Bike and cart on beach in Tulum Mexico

Cancun to Tulum | Quick Guide (How to Go + Prices)

I’ve done the Cancun to Tulum journey more times than I can count. But one thing most travelers don’t realize is that how you go from Cancun to Tulum really depends upon where you start:

Table of Contents
✈️ Cancun Airport to Tulum
⛱️ Cancun Hotel Zone to Tulum
🚍 Cancun Town to Tulum
🛏️ Where to Stay in Tulum (opens in new tab)
🌊 Tulum Beach Guide (opens in new tab)
FAQs

Use the above links to jump around this article, or reference this handy chart for quick info:

MethodLengthCostHow
Private Transfer90 mins$100 /vehicleBook here
ADO Bus~2 hrs$13 /personBook here
Rental Car90 mins$20+ /dayBook here
Collectivo4+ hrs$8 /personClick here

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Important: What’s Your Plan If You Test Positive?
I am currently in Mexico. I hear constant reports of travelers – vaccinated included – testing positive and forking out thousands for quarantine. There’s no way out: you have to test to return to the USA. And a positive test = quarantine. Period. Just read the horror stories in this USA Today article. What’s your plan if you test positive in Mexico?

👉 Pro tip: make a backup plan for quarantine. And consider travel insurance. World Nomads is what I personally use, but be sure to compare policies (TravelInsurance.com is great for that) and stay safe out there!

How to Go From Cancun Airport to Tulum

Headed straight to Tulum after getting off your flight? That’s a great choice (personally, I’m not a huge fan of Cancun). Let’s break down your 3 main options for transportation – bus, private transfer, or renting a car:

ADO Bus to Tulum

The most popular method from the airport is to take the bus from Cancun to the Tulum bus station. The main bus company is called “ADO” and ADO buses are comfortable and air conditioned, with space underneath for your luggage. The journey takes about 2 hours.

  • Times: 10:55 am, 12:25 pm, 2:25 pm, 4:55 pm, 8:00pm, and 9:45pm daily. If these times don’t work, you can take one of the frequent buses to Playa del Carmen (leaving every half hour) and switch from there to a connecting bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.
  • How Long: About 2 hours, plus time to go from the Tulum bus terminal to your hotel.
  • How Much It Costs: ~288 MXN (about $13.50 USD).
  • Where to Buy Tickets: You can check the ADO bus website, though many USA credit cards have trouble with that site. If you have trouble, any easy way to reserve is through the excellent Bookaway site instead. You can also buy tickets directly at the airport ADO counters, though sometimes that means waiting in lines for awhile. One trick is to skip the main lines and go direct to ADO kiosk right next to the buses. It usually has a much shorter line because most don’t know about it.
  • Arriving in Tulum: The Tulum bus station is located on the far edge of Tulum town. If you’re staying at the beach, be prepared to take a taxi to your hotel (which can take more than ~30 minutes, especially later in the day during sunset traffic jams).

Private Transfer from Cancun to Tulum

On vacation and can’t be bothered with hassle? The shortest, simplest, and safest (in times of covid) ways to travel from Cancun airport to your Tulum hotel is via private transportation. A bilingual English-speaking driver will meet you at the airport and take you directly to your Tulum hotel.

Our recommended service is Cancun Airport Transportation because of their 4.5 star review on Tripadvisor.

  • How Long: 90 minutes.
  • How Much It Costs: $100 one-way, or $175 round trip per vehicle (which is actually pretty economical per person for couples or groups splitting the cost).
  • Where to Book: Reserve in advance on Cancun Airport Transportation website.

Renting a Car from Cancun International Airport to Tulum

Personally, I think the best transportation from Cancun airport to Tulum is to simply rent a car. The highway from Cancun to Tulum is wide, well-paved, and very similar to roads in the USA. Renting a car means you can stop along the way to check out Playa del Carmen. Most importantly, having a car in Tulum comes in very handy so you don’t have to fight for taxis when trying to get from Tulum beach to town.

  • How Long: 90 minute drive (plus ~30 minutes to get vehicle at airport).
  • How Much It Costs: varies, starting from $20/day with insurance.
  • Where to Book: We recommend Discover Car Hire to compare prices from all the providers.
  • Pro Tip: Make sure you have travel insurance covering Mexico!

How to Go From Cancun Beach Hotel Zone to Tulum

Already staying in the Cancun hotel zone and looking to get to Tulum? You’re options are a little limited becuase there is no ADO bus terminal. If you really want to take a bus or collectivo, you’ll need to take a taxi to town or to the airport and then transfer from there. Otherwise, your two options are:

Private Tulum Transfer from Hotel Zone

The simplest, most comfortable, most direct way to get from your Cancun hotel to your Tulum hotel is to book a private transfer.

Rent a Car from to Tulum

Again, my preferred method to get from Cancun airport to Tulum is to simply rent a car and make the easy drive from Cancun to Tulum yourself. Several agencies, including America Car Rental and Hertz, have offices directly on the Cancun Hotel Zone.

