Tulum, located about 81 miles (130 km) south of Cancun, is a charming coastal town in Mexico’s Riviera Maya that attracts tourists from all over the world.
Many travelers arriving at Cancun International Airport are eager to explore Tulum’s white sand beaches, Mayan ruins, and vibrant culture.
In this article, we’ll explore several transportation options available, to help choose the best way to get to Tulum from Cancun.
- 1 Driving from Cancun to Tulum
- 2 Tips and notes for driving in Mexico
- 3 Public transportation options from Cancun airport to Tulum
- 4 Colectivos (shared vans) and their pros and cons
- 5 Private transfers and their costs and benefits
- 6 Flying from Cancun to Tulum and Playa del Carmen
- 7 Alternative transportation options to Tulum
- 8 FAQ
- 9 Conclusion
Driving from Cancun to Tulum
The airport in Cancun receives many transfers and direct flights from different places around the world. From the airport, you can reach out to rental agencies to explore beyond Cancun downtown.
Pros of renting a car from Cancun to Tulum
One of the biggest advantages of using the service of private car rental companies to go from Cancun airport to Tulum is convenience. You can pick up your rental car as soon as you arrive and start your journey right away. It is beneficial for solo travelers.
Another advantage is flexibility. With a rental car, you can travel to a Tulum hotel on your schedule and take as many stops as you want during a road trip.
You can also easily explore other destinations, such as Playa del Carmen or Cozumel. Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort town in the heart of the Riviera Maya.
Cons of renting a car from Cancun to Tulum
One of the most significant disadvantages of renting a car from Cancun airport to Tulum is cost. Rental car rates at the Cancun airport are typically higher than offsite rentals. Please keep in mind that you should pay in Mexican pesos.
Additionally, there may be hidden fees from rental agencies that you weren’t expecting, such as travel insurance or added taxes.
While the highways in the Riviera Maya are well-maintained and easy to navigate, driving in Mexico can be stressful and confusing for some travelers.
There are also police checkpoints along the way, which can be intimidating.
Tips for renting a car from Cancun Airport to Tulum
If you decide to rent a car from Cancun airport to Tulum, there are some important tips to remember.
First, make sure to print out all of your rental agreement documents and present them when you pick up the car.
It’s also a good idea to take photos or a video of any markings or dents on the car. This can prevent you from being charged for existing damages and make your trip to Tulum safe.
Renting a car from Cancun Airport, the closest airport to Tulum, can be a great option for travelers who value convenience and flexibility. Airport rentals simplify the process for travelers.
Driving from Cancun to a Tulum hotel is relatively easy, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for more independence from other passengers and the ADO Bus schedule during your trip.
To begin your journey, head towards the Cancun International Airport, where you’ll find plenty of car rental options.
Renting your own car from the Cancun airport to Tulum will save you time and simplify the process, even though rental rates may be slightly higher than offsite rentals.
Once you’ve rented a car, follow the signs to Highway 307, which is the main road that connects Cancun to Tulum.
The drive from Cancun to Tulum takes around 90 minutes, depending on traffic conditions, and covers a distance of approximately 119 kilometers (74 miles).
As you drive, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean Sea on your right and the lush vegetation of the Yucatan Peninsula on your left.
You’ll also pass by several small towns and villages, such as Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, and Akumal, where you can stop and explore or grab a bite to eat.
It’s worth noting that there are at least three police checkpoints on Highway 307, so make sure you have your driver’s license and car rental papers within reach.
Tips and notes for driving in Mexico
If you intend to drive in Mexico, it’s essential to know the country’s driving laws and customs. Here are some tips and notes to keep in mind:
- Drive on the right side of the road: As in the United States and Europe, driving is on the right side of the road in Mexico.
- Stay within the speed limit: Speed limits can vary depending on the location. It’s important to check for speed limits and stay within them.
- Wear your seatbelt: Mexico has a mandatory seatbelt law, and drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times.
- Carry your driver’s license and insurance documents: Always carry a copy of your travel insurance and car rental agreement.Ensure that you have a valid driver’s license. Having a copy of your passport might also help a lot.
- Be prepared for roadblocks: It’s not uncommon to encounter police checkpoints on Mexican roads, especially on highways.
