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Cancun To Tulum Transportation
Jun 20 , 2022 · 13 min read

Cancun and Tulum are two beautiful destinations that are close enough on the map that you can plan to see both. So you might be wondering how to get from one place to the other.

It isn’t too difficult and you have many options. Here are the best ways to travel from Cancun to Tulum.

How far is Tulum from Cancun?

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

The distance from Tulum to Cancun is about 80 miles or 129 km. In normal traffic conditions, it can take up to 1.5 to 2 hours by road.

If you are going from Cancun International Airport to Tulum, it’s a bit shorter, i.e., around 73 miles (118 km). You can plan on reaching your destination in 1.5 hours.

If you are departing from downtown Cancun, it will be about 15 minutes longer compared to going from the airport.

From the Cancun hotel zone to Tulum, it is 85 miles (137 km) and then you should factor in two hours for travel time. The Cancun hotel zone is on Cancun Beach and is also known as Zona Hotelera.

If you have stops on the way to use the bathroom or take photos, your travel time will be a little more.

It is a pleasant and straight drive along Mexico Highway 307 and the condition of the roads is good.

Private Shuttle

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

Booking a private shuttle from Cancun to Tulum is the easiest and fastest way to travel.

It isn’t the cheapest way, but when you factor in the convenience of the door-to-door service with a trusted driver who is also like a guide, it is a great way to go.

Other modes of travel can take up to three times longer and since your vacation time is so precious, getting there fast is a big bonus.

It’s nice to know your transportation is arranged in advance. You can stay in your bubble with your family or group in a clean and modern vehicle when you go by private shuttle.

If you are landing in Cancun and going straight to Tulum, your driver will wait for you if there are flight delays.

Drivers follow flight delays, so there is no chance of the driver leaving or not knowing you are late. Just look for the driver or representative when you arrive and there will be someone holding a sign with your name on it.

Most companies have modern vehicles with air conditioning and mod cons to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable. On the way, your driver will share information about Tulum and tell a story or two.

You can expect to pay $USD100+ for a standard vehicle that can carry up to three passengers with luggage. This is the starting price. If you have a lot of luggage or a bigger group, the price may be higher.

When you split the costs between your group, it is really affordable.

The great part is you will know at the time of booking online before you leave for your trip.

Or you can book through your hotel in Cancun and also know in advance the exact cost. If you have a lot of luggage, have a big group or children, or prefer to travel in style, book a private transfer for an enjoyable ride.

Time: 1.5 hours

Cost: $100 up

Rental Car

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

Hiring a car is another great way to get from Cancun to Tulum. You have the freedom to leave whenever you wish and also make unlimited stops along the way.

Once you reach your destination you can go touring around as you please. There are many great things to see and do in and around Tulum so if you are a confident driver, this mode of transport is wonderful.

Being able to reach for the keys and not having to order a taxi or find public transportation, which can be time-consuming, is a big plus of renting a car.

Car rental in Mexico is cheap and with compulsory insurance, you can expect to pay about $30 a day for a small car.

If you are a big group or have lots of luggage, you might need to factor in more for an upgraded vehicle.

Purchase the highest level of insurance if your budget allows. Although you probably won’t need to make a claim to avoid the cheapest coverage because accidents can happen anywhere and anytime.

To rent a car in Mexico, you need a valid driver’s license or International Driving Permit (IDP) if your country doesn’t use the Roman alphabet, credit or debit card and be 25 years old or over.

You can rent a car from the airport or in Cancun.

It is often cheaper to rent from an office in Cancun, but if you are landing at Cancun International Airport and want to head straight to Tulum, the extra cost won’t be a bother.

Don’t try to save money by going to the downtown office because the taxi cost will end up being more than what you would save.

Before signing the contract and paying for your car rental, make sure you have followed these procedures and have the info noted in case you need to refer to it during your trip. 

If you think you will indulge in even one or two drinks, leave the rental car parked and take a taxi. It is not worth the consequences if you are caught driving over the limit.

Travel tip: Check if your Tulum hotel or resort offers parking and if there is a cost. It can be tricky finding parking in some areas of Tulum, so it pays to have a plan to avoid stress on arrival to your new paradise. 

Time: 1.5 hours

Cost: $30 $50 per day including insurance

Shared Shuttle

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

A shared shuttle is an alternative to booking a private transfer. Solo travelers like to book shared shuttles because they are budget friendly. Also, it is a great way to meet new like-minded travelers.

You might be strangers when you get into the shuttle in Cancun and new friends by the time you reach Tulum and that is priceless! Backpackers and travelers on long trips also like this cheap mode of transport.

For round trip tickets, you can expect to pay about $75.

Depending on the day of the week and time, you might be one of up to 12 passengers, or you might just have a few travel buddies. It will take 2.5 to 3.5 hours to make the Cancun to Tulum trip usually.

