Hugging the shores of the Caribbean, Riviera Maya is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico with visitors from all over the world coming to explore this stunning region.
Home to beautiful beachside towns Playa Del Carmen, Akumal and Bacalar, this region also boasts gorgeous cenotes, and stunning Mayan ruins from the world famous Chichen Itza to little known sites hidden in the jungle such as Muyil that only a few tourists see.
One place that has become particularly popular with tourists in Quintana Roo is Tulum. This photogenic town is a clear favorite among thousands of people who come here to enjoy its white sugary beaches, turquoise water and gorgeous hotels.
If you need help planning your trip to Tulum, check my guide on the most awesome things to do in Tulum.
Starting your trip from Cancun to Tulum
Most of the visitors arrive by plane and begin exploring the region after landing at the Cancun, the largest airport in the Yucatán Peninsula. One of the most popular road trips in the region is from Cancun to Tulum, as these two destinations offer some of the best hotels and restaurants as well as close proximity to many cultural and natural landmarks in the state of Quintana Roo.
To get from Cancun to Tulum, you will need to drive for about 73 miles south along Highway 307, the main tourist corridor in the state of Quintana Roo that goes all the way down to Chetumal, the largest town near Mexico’s border with Belize.
How to get from Cancun to Tulum
The journey takes from 1,5 to 2 hours by car depending on your mode of transportation. Normally, there isn’t much traffic, however, make sure to check road conditions ahead of your trip.
PRO TIP: Whether you are planning a trip from Cancun to Tulum, or want to explore other places around the Yucatán Peninsula, make sure to carry enough cash with you. Many taxis and colectivos (small shared vans) accept only cash, and you don’t want to be stuck without a ride because you only have credit cards.
So how do you get to Tulum from Cancun?
There are several ways to make a way from Cancun to Tulum, depending on how much time and money you have. In this article we will take a look at some of the best transportation options from Cancun to Tulum, and compare their pros and cons.
ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum
Traveling from Cancun to Tulum by bus is one of the most popular options, especially among budget travelers. ADO is the company that serves the region, and you can catch one of its buses at the main bus station in Cancun or from one of the terminals at Cancun International Airport.
ADO buses are safe, reliable and clean, and unlike chicken buses in Central America they come with AC and extra space that you can use for your luggage. During your ride you can also relax and take a nap, if you feel tired after a long flight.
Things to know about taking ADO bus
There are typically a few buses from Cancun to Tulum per day, however, I recommend to check the schedule ahead of your trip, as they sometimes can change. In addition, you could take a bus to Playa Del Carmen which is about halfway between Cancun and Tulum, and from there catch a bus to Tulum.
To book your tickets from Cancun to Tulum, visit ADO website.
Since ADO buses make numerous stops along the way, they are a better option if you have extra time and are not in a hurry. Tickets can be purchased with cash on the spot right before your trip, or online with a credit card. ADO also has its own app which can be used to download your tickets so they can be scanned for you to get on a bus.
Downtown Cancun to Tulum
If you are already downtown Cancun, and need to catch a quick ride to Tulum, your best option is taking a colectivo, a small van that is shared by a number of people, and provides a quick and reliable transportation between major destinations in the region. Colectivos run from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and from there to Tulum, so you will have to make a change.
Colectivos might stop at different locations, if a passenger flags them down, however, the best spot to catch them is across the main bus station in Cancun. While prices tend to fluctuate, they are typically on the lower end and you can expect to pay about $10 USD for the two colectivos, which makes it a great option for budget travelers.
PRO TIP: If you are going to take public transportation in Mexico, I recommend learning at least some basic Spanish expressions, as not everyone might speak English depending on where you travel in Mexico.
Mini van shuttle from Cancun to Tulum
If you would like to enjoy a more comfortable ride and are willing to pay extra, consider hiring a van. A small van that can transport up to 8-10 people is another popular way of transportation from Cancun to Tulum. They typically pick up travelers at the airport and provide transportation straight to Tulum. They are normally faster than regular buses, so expect to be in Tulum in less than 2 hours.
For example, Bookaway.com provides an excellent option for taking a mini van from Cancun to Tulum. If you want a more comfortable ride with less hassle, I recommend you check them out. A price for a shuttle minivan is $35 per person one way.
Rental car from Cancun to Tulum
One of the best ways to travel from Cancun to Tulum is by renting a car.
When you rent a car for your trip, you can travel from Cancun to Tulum at your own pace, and also explore more places around Yucatán Peninsula without having to rely on the bus schedule.
Just picture climbing less-known Mayan ruins, swimming in the gorgeous cenotes hidden in the jungle and visiting Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos – scenic towns that were given a special status by the Mexican government because of their cultural and historic significance.
Why renting a car is a good option
I personally think that Izamal, a small village painted in yellow is well worth a stop as it is both incredibly photogenic and full of history at the same time. Located in the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula, it’s one of those places that make renting a car totally worth it.
If you need help planning your trip to Mexico, check my blog post where I share my tips on how to avoid mistakes and make the most out of your trip to Mexico.
To book your car in Mexico, check out Discover Cars, a great resource where you can find numerous car rental companies in Cancun. Another option is book your car with City Car Rental just 5 minutes away from Cancun Airport. I booked my car several times with this company, and had a great experience with them.
Tips for renting a car in Mexico
While there are dozens of car rental companies around Cancun, Mexico has a specific set of rules when it comes to car rentals, and if you decide to go that route, you should get familiar with them.
When you look for your rental car online, you should watch out for extremely low bait-and-switch rates as they typically involve a high insurance which is not disclosed.
Car insurance is mandatory for car rentals in Mexico, however, you DON’T have to purchase from your car rental company, so don’t let anybody pressure you into doing it. That’s why if you fail to do your homework and check a rental company and read reviews, you could be hit with a few hundred dollar bill on top of your daily rate.
Additionally, you should take photos of your rental car before driving off. Unfortunately, there have been some bad stories with travelers having to pay for scratches and other damages to cars that they haven’t done. That’s why you should ALWAYS take photos of your car before you begin your journey.
Guided tour of Tulum from Cancun
If you want to visit Tulum from Cancun, but are short on time and don’t feel like dealing with public transportation or renting a car, an organized tour is your best option. Many companies sell tour packages that include stops at famous Tulum ruins, cenotes and other popular places in the area. These tours eliminate all of the legwork, as they pick you up and drop you off, provide lunch and a nice reliable transportation.
Some companies even offer individual tours which are more expensive but will give you a more exclusive experience. Others sell packages that include early access to Tulum ruins which allow you to enjoy the incredible historic site before the crowds arrive.
Get Your Guide is a great website for booking a tour of Cancun from Tulum, that I have personally used and can recommend to you as well.
Taxi from Cancun to Tulum
Taxis are by far the most expensive option for taking a trip from Cancun to Tulum. Taxis provide door-to-door services, which means you will probably get picked up at the airport and dropped off at your hotel.
Most taxis use pesos, however, there are some that also accept credit cards. Prices are typically negotiated ahead of your trip, and you are expected to pay full amount once you arrive at your destination. Keep in mind that a standard taxi rate from Cancun to Tulum is normally at least $100 USD one way.
That’s it! I hope that this article was able to provide you with some helpful tips on transportation between Cancun and Tulum and choose the way you are going to travel. In the meantime, feel free to check out more articles about Mexico and places to visit in the Yucatán Peninsula below. Happy travels 🙂
This post was sponsored by Bookaway.com, a company that helps travelers like you and me to organize their transportation in many parts of the world. This post also contains affiliate links which means I can get a small commission at no charge to you, if you make a booking through one of the links included in this article.