IMPORTING ANIMALS To import your dog or cat, upon entering Mexico you must provide a health certificate issued within 15 days of your departure from your home country and signed by a registered veterinarian stating your pet is free of contagious diseases. You must also provide a vaccination certificate specifying the animal has been vaccinated against rabies, hepatitis and distemper (if the animal is old enough).
For more information contact the animal health directorate (Dirección General de Salud Animal) at tel 52-55/9183-1000 ext 34087 or 34093.?
GETTING THERE BY AIR Most flights arrive at the Cancun International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Cancún, airport code CUN). From there you take an authorized taxi, shuttle or bus for the 45 minute ride to Playa del Carmen. (See the sections Getting there: By taxi and By bus, below.) Flying time to Cancun is about 3 1/2 hours from New York, 4 1/2 hours from Los Angeles and 12 hours from London.
You can also fly into the Cozumel International Airport (airport code CZM; tel 872-2081 or 872-0485) and take a 30-45 minute ferry ride to Playa. (See the section Getting around: By ferry, below.) Flying time from most hubs in the US is about two to fours hours.? Airlines that service Cancun (area code 998) include Aeroméxico (tel 287-1822), Aeromar (tel 01-800-237-6627 or 886-1100), Aerosaab (tel 984/873-0804, Playa del Carmen), Alaska Airlines (tel 800/252-7522, US), American Airlines (tel 01-800-904-6000), American Trans Air (tel 800/435-9282, US), Condor (tel 800/364-1667, US), Continental Airlines (tel 01-800-900-5000), Copa Airlines (tel 01-800-265-2672), Cubana de Aviacion (tel 887-7210 or 886-0355), Delta Airlines (tel 01-800-123-4710), Frontier Airlines (tel 800/432-1359, US), Iberia Airlines (tel 55/1101-1515, Mexico City or 800/772-4642, US), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (tel 01-800-907-4700), Lan Airlines (tel 01-800-123-1619 or 305/670-9999, Miami), Líneas Aéreas Azteca (tel 01-800-229-8322), Mexicana (tel 01-800-801-2010), Northwest Airlines (tel 01-800-907-4700 or 01-800-830-7400), Taca Airlines (tel 55/5211-6640, Mexico City or 800/400-8222, US), Thomsonfly, United Airlines (tel 01-800-003-0777) and US Airways (tel 800/428-4322, US).
Airlines that service Cozumel (area code 987) include Aerosaab (tel 984/873-0804), American Airlines (tel 01-800-904-6000), Continental Airlines (tel 01-800-900-5000), Delta Airlines (tel 01-800-123-4710),Frontier Airlines (tel 800/432-1359, US), Líneas Aéreas Azteca (tel 01-800-229-8322), Mexicana (tel 01-800-801-2010), Northwest Airlines (tel 01-800-907-4700 or 01-800-830-7400), United Airlines (tel 01-800-003-0777) and US Airways (tel 800/428-4322, US).
Note: The phone numbers listed above are local access numbers unless otherwise stated. To access US 1-800 numbers, see the section in General Info: Telecommunications.
BY TAXI If your hotel doesn?t provide transportation from the airport, you can use an authorized airport taxi or shuttle.
BY BUS ADO (tel 01-800-702-8000, Mexico; 800/950-0287, US) provides bus transportation from the Cancun International Airport to Playa del Carmen.
BY CRUISE In Playa del Carmen cruise ships either anchor offshore and tender passengers to the ferry pier, which is about 1 1/2 blocks from the main square, or they dock at the small port of Calica, which also caters to cement barges, located about 10 minutes south of town. Alternatively, they may dock at one of Cozumel?s three cruise ship piers (Punta Langosta, located right downtown; the International Pier/SSA, near the La Ceiba hotel; and Puerta Maya, which is further south) and tender passengers to the ferry pier in Playa, which can take up to an hour or more.
Cruise lines that call on Playa del Carmen include Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Compagnie des Îles du Ponant, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd and Peter Deilmann Cruises.
Cruise lines that call on Cozumel include AIDA, Carnival Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland America, Majestic Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Peter Deilmann Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
GETTING AROUND BY CAR Playa del Carmen is small enough that you can walk everywhere. You may want to rent a car to visit other destinations along the coast, which are all within an easy drive along Highway 307, which runs from Cancun, 42 miles north of Playa, to the state capital Chetumal, 198 miles south of Playa.
There are plenty of car rental agencies. Motorcycles and scooters can also be rented. To rent a car you will need your valid driver?s license from home or an international driver?s permit. You must also obtain Mexican auto insurance. Don?t assume your credit card covers you unless it specifically mentions driving in Mexico. In the event of an accident you?re considered guilty until proven innocent, so it?s best to obtain insurance that includes an attorney and a claims adjuster who will come to the scene of the accident.?
