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The BEST Tulum transporation to and from the airport and getting around town

Airport transportation, taxis, buses, bike and more!

Tulum transportation

The Best Tulum Transportation Guide

If you are going to Tulum, Mexico on vacation and need to figure out how to get from the Cancun Airport or just around Tulum while there, this guide will help you. In this article we will talk about the best way to get from the airport and all the Tulum transportation options like taxis, buses, bikes and colectivos. Let start with airport transportation to Tulum options.

Tulum Transportation from the Airport

Most people book a Cancun private transfer in advance for their trip. There are a few option for getting from Cancun Airport to Tulum. They are renting a car, taxi, ADO bus and a transfer service. There is no Uber service available in the Riviera Maya.

Since the trip is about 1 1/2 hours it is best to be comfortable and make it a quick as possible. We do not recommend taking a taxi because there are no set prices from the airport and often charge more then a transfer service. Taxis also use small cars only and there is no discount for round trips. The best options are a private transfer or the ADO bus. Below are more details for each of these transportation options.

Taking the ADO bus to Tulum from the Cancun Airport

ADO bus does service the Cancun Airport and is the only public transportation available. There are currently 6 busses a day that go from the Cancun Airport to Tulum. It takes just under two hours to arrive in the downtown of Tulum. You can check the prices and schedule here on the ADO website.

This Tulum transportation option is best for those traveling on a budget and have the time to make the connection. It should be noted that if you are not staying in the downtown of Tulum, an expensive taxi will be needed to get to your hotel. This can make it a better option to get the private transfer to your destination. See taxi information below.

Tulum transportation

Tulum is about one hour and a half from the Cancun Airport.

Private transfer to Tulum

The easiest and fastest way to Tulum from the Cancun Airport is a private transfer service. You can pre book this service by clicking below.  A bilingual driver will be waiting for you at the airport upon arrival and this transfer will take you directly to your hotel. This company comes highly recommended from our readers and has been working for years providing great service.

Note: Booking a round trip saves you $25 USD. They also have luxury transfer options as well.

tulum transportation

tulum transportation

These are what the private airport vans look like that will transport you to Tulum.

See also our complete guide on how to get from the Cancun Airport to Tulum.

Transportation around Tulum

If you have not rented a car then you will want to get around Tulum to see the sights. It should be noted that Tulum is spread out and in different sections. Where you stay is going to impact you on how much and what kind of Tulum transportation you need (See our article on the best areas of Tulum to stay in. This will help you plan better and make sure you don’t stay on the edges of Tulum without knowing it.)

For example the beach area (aka Hotel Zone) is about 7 km long. From the center of Tulum (town) to the ruins it is about 3 1/2 km. From the main public beach near the ruins to the center of Tulum (town) it is about 8 km. This means that walking is out of the question for most people when moving between areas.

 

Biking around Tulum

Renting a bike or using one provided by the hotel is a great way to get around. It is a very ” Tulum” thing to do. Many people bike around town and to the beach.

Since the beach is separated from the downtown by several kilometers, riding a bike is a good option. There is a bike path from downtown to the beach road that is very convenient. There is also a bike path to Tulum ruins from the downtown.

Notes and tips for using bikes as transportation in Tulum

  • Make sure you have a bike lock included in your rental or usage of a bike. You will need to lock it up wherever you go.
  • Bike rentals are offered in the Hotel Zone, and downtown area. There are many available and cost about $5-10 USD a day.
  • Use caution biking to cenotes just out of town in Tulum. You have to share the road with all the traffic and the shoulder of the road is not that large in places.
  • The beach road is very congested at times and narrow. Some drivers, like taxis, like to get to where they want to go fairly fast. Keep aware of traffic.

Taxis in Tulum as transportation

Taxis in Tulum are plentiful especially in the downtown. In the Hotel Zone they can be hard to get sometimes. The larger hotels will have some waiting or have some on call.

Rates are more for taxis then many other places in Mexico and the Riviera Maya. In part the cost is because Tulum is spread out and driving in the Hotel Zone can be slow. Depending on the time of year, rates run much higher. Just about any taxi ride will cost at least 100 pesos and can be several hundred pesos. It is good to ask before getting in how much it cost.

Because taxis are expensive, this makes bike rentals popular. We will also say that we do not recommend taxis to the Cancun Airport. A private transfer in a large van is much more comfortable and can be less expensive. Here is one Tulum transportation company we recommend for getting to and from the airport.

