Are you looking for the best way to travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum? Look no further! As frequent visitors of both locations for the past 7 years, we have ample experience making the journey. In this post, we’ll share the cheapest, quickest, and most reliable options for getting from Playa del Carmen to Tulum in 2023. Keep reading for all the details.
If you’re planning to travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, you’re not alone. Tulum is a popular destination known for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and access to natural attractions. The town offers a variety of accommodations and dining options to suit all budgets and preferences. If you need help choosing the best transportation option for your trip, check out this comprehensive guide.
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Where is Playa del Carmen Located
Playa del Carmen is located in a strategic position in the Riviera Maya. It is situated halfway between Cancun and Tulum, making it a convenient location for reaching many cenotes, Mayan ruins, and beaches.
How to Get to Tulum from Playa del Carmen (and vice-versa Tulum to Playa del Carmen)
Playa del Carmen to Tulum Distance
To reach Tulum from Playa del Carmen, simply follow the main Highway 307 south for 41 miles (66 km). The highway is fully paved, making travel easy and straightforward. However, please note that there may be occasional delays due to traffic and road construction, which could increase the typical drive time of approximately 1 hour.
How to Get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
There are various transportation options to reach Tulum, depending on your preferences for affordability, speed, or convenience.
If you’re short on time, here are the top transportation options:
- Rental Car -> Best Value and flexibility
- Taxi -> Easiest option (excluding the potential price negotiation with the driver)
- Private Transfer -> The most comfortable option
- ADO Bus -> Convienient option
- Colectivo -> Budget friendly option
- Tulum Tour -> Hassle-free
1. Rent a Car
If you would rather drive instead of using a different mode of transportation, you have the option to rent a car in Playa del Carmen. This will enable you to have more flexibility in your schedule and discover some of the lesser-known attractions near Tulum during a day trip or an overnight stay.
If you’re a family or a large group, renting a car is the best way to explore Tulum and its incredible attractions such as the cenotes, Mayan ruins, beaches, and Kaan Luum Lagoon. Getting to Tulum by car is simple but watch out for speed bumps and traffic stops.
2. Take a Taxi
There are many private taxis in Playa del Carmen that you can easily find and flag down to go to Tulum. The Playa del Carmen to Tulum taxi ride should cost around $600 pesos (~$30 USD).
It’s recommended to confirm the taxi fare before boarding from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Remember to have cash as credit cards are not accepted.
3. Private Transfer
If you want the most comfortable way to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, you might want to think about booking a private transfer. This usually involves a private van or SUV that will take you directly from Playa del Carmen to your destination in Tulum, just like the Cancun Airport transfers.
By booking a private transfer, you can have a dedicated driver and create a tailor-made schedule and pickup timings. Although it might cost more, you can enjoy a secure and cozy journey without any concerns about driving in Mexico
4. Take the ADO Bus
If you feel uneasy about taking a colectivo, I suggest taking the ADO bus instead. It is a big, private charter-type bus and provides a more comfortable ride. The ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum follows a fixed timetable, and you can buy tickets online. This is particularly useful if you do not speak Spanish.
ADO Bus Running Schedule
The ADO bus traveling from Playa del Carmen to Tulum runs frequently, with 2-3 departures per hour starting in the early morning and ending around 11:00 pm. The travel duration is estimated to be around 1 hour and 10 minutes.
ADO Bus Stations
The bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum leaves from the Playa del Carmen Turisitica ADO station. This station is located downtown on 5th Avenue and Avenida Juarez. Once you arrive in Tulum, the ADO bus will drop you off at their station, which is located on the main highway just south of the Tulum town center. You can easily take a taxi from there to go to the Tulum Ruins, cenotes, or the popular beachfront hotel zone.
How to Book your ADO Tickets
You can book tickets online for the bus ride from ADO Playa del Carmen to Tulum by visiting the ADO website. The cost of each ticket is approximately $110 pesos (equivalent to $5 USD). The ADO website is available only in Spanish, but it is easy to navigate. You can refer to my detailed guide for step-by-step instructions on booking ADO tickets.
One option for traveling between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is to take a Colectivo, which is a shared van service that is known for being affordable. Though it may take a bit of getting used to if you’re not familiar with them, Colectivos are generally fast, straightforward, and budget-friendly transportation options in the area.
