The best way to Get Between Cancún and Tulum

This submit was written by Emily Becker, our resident Mexico journey skilled:

You’ve simply booked your flight to Cancún. So now what? Since there isn’t a world airport in Tulum, getting there from Cancún takes a little bit of planning. Fortunately, there are many choices, together with public transportation, non-public shuttles, and automotive leases.

Right here is your complete information, with the whole lot it’s good to find out about making the journey from the Cancún airport to only about anyplace on the Riviera Maya, as far south as Tulum (and again). You’ll discover useful recommendation, transportation suggestions, and even a map with locations to see alongside the best way:

Take a colectivo

You may simply get to the Tulum ruins by taking a colectivo there from downtown Tulum.

Colectivos, also called combis, are white minibuses which are frequent in Mexico. They’re surprisingly straightforward to make use of and the most affordable choice for getting round. I additionally discover them to be simpler than the common buses, as a result of they don’t run on a hard and fast schedule however normally depart each half-hour. Essentially the most I’ve ever needed to anticipate a combi to depart was 20 minutes.

You probably have plenty of baggage, nonetheless, a colectivo isn’t an ideal choice for you. There isn’t plenty of area for it as a result of autos’ measurement and the truth that individuals use them to journey to and from work principally. When you simply have a backpack, although, you’re good to go.

When you don’t communicate Spanish, there are a pair phrases you will want to recollect. Once you first board the colectivo, merely inform the driving force your vacation spot. Then convey up a map in your telephone to see whenever you’re getting shut, at which level inform the driving force: “Parada en ______” with the title of the place you’re going. For instance, in case you’re getting off in Akumal, you’ll inform the driving force: “Parada en Akumal, por favor.”

Costs for colectivos are unattainable to seek out on-line, so to ensure you are getting the proper worth, you’ll be able to ask to see the tabla de precios. Typically this desk is taped to the within of the colectivo and typically it’s not. The motive force will all the time have one, although. Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that the driving force will attempt to swindle you. I lived on the Riviera Maya for a yr and was by no means as soon as overcharged for a colectivo trip.

From the Cancún airport to Tulum

You can’t take a colectivo from the Cancún airport as a result of they solely function alongside the freeway. When you’re going straight from the airport to Tulum and never planning on spending any time in Cancún, I counsel taking an ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) bus to Playa del Carmen after which taking a colectivo from there. That’s one of the best plan in case you completely wish to take a colectivo as an alternative of a bus. In any other case, probably the most handy choice to get to Playa del Carmen or Tulum from the airport is an ADO bus.

From Tulum to the Cancún airport

When you’re heading again to the Cancún airport, you’ll be able to simply catch a colectivo in Tulum (see map under). The colectivos don’t go to the airport, although, so you have got two choices: The primary is to take the colectivo to Playa del Carmen after which take an ADO bus to the Cancún airport. The second is to take the colectivo all the best way to downtown Cancún after which take an ADO bus to the airport.

Since downtown Cancún is additional north than the airport, the primary choice is probably the most logical method to get from Tulum to the airport by colectivo.

Colectivo perks

If you’re planning to discover the Riviera Maya, taking a colectivo is a good way to take action, as a result of you will get off at any level alongside the stretch of freeway between Cancún and Tulum. This offers you extra freedom than a bus, which has fastened stops alongside the best way. When you do wish to cease someplace — say, Akumal — simply let the driving force know and he’ll cease to allow you to out.

One other perk of taking a colectivo is that you just’ll get to really feel extra like a neighborhood and fewer like a vacationer. Chances are high, you is likely to be the one foreigner aboard.

Colectivos are simply as secure as buses and might really be a lot faster, relying on what number of stops they make. So far as consolation goes, they’re advantageous for brief spurts, however positively not fitted to napping the identical method the buses are.

Take a bus

things to do in cancun dive cozumel
Attending to among the finest diving spots off the coast of Cozumel is completely doable. Simply take an ADO bus from Cancún to Playa del Carmen and a fast ferry to Cozumel from there!

The bus system within the Riviera Maya is a breeze. I used to be really fairly impressed with how effectively it labored once I first moved there (granted I had simply spent two years dwelling in Mozambique, the place transportation generally is a nightmare). There are two fundamental bus firms that function within the state of Quintana Roo: ADO and Mayab.

There are a pair small variations between the 2. ADO is a nationwide firm that operates throughout Mexico; its buses are barely greater, virtually all the time have AC, and are usually a bit extra comfy. Its routes are virtually the identical, however Mayab operates in smaller cities all through the Yucatán Peninsula and tends to make extra stops alongside the best way. Mayab tickets are often cheaper than ADO tickets, however you’ll be able to simply examine the 2, as they’re each offered on ADO’s web site and at bus stations. The one bus firm that runs out of the Cancún airport is ADO.

