How to Get From Playa del Carmen to Tulum

If you’re considering a vacation to the Mexican Maya Riviera and wondering what the best transport options are, specifically how to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

It’s very straightforward to get transportation from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, it’s only 40 miles (65 km) between the two towns on Mexico’s stunning Maya Riviera in the Yucatan Peninsula. It takes about an hour to travel between the two towns.

It’s a well worn tourist trail between the Playa del Carmen and Tulum. With Playa del Carmen being a popular vacation spot for decades and Tulum now becoming increasingly popular in the last few years. It may even be fair to say that Tulum is having it’s moment, so it’s a great time to see what all the hype it about. 

Both town known for their stunning locations on the Caribbean Sea. The turquoise waters are well known for enjoying a variety of  water sports, including diving, snorkelling, plus there’s the Cenotes!

Playa del Carmen to Tulum

Tulum is a great break and a nice change from either Playa del Carmen or even Cancun. It’s a very chilled out town with lots to offer in terms of its rich Mayan history, beautiful Cenotes and beaches and great food scene.

Cancun International Airport is the closest airport to Tulum. So there’s no doubt that you’ll be transiting from either Cancun or Playa del Carmen on your way to Tulum.

I’ve travelled throughout the Yucatan Peninsula on a few different occasions and find it relatively easy to travel there and very safe. It’s a well worn tourist path, so how to get to Tulum from Playa del Carmen is very easy.

How to Get From Playa del Carmen to Tulum

There are a variety of transport options to choose from. It depends on budget and the amount of people transiting between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It’s also worth considering whether you’re staying in Tulum for a few days or weeks or if it’s just a day trip. As this may influence which means of transport is best for you.

Below are the three most common means of transportation from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Ranging from the least cost, Colectivo option to possibly the most independent and possibly convenient option of hiring a car. Your choice will ultimately depend on budget, time and number of people travelling.

Colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

If you’re very budget conscious and only day tripping to Tulum, then by far the cheapest option is to catch a local Colectivo. Colectivos are usually minivans that are like a local bus service. They generally service local areas and are cheap and basic. 

They are a cheaper option but a downside limited luggage room. Colectivos would be fine for day-trips but with luggage I’d prefer to catch the ADO bus.

You can catch a Colectivo between 15th Avenida and  20th Avenida, about a 5 minute walk from 5th Avendia. Colectivos depart pretty much all day 7 days a week, every 10 minutes. They depart when full and this generally doesn’t take too long.

It should take about an hour to get to Tulum. Make sure that you let the driver know that you’re day tripping to see the Tulum Ruins as the ruins are located 2.4 miles (4 km) outside Tulum town.

Be mindful to remind the driver where you’d like to get off the Colectivo, especially if you’re wanting to get off at the Tulum ruins.

Playa del Carmen to Tulum

Bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

The bus company that services the area is called ADO and they are very reputable and have a reliable and affordable service. It’s pretty straightforward to catch the ADO bus Playa Del Carmen to Tulum.

There are regular buses to Tulum from the ADO bus station between 5th Avenue and Benito Juarez in Playa del Carmen. Timetables and pricing can be found at the ADO website here.

The ADO buses have air-conditioning, very comfortable seats and entertainment. No need to book in advance, however you may want to if you’re travelling over peak periods (Christmas or Easter) or if you really need to catch a particular bus.

The ADO can be a better option over catching the Colectivo, as the ADO buses have luggage storage under the bus. I’d recommend the catching ADO bus over the catching the Colectivo if you are staying in Tulum and have luggage.

Lastly, there are two Tulum ADO bus stations. The first is for the Tulum ruins (it’s about 750m from ADO bus station to the Tulum ruins) and the second ADO bus station is the main station. Get off at the second ADO bus station if you’re staying in town.

Car Hire from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

Hiring a car is relatively inexpensive. and it’s a straightforward drive between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. 

And an additional benefit is having a car while in Tulum. Unlike Playa Del Carmen, Tulum is quite spread out into three distinct areas and not really walkable. Especially in the Mexican heat. Having a car could be a great option, especially if travelling in a large group, where it’s much more cost effective than hiring a car while travelling solo or as a couple.

Please check my 3 Days in Tulum (the Perfect Tulum Itinerary) post if you’re planning your vacation to Tulum. I outline how I spent my time in Tulum with recommendations about the best places to go, eat and relax. I highly recommended the town as a place for a quick and easy vacation or a peaceful stop if you’re spending more time travelling around Mexico.

The 3 days in Tulum itinerary can also be adapted for 2 days in Tulum or even 4 days in Tulum. There’s plenty to do in Tulum and the surrounding areas and it’s small enough to enjoy just a few days vacation if all the time you can spare in a long weekend.

Transfers from Cancun Airport to Tulum

If you’re heading straight to Tulum from Cancun Airport, there is information about getting from Cancun Airport to Tulum, see here.

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