to the traffic, the road conditions, and the lack of signage.