From the Cancún airport

As quickly as you exit the terminal on the airport, you’ll see an ADO ticket station. The one locations between Cancún airport and Tulum at the moment are: downtown Cancún, Puerto Morelos, and Playa del Carmen (then Tulum). If you wish to go to every other vacation spot, you’ll should both switch buses on the downtown Cancún station, or take a colectivo.

From Tulum

Getting from Tulum to Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, downtown Cancún, or the Cancún airport is feasible with an ADO bus, which yow will discover on the ADO station in Tulum. To buy tickets or examine the bus schedule, go to ADO’s web site or go to the ADO station in downtown Tulum. At all times buy your bus tickets no less than a day forward of time to safe your spot, as these buses typically promote out, and also you don’t wish to threat lacking your flight!

The ADO bus pulls proper as much as the Cancún airport, making it tremendous straightforward to plan your flight residence in case you’re counting on public transportation.

Lease a automotive

cancun things to do la noria cenote
Cenote La Noria is one in every of many cenotes which are simpler to get to when you have your individual rental automotive.

When you don’t wish to depend on public transportation, renting a automotive positively provides you extra freedom to go to the entire superb locations on the Riviera Maya. Some cenotes and seashores are tough to achieve through public transit, and renting a automotive in Mexico is mostly less expensive than in the USA.

I’ve discovered that having a very good expertise renting a automotive can rely on varied components. Foremost, choosing the proper firm is essential. Some firms have extraordinarily low scores, and prospects have shared horror tales about their rental experiences. Listed below are a pair firms that come extremely really helpful, together with a number of that needs to be prevented:


  • Alamo: The costs embody the obligatory insurance coverage value, and they’re extra up entrance about the fee. Additionally they have among the finest critiques on-line, and I’ve personally had a really constructive expertise with Alamo.
  • Enterprise Lease-A-Automobile: That is the second-highest rated firm on the Cancún airport. They’re one of the best for reserving forward of time, as a result of they offers you the precise worth on-line (with no shock insurance coverage add-ons on the finish). Most critiques report Enterprise being very quick, straightforward, and reliable.
  • Nationwide Automobile Rental: They’re identified for having glorious service and up-front costs with no shock charges. Nationwide is top-rated on Google, with a number of rave critiques about how briskly prospects have been capable of decide up their rental automotive.

Keep away from:

  • Fox: They’re identified for having a scarcity of automobiles and promising one sort of auto and charging for it regardless of altering the mannequin on the final minute. This can lead to prospects paying extra for a automotive that they didn’t ask for within the first place.
  • Mex Lease a Automobile: They’re infamous for giving prospects a quote on-line that doesn’t embody the obligatory insurance coverage. When prospects come to choose up the automotive they already paid the deposit on, they’re shocked by the extra insurance coverage prices.
  • ACE Lease a Automobile: There are fairly a number of critiques on-line claiming this firm doubled and even tripled the value of the rental automotive when prospects went to choose up their automobile after reserving on-line by way of a third-party web site.

The place to hire

You may simply hire a automotive on the Cancún airport, or in Playa del Carmen or Tulum. When you hire from an organization that has areas in all three, you may have the ability to decide up the automotive in a single location and drop it off in one other. I did this as soon as with Alamo, renting the automotive in Tulum and dropping it off in Cancún.

Enterprise has areas on the Cancún airport, and in downtown Cancún, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen. Nationwide Automobile Rental has a location on the Cancún airport, and in Playa del Carmen and Tulum. For each Enterprise and Nationwide, the areas that aren’t on the Cancún airport aren’t practically as handy and are in unmarked buildings which are tough to seek out. Alamo’s areas in Tulum and Playa del Carmen are a lot simpler to seek out.

Renting from the Cancún airport is likely to be probably the most handy, however it is usually the costliest. Corporations reap the benefits of the truth that individuals need to have the ability to get off their airplane and instantly seize a automotive on the airport. There will be as a lot as a $10-per-day distinction. Nonetheless, in case you get to the counter with a less expensive quote from the identical firm however a unique location, they may normally honor it and provide the cheaper price.


  • If you’re touring throughout off-season (the spring and summer season months), wait to e book your rental automotive till you land in Cancún. That method you’ll be able to talk about costs in individual. You may even have the ability to haggle all the way down to a greater worth.
  • If you’re touring throughout excessive season (winter), e book your rental as much as 7 days earlier than your journey. Most firms supply one of the best promotions and reductions inside this window.
  • There’s a obligatory insurance coverage in Mexico referred to as Third-Get together Legal responsibility (TPL)/Public Legal responsibility Insurance coverage (PLI). Once you take a look at a each day price for the automotive, make certain to ask if the TPL/PLI is already included, as a result of if not, they may add it on on the finish and it’ll enhance the value considerably.
  • When you should not have a world driving allow, you’ll be able to nonetheless hire a automotive in Mexico. Nonetheless, having one helps, as a result of your driver’s license shall be translated to Spanish, which may give you peace of thoughts in case you get pulled over.
  • It’s a typical rip-off for gasoline station attendants to overcharge you on gasoline in case you pay with a card, and so they pocket the distinction. Be sure you examine the quantity earlier than you insert your card within the machine. This occurred to me in Chiapas, and once I identified the distinction, the attendant gave it to me in money and pretended it was an accident.
  • Keep away from driving at evening. There are often roadblocks at evening on the freeway between Cancún and Chetumal, that are infamous for stopping automobiles and demanding cash.
  • Be sure that to tip parking zone attendants for keeping track of your automotive. 5-10 pesos will do.

