In this post, I have outlined how the best way to get from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum. Traveling around Yucatan is generally safe and easy. If you can get used to public transport in the area it is also very inexpensive. If you need to get from Cancun airport to Tulum though, read this instead, and if you need to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, read this!
I love visiting Tulum, as much as Playa del carmen feel like home. Tulum has some of the best beaches, restaurants, and of course jungle parties. So if you are visiting the Riviera Maya that you really should make sure that you add a trip to Tulum to your Riviera Maya itinerary.
Looking for a reputable tour company in The Riviera Maya?
I’ve been working with Turismo Channel in Playa del Carmen for years and they are who I send all of my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for tours, private airport transfers, and rental cars. Vanessa and Oliver are personal friends of mine and I have 100% faith that you will have a wonderful time with them.
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.
If you are staying in Playa Del Carmen and want to get to Tulum the best way to do so is a colectivo. It may feel a little intimidating on your first trip but trust me it’s super easy, safe, and cheap. It helps if you know some Spanish. But there are always lots of tourists and backpackers on the colectivos, so don’t stress if you don’t.
Tulum is pretty amazing, and there is plenty to do there. If you are staying in Playa Del Carmen, you should definitely visit Tulum at least once. There are three ways of getting to Tulum from Playa Del Carmen depending on your budget and your needs.
How to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum:
- Take a colectivo
- Take the ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
- Get a Taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
- Rent a car
- Take a private or shared shuttle from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
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. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
Take a Colectivo to Tulum from Playa del Carmen
The best way to get from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum is by colectivo. A colectivo is basically a minibus that shuttles people between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. These buses leave when they are full and they are almost always full quickly! They are cheap, rarely have AC, and you should aim to take a colectivo at least once while in Mexico.
How to take a colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.
All of the colectivos in Playa del Carmen now leave from Juarez and the federal highway under the bridge. If you drive or walk up Juraz you will see them all parked up there. It used to be on Calle 2 but this changed during COVID 19 and it hasn’t changed back since. Just look out for signs on the minivans to Tulum or listen for someone shouting Tulum. If you want to go all the way to Tulum just tell the driver Tulum or if you want to stop someone on the way like one of the cenotes let him know and he will stop for you.
Hop on and take a seat. The prices are all fixed, and you will pay as you exit at your final destination. To get from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum, you will pay 45 pesos each way (prices as of January 2020). If your Spanish is not too good and this seems like a very stressful thing, I fully recommend booking a colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum with GuateGo so you can save yourself a little stress of not knowing if there will be enough space for you or how much cash you need.
To get back to Playa del Carmen from Tulum simply return to the colectivo drop-off point and look for a colectivo heading towards Playa or flag one down on the main road.
Take The ADO Bus from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum
Taking the ADO bus from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum is a good option and feels a bit less intimidating for many than getting on the colectivo.
On the ADO bus, you will pay more and the busses are less frequent but if you don’t know any Spanish and/ or have a lot of luggage it’s easier. This is the better option if you have luggage because the colectivos are pretty small and it can be a pain in the ass if you have a lot of stuff. The cost of the ADO bus from Playa to Tulum is 63-90 pesos. it varies depending on how far in advance you book. If possible it’s always better to book a day or 2 before. Check out the prices with GuateGo.
Need to book transportation in Mexico?
I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GuateGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from my time living in Guatemala and they really do look after their customers. So if anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them and they are always there to help.
If you book through them you will pay a little more than if you book in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security in my opinion. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.
Taking a Private Taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
If you don’t do public transport, then you will need to take a taxi to Tulum, and it won’t be cheap!
Expect to pay around 600 pesos for a taxi to Tulum. If you decide to do this then you are better off asking your hotel to call the cab and check with them about the cost and explore other options. Taxis here are not metered so always fix the price before you leave. Never take a taxi from 5th Avenida if you flag one down walk out of the tourist zone a little and get one driving past.
Rent a Car in Playa del Carmen
Your final option is to rent a car and drive yourself to Tulum. This actually isn’t a bad idea as Tulum is split into 3 areas and it’s not possible to walk between them as it is so far. Renting a car would give you a lot more freedom to explore Tulum, as taxis can be expensive. I never ever use the big rental car companies in Mexico, too many scams. Instead, I always rent from local companies. I work closely with Vanessa from Tourismo Channel and know that the price they quote is the price you pay, no scams (read this). If you want to get a quote from them you can send Vanessa a WhatsApp message by clicking here, or alternatively, complete the form below and someone will get back to you within 24 hours.
Failing that renting a bike is also an option when you arrive in Tulum and it is what I normally do as soon as I get off the colectivo!
Take a Private or Shared Shuttle From Playa del Carmen to Tulum
Of course you also have this option! I just wanted to make sure to cover all the options available in this post. You can check information about private and shared shuttles from Playa del Carmen to Tulum by clicking here.
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!
Studio near Tulum Town with Rooftop Pool
Feng Shui Apartment with shared pool in Tulum Town
Boho-chic Apartment with private rooftop pool in between Tulum beach and town
Traveling in the Riviera Maya? Click to read my guides to accommodation in Playa del Carmen, and Cancun
Looking for things to do in the Riviera Maya?
Check out these articles:
Visiting Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino
The Complete Guide to Chichen Itza in Mexico
How to see the Mayan Ruins in Tulum
How to spend a weekend in Merida
Choosing a Scuba Diving Company in Playa Del Carmen
Scuba Diving in Puerto Morelos