When you’re traveling to Mexico for a beach holiday, chances are big you’re visiting Cancun and Tulum! Both cities are located in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula. This state is amazing to visit, as it has many things to offer. Especially Tulum is becoming increasingly popular every year. And we can see why! Beautiful beaches, hipster cafes, Maya ruins, stunning resorts, and many cenotes: Tulum has it all! Cancun is a great starting point for your trip through Quintana Roo, as it has an international airport (CUN). Many airlines from Europe, Northern America, and Southern America fly directly to Cancun. Getting from Cancun to Tulum is quite easy, there are many different ways of transportation. In this blog post, we will tell you all about how to get from Cancun to Tulum, from both downtown Cancun and Cancun airport. Depending on your travel style, there’s an option for every budget.
How Far is Tulum from Cancun?
Tulum is located 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of downtown Cancun. The drive from Cancun to Tulum takes about 2 hours. Cancun International Airport is located 11 miles (18km) south of Cancun, so it takes less time to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum.
Good to know: Uber is not available in Cancun.
Tulum has NO airport, so it isn’t possible to fly to Tulum directly. So which airport is the closest to Tulum? Cancun airport and Cozumel airport are the two airports closest to Tulum. Cancun airport is the best option, as it only takes two hours from Cancun to Tulum. Cozumel is an island, therefore we only recommend flying to Cozumel if you also want to stay there for a bit!
Transportation from Cancun to Tulum
Cancun Airport to Tulum
There are five options to get from Cancun airport to Tulum. You can hire a private driver, take a bus, share an airport shuttle, book a hotel shuttle, or rent a car. What transportation to get depends on your budget and your arrival time at the airport (in the middle of the night there won’t be any buses).
Getting a private driver is the easiest way to get from Cancun airport to Tulum. Especially after a long flight, this is highly recommended. It’s the most expensive way to get from Cancun airport to Tulum, though it’s fast and convenient. When traffic is good, it takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. At the airport, there will be many taxi drivers that want to drive you to Tulum. To avoid any hassle with negotiating the price, it’s better to book a driver in advance (this will often be cheaper too). You can book a private driver on this official website. One way should be $100USD and a roundtrip $175USD (up to 3 people).
The cheapest option to get to Tulum from Cancun airport is by ADO bus. ADO is a big bus company that has routes all over the Yucatan Peninsula, also from Cancun airport to Tulum! There’s no need to go to downtown Cancun first, as the bus leaves from the airport directly. When you exit through customs, look for the ADO bus office sign for more information about the schedule and to buy tickets. There are booths at every terminal. It’s also possible to check ADO’s website for the schedule and prices. The website is in Spanish, but even for non-Spanish-speakers, it’s easy to navigate. Or use Google Translate!
Don’t buy your tickets in advance, as it’s inconvenient when your flight is delayed. Also, their online ticket system is a little weird, you might pay and receive no ticket. So just buy tickets at the airport. There are around 5 buses a day and the price for a ticket is between 250-300 pesos ($13-15 USD). It’s possible to pay in both pesos (MXN) and dollars (USD), with cash or card. If you arrive late at night, it might be too late to take a bus. The bus to Playa del Carmen goes more often, so another option is to take a bus to Playa del Carmen and transfer in Playa del Carmen to Tulum. At the airport, the bus stops at every terminal and in case you can’t find the ticket booth or bus stop, just ask for ‘ADO’!
The ADO buses are very comfortable and have airconditioning.
It’s absolutely safe to take a bus to Tulum, the ride takes about 2 hours. In Tulum, there are multiple stops. Most people leave the bus at either the archeological zone or at the ADO bus terminal in downtown Tulum. If you booked a hotel at the Tulum hotel zone, you need to take a taxi from the bus terminal. Downtown Tulum and the beach area are 3.1 miles (5 km) apart.
Isla Mujeres is a beautiful island close to Cancun. The island is known for its golf carts, whale sharks, beautiful white beaches and relaxing vibes: it’s a great day trip from Cancun!
Another option to get from Cancun airport to Tulum is by a shared airport shuttle. If you don’t want to wait for the big ADO bus and don’t want to spend much money on a private driver, these shared shuttles are convenient. Most shuttles can transport 1 to 12 passengers, depending on how big the van is. You can book this shuttle online in advance, or at the airport. The van stops at different places and hotels, so the drive might take a little longer. Check this website for current prices and to book a shared airport shuttle in advance.