Taxi prices in Tulum

Taxis in Tulum are not metered. The taxis charge by zone. It will be hard to find a rate chart and just about as difficult to find a driver that charges the price on the chart. Below is a sample of taxi rates from the Chedraui grocery store to parts of Tulum.

Note: The most expensive routes are from the beach road to town. Taxi drivers know there are very few options of getting around and tourist will pay.

Tulum Transportation

A sample taxi price list from the Chedraui grocery store in Tulum.

Public buses in Tulum

There are some small bus routes that locals take to work. These however are very inefficient and never really used by tourist. The main route is from the center of Tulum to the Hotel Zone. It is infrequent and often packed with people. It is also very slow because of stops and traffic. Most locals have bikes and scooters to get around because it is faster.

Tulum transportation for visiting the local area

If you are wanting to go to come cenotes, other towns, or eco parks, these forms to Tulum transportation are going to come in handy.

ADO Bus Station in Tulum

ADO is the main bus company that operates in the Yucatan Peninsula. The buses are clean, modern and airconditioned. Their busses are great for visiting Coba ruins, Bacalar, Valladolid or Playa Del Carmen for example. The main bus station for Tulum is in the center of town. It is a small bus station with a ticket office, paid bathrooms and luggage storage. There is a second bus stop near the Tulum ruins. This mainly is for people coming from the north of Tulum. ADO buses drop people off and pick up from here.

Most of the time you can buy tickets the same day and get seats but it is best to buy at least a day in advance to make sure you get the bus you want. Christmas and Easter week at the peak times for bus travel in the area and it is best to buy a least a week in advance during these times. You can buy tickets on the ADO website but most foreign credit cards are not accepted. So that means going in person to buy tickets.

Tulum Transportation

The main ADO bus station in Tulum with taxis in front.

Other local bus companies for transportation out of Tulum

There are local buses like Mayab that service Tulum (this bus company is so local there is no website for it). These buses are for small destinations, most of which tourists are not going to. These are classified second class buses and will cost a little less but take longer due to the amount of stops. The only time from Tulum this might come in handy is going to and from Coba ruins. There is limited ADO bus service here and you might catch a local bus there or coming back.

Colectivos to Playa Del Carmen and the coast

What are colectivos? These are small vans that run on the highways between towns and will stop and pick up and drop off anywhere you want. The cost is around 20 pesos to 45 pesos for most destination. Colectivos are not for luggage or transporting items, just people going places. Colectivos are great to go north to some of the cenotes and other towns (see our guide on the best things around Tulum to see).

tulum transportation colectivo

This is what the colectivos look like. Here is one leaving Playa Del Carmen for Tulum.

There is one main colectivo route from Tulum that runs north from the center of town on the 307 Highway. It goes all the way to Playa Del Carmen. Colectivos start in the center of Tulum near the ADO Bus Station and pick people up along the main 307 Highway. They do tend to get full by the time they leave Tulum so if you are going to take one, it is better to get on near the center of town.

For more on colectivos between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, see our article here. It also has details on where to get it to come back to Tulum.

Tulum transportation

Tulum is spread out so this guide to Tulum transportation will help you get around the area.

Colectivos going south of Tulum

If you need transportation from Tulum going south there are a few colectivos servicing this route. We only recommend this for shorter distance places from Tulum like Muyil ruins, and  Kaan Luum Lagoon.

You can find these colectivos in the center to Tulum and south end along the 307 Highway. These colectivos will say Tulum-Chetumal or Tulum-Felipe Carrillo. These colectivos run all 7 days a week but are less frequent since this route is not  as traveled.

Cost can start around 20 pesos. Colectivos are very affordable options for getting around and much cheaper then taxis for going places just south of Tulum.

Thank you for reading our article about Tulum transportation. Let us know if you have any questions or comment below. We will try to get back to you as soon as possible. We hope you have a great trip to the Tulum area.

 

 

22 Comments on The BEST Tulum transporation to and from the airport and getting around town

  1. Steve Brenner // February 3, 2019 at 11:49 AM // Reply

    This is just what I need because I am heading to Tulum for the first time this summer. I will not make the mistake of booking in La
    Veleta because it is so far from the beach. I have seen a lot of cheaper rentals but now know why they are that way. Good tips and info, thanks for writing this. I will be sure to check out your other guides.

    • Thank you Steve for reading this. We hope you have a great time in Tulum and get t explore around the area.

  2. I’m not if the ADO bus or colectivo is best to go from Tulum to Playa Del Carmen. What is the difference?

    • The ADO bus is larger and more comfortable but will take about 14 minutes longer. It also cost a little more. The colectivos between Tulum and Playa stop and pick up people along the way. ADO has no stops but this does not make them faster. The colectivos do drive faster. We hope this helps you.