So it’s a bit longer than a private shuttle. You will be picking up passengers at various airport terminals and also stopping at major destinations like Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya for pickup and drop-offs of passengers.

Weekends are usually busy and weekdays tend to be fewer people traveling.

If you are not in a hurry and like to take in the scenery along the way while chatting with other travelers, taking a shuttle with others might be an attractive option.

Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

Cost: $25 to $40

ADO Bus

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

All aboard the bus that goes from Cancun to Tulum. Mexico’s reliable bus system can be one of the best modes of public transportation for short trips that you want to do on the cheap.

The ADO bus routes cover all of Mexico, including the brief and scenic Cancun to Tulum journey.

Departing from terminals 2, 3 and 4 from Cancun International Airport, there are about five buses per day to catch. The bus is a safe travel option for everyone, including solo female travelers.

You can purchase tickets at an ADO bus counter at the airport or in town, or online here. Booking online means you don’t have to worry about lining up to buy a ticket or having the right change.

It also ensures you have a seat and don’t have to wait for the next bus.

Here are the times the bus leaves from Cancun International Airport to Tulum. Bus times are subject to change.

When you arrive in Tulum, the bus driver will drop you at the Terminal Autobuses Tulum ADO in the downtown area. There is only one bus station in Tulum.

If you land in Cancun at a time that doesn’t suit you to catch one of these buses, you can also catch a bus to Playa del Carmen, then change to another bus bound for Tulum.

There are many buses going to Playa del Carmen (about 1-2 buses leave every hour).

You can buy a ticket from Playa del Carmen to Tulum on the ADO bus that has air conditioning, a bathroom and comfortable seats. There is a Mayab Bus option that is cheaper but not as comfortable and without a bathroom on board. 

Time: 2.5 to 4 hours

Cost: $15

Taxi Cab

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

Catching a taxi from Cancun to Tulum can be costly. You might find yourself forking out up to $US200 for the short journey. Only some approved taxis are allowed inside the Cancun International Airport area.

Drivers are subject to a special tax to be allowed to collect passengers from the airport. That fee is added to your taxi fare.

The drivers can charge as they wish for fares, so if, for example, there are not many taxis around at the time you wish to go, you could be quoted a high fare.

If you do decide to go with a taxi from the airport or anywhere else in Cancun, make sure you agree clearly on the price before departure and don’t pay until you reach your destination in Tulum.

You can haggle or negotiate the rate you want. If you have taken this journey before and were happy with the price, it will give you a good starting point.

Travel tip: Taxi drivers can be quite aggressive when trying to get fares. They might say buses aren’t running or there are traffic jams, so you have to pay more. Be careful and street wise when catching a taxi, especially at nighttime and if you are alone. 

 

Time: 1.5 hours

Cost: $100

Colectivo

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

The cheapest way to go is by taking a colectivo. This is a shared van. You can catch the ADO bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and then transfer to a colectivo.

From the station in Tulum, you will need to go to the colectivo departure point by foot or taxi. It is a few blocks away from the station.

If you are on a really tight budget and have an adventurous soul that can handle a bit of discomfort when traveling, this is a good way to go from Cancun to Tulum.

You can save about $10 by taking a colectivo compared to taking the bus. Many travelers decide taking the bus for a few more dollars is worth the easier and more comfortable trip.

There are endless stops when taking a colectivo, which is why it takes at least four hours to reach sunny Tulum. Finally, there is no luggage allowance when taking a colectivo, so you need to hold your bags for the whole bumpy journey that might not have air conditioning.

Time: 4 hours or more

Cost: $5

Flight

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

Tulum doesn’t have an airport and the closest one is Cancun International Airport. There is the option of catching a helicopter if you don’t have too much luggage.

This is a very luxurious and expensive way to go. It is also the fastest and most comfortable mode of transportation and offers a scenic view from the sky, which is exciting and exhilarating.

Depending on the company you use, up to five passengers may travel by air. When you land in Tulum, the transfer to your accommodation is included.

Some companies offer a luggage transfer service, so you fly and your bags go by road to your accommodation, so even if you have lots of luggage, a helicopter transfer is still a possibility (for an extra charge, of course).

Booking a helicopter flight is a great way to live the high life and get to Tulum in style.

Time: 50 minutes

Cost: $1,000 upwards

Tour

Cancun To Tulum Transportation

One final option to get from Cancun to Tulum is by booking a tour. You can see Mayan ruins around Tulum with a guide and swim in a cool cenote (extra fees apply).

There are many tours that cater to different types of travelers, but they all have in common a delicious Mexican meal. You can go back to Cancun on the same day or ditch the tour and find a taxi or bus to your accommodation.

If taking this option which some describe as a travel hack, you need to agree with the tour company on how much luggage you take.

You also have to think about how you will get back to Cancun if you have a flight home or to another destination from there.

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