Campeche

I am still trying to figure out how Viva Aerobus functions as a business. Much like Ryan Air in Europe, it is a bare bones airline that charges you a very cheap base fare and then adds on extras which you have to be very careful to unclick while purchasing your ticket to make sure you don’t accidentally sign up for a $15 MXN text message with your confirmation number (which no one I know has ever received), or a $100 MXN calendar of bikini clad women (seriously, you have to opt out of that). Because of the cheap prices (recently there was a 2 for 1 deal, I don’t even understand how they can make money), the page is almost always overloaded with traffic and buying a single ticket can take over an hour because the page times out and you have to start all over again. Foreign credit cards are almost always rejected, and once you pick your method of payment (such as paying in cash at OXXO, which is essentially a 7-11…you can buy plane tickets at a convenience store, along with a family size Corona, paper plates, and credit for your phone), you must pay with that method within 24 hours or your ticket will be cancelled and and you have to start the whole thing over again the next day. So if you click on the Banamex portal thinking you can pay there, good luck.

To minimize cost, the airline check-in counter at the airport is only open for an hour and a half at a time. When you purchase a ticket, they tell you the window of time the counter is open, and you MUST check in during this window or you lose your ticket. That’s it. You can’t print your ticket at home and breeze through security an hour before your flight. Even if you aren’t checking bags, you have to get your ticket during this time because the computers shut down after the designated time period. This happened to a friend of mine who was three minutes late for an early morning flight. The computers turned off and that was it, even though she was at the airport an hour and a half early.

In November, Viva Aerobus celebrated it’s 7th anniversary with base fares to select destinations costing only 7 pesos. That’s less than 70 american cents. Of course the taxes and fees were higher, and I purchased a round trip ticket from Mexico City to Campeche on the Yucatan Peninsula in February for around $80 USD. This past weekend I made the trip with a fellow Fulbrighter and I loved it! Downtown Campeche is a UNESCO World Heritage site with colorfully painted buildings and colonial style architecture. The wall that used to protect the city from pirates is being reconstructed and the board walk has recently been renovated. The downtown area is very small, but there are a lot of cute restaurants and shops to spend your timeImage

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