Toll roads (called cuota) are in excellent condition, although they can be expensive. Non-toll roads (referred to as libre) are usually in much rougher condition. In rural areas roads are generally in poor condition. Traffic lights don?t always function. Signage is often poor. Watch out for speed bumps (called topes), one-way streets, large potholes and pedestrians. In rural areas watch for animals, pedestrians, potholes, unmarked speed bumps and those on approach to towns and villages, and rock slides during the rainy season. Avoid driving at night in rural areas, and whenever possible use toll roads.
Gas stations, called Pemex, are plentiful in populated areas, but they don?t usually accept foreign credit cards. In rural areas, fill up whenever you can. Ensure the gas station attendant resets the pump back to zero before filling your tank.
Seat belts in vehicles and helmets on motorcycles/scooters must be worn. Drinking and driving is illegal.
Driving is on the right. Speed limits are indicated in kilometres and are enforced. Alto means ?stop.? No-parking areas are indicated by a circle with a diagonal line superimposed on the letter ?E,? which stands for estacionamiento. One-way streets are common. When crossing a narrow bridge, the vehicle that flashes its lights first has the right of way. A vehicle flashing its lights is generally warning of danger up ahead.
Traffic circles or roundabouts (called glorietas) and speed bumps (called topes) are used for traffic control. Slow down when driving over speed bumps or you will damage your car and/or tires. If you?ve never used a roundabout, remember: vehicles already in the roundabout have right of way, yield to traffic on your left, signal and slowly move in.?
The Mexican Ministry of Tourism operates the Green Angels/Angeles Verdes (tel 01-800-987-8224), a fleet of trucks that patrols major highways to help stranded motorists 24/7. The drivers are bilingual and can provide basic supplies, mechanical help, first aid, towing and such. While their services are free, it is customary to tip them according to the size of the job they have performed. You must, however, pay for any gas, spare parts or other materials used to get your vehicle running again. For emergency highway road service you can also dial 078.
BY TAXI Regular taxis are not allowed to transport passengers from the airport into town; however, they can take you from town to the airport for your departure. Authorized transportation lines operate from the airport. (See Getting there: By taxi, above.)?
Taxi fares are set by zone. Taxi drivers should have an official rate card available in their vehicle. Ensure you confirm the rate, and whether it?s quoted in pesos or dollars, with your driver before getting into the vehicle.
BY BUS Playa del Carmen has two bus stations, known as Central Camionera or Central de Autobuses. The main station is located at Ave Juarez and Calle 5 and a second station is located at Calle 12 and Calle 14. A few large bus lines operate along the coast, including ADO (tel 01-800-702-8000).
Privately owned minibuses, known as colectivos, also run frequently along the coast between Cancun and Tulum. In Playa they operate from Calle 2 between Ave 15 and Ave 20. They usually leave once the bus is full. Elsewhere, you can also find a safe spot along the highway and flag one down. Drivers usually flash their lights as a way of asking if you want a ride. Tell the driver where you want to get off, but also watch for your stop in case he forgets. Drivers don?t usually speak English. Pay when you get off the bus. The one-way rates are fixed based on destination, generally 20-40 pesos (US$2-$4).
BY FERRY Two passenger ferries operate from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. They both offer numerous trips daily between 5am and 11pm. Both lines have toilets on board and offer refreshments for sale. The trip takes 30-45 minutes depending on weather conditions. In Playa del Carmen the ferry pier is about 1 1/2 blocks from the main square. The ferry pier in Cozumel is called Muelle Fiscal and it?s about one block from San Miguel?s town square.
UltraMar operates air-conditioned yellow-coloured ferries (tel 984/876-0848, Playa del Carmen; 987/869-3223, Cozumel). The round-trip fare costs US$18.18 for adults and US$10 for children 4-11 years old. The one-way fare costs US$9.09 for adults and US$4.95 for kids. An additional fee applies to luggage in excess of 25kg. You can also transport bicycles and motorcycles (with empty gas tanks) on this ferry line.
Mexico Water Jets/Cruceros Maritimos del Caribe operates blue-and-white-coloured ferries (tel 984/879-3112, Playa del Carmen; 987/872-1588, Cozumel). The fare costs US$10 for adults and US$5.50 for children 2-12 years old.
Fares and schedules are subject to change.
BY AIR Playa del Carmen has a small airport from which Aerosaab (tel 984/873-0804 ) flies charters and tours to local destinations, including Holbox Island and Chichén Itzá.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.