Wondering how to get to Tulum? If you are looking for the best way to get from Cancun to Tulum you are in the right place. I lived in the Riviera Maya for many years so I know what I’m talking about! 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 vice 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 about exactly how to do this depending on your budget and desired comfort level.
How to get to Tulum – The Best 6 Ways To Get From Cancun Airport to Tulum
Quick Guide for Best Packing Cubes
- Take a private or shared 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
- Take a collective
In this post, I’m going to break down each of these ways of getting from Cancun Airport to Tulum Mexico, and answer as many of the questions you may have as I can.
QUICK TIP: Book your tours, rental cars, and transfers through my local contacts
I’ve been working with Living Dreams Mexico for years and they are who I send all my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for private tours and experiences. They have solid 5* reviews on Trip Advisor and Google from almost 4000 reviewers! You can view all their tours here.
If you’re looking for private airport transfers and rental cars then Vanessa and Oliver from Turismo Channel are personal friends of mine and I can 100% recommend them to make an inquiry click here and complete the form. Someone will be in touch within 24 hours.
How far is Tulum from Cancun?
Wondering how far is Tulum from Cancun? Tulum is around 81 miles (131 km) south of Cancun. It is easily acceptable via road on the highway 307. It can take anywhere from 2-3 hours to travel from Cancun to Tulum depending on how you decide to travel.
Distance from Cancun to Tulum – 81 miles (131 km)
Click on the map of Cancun to Tulum Mexico for directions
Cancun Airport to Tulum Distance
Click on the map of Cancun Airport to Tulum Mexico for directions
Tulum Airport – Is there an airport in Tulum?
As of today 25th October 2023, there is no Tulum Mexico airport. However, the airport in Tulum is due to open in December 2023 and you can already buy flights into Tulum airport. The new Tulum International Airport (TQO) wasn’t supposed to be opening until Spring of 2024 but apparently, flights operated by 2 Mexican carriers are already on sale!
The first flights into the new Tulum Mexico airport will land on the 1st Of December 2024 with Viva Aerobus, being the first to land at 11:15 a.m. from Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU) – The new Mexico City Airport. The second flight will land at 11:50, an Aeromexico flight from Mexico City International Airport (MEX).
As of now, the Tulum Mexico Airport is not international so international travelers will only be able to book flights to Tulum airport via a connecting flight from one of the following Mexican airports servicing Tulum airport.
Aeromexico – Multiple flights daily from Mexico City International Airport (MEX)
Viva Aerobus – Flights from Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU), Monterrey International Airport (MTY), Guadalajara International Airport (GDL), and Tijuana International Airport (TIJ)
So until then, the closest airport to Tulum is Cancun International Airport. You will need to fly into Cancun International Airport and travel by road from Cancun to Tulum.
If you want to get cheap flights you can also check on WayAWay to get 5% cashback on flights.
Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress.
Best Tulum Tours: Click here to check out the top Tulum tours
Best Tulum Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Tulum
Best Tulum Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Tulum
Is there Uber in Cancun?
No, There is no Cancun uber.
Please be aware that Uber does not operate in The Riviera Maya. There have been violent clashes in the past between Uber drivers and Taxi drivers so please do not be tempted to try and use a Cancun Uber. You will also not be able to book a private Taxi driver to pick you up from the airport. 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!
The best transport from Cancun airport – Take a Private or Shared Cancun to Tulum Shuttle
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 on one of the private Cancun to Tulum shuttles. It’s going to be the fastest and easiest option for you, I fully recommend checking out the prices for shared and private shuttles with GuateGo.
If you book a Cancun 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.
In previous years, it was not possible to book a shared shuttle from Cancun Airport to Tulum but now GuateGo is also offering this service. The bus will be waiting for you at Terminal 2 at Cancun Airport and will drop you off at your hotel in Tulum town, or if you are staying farther than that, you will need to take a taxi.
You should book your spot 24 to 48 hours before to ensure your spot will be saved, and there is a minimum of two people. If you are traveling solo, you have the option of paying for both spots. Check out more information here.
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.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.
Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies.
Book an airport transfer Cancun to Tulum through your hotel
If you are staying in one of the big resorts in Tulum, 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 Cancun Airport to Tulum
If you are on a budget and traveling solo then taking the ADO bus Cancun to Tulum 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 may vary depending on who you book it with, I can recommend GottoGo which is not the cheapest one but they are a very reliable company that won’t leave you hanging. Click here to check the prices of ADO buses from Cancun airport to Tulum with GuateGo.
The ado bus Cancun to Tulum 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 $38, 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.
As of October 2023, 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. You can do that in person or with GottoGo 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 $75 – $125. 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, 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 $50 – $100 pesos. Ask around in town for the number of reliable drivers.
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 in your own eyes before believing their stories.
They also like to change the prices, add on extra charges, and 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.
Take a colectivo from Cancun airport to Tulum
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 it 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 guide to the Top Boutique Hotels in Tulum, Where to Stay in Tulum, and The Best Hostels in Tulum, Mexico.
Here are my picks:
Top Budget Pick: Chill Inn
Top Boutique Pick: Elements Tulum Boutique Hotel
Top Resort: Nah Uxibal Villa and Casitas
Top Luxury Pick: Nomade Tulum
Tulum Travel Guide Planning
🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Tulum?
🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Tulum?
I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.
🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Tulum?
If you are traveling to Cancun you can use GoCity and save up to 55% of the initial cost of entrance tickets to various museums, tours, and attractions!
If you are traveling to Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.
👩⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?
I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here
✈️ Any flight recommendations?
📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?
I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.
With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.
🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?
🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?