Colectivo Station in Playa del Carmen
Starting from 2023, you can find colectivos near Chedraui supermarket store and the main highway 307 in downtown Playa del Carmen. Look for a line of colectivos and make sure to choose the one marked “Tulum” on the side.
Colectivo Running Schedule
You can hop on a colectivo as soon as it’s full since they don’t follow a fixed schedule. These vehicles run from early morning till around 11:00 pm and typically depart every 5-10 minutes. But keep in mind that the colectivo will make multiple stops for picking up and dropping off passengers along the way to Tulum. Therefore, you should let the driver know when you want to disembark if you wish to get off before the final stop.
If you don’t know Spanish, it can be stress-inducing to take a colectivo. I suggest informing the driver about your destination once you board so that they drop you off at the right location.
Tulum Colectivo Cost
The cost of taking the colectivo to Tulum is approximately $50 pesos (~$2.50 USD) and you will pay the driver when you exit. It is recommended that you pay in pesos and have small bills on hand because the drivers may not have much change. After getting off the colectivo in Tulum, you may hail a taxi or rent a bicycle to go to the beach, Tulum hotels, or your vacation rental in Tulum.
Expert Tip: If you ride a bus or colectivo to Tulum, they will only take you as far as Tulum town, which is a few kilometers away from the beach and hotel zone.
7. Tulum Tours from Playa del Carmen
To visit Tulum from Playa del Carmen without inconvenience, it is recommended to book an all-inclusive tour that includes roundtrip transportation. The tour will offer exciting activities such as exploring the Tulum Ruins, snorkeling, swimming in cenotes, riding ATVs, or going on a zipline adventure.
Getting to Tulum Ruins from Playa del Carmen
There are various transportation options available to travel from Playa del Carmen to the Tulum Ruins that are similar to the ones mentioned before.
Tulum Ruins Tour
I suggest booking a Tulum Ruins tour if you prefer not to drive or navigate public transportation. Typically, these tours provide everything you need, including entrance fees, a professional guide, and transportation with hotel pickup and drop-off.
Furthermore, a lot of tours in the Yucatan peninsula offer snorkeling and visits to nearby cenotes. Cenotes are concealed swimming holes that are exclusive to this area. Including these additional activities in your tour package will give you more value for your money and offer a stress-free booking experience.
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A. By Car
To reach the Tulum Ruins on your own, the recommended option is to drive or rent a car. Simply drive south on the main highway 307 from Playa del Carmen for a little less than an hour until you spot signs with the “Ruinas” symbol. Once you see the sign, turn left and you’ll arrive at the main entrance.
Parking at Tulum Ruins
There is convenient parking available at the ruins, which costs approximately $160 pesos (about $8 USD). Remember to bring cash with you.
B. ADO Bus
You can travel to the Tulum Ruins by taking an ADO bus from Playa del Carmen. This route drops you off directly at the Tulum Zona Arqueologica. Although the ADO bus is more expensive and runs less frequently than a colectivo, it is a more convenient and comfortable option, especially if you do not speak Spanish.
ADO Bus Running Schedule
The ADO bus schedule for Tulum Ruins has limited departures, with only one bus leaving per hour between 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. The journey takes 1 hour and 5 minutes and includes stops at Xcaret and Xel-Ha.
ADO Bus TrasssCost
You have three options to book ADO tickets: the ADO website (which is only in Spanish), directly at the ADO station in Playa del Carmen, or online through Busbud. Please keep in mind that the destination for the Tulum Ruins is referred to as “Tulum Zona Arqueologica”. The price for a one-way ticket is approximately $104 pesos (about $5 USD).
C. By Colectivo
To reach the Tulum Ruins from Playa del Carmen inexpensively, you can take a shared van called a colectivo. This option costs approximately $45 pesos (around $2 USD) per person and takes less than an hour to travel the distance. Note that having a car is not necessary for this method of transportation.
To reach the Tulum Ruins, follow the same steps as before, but keep in mind that this stop is located before the main stop in downtown Tulum. Inform the driver that you wish to go to the “ruinas” (ruins in Spanish) and they will drop you off on the side of the highway. Once you exit the colectivo, cross the highway with caution and head straight towards the main entrance. The main entrance is about a 10-minute walk away, but a shuttle train is also available for a small fee to take visitors from the parking lot to the main entrance.
