The U.S. State Department is warning travelers headed to Cancún or nearby areas in Mexico against using ride-sharing apps following incidents between taxi and Uber drivers in the region.
Taxi drivers are now facing stiff competition from app-based car services like Uber, which can offer a cheaper alternative for getting around. Tensions with the taxi unions escalated earlier this month after a court injunction allowed Uber to operate legally in the region and exempted Uber drivers from having to obtain a permit, called a medallion, like taxi drivers do, according to reports.
Taxi drivers have been harassing and attacking Uber drivers and their passengers recently. According to a report from Reuters, the situation escalated again Monday when taxi drivers blocked the road to the airport for all passengers, requiring some travelers to make the trek to the airport on foot.
This behavior is what prompted the U.S. Embassy in Mexico to issue a travel advisory for the state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancún and other popular destinations like Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
“Past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances,” the alert reads.
If you're traveling to Cancún and other nearby areas in the Riviera Maya, it might be best to avoid using Uber and other ride-sharing apps for the time being. Luckily, there's no shortage of transportation options to help you get around.
Need to get from the airport to your hotel, or vice-versa? You can pre-book a private transfer. Thrifty Traveler team members have used USA Transfers on a number of recent trips to Cancún and have always had a great experience. Whether you have one person or up to seven, you can book a round-trip transfer to your resort or hotel at a reasonable price. For example, it cost $120 round-trip to get from the Cancún airport to the Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya – a roughly 35-45-minute trip.
Hotels and resorts can also arrange transportation for you, although it may be a little pricier. Renting a car is always an option if you don't mind dealing with traffic in the resort towns. Cancún itself is relatively easy to navigate and get around, especially in the Hotel Zone. There are public transportation options like buses available, and much of the area is walkable.
The latest warning comes after the State Department already issued a travel advisory for dozens of Mexican states due to concerns about violent crime, including “Do Not Travel” advisories for the states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. In the wake of recent incidents, officials are reminding travelers that “all destinations have some level of risk.” Travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings, monitor local media for updates, and call 911 in Mexico if they need immediate assistance.
If you're heading to Cancún, avoid using Uber or other rideshare apps to get from the airport to your destination. A travel advisory from the U.S. State Department says taxi drivers have been harassing and attacking Uber drivers and passengers as part of an ongoing dispute.
Consider booking a private transfer, even if it costs you a little bit more, to avoid this issue for the time being at Cancún International Airport (CUN).
Any word on Cabo? Headed there next week and heard of minor skirmishes… hopefully they stay minor.
I’m not understanding this. I fly in and out of Cancun a few times a year and Uber hasn’t been in the area for years. I’m here now and just tried searching for one, and the app still says “Uber is not available in the area at this time”.
I take Uber everywhere else in Mexico, but it’s never been an option at the airport, in Tulum, or Playa Del Carmen.
The taxi drivers have brought this upon themselves. Always having to do the “let’s make a deal” dance with them anywhere you go. Different prices between outbound and return to the same destinations. Been done with Cancun for a while as your trip immediately starts with having to deal with this BS to get to your hotel. Not a fun way to start a vacation. I hope the Uber drivers prevail to unseat taxis in the area.
Wondering if this applies to Merida or Mexico City?
Forget Mexico for now. Consider Hawaii instead. Many deals on flights/car/hotel combos. Rent a condo close to but not on the beach, cook yourselves mostly. Avoid pricy bars mostly too. WAY better than Mexico and its hassles any day. Avoid Honolulu. Closer than you think.
I just returned from Mexico & experienced the taxi vs Uber situation first hand. My friends & I walked more than 4 miles before the police came to provide us transportation in the back of their pickup trucks. the experience is enough for me to never go back to Mexico again- there are several other tropical options that are not as dangerous & I will spend my tourist $ there & NOT in Mexico