Guide to Navigating Mexico City Airport like a Pro


4 anxiety reducing tips gathered from over 10 years of flying to Mexico

Navigating Mexico City airport isn’t easy.

Flights to and from Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca often include a layover at the Mexico City International Airport (MEX). With Vivo’s head office based in Canada, members of our team will frequently choose to fly to Puerto Escondido with a stopover in Mexico City. We are happy to share a few tips to help you embrace the layover time and reduce the stress of navigating the busiest airport in Mexico.

#1 – Layover – Give yourself at least 2 ½ hours between flights at MEX when arriving via an international flight.

Here’s why:

  • Checked luggage needs to be claimed and re-checked.
    • Pro tip: you’ll save yourself considerable time if you pack light and cram everything into your carry-on.
  • You’ve got a fair distance to cover between international arrivals and domestic departures.
  • Depending on where you are coming from you may have to transfer between the two terminals. The airport is old so navigating Mexico City airport isn’t simple.  
    • Pro tip: Best to reach Terminal 2 via shuttle, which is on the 2nd level.


#2 – Customs – A little preparation and good manners can go a long way to making for a smooth trip through customs.

When navigating Mexico City airport be prepared for customs. A few small details can go a long way:

  • Have your passport ready.
  • Fill out the top and bottom of the tourist card.
  • Keep the tourist card with your passport as you’ll need them both to leave the country.
    • Pro tip: If you lose the tourist card you are going to have to visit Immigration when you return to the airport. Expect to have to pay for a new card.
  • Try to greet the customs agent with proper Spanish.
    • Pro tip: “Buenas Tardes” is appropriate if it’s the afternoon.

#3 – Currency – Be prepared to use pesos.

If you don’t purchase pesos from your home bank prior to departure, you can find currency exchanges and bank machines in the Airport.

  • Pro tip: Be proactive and exchange your currency for Pesos at your local bank or currency exchange vendor. Most of the time there is a premium to exchange currency at the airport.

#4 – Be a Tourist – An extended layover at MEX is a great opportunity to take a tour and explore a fascinating city rich with culture and history.

Staying in Mexico City overnight?

  • There are 3 hotels within the MEX terminal and several others (with complimentary shuttles) just outside the airport.
    • Pro tip: The Courtyard Marriott within the terminal is a Vivo employee favourite due to it’s convenience, well appointed rooms, fitness centre, restaurant and lounge.

If you arrive in the morning and have 8 – 10 hours before your next flight, take the time to explore Mexico City and enjoy some local cuisine.

  • Pro tip: If you don’t want to haul your luggage around for the day there is a temporary luggage storage service offered. For a small fee, they will keep your luggage safe while you explore this incredible city.

Your options to get into Mexico City:

  1. Taxi
  2. Metrobus (bus that has it own lane on the roads)
  3. Metro (underground light rail train)

Here are a couple recommendations for places to explore when you only have a few hours:

  • If you are a fan of history, I recommend checking out the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology). You can spend a few hours or the entire day here. There are maps provided at the ticket booth and I recommend strategically picking the exhibit(s) you want to check out first. There are also weekly featured exhibits.
  • Looking for a little more activity to stretch the legs? I recommend checking out the Castillo de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Castle). This castle is in the centre of Mexico City and requires some steps to climb but it’s all worth it when you reach the top and experience the breathtaking views.


Want to Know More About Vivo Resorts

There may be more to navigating Mexico City airport but we hope this short guide will be helpful.

Vivo Resorts Oaxacan Beachfront Living is a private, gated, beachfront community on the Pacific Coast of southern Mexico. To learn more about Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, or about Vivo Resorts, please call us at 1-888-236-2876 (toll-free from the USA or Canada). 

You can also book a vacation through the Vivo Vacations website or contact Vivo by email.

Learn more about Vivo Resorts on social media!


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