How to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum

If you are planning your trip to Tulum, you are surely wondering what is the best way to get from the Cancun airport to Tulum?, considering that if you want to travel by plane to Tulum right now the most viable way to do it is by taking a flight to Cancun (airport).

Arriving at the Cancun Airport is the most viable option because it is a highly connected international airport and has a large number of direct routes, and if there is no direct flight from your city you can get there from practically anywhere in Mexico or the world with few stops.

Distance from Cancun Airport to Tulum

To plan and quote how to get to Tulum from the Cancun Airport, the first thing you should consider is that they are not so close to each other, Tulum is approximately 120km away from Cancun airport, so getting to Tulum Downtown or your hotel / Airbnb in Tulum will take you almost 2 hours, if you take direct transportation.

Due to this situation, at first sight, many people could find transportation from the airport to Tulum a little bit expensive, but it is important to consider the distance between one point to another.

How do I get to Tulum from Cancun Airport

There are different options to get to Tulum from Cancun, but one important detail to choose the best transportation option is how many people are traveling with you, if there are several people it is usually convenient to take private transportation, with some people at the end is sometimes cheaper than the normally “cheaper” options.

Next, we will see the different options to go to Tulum from the Cancun Airport and their pros and cons:

Book Private Transportation from Cancun Airport to Tulum

Without a doubt, this is the best option for transfers from the Cancun Airport to Tulum if you travel with more people since it will be cheaper compared to the taxi rates at the Cancun airport or even compared to the ADO bus if you consider all the related costs.

Among the advantages that you’ll find when booking a private transportation service, the best one in my opinion is that when you arrive at the airport you can immediately go to your hotel or Airbnb in Tulum without delays and without waiting for the van or truck to fill up with other passengers, because in this kind of services only you and your family travel in the car/van.

Another benefit of a private transfer is that, if your flight arrives late, the company normally monitors it and waits for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

These private transportation services in Cancun are often offered in very comfortable recent model vans with air conditioning, and operated by qualified personnel, we recommend a good private transportation option to Tulum that you can book here.

Shared Transfer or Shuttle to Tulum

There are also shared transportation services in Cancun Airport, which have a medium price and make few stops, they can be a good option if you are traveling alone or with another person and you want something comfortable and not so expensive.

One disadvantage of shared shuttles is that most of them can take you to a hotel or a meeting point but normally they don’t go directly to an Airbnb, since in this kind of transportation you normally have to wait for the van to fill up and distribute the tourists in their respective hotels during the journey, without going to specific addresses in Tulum.

Rent a Car to go to Tulum

It can be a great transportation option from the Airport to Tulum and to move around the city and the area, especially if you already know what to visit in Tulum, Riviera Maya, or Playa del Carmen during your stay.

However, as in any other city, driving implies certain risks if you don’t know the roads and even the traffic regulations, you must also take into account that to go from Cancun to Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum or any point of the Riviera Maya you’ll have to drive on the highway, it is not complicated because it doesn’t have any curves and it is very difficult to get lost, but extra precautions should always be taken for this kind of road trips.

If you rent a car to go to your Airbnb or hotel in Tulum, something important that you must verify before, and that many people forget, is to make sure that the vacation home or apartment you are renting has parking available (either free or paid) or confirm with the host that there is a safe area to park nearby, because if you have to park your car far away from the accommodation it wouldn’t be very comfortable.

ADO bus to Tulum

It is a good option (if you travel alone or with a few people) and you want to save as much as possible.

Although in groups or social networks, many people recommend taking the ADO bus at the Cancun airport to go to Tulum as the cheapest option, the reality is that most people don’t know the prices of private transportation.

If you travel with more people, on very few occasions the ADO bus ends up being cheaper than private transportation.

Here we show you some examples to give you an idea of ​​how much each ticket costs, based on the ADO table published at the counter, so you can do the numbers and choose the best option in terms of time, comfortability, and price.

