Getting around in Cancun is pretty easy, you have four options:
Take the Bus
In the Hotel Zone the fare is 6.5 pesos, doesn't matter if you want to go one stop or all the way. Try to have pesos rather than dollars, you might not get the change you should have and it makes it easier for the driver. The steps on Mexican buses are high and the driver wont wait for you to sit down before he pulls away, cling on tight! The buses run 24 hrs a day and every few minutes (a little less late at night) I think buses are a much better and cheaper option than taxis. A word of warning - it is very easy to become disorientated and miss your stop, try to remember a landmark close to your hotel, or when you pay your fare tell the driver where to stop. If you think you have gone past where you want to get off just shout alto por favor! Mexican bus drivers are notorious for scaring their passengers, don't be surprised if he swerves towards a cyclist or makes sure that the trees brush the windows, he's only having a bit of fun and it will make you remember your trip!. For travels further afield downtown Cancun has a modern bus station with a variety of destinations on offer.The R-1 and R-2 routes are the main hotel zone routes and they run constantly both ways. If your hotel is on the Caribbean Sea side of the street you catch the bus on the same side of the street if going downtown or cross the street and catch it if you are going towards the airport. Ask reception or the security guard which way to go when leaving the hotel to make sure you go in the right direction. The best bus to go downtown is the R-1. You will be on the main road for most of the way and then make a curve to the right onto Tulum Ave. The first stop will be in front of a small flea/straw market. You can get off here or at the next stop which is about 200-300 yards further. In this area there are shops, bars and restaurants, a large supermarket (Chedraui) is just over the road, stock up here on cigs and drink, you will find grocery prices are about 50% if not cheaper compared to the Hotel Zone. When you get Downtown you may get hassled by people who want to sell you things or hassle you to eat in their restaurant, a polite but firm 'no gracias' should be enough. To get back to your hotel you will need to be on the side of the street opposite where you got off the bus. You can take the R-1, R-2 or any other bus that says Hotel Zone or Zona Hotelera on the front window.
Take a Taxi
You shouldn't have trouble finding a taxi in Cancun, about every third vehicle seems to be a taxi. To flag a taxi you don't need to do more than just look like you want one! A little wave or standing aimlessly at the side of the road is usually enough for a driver to stop. The golden rule is to always negotiate your price before you start your trip (say the name of your location followed by cuanto cuesta?). If you can't agree a price then find another taxi or take the bus. Prices will vary, obviously on how far you want to travel, but also prices will be more expensive late at night/early morning when there are a lot of customers about, you may also find that the prices are hiked if you are drunk, but then again you probably won't remember! Maximum occupancy is 4 passengers and this is something that is fairly strictly enforced. Try to avoid the taxis that park directly outside the clubs like you will see at Senor Frogs and La Boom, just walk a hundred yards down the street and flag one down. The driver will normally set the price to include a little tip for him so it's not really necessary to tip extra, but an extra 5 or 10 pesos is a nice thing to do.
The price for locals anywhere in downtown to anywhere else downtown is 15 pesos flat rate. So if you have to travel somewhere downtown I would suggest catching the bus to Ave. Tulum and then flagging a local cab for the cheapest overall price (and the same for your return. Don't be surprised or alarmed if the driver also picks up someone else to share the ride though
Renting a Car
Cancun is a relatively small place, only if you want to go beyond the hotel zone and downtown do you need to rent a car. Perhaps if you are the more adventurous type you may want to head off to go exploring to Chichen Itza, Tulum etc. on your own without the bind of an itinerary. If this is the case then use one of the major car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Alamo etc. Do not use a name you are not familiar with, while there may be many legitimate car rental companies who run professional operations there are also the back street boys who will provide inferior vehicles, poor insurance and hidden extras. Also watch out for time share lures, if you are offered a Jeep rental for $20 a day? there will be a catch. If you do wish to rent a car then we suggest you visit our Car Rental section or take a look to any of our car rental sponsors. Beware of the driving habits in Mexico, you will see what I mean when you have taken a couple of bus trips or taxi journeys, it is not like home. If you do go further afield bear in mind that gas stations may be infrequent and the roads may be in poor repair, don't be surprised to hit a speed bump/mountain without prior warning and be prepared to get lost, make sure you have a good map with you. On your travels you may encounter army checkpoints, at first sight these can be pretty scary but don't worry, they are mainly checking for drugs and in my experience will wave you on without too much fuss. If you travel to Chichen Itza from Cancun along the main highway be aware that this is a toll road and you will need to make sure you have enough cash to pay the fees both ways, it's not a good idea to be turned off the main road and have to travel back along the jungle route.
Well what advice can one offer on walking, not a great deal except to say that if you are going to walk a significant distance during the day don't do it without taking a bottle of water with you and to be on the safe side take at least 6.5 pesos with you so that you can hop on the bus if it gets too much. Walking at night obviously has its risks too, and just like you would at home, be aware of your increased vulnerability and be especially careful of pickpockets.