If you’re headed to Tulum, be sure to follow these tips for a smooth and secure trip.:
- Book travel insurance: As I stated earlier, car accidents are frequent in Mexico. Therefore, if you are planning to travel long distances, it is essential to have travel insurance. Keep in mind that insurance plans from your home country are unlikely to provide coverage for accidents that occur abroad.
- Wear your Seatbelt: Although seatbelts are usually not available in colectivos, it is highly recommended to use them in taxis and private transfers. As you’ll be driving at high speeds on the highway to Tulum, accidents are frequent.
- Have Cash: It is advisable to carry cash (in pesos or USD) when traveling in Mexico as most transportation services do not accept credit cards. It is also recommended to have smaller denominations as bus and taxi drivers may not have sufficient change.
- Be mindful of your valuables: It is recommended to keep your valuable items with you on the ADO bus rather than storing them in the luggage compartment. For this, you can use a belt bag that can be strapped to your waist at all times. I personally use and recommend this type of bag.
- Make the most out of your Roadtrip: Between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, there are several exciting attractions to discover, such as cenotes, secluded beaches, and adventure parks. It may be worth exploring some of these attractions during your trip.
Bottom Line: Traveling from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
I hope that my Tulum Playa del Carmen transportation and travel guide has provided you with useful information for your travel planning and has helped you understand how to reach Tulum. With a good understanding of the transportation options available in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya, you will be able to explore the area comfortably and effortlessly.
FAQs Tulum to Playa del Carmen
Is it possible to do a trip from Playa del Carmen to Tulum?
Yes, it’s very easy to do Playa del Carmen to Tulum day trip with both public transport and private options.
Driving time, whether in a car or on a bus, is around 1 hour. So it’s not too long a journey to manage there and back in a day.
Plus, buses and minivans run from early in the morning until night, so you can have a full day in Tulum.
Is it worth going to Tulum?
I believe that visiting Tulum is a unique and worthwhile experience. This charming town in Mexico offers a multitude of natural wonders, and the Tulum ruins are particularly impressive.
Is there a shuttle bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum?
You can take the ADO bus from downtown Playa del Carmen to Tulum. The bus has a comfortable charter-style and the fare is approximately $108 pesos, which is equivalent to around $5 USD.
How much is a taxi ride from Cancun to Tulum?
Before confirming your cab ride from Cancun to Tulum, it is important to check with your taxi driver about the cost as it can be as high as 1800 MXN.
Can you pay taxis, buses and collectives with a credit card?
It’s not possible to use a credit card to pay for taxis or public transportation in Playa del Carmen or Tulum. Remember to carry sufficient cash (either pesos or USD) and always confirm the fare before boarding the vehicle.
Is it safe to travel to Tulum?
While drug has increased in Tulum over the years, it is still a popular tourist destination. If you’re traveling alone, it’s recommended to visit Tulum during the day and only explore the main tourist sites for safety reasons.
Is it safe to travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum with public transport?
Traveling to Tulum via public transport is generally safe. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and use common sense, such as carrying your personal belongings with you and avoiding leaving them unattended.
What’s the best time to visit Tulum Mexico?
The peak season in Tulum is from December to April, excluding the Easter holidays. During this time, you can expect warm weather, clear skies, lower humidity, and less rainfall. However, keep in mind that rates are higher and there tend to be larger crowds during this period.
The period between May and November is considered the low season due to high humidity and increased chances of rain. However, this is also the best time to avail great offers from hotels and airlines and enjoy less crowded places except during July and August, which are peak family vacation months.
Is Uber available in Playa del Carmen and Tulum?
You cannot use Uber to travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum because Uber is not currently available in Playa del Carmen. Despite attempts by Uber to launch its service in the area, it has not yet been able to do so due to protests from the local taxi syndicate and transportation authorities.
Can you walk around Tulum?
You can walk around Tulum, but the main road that runs through downtown (Tulum Pueblo) is the only interesting one. It’s where you’ll find shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Is there a direct flight to Tulum?
I’m sorry, but there are no flights available directly to Tulum. However, you can fly to Cancun International Airport, which is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Tulum.