All these ADO prices are in Mexican pesos, per person and departing from the Cancun airport:

Cancún$120 mxn
Playa del Carmen$240 mxn
Tulum$400 mxn
Mérida Altabrisa$1,006 mxn
Mérida Paseo 60$948 mxn
Cozumel (autobús y ferry)$630 mxn
Chiquilá (autobús y ferry)$698 mxn

Therefore, taking into account this table of cost per person, let’s do some exercises:

  • Example 1 – One-way trip for 2 people from the Cancun airport to any hotel in the Hotel Zone:
    • In ADO you pay $240 mxn, but you have to wait for the bus to fill up, they drop you off at the ADO terminal in downtown Cancun and you have to haul bags to the taxi site that charges you approximately 400 mxn to go to your hotel or Airbnb, so the total amount is not $240 but $640 mxn.
    • Private transportation charges you around $700 pesos from the airport to any hotel in the Hotel Zone, they just pick you up, once you get on the van it leaves immediately, you don’t have to be loading and unloading suitcases, it leaves you directly at your hotel or Airbnb and the difference is only $60 pesos in addition to the fact that all private Vans have Air Conditioning and vehicles with civil liability insurance, unlike taxis.
  • Example 2 – One-way trip for 6 people from the Cancun airport to any hotel in the Hotel Zone:
    • In ADO you pay $720 mxn for the 6 tickets with the same dynamics of getting to the bus terminal and taking a taxi, which in this case should be a van, so the cost will be approximately $600 pesos extra, for which the total would be: $1,320 pesos
    • In private transportation, the cost is normally $900 pesos, they pick you up at the terminal you arrive at and drop you off directly at your hotel or Airbnb.

So as we can see in this exercise, in many cases it is an urban myth that traveling by ADO is cheaper, in reality, it “depends”, sometimes it costs the same and sometimes ADO ends up being even more expensive than pre-contracted private transportation.

Now let’s see some examples to go to Playa del Carmen and Tulum:

  • Example 3 – Trip of 2 people from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen:
    • In ADO you pay $480 mxn and again the bus leaves you at the Playa del Carmen bus terminal where you will have to go out with your suitcases to find a taxi. Assuming the taxi would cost you the same, because Playa del Carmen has higher prices than Cancun. The total cost of transportation would be $880 mxn.
    • In private transportation, you would pay an average of $1,000 – 1,300 mxn (a not-so-big difference) and you will be more comfortable, you don’t have to walk to transfer, you travel with air conditioning and the security that someone you trust will take you, besides it is much faster than on a bus.
  • Example 4 – Trip of 4 people from Cancun airport to Tulum:
    • In ADO you pay $1,600 mxn and in the same way they leave you at the bus terminal and from there you have to take a taxi of approximately $400 mxn to your destination, so the total you end up paying would be actually $2,000 mxn.
    • Private transportation to Tulum costs around $1,800 mxn (107usd).

Therefore, we can realize that in reality, this urban myth that traveling by bus to Tulum is always the best and cheapest option is just that, a myth.

Taxi from Cancun Airport to Tulum (not recommended)

Now, what about the “official” taxis to go to Tulum?

I would definitely leave that option as a last resort since that is the most expensive transportation you can find and taxi drivers are unfortunately not always very reliable.

To give you an idea of ​​the prices, for 2 people from the airport to the Cancun Hotel Zone they can charge you $1,200 mxn when private transportation costs around $700 mxn.

The problem is that there are no “official” rates, so many taxi drivers charge what they want and more if they see that you are a tourist.

It is important to know that there is a very common (but not very legal) practice at Cancun Airport with people who approach you to sell you transportation right there if they see that you have just arrived, and even if you have the transportation already booked.

Many times they try to deceive tourists by saying they are from the same company and put them in vans or taxis, and when they arrive at the hotels they charge them arguing that it was not paid.

So if you have already paid for a transfer to Tulum, make sure you know who is going to pick you up, don’t give data that is not necessary to anyone because they can use it to get into other vans or taxis with deception and they charge you for transportation at the end of the trip.

If a transportation company responds quickly, tells you the name of the person who is going to pick you up, and contacts you when your flight arrives to tell you where they will pick you up, then it is a reliable company.

Can I use Uber from Cancun Airport to Tulum?

Unfortunately no, although Uber was recently approved in Cancun, you only find a few drivers in the city, with certain difficulties, and they are not allowed to pick up people at the airport, in addition to the fact that there is no Uber service in Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

In summary, if you already have your vacation to Tulum ready but you haven’t thought about or booked a transfer to get to your hotel or Airbnb, don’t risk having to wait and see what transportation rate you can get once

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