Are you looking for the best way to get from Cancun to Tulum? In this blog post, I’m going to cover all of the possible ways you can travel from Cancun to Tulum. As well as covering all of the ways to travel from Cancun airport to Tulum, I will also share with you how to get from Cancun city center to Tulum and vise versa.
There are many different ways of getting from Cancun Airport to Tulum, or Tulum to Cancun airport, and in this blog post, I’m going to go into detail of exactly how to do this depending on your budget and desired comfort level.
Transportation from Cancun airport to Tulum
- Take a private shuttle from Cancun airport to Tulum
- Book an airport transfer Cancun to Tulum through your hotel
- Take the ADO bus from Cancun airport to Tulum
- Rent a car at Cancun airport and drive to Tulum
- Take a taxi from Cancun airport to Tulum
Is there an airport in Tulum?
Sadly there is no airport in Tulum. The closest airport to Tulum is Cancun international airport. But don’t worry it is very easy to travel from Cancun to Tulum.
Is there Uber in Cancun?
Please be aware that Uber does not operate in The Riviera Maya and you will not be able to book a taxi as the only taxis allowed to pick-up from Cancun airport are the designated airport taxis. Returning to Cancun airport from Tulum is a little different as you will have no issue booking a local taxi or hiring a driver, more on this later!
Take a private shuttle from Cancun airport to Tulum
If you are not on a backpacker’s tight budget, it’s your first time in Mexico, and you speak no Spanish then I highly recommend booking a private airport transfer from Cancun to Tulum. It’s going to be the fastest and easiest option for you.
If you book a Cancun airport to Tulum shuttle someone will be there to greet you from the airport and deliver you right to your hotel door. If you are traveling in a couple or small group this is actually going to be one of the most economical options. Prices of Cancun airport to Tulum shuttles start from around $60 one way. You will pay more for a taxi from the airport and are far more likely to get ripped off by the taxi driver.
Unfortunately, there is no shared shuttle from Cancun airport to Tulum. But if you are in Cancun city center then you can take a shared shuttle (colectivo) to Tulum… more on this later.
Looking for a tour company in the Riviera Maya that won’t rip you off? Speak to my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel for the best prices on tours, excursions, and rental cars. If you tell her that Claire’s Itch Feet sent you she will give you a special discounted price on anything you buy through her. Send her a WhatsApp in English or Spanish. She can even arainge transportation from the airport to your hotel or appartment.
Book an airport transfer Cancun to Tulum through your hotel
If you are staying in one of the big resorts in Tulum, there the likelihood is that you will have a transfer from Cancun airport to Tulum already included. If this is the case then for you the best way to get from Cancun to Tulum is by checking with your hotel and giving them your flight details so they can make arrangements for your Cancun airport to Tulum transfer.
Take the ADO bus from Cancun airport to Tulum
If you are on a budget and traveling solo then taking the ADO bus is a cheap, safe, and convenient option. The ADO Cancun airport busses stop at all of the terminals but there is only one main bus station where you can pay by card and that is in Terminal 2. All of the other terminals are cash only, although they will accept USD. The cost is currently (Jan 2020) $262 Pesos, around $14 USD so it’s very economical.
The bus will drop you off in Tulum town where you will likely need to get a taxi to your accommodation if you are staying on the beach or at the other end of Tulum Town. Expect to pay about $70-$100 pesos, depending on how ‘fresh off the boat’ you look.
The ADO buses are all well maintained, have wifi, and normally play very loud films. Bring some earplugs and a blanket as the bus is almost always freezing! The journey normally takes just over 2 hours.
The buses between Cancun airport and Tulum are far less frequent than between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. So if you don’t mind changing the bus in Playa del Carmen then that is an option.
As of January 2020, these are the timings of the buses between Cancun Airport and Playa del Carmen:
The timing will differ slightly depending on which terminal you are at as the bus will visit each terminal in turn before departing the airport to Tulum. Buses to Playa del Carmen depart every 30 minutes.
If you decide to take the bus from Cancun to Tulum via Playa del Carmen it’s worth knowing that the bus station is right on the main strip in Playa (La Quinta) so if you have some time you can get some food and take a break from the traveling before moving on. If you want to save yourself a few pesos then you could also take a colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, click the link for full details on how to do this.
Getting the ADO bus from Tulum to Cancun Airport
To get from Tulum to Cancun airport simply check the times of the bus the day before (in person is always best as the ADO website is a NIGHTMARE) and buy your ticket in advance if possible. The bus to Cancun airport will stop at all terminals, just keep an eye out for your terminal as they often don’t announce it very loudly!
Rent a car at Cancun airport and drive to Tulum
If you are planning on doing some exploring while staying in Tulum then I highly recommend renting a car from Cancun airport. The drive to Tulum is very easy to navigate as it’s just one long road. It’s safe, just watch out for crazy drivers!
Renting a car in The Riviera Maya is a great idea, especially if you are staying in Tulum as everywhere is very spaced out and it’s difficult to get to many places like Coba and some of the off the beaten track cenotes without a car.
Take a taxi from Cancun airport to Tulum
This is quite possibly the worst form of transportation from Cancun airport to Tulum and I would only recommend taking a taxi from Cancun airport to Tulum as a last resort. They are going to want to charge you anything from $2000 pesos up. This is more expensive than a private shuttle… If you have pesos, good haggling skills, and speak Spanish, you may be able to get them down to $1500 pesos, I have been offered this rate in the past as I’m a local. But I wouldn’t count on getting them down this low.
Taking a taxi from Tulum to Cancun airport on the way back is a different story. It should cost around $800 pesos. Ask around in town for the number of a reliable driver.
Word of Warning About the Taxi Drivers
The taxi drivers in Cancun airport are notorious for trying to trick people into getting a taxi. So, word of warning, never believe anything the taxi drivers might tell you. If they tell you the rental car place is closed, or the busses aren’t running, or anything that would make you have to use a taxi, chances are they are lying. They will do anything to get you in their car. So, whatever they tell you, pay no attention and see it for your own eyes before believing their stories.
They also like to change the prices, add on extra charges, do whatever they can to get as much money out of you as they can. Not all of them of course. Most of them are honest people just making a living, but please if you use a taxi do so with caution and always agree on a firm price BEFORE you get in.
Shared Shuttle From Cancun Airport
As I already mentioned, there is no shared shuttle from Cancun airport to Tulum, just the ADO bus. If however, you want to travel from central Cancun to Tulum it is possible on a shared shuttle, known as a colectivo. Unfortunately, there is no direct colectivo from Cancun to Tulum. You would need to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and then take a second shuttle to Tulum. I wrote a detailed guide on how to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum you can read here.
If you wanted to take a colectivo from Cancun Airport to Tulum you would need to first take the ADO bus from the airport to Cancun, then exit the bus station and cross the road to where you will see a row of while minibusses with a few guys shouting Playa del Carmen. Get on there and travel to Playa del Carmen. Once you arrive ask the driver as you are leaving where the bus to Tulum is and take that. In all honesty, it will take you a long time, you would need to change buses 3 times, and it won’t even save you much money. So if I were you I’d just take the ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum. Far easier!
Need somewhere to stay in Tulum?
I wrote a whole post to help you decide the best area in Tulum to stay with my recommendations depending on your budget. I also wrote a guide to the top boutique hotels in Tulum, Where to stay in Tulum, and The Best Hostels in Tulum Mexico.
But if you are too lazy to read the full post, here are my top Airbnb picks!
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.