- Be cautious when driving at night: If possible, avoid driving at night, especially on rural roads.
- Know how to handle an accident: In the event of an accident, it’s significant to stay calm. Call your rental car company and insurance provider immediately, and follow their instructions.
By following these tips and notes, you’ll be well-prepared to drive safely and confidently in Mexico.
Public transportation options from Cancun airport to Tulum
With a well-established network of buses and other modes of transportation, getting from Cancun to Tulum and other nearby destinations is easily accessible for both tourists and locals.
Bus services and their schedules, prices, and features
Traveling to Tulum from its nearest airport in Cancun can be a breeze with the right transportation options. While car rentals and private transfers are available, taking the bus is a cost-effective and convenient way to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum.
Mexico’s largest bus company, the ADO Bus Company, provides frequent service from Cancun to Tulum throughout the day, with buses departing every hour or so from the ADO bus station.
Here is a breakdown of the different transportation options available for traveling from Cancun to Tulum:
- ADO Bus
The ADO Bus is a popular transportation option for budget travelers in Mexico, offering a comfortable and affordable bus network.
A one-way ticket on ADO Bus typically costs between $8 and $12, depending on the time of day and the class of service. Round trip costs more. ADO Bus also runs from downtown Cancun to Tulum and the Cancun airport to Tulum.
The ADO buses offer several classes of service, including Economy, First Class, and Platinum, which provide various amenities such as air conditioning, onboard bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and complimentary snacks and drinks.
The ADO buses are the most common type of bus used by tourists in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is the only bus option that takes you from the airport itself.
- Mayab Bus
Mayab is another popular company in Mexico that offers similar Cancun airport transportation services and amenities to ADO Bus.
Mayab provides frequent service from Cancun downtown to Tulum throughout the day, with one-way fares typically ranging from $8 to $12. A round trip is usually more expensive.
Their buses offer comfortable seating and conditioning, as well as onboard bathrooms.
- ETN Bus
For those seeking a more luxurious travel experience, there is the bus service ETN.
It offers a premium class of service with wide, reclining seats, individual screens with movies, TV shows, and games, onboard Wi-Fi, and an onboard restroom.
ETN’s one-way ticket prices typically range from $22 to $26.
- OCC Bus
Finally, the company OCC provides service from Cancun to Tulum, with one-way ticket prices ranging from $8 to $12.
OCC offers similar amenities to ADO and Mayab, with comfortable seating and air conditioning, as well as onboard bathrooms.
Bus station locations
- ADO Bus Station: The main ADO Bus Cancun station is located in downtown Cancun, making it a convenient location for those staying in the city center. Downtown Cancun is also easily accessible by public transportation.
- Cancun Airport Terminal 2: ADO Bus Terminal 2 is located at the Cancun Airport. Making ADO Bus Terminal a convenient option for those heading from Cancun Airport to Tulum.
- Tulum Bus Terminal: The Tulum bus terminal is located in the Tulum Centro, making it an easy stop for those visiting Tulum or heading to the Tulum Ruins or Tulum Beach.
The schedules for each Cancun airport transportation company can vary, but generally, buses depart from Cancun to Tulum every hour or so, with more frequent departures during peak travel times.
It’s recommended to check the schedule in advance and arrive at the bus station early to ensure a seat on the bus. You can also check before the bus leaves, where ADO Bus will drop you off.
The prices for each company can vary based on the class of service and time of day. Generally, ADO Bus and other bus companies provide affordable transportation options, with one-way fares ranging from $8 to $26.
When booking your ADO Bus ticket, you can choose between different classes of service. The Economy class offers comfortable seating and air conditioning, but there is no onboard bathroom.
The First Class option provides similar amenities but with the added convenience of an onboard bathroom.
The Platinum class is the most luxurious option, with wider seats, more legroom, and onboard amenities such as Wi-Fi and complimentary snacks and drinks.
In addition to ADO Bus, other bus companies provide service from Cancun to Tulum, including Mayab and OCC.
Mayab offers similar services and amenities to ADO Bus, with one-way fares typically ranging from $8 to $12.
