With the arrival of several domestic flights, Tulum International Airport officially opened to the public on Dec. 1.
But one of the key things to note about Tulum International is that it’s not really in Tulum at all.
This means that arriving passengers heading to their resort will have to travel another nearly 30 miles, which these days takes well over an hour.
Then there are the airport taxi fares. A one-way trip to downtown Tulum costs US$93.50, or MX$1,496.
“When I saw these prices, I was so taken aback. That is just a couple hundred pesos shy of what I paid for my flight from Mexico City. It’s nothing short of insanity,” said a traveler, Manuel Rios, on Facebook.
Speculation on social media is that the taxi fares are so expensive because there is an expectation that once the Tren Maya connects to the airport, they will no longer be needed.
There is also the issue of the width of the roads to and from Mexico’s newest airport, which in conjunction with military checkpoints, are already causing traffic jams.
“We are thrilled that the airport is operational, but there is a real concern that the current infrastructure will cause major traffic jams,” said David Ortiz Mena, vice president of the Mexican Caribbean’s Hotel Council.
There has been no official word on how exactly the Tren Maya will connect to Tulum International, but all signs point to some sort of shuttle service to and from a nearby station.
Six airlines have confirmed routes to and from Tulum International. However, international flights offered by Delta and Spirit Airlines are not scheduled to begin until spring.
Spanning 1,200 hectares, Tulum International has a 750,000-square-foot terminal featuring 13 gates with direct aircraft access, allowing passengers to board their flights by walking directly onto the aircraft.
Tulum’s new airport is part of a strategy designed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to improve infrastructure in Mexico’s southeast.
The president has on several occasions claimed that before long, Tulum’s airport will become Mexico’s third-busiest airport, only behind Mexico City’s Benito Juarez and Cancún International.
Though the number of restaurants and other amenities is still limited, airport authorities have assured travelers that plenty of new dining options will be opening soon.
Though there have been reports of rainwater leaks through the airport ceiling, these reports have not been corroborated.
Officially called Aeropuerto Internacional Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Tulum International is operated by Grupo Olmeca-Maya-Mexica, a holding company owned by the Mexican military.