What The New Tulum International Airport Means For Cancun Travelers

What The New Tulum International Airport Means For Cancun Travelers

Travelers to the Mexican Caribbean will soon have a brand-new airport to choose from when flying to the area for a beach vacation getaway.

The Tulum International Airport (TQO) is expected to open to passengers in December and make it easier to get to the southern part of the Mexican Caribbean. 

Tulum Airport Cleared for Landing

It’s been more than a decade since the initial planning stages for a new airport in the Mexican Caribbean to complement airports in Cancun and Cozumel were put into the planning stage.

Stops and starts in the process, along with some political priority hurdles, led to construction finally starting in late 2022.

With the airport more than 65 percent complete at the end of September, flights are planned to the brand-new airport in December.

However, if you are thinking about trying out the new airport, international arrivals are not scheduled to start until April of 2024.

A connection will be needed for the first few months of flights to the new Tulum International Airport.

Need For a New Airport

With a record number of travelers to the Mexican Caribbean this year, the need for an additional airport to help alleviate some of the congestion and headaches for travelers at the Cancun International Airport was severely needed.

Cancun International Airport is consistently listed as one of the top three busiest airports in the country and its infrastructure was already stretched to the max.

Also, passengers to the southern end of the Mexican Caribbean wanted a different option to get to the beach resort area without having to commute from Cancun.

The direct drive from Cancun to Tulum is 131 kilometers, or more than 81 miles, and takes about two hours. 

The new Tulum International Airport is only 20 kilometers, or about 12.5 miles, south of Tulum.

Routes and Destinations

Initially, Mexican airlines will be flying domestic routes to the new Tulum International Airport.

The first flights, scheduled to start on December 1, will be Aeromexico Connect from Mexico City International Airport (MEX) and Viva Aerobus from Mexico City International Airport, Felipe Angeles International Airport (NLU) in Mexico City and Monterrey International Airport (MTY).

Viva Aerobus will add Guadalajara (GDL) on December 16 and Tijuana (TIJ) on December 17.

The Mexican airlines will route passengers from the United States through one of these airports to connect to the new Tulum International Airport.

The first nonstop flights to Tulum from the United States are currently planned for March 28, 2024, when Delta Airlines launches service from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL).

Aeromexico has announced flights direct from Chicago and San Francisco, although the tickets were unavailable for booking at the time of this article.

Flights Higher to Start

Looking at the pricing for flights to Tulum in December showed that they ranged higher on average than similar flights to the Cancun International Airport in December.

That could be due to the limited number of flights, and the popularity of flying to the new international airport in the Mexican Caribbean.

However, it is expected that as more airlines serve the area, and international flights start in March, the pricing could come down and most likely will be similar to prices to Cancun.

Tips For Travelers

Travelers looking to visit the south part of the Mexican Caribbean will soon have a new option to get to the area without flying to Cancun and taking a taxi or shuttle about two hours to the area.

Tulum is known for having a large number of vacation rentals. In the past, they were considered affordable relative to Cancun because of the distance needed to travel.

As that distance shrinks due to the new airport, travelers can expect higher demand, and in turn, higher prices for vacation rental properties in Tulum.

The good news for travelers is that the Tulum International Airport will be very convenient for those looking to explore the many Mayan ruins and other fun visitor amenities available in the more accessible southern Mexican Caribbean.