OCC also provides service from Cancun to Tulum, with one-way ticket prices ranging from $8 to $12.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious travel experience, you may want to consider the bus company ETN.
ETN’s one-way ticket prices on ADO Bus typically range from $22 to $26.
Colectivos, also known as shared vans, are a popular mode of transportation in Mexico.
This shared airport shuttle offers a convenient and probably the cheapest way to get around, and they are often used by locals and tourists alike.
Pros of Colectivos
Colectivos are typically cheaper than private taxis or rental cars. Prices can vary, but generally, a ride from Cancun to Tulum on a Colectivo will cost around $3-5 USD per person, making it the cheapest way that we provide in the article.
Colectivos are widely available throughout Playa del Carmen, with many departing from bus stations, and street corners, staying like the Cancun Hotel Zone, and popular tourist areas.
Colectivos typically run on a regular schedule, but they are also flexible in terms of pickup and drop-off locations.
Colectivos tend to be faster than buses, as they make fewer stops and take more direct routes.
Cons of Colectivos
- Limited luggage space
Colectivos are small vans, so they may not have enough room for larger pieces of luggage or sports equipment.
- Safety concerns
Some Colectivos may not be properly maintained or insured, which can pose safety risks for passengers.
During peak travel times, Colectivos can become overcrowded and uncomfortable.
- Language barriers
Colectivo drivers may not speak English, which can make communication difficult for non-Spanish speakers.
It’s important to note that Colectivos are not regulated by the government, so travelers should exercise caution when using this mode of transportation.
However, many travelers have had positive experiences with Colectivos and find them to be convenient and affordable.
Private transfers and their costs and benefits
Personal transfers are a convenient option for those who want a hassle-free transfer from Cancun to Tulum.
There are several private shuttle companies available at the Cancun airport, and booking can be done in advance or upon arrival.
Private transportation can be more expensive than other transportation options, like a shared shuttle. The cost of a private transfer varies depending on the distance, the type of vehicle, and the number of passengers.
On average, a private shuttle from Cancun to Tulum costs around $70-$100 for a sedan that can accommodate up to 3 passengers. Larger vehicles like vans or SUVs that can accommodate up to 7 passengers cost around $130-$200.
One of the biggest benefits of personal transfers is convenience. Private transfer companies offer door-to-door service, meaning you will be heading straight from Cancun airport to Tulum.
Another benefit is that you can choose your pickup time and location. It allows you to plan your trip according to your schedule. They also offer the advantage of privacy, as you won’t have to share a vehicle with strangers.
In addition, private shuttle companies usually have English-speaking drivers who are familiar with the area and can provide you with information about the region, including tips on where to go and what to see.
Flying from Cancun to Tulum and Playa del Carmen
While there are no commercial flights from Cancun to Tulum or Playa del Carmen, it is possible to arrange private helicopter transfers between the two destinations. Several helicopter transfer service providers operate at the Cancun International Airport and offer executive VIP transportation to Tulum.
These services provide a luxurious way to get from Cancun and Tulum, and the scenic tour over Tulum Beach and the Mexican jungle and beaches are breathtaking. The cost of a private helicopter transfer from Cancun to Tulum varies depending on the service provider and the type of helicopter used.
While private helicopter transfers are undoubtedly a luxurious and memorable way to travel between Cancun and Tulum, they may not be an affordable option. It is worth considering other transportation options, such as car rentals, buses, Colectivos, or personal transfers, depending on your budget and travel preferences.
Alternative transportation options to Tulum
If you’re looking for alternative ways to explore the region, there are plenty of options beyond renting a car or taking a bus. Here are some unique and exciting ways to get around:
- Biking and cycling rentals in Cancun and Tulum
Biking and cycling are great ways to explore the area’s natural beauty and get some exercise at the same time.
There are several bike rental companies in both Cancun and Tulum, offering a range of bikes from basic cruisers to high-end road bikes. Most companies also offer guided tours, which can be a great way to see famous places, like Playa del Carmen.
Some popular cycling routes include the bike path that runs parallel to the beach in the Cancun Hotel Zone, and the Tulum-Coba Bike Trail, which takes you through the jungle to the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba.
