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Surviving Cancun’s ‘Shark Tank

Navigating the Shark Tank in Cancun. Timeshare Sales

Surviving Cancun’s ‘Shark Tank

If you’ve ever traveled to a popular tourist destination, you’ve likely encountered a timeshare salesperson. These individuals are particularly plentiful in places like Cancun, Mexico, where they gather in droves at the airport in an area fittingly referred to as the “Shark Tank.” Sometimes, just getting to the parking lot is considered surviving Cancun’s ‘shark tank. Let’s look closer.

Surviving Cancun's 'Shark TankWhat is the Cancun “Shark Tank”?

The “Shark Tank” is a term coined by frequent travelers to Cancun, referring to a specific area in the airport where numerous timeshare salespeople are stationed. This term is symbolic of the aggressive and relentless nature of these salespeople, akin to sharks circling their prey.

Their primary objective is to catch your attention and pitch their timeshare offers, hoping that you’ll bite​​. Upon landing at the Cancun airport, travelers are often confronted by these timeshare salespeople, who employ various tactics to engage potential customers. Some may even go to the extent of falsely claiming to be your arranged transportation, attempting to lure you into their sales pitch. However, it’s crucial to note that your actual transportation will always be located past this area and outside the airport​.

Navigating the airport exitHow to Navigate the “Shark Tank”?

Navigating the “Shark Tank” can seem overwhelming, particularly for first-time visitors to Cancun. Here are some strategies to help you traverse this area:

  1. Stay Focused: Be aware that you’ll encounter timeshare salespeople as soon as you land. Keep your goal in mind – to exit the airport and start your vacation.
  2. Polite Refusal: Continuously, but politely, say “no, thank you” to any offers or solicitations. There’s no need to engage in conversation or provide any explanation for your disinterest.
  3. Keep Walking: It’s best to keep moving forward without stopping, making it clear that you’re not interested in listening to their sales pitch.
  4. Verify Your Transportation: If anyone claims to be your arranged transport, verify this information before following them. Your actual transportation will be outside the airport, past the “Shark Tank” area​.

If you find yourself getting into a cab for a timeshare presentation, you should be prepared for an experience that is designed to be persuasive and compelling. Here’s what you might expect:

Cab ride to Cancun timeshare resort

Setting the Scene: The Taxi’s Role in Cancun Timeshare Sales

Taking a taxi often signals the start of a timeshare sales experience. As you get comfortable in the backseat, the atmosphere shifts to feel like a moving sales pitch. The driver, possibly connected with the timeshare company, becomes more than just someone driving you around. They turn into a narrator, sharing the many benefits of owning a timeshare. While you watch the city pass by, the driver may point out special features of the property you’re heading to. They could share stories of happy timeshare owners or describe the luxury that awaits. This chat isn’t just small talk; it’s a planned introduction meant to grab your attention and set the mood for the sales talk ahead.

This taxi trip, though it seems simple, is often a well-thought-out plan by the timeshare company. Knowing that first impressions matter, they use this brief ride to spark your curiosity. By the time you reach the property, you’re not just another visitor; you’ve been gently introduced to the timeshare world, making the next sales pitch feel more like a follow-up than a fresh start.

Behind the Timeshare Tour

Once you arrive, you will likely be treated to a tour of the property. This tour is designed to show off the best features of the resort, with a focus on luxury amenities and beautiful views. You might be shown a high-end unit and told about all the benefits of timeshare ownership, such as the flexibility to swap your timeshare for others around the world.

In addition to the tour, you may be treated to a sales presentation. This often involves a slideshow or video presentation, with a salesperson explaining the details of the timeshare agreement, the costs, and the benefits. These presentations are typically designed to be very persuasive, using high-pressure sales tactics to encourage you to sign up.

Vacation without stressPost-Presentation Pressure: Navigating the Decision Moment

Once the presentation is over, you will likely be asked to make a decision on the spot. These high-pressure sales tactics can include things like limited-time offers, special discounts that are only available if you sign up right away, and even attempts to make you feel guilty or uncomfortable for saying no.

Since you’ve just arrived on vacation, you might want to think about what you have just seen, rather than making a rushed decision. It’s also important to remember that you do not have to sign anything – you can take your time and decide if timeshare ownership is right for you. If the deal sounds too good to be true or you don’t feel comfortable, it’s okay to say no.

While the “Shark Tank” can be an intimidating part of arriving in Cancun, being prepared and understanding what to expect can make your journey through it a breeze. Remember, the main goal of these timeshare salespeople is to sell, and you have every right to decline their offers and continue on your way. By staying polite, focused, and assertive, you can navigate the “Shark Tank” and start your Cancun vacation on a positive note.

This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Please consult a legal professional with any individual circumstances that you may have a question on.


Led by timeshare attorneys J. Andrew Meyer and Michael D. Finn with over 75 years of combined legal experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in Timeshare Law. If you would like a free consultation to discuss your individual rights under the law, please reach out to our office at (727) 214-0700 or contact us through our online form.

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