  • How Long: ~2 hour drive (plus time to arrange vehicle).
  • How Much It Costs: varies, starting from $20/day with insurance.
  • Where to Book: We suggest Discover Car Hire to compare the best prices from various rental agencies.
Wondering where this is? Check out the Travel Lemming guide to Tulum’s cenotes!

How to Go From Cancun Town to Tulum

There are more options to Tulum from Cancun if you are already located in downtown Cancun. With more frequent buses, collectivos, and more multiple rental agencies, you’ve got choices:

How to Take the ADO Bus from Cancun to Tulum

There are actually three bus stations in downtown Cancun, but you’ll like want to go to the main ADO bus station in Cancun located at the intersection of Uxmal and Tulum Aves. From here, you’ll find frequent ADO buses to Tulum and at cheaper rates than taking the bus from Cancun International Airport.

  • Times: Frequently through the day (usually every hour or so).
  • How Long: About 2.5 hours.
  • How Much It Costs: Varies, starting from ~170 MXN (about $8 USD).
  • Where to Buy Tickets: Check times on the ADO bus website.

Rental Car from Cancun to Tulum

If you can drive, my top suggested way to travel from Cancun town to Tulum is to rent a car. You’ll find lots of options in town for rental agencies, and if you reserve in advance the whole process should be pretty quick.

  • How Long: ~2 hour drive.
  • How Much It Costs: varies, starting from $20/day with insurance.
  • Where to Book: Avoid scams by comparing agencies using Discover Car Hire.

Public Transportation from Cancun to Tulum (“Collectivos”)

I hesitaste to even mention this one because, while I love taking collectivos, I can’t honestly recommend this particular method to get from Cancun to Tulum, Mexico. Collectivos are the local form of public transportation, and are basically shared minibuses that ply the route along the Riviera Maya from Cancun to Tulum.

Collectivos are a great way to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen or from Playa del Carmen to Tulum – and everywhere in between. But for transportation from Cancun to Tulum, they just really don’t make any practical sense. You’ll only save at most a couple bucks over the ADO bus, the journey will involve numerous stops along the way, air conditioning is at best unlikely, and you’ll need to gamble on there being enough space for your luggage. Most problematically, you’ll need to switch in Playa del Carmen – meaning the entire trip could easily top 4 hours in length.

If you really insist on taking this form of public transportation from Cancun to Tulum, you can start at the collectivo station across the state from main ADO bus station. Ask for a collectivo to Playa del Carmen, and then switch there for a ride to Tulum.

Cancun to Tulum FAQs

How much is a taxi from Cancun to Tulum?

Expect to pay $85 to $100+ USD (1,800 to 2,100 MXN pesos) for a taxi one way from Cancun to Tulum. At that price, many prefer renting a car or a private shuttle from Cancun.

What is the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Tulum?

Collectivos, the local form of transportation, are technically the cheapest way from Cancun to Tulum. But they are very inconvenient and the ADO bus only costs a couple dollars more, so is our recommendation for budget travelers to the Yucatan.

Is Tulum worth visiting?

While its quickly becoming over-touristed, Tulum is still a world class attraction, owing to its beautiful beaches and famous Tulum Mayan ruins.

What’s better Tulum or Cancun?

Most travelers prefer Tulum over Cancun because of its better beaches and the famous Tulum ruins. But if you want a traditional resort vacation, Cancun may be your better option.

How far is Cancun Airport to Tulum?

The distance between Cancun International Airport and Tulum is 118 km (73 miles).

What is the travel time from Cancun to Tulum?

Depending upon your mode of transportation and whether you are starting at the airport or downtown Cancun, travel time varies from 90 minutes to 3 hours.

Is driving a car from Cancun to Tulum safe?

The road connecting Cancun and Tulum is a modern highway with wide lanes. Driving in Mexico is generally safe, but not for inexperienced drivers. Be sure to get covered by travel insurance for your rental car.

Is there a shuttle from Cancun Airport to Tulum?

There is no shared shuttle from Cancun Airport to Tulum Mexico, though you can book private transfer services through several providers. If you want shared transportation, take the ADO bus.

Is it safe to take the ADO bus if I’m traveling solo?

Yes, you’ll find the ADO to Tulum from Cancun to be very safe. Lots of tourists and locals rely on the ADO system, and you’ll be surrounded by fellow vacationers to the Riviera Maya.

What’s better, Playa del Carmen or Tulum?

Tulum has better beaches than Playa del Carmen, but for travelers looking for nightlife, restaurants, and amenities, Playa del Carmen is probably the better destination. Read our full guide to Playa del Carmen vs Tulum to choose.

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I hope this guide to how to get from the Cancun Airport to Tulum has been helpful! If you’re headed elsewhere in the Yucatan peninsula, be sure to check out our epic travel guides:

Safe travels!

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