- Walking tours and guided hikes to Tulum
For a more immersive experience, consider taking a walking tour or guided hike through the jungle to Tulum Centro.
Many local tour companies offer guided hikes to the Tulum ruins, as well as to nearby cenotes (natural swimming holes) and other attractions. These tours can be a great way to learn about the area’s history and culture, as well as to experience the natural beauty of the region up close.
- Boat and ferry ride from Cancun to Tulum
If you’re looking for a unique and relaxing way to travel to Tulum town, consider taking a boat or ferry ride.
Several ferry companies offer daily service between Cancun airport and nearby islands such as Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, as well as to the mainland towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum Pueblo. From these towns, you can easily catch a bus or taxi to Tulum, Mexico.
Several boat tour companies offer day trips to Tulum from Cancun airport or Playa del Carmen. These tours often include snorkeling or diving at nearby reefs, as well as stops at cenotes and other Tulum beach attractions.
- Other creative ways to explore the Riviera Maya
Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of other creative ways to explore the region. You could try zip-lining through the jungle, taking a hot air balloon ride over the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, or even riding a horse along the Tulum beach at sunset.
No matter how you choose to explore the Playa del Carmen region, there are plenty of options in Tulum worth visiting beyond the typical tourist routes. So take some time to explore the area and discover all the hidden gems, Tulum, Mexico has to offer.
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What is the best way to get from Cancun to Tulum?
The best way to get from Cancun to Tulum town depends on your priorities, budget, and personal preferences.
If you’re looking for the fastest and most convenient option, flying from Cancun to Tulum via helicopter or taking a private transfer is your best bet.
If you want a more affordable and scenic option from Cancun to Tulum, Mexico, taking a bus or Colectivo is a good choice.
Renting a car allows you the flexibility to explore the region of Playa del Carmen at your pace.
Ultimately, the best way to get from Cancun to Tulum depends on what you value most in your travel experience.
How much is a cab ride from Cancun to Tulum?
The cost of a cab ride from Cancun to Tulum can vary depending on numerous factors, such as the type of vehicle, time of day, and demand.
On average, you can expect to pay around $70 to $100 for a one-way trip to Southern Mexico.
However, it is always a good idea to confirm the fare with the taxi drivers before starting the journey to avoid any surprises.
It is also worth noting that some cab drivers may try to charge more than the standard rate. It is important to negotiate the fare beforehand or choose a reputable, famous Tulum taxi company.
Alternatively, you can consider other transportation from Cancun to Tulum options such as bus, shared shuttle, private transfer, or renting a car, which may be more affordable and convenient for some travelers to Playa del Carmen.
What is the easiest way to get to Tulum?
The easiest way to get from Cancun airport to Tulum depends on individual preferences and circumstances. It is important to notice that not all types of vehicles are allowed inside Cancun airport.
For those who value convenience and time, renting a car or booking a private transfer may be the easiest option.
Alternatively, taking a bus or shared shuttle from Cancun to Tulum can also be a relatively easy and affordable way to travel, especially for those who don’t mind navigating public transportation.
Flying from Cancun to Tulum is also an option for those with more flexible budgets. Ultimately, the easiest way to get to Tulum Pueblo will depend on budget, schedule, and personal preferences.
Is it easy to travel from Cancun to Tulum?
Yes, it is relatively easy to get from Cancun to Tulum. There are several transportation options available, including renting a car, taking a bus, hiring a private transfer, or flying.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preferences and circumstances.
With proper planning and preparation, traveling from Cancun to Tulum can be a smooth and enjoyable experience.
In conclusion, there are various transportation options available for travelers looking to get from Cancun to Tulum. Renting a car may offer the most flexibility and freedom, while public transportation, like ADO Bus company, can be more affordable for budget-conscious travelers.
Personal Cancun Airport shuttle, Tulum shuttle, and flying from Cancun airport offer convenience and speed, but at a higher cost. Biking, walking, and boat tours can provide unique and memorable experiences for those who enjoy exploring at a slower pace.
Whatever option you choose to get from Cancun airport, be sure to plan ahead and consider factors such as cost, time, and safety. With the right planning, traveling from Cancun to Tulum can be an enjoyable and stress-free experience.
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