Rent a non-public shuttle

cancun things to do jungle bubble hotel
Attending to your Tulum Airbnb or lodge is quick and simple through non-public shuttle.

When you’re staying at a resort someplace between Cancún and Tulum, they may most definitely have their very own shuttle service, or you’ll be able to rent a non-public shuttle to take you. Some even have Wi-fi on board and can decide you up on the airport. When you’re staying in Cancún, examine along with your lodge or hostel to see if it has such a service.

If not, there are many choices for shuttles from the Cancún airport to Tulum. Completely satisfied Shuttle Cancún comes extremely really helpful and claims to be the most affordable shuttle round. Even so, a one-way shuttle service by way of this firm can value as much as $118 from the Cancún airport to a Tulum lodge.

One other respected shuttle service from the airport to Playa del Carmen or Tulum is Cancún Shuttle. You may specify your drop-off level, which may be very handy. Verify the web site for his or her charges.

I perceive why shuttles are so interesting, however except you have got a bunch of huge, heavy suitcases, I can’t think about how they could possibly be extra handy than hopping on an ADO bus straight from the airport. I don’t see an absolute want for hiring one.

Nonetheless, if the thought of getting a delegated individual ready for you on the airport is a should, a shuttle is your finest guess. Typically solo vacationers discover consolation on this, and it may be a method to take the strain off of getting from place to put.

Stops alongside the best way

Child sea turtles in Akumal!

When you’re questioning the place to cease alongside the best way from Cancún to Tulum, I’ve bought you lined! There’s a lot to see on this space of Mexico, and the best possible method to take action is by renting a automotive, so that you’ll have the liberty to go to the websites that attraction probably the most to you.

Cities value stopping in

  • Puerto Morelos: It is a fairly small city proper on the seashore. There are plenty of foreigners that stay there, and also you’ll see a number of gated communities round city with villas and trip properties. The seashore is much less crowded there than in another locations, and it’s a enjoyable spot to spend a day or two.
  • Playa del Carmen: An enormous trip spot and a giant celebration vacation spot, Playa del Carmen is extra like a small metropolis than a city. It’s not precisely a great place to go and loosen up, as there’s plenty of hustle and bustle there.
  • Cozumel: You may simply take a ferry to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen. This island is gorgeous and one of many nation’s prime locations for snorkeling and scuba diving.
  • Akumal: This seashore paradise is among the finest locations within the space to see sea turtles. The city itself is sort of small, however there’s loads to do there. Even in case you don’t keep at a giant resort lodge, you’ll be able to simply entry the seashore and cenotes round city.


  • Playa Xpu-Ha: This gorgeous white-sand seashore is a neighborhood favourite and is way more off the crushed path than others within the space. Even throughout excessive season, this seashore not often will get crowded and maintains a laid-back environment all yr spherical.
  • Playa Kantenah: That is one other extra chill seashore, the place you’ll discover only a few individuals at any given time. Although there are two massive motels proper on the seashore, the water is accessible to the general public, and it isn’t tough to get there.
  • Playa Chemuyil: Referred to as one in every of Riviera Maya’s best-kept secrets and techniques, this seashore will be accessed from Ciudad Chemuyil and is among the solely ones that costs admission to enter: about 40 pesos ($2 USD).


  • Cenote Yal Ku: Positioned in Akumal, this cenote and lagoon has among the finest snorkeling within the space. It’s straightforward to entry when you have a rental automotive, however you can even ask a taxi driver in Akumal or Playa del Carmen to take you.
  • Casa Cenote, aka Cenote Manatí: Whereas one of many pricier cenotes within the space (150 pesos, or $7.50 USD, to enter), this one is thought for having nice snorkeling and for being one of many least crowded. It’s simply outdoors of Tulum, and you’ll both drive there or get a taxi from Tulum to take you.

Now that you just’re able to journey from Cancún to Tulum, try this map with the whole lot you want plotted out:

Be sure you try all of the superb issues to do in and round Cancún when you’re planning your subsequent journey. We’ve additionally bought you lined with loads of concepts in your subsequent Tulum journey as effectively. There are such a lot of unbelievable locations to go to on the Riviera Maya, so tell us in case you discover every other hidden gems!

Pin me for later:

In regards to the creator: Emily is a Mexico journey fanatic primarily based in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. She is a part-time freelance author for BMTM and part-time doula.

Click on to learn extra posts about



Source link