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.
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.
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?
The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master
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. I also use Travel Insurance Master for short trips.
Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies.
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.
Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. 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 living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.
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 booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. 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 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