Rent a Car
Renting a car is a great option if you want to explore the Yucatan Peninsula. There is so much to see and do in the area, and a car is easy and fast to get around. On the way from Cancun to Tulum, there are so many things to see, cenotes for example! It’s a very easy road too. It’s a straight drive south on Highway 307 and you will arrive in Tulum within two hours. Renting a car is also a cheap way to get around, as the rental and gas isn’t expensive. You can rent cars for already $1 a day, how crazy is that?! Before you get too excited: rental companies will require you to buy extra insurance, so it will get more expensive. If you have your own insurance, through your credit card, for example, it saves a lot.
Is it safe to rent a car in the Yucatan Peninsula? Yes, it is! Of course, don’t get involved in any illegal activities, but other than that, it’s completely safe to drive around yourself. Traffic won’t be too busy, especially not out of the big cities. On the road, you will sometimes see some police checkpoints. They check the cars that are passing by, but that’s shouldn’t worry you. If you’re unlucky, you will encounter corrupt police looking for a bribe. Having an official international driver’s license, pretending you don’t speak English or Spanish, showing you don’t have cash (bring an empty wallet!), and staying calm are the best ways to get out of the situation. Other than that, it’s easy to get around as there are many road signs everywhere, including speed signs.
Where to rent a car? We recommend renting a car online through Rentalcars.com. The website is easy to use and shows you the different prices and cars from different companies. Make sure you have car insurance, either from your credit card or rental company. When you pick up the car the rental company will try to sell you extra things, so be prepared and make sure to have your papers ready.
Tulum has the most beautiful cenotes! You can’t visit Tulum without visiting at least one of them.
Downtown Cancun to Tulum
There are 4 options to get from downtown Cancun to Tulum. You can take an ADO bus, hop on a Colectivo bus, get a private driver or rent a car. What transportation you should get depends on your budget and how fast you want to reach Tulum.
Bus from Cancun to Tulum
Getting from downtown Cancun to Tulum by bus is very convenient. The ADO bus terminal is located in downtown Cancun. ADO is a big bus company that has routes all around the Yucatan Peninsula. The ADO buses are very comfortable and have airconditioning. A bus ticket from downtown Cancun to Tulum costs between 80 and 200 pesos ($4-10 USD), depending on time and promotions. You can check times and prices on the ADO website. The website is in Spanish, but without understanding Spanish it’s easy to navigate. Don’t buy tickets online! Their online system is a little weird and 2 out of 3 times, we paid but didn’t receive tickets.
The first bus leaves early in the morning and the last one leaves around 11 pm. There are about 20-30 buses every day going to Tulum. In Tulum, there are different bus stops. You can either stop at the archeological zone or the downtown ADO bus terminal. The bus to Tulum takes about 2-3 hours and is a non-stop bus. If you have a hotel at the Tulum Hotel Zone, you need to take a taxi from the downtown bus terminal. Downtown Tulum and the beach area are located 3.1 miles (5 km) apart.
If you are looking for a cheaper and more adventurous option and if you don’t have a lot of luggage, you should take a Colectivo bus. Colectivos are small buses that many locals use. It’s recommended to speak some Spanish! People can be picked up along the way (just stand next to the road) and you can be dropped off wherever you want (on the route). As the buses are very small (not as big as the ADO buses), it isn’t recommended to travel by Colectivo with a lot of luggage. If you want to travel from Cancun to Tulum by Colectivo, you need to transfer in Playa del Carmen. In Cancun, you can find the Colectivo buses across from the downtown ADO bus terminal.
Getting a private driver is a fast and easy way to travel from Cancun to Tulum. It’s the most expensive option, though it’s the most convenient one! You can try to find a taxi in the streets or book a driver in advance. To avoid any hassle with negotiating prices, book a driver in advance (it’s often cheaper too). You can book a private driver on this website. Prices will vary between $85-$150 USD one way.
Rent a car
Renting a car is a very convenient way to get around. With a car, you are able to explore a lot of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s also a cheap way to get around, as the rent and gas aren’t expensive. From both the airport and downtown Cancun it’s possible to rent a car. Check out Rentalcars.com for the best offers. Head to our rent a car at the airport paragraph for more information about driving in Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s safe!
By now, we hope you have decided which way of transportation from Cancun to Tulum suits you best. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Enjoy everything Tulum has to offer!
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