  3. Chantal Vost // February 10, 2019 at 6:06 PM // Reply

    Taxis in Tulum are very expensive! I tries to get on to the beach and they wanted 400 pesos! I mean really, it is only about 10 minutes to go a few kilometers. It is best to have a bike or scooter.

  4. Not many people talk about how spread out Tulum is. It is nice to bike but also can be very hot in the summer months. The beach is 3km or more to get to the beach. Wear sunscreen.

  5. Is it easy to get a bus from Tulum to Chetumal or the Belize boarder? How frequent are these buses? Thanks

    • Hello Hildi

      ADO bus provides service between Tulum and Chetumal and also buses to Belize City that cross the boarder. You can buy tickets in the bus station in Tulum. Buses run daily but it is good to buy a few days in advance because it is a popular route.

  6. Are the colectivo stops in Tulum marked by bus stops or are you just flagging them down?

    • The colectivos start in the center of town and you can see them. Tulum has added bus shelters and pull off spots on the main road in town. There are general places that are places to get on. Once along the highway you can get on and off at any point.

  7. Denise Freeman // February 13, 2019 at 3:25 AM // Reply

    If I get a transfer to Tulum for my arrival is there any other local services in Tulum that is cheaper going back to the airport?

    • Hello Denise

      There are no local services that will take you except taxis. These have no set price for the trip. The best option is booking a round trip with the private transfers and getting the discount. This should eliminate any advantage to doing it piecemeal.

  8. We will be staying in Tulum the first three nights of our vacation and then going to Playa Del Carmen. What is the best transportation method between these two places? We will have our luggage with us.Thanks

    • Hello Dane
      You have three options for trnasportation. If you are in the center of Tulum and also staying in the downtown of Playa you can take the ADO bus. This is the cheapest way. A taxi will be expensive but is door to door service. The last option is booking a transfer just like the one listed in this article from the airport. They do point to point transfers for a set price. This can be very comfortable and door to door service. We hope you have a great vacation.

  9. I was at the Cancun Airport the other day and was going to take a taxi to Tulum. I asked the driver and he said it was $120 one way. Such a rip off! Taxi drivers get a bad reputation for a reason. It is so much better to pre book your transfer from the airport. It is cheaper and more professional.

  10. Нi eveгybody! I want to say that taking the ADO bus to Tulum from the airport is nice if you are on a budget but really hard to line up flights. One option is take the bus to Playa and then eat lunch. I know you have luggage but it does break up the trip. We had been to Playa before so this time we did not want to stay there but rather enjoy Tulum and the beaches there.The ADO has lots of busses between Playa and Tulum during the day. I will say that taxi in Tulum are expensive even compared to other places in the world. They sort of have a monopoly and not meters.

  11. Hello to all. Here are some tips we learned while in Tulum this week. The colectivos are easy to go to cenotes north of town. They come about every 10 minutes and usually have space for a few pople. You dont need to speak full on spanish to get around. They are used to tourist. The beach and cenotes south of town as well as grand cenote are good to bike to. The taxis in Tulum charge a lot and it is not worth it unless you cannot bike or it is bad weather.

  12. Mark Ezlen // March 26, 2019 at 1:18 AM // Reply

    I had no idea the taxis were so expensive in Tulum. I wish there was uber in Tulum. Bikes it will be for me.

  13. catherine Riola // March 27, 2019 at 12:45 AM // Reply

    Tulum is a growing town and that means the bus system and transportation is a little patchy. I lived in Tulum for about a year and mainly used a scooter and bike. Albeit when it did not rain. Then it is a taxi or no go.

  14. Great website! Learning a lot! Coming to Playa in a couple of weeks. What would you recommend as the best form of public transportation from Playa del Carmen to the Tulum Jungle gym? Thanks in advance.

    • Mr.Yucatan // April 21, 2019 at 9:22 PM // Reply

      Hello Jeff

      All of the transportation from Playa to Tulum will drop you off on the 307 Highway. You will either have to take a taxi or rent a bike in town to use. Each way has its perks and disadvantages.

  15. Tyler Miller // July 20, 2019 at 4:41 AM // Reply

    You’re are very right about taking the shuttle that is private. It is far to Tulum from the airport and you really want to get to your hotel without having to negotiate with a taxi and being in a taxi car for over an hour. We loved Tulum and the vibe. We plan on going back in November when it is a little change of season. There are some great deals on hotels.

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