5 Ways to Get from Cancun to Tulum

Published:

by Rina Bernardo

A tour at the cliffsides in Tulum showcasing its clear beaches, one of the ways on how to get from Cancun to Tulum
Photo by chopin92 on Pixabay

Traveling from Cancun to Tulum is one of the best ways to spend time in the Riviera Maya district. You can find impressive Mayan ruins, stop by pristine beaches, swim in the fascinating cenotes, and explore the jungle. At the end of the day, stay at the best Tulum hotels. These offer beachside views, well-decorated rooms, and world-class amenities. Sounds perfect, right? If you just finished ticking off your bucket list of Cancun activities and are looking for the next city to visit, choose Tulum, Mexico! You can easily travel to Tulum depending on your budget and chosen mode of transportation.

 

If this sounds like a great plan, here are five ways to get from Cancun to Tulum in Quintana Roo.

 

(Take note that prices listed are estimates and are subject to change depending on the season.)

ADO Bus from Cancun to Tulum

ADO Bus at a parking lot

Photo by Retinaboy on Wikimedia Commons

Price: Starts at 190 MXN (9.38 USD)

 

Buses are one of the most common ways of getting to Tulum especially for budget travelers. You can easily find a bus station and stops in the city center that will take you to the white beaches of Tulum in a couple of hours.

 

In Mexico, the ADO bus has direct routes from Cancun to Tulum that run on a daily basis. The bus company offers air-conditioned buses that connect major towns in the Yucatan Peninsula, providing affordable options to explore the area. There are also ADO buses in Cancun Airport for travelers who want to go straight to Tulum after landing. Since there are multiple departures in a day, it won’t be difficult for travelers to find a bus ride that will take them to Tulum. Take note that departure times vary per day depending on the terminal.

 

On the other hand, buses won’t be able to take you to your hotel as it only has designated stops. That said, this isn’t the best option if you have heavy luggage and equipment with you. If your hotel is also located in a relatively secluded location, you’ll have to take additional trips from the bus stop. Moreover, since departure times vary, there may be chances where you won’t be able to catch a bus especially if your flight arrives in the evening.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Multiple trips throughout the day
  • Available in different parts of the city and Cancun Airport
  • Can book tickets online or on ticket booths

Cons

  • Will not take you directly to your hotel
  • Departure times vary
  • Not ideal if you are in a hurry as there are stops along the way

Taxi from Cancun to Tulum

Taking a taxi from Cancun to Tulum is a convenient yet sometimes expensive option

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Price: Starts at 1,200 MXN (59.24 USD)

 

Taking a taxi from Cancun is one of the faster yet more expensive options to get to Tulum. You can find taxi stands in the airport and in the city center with drivers waiting to get you to your destination.

 

From the airport or even at Cancun Hotel Zone, you can easily hail a taxi that can get you on the road from Cancun to Tulum. If you’re spending the day around the city, you can easily find one on the street or parked along major commercial centers like malls. Furthermore, what makes taxis a great option is that they offer door-to-door services so you won’t have to worry about taking additional trips. This is helpful if you have bulky luggage or if you want to head straight to your accommodation and rest. Although the standard currency is the Mexican Peso, some taxis accept USD and credit card payments.

 

However, taxis have a couple of downsides. Fares can be expensive, especially for non-metered taxis. You’ll have to haggle and negotiate with your driver for a fair price and say no if they are giving an inflated rate. Not all drivers are English speaking so you’ll have to write down the address and be clear of your destination to avoid misunderstandings caused by the language barrier.

Pros

  • Door-to-door service
  • Accessible from the airport and in different parts of the city
  • Ideal for tourists with hotels that are far from the main streets
  • Some taxis accept USD and credit card payments

Cons

  • Not all taxis have working meters
  • Fare can be expensive if not negotiated well
  • The language barrier can cause misunderstandings

Rent Car at Cancun Airport

For road trips and multi-day tours, rental cars are a better option to get to Tulum

Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

Price: Starts at 500 MXN (24.68 USD) per day

 

Renting a car is an ideal option if you want to enjoy the luxury of having your vehicle on your vacation. Having a rental car is a convenient way if you’re planning on taking other day trips or if you’re traveling with a group. You won’t have to worry about haggling with taxi drivers or sharing a vehicle with other passengers.

 

If you have a valid International Driver’s License, you can easily rent a car and drive across the highways of Cancun. Even before your trip to Mexico, you can find several car rental companies online that will suit your needs. You can also compare prices, terms, and other factors from different companies and weigh your options before you leave. At the airport, you can pick up your car and even rent a vehicle. Just make sure to present the necessary documents to avoid delays.

 

But before booking your rental car from Cancun to Tulum, make sure to check with your hotel if they have parking space and if they charge extra for parking. You can also do additional research on the places you plan on visiting to see if they have parking options available. If your travel insurance includes car rentals, you don’t have to purchase the insurance some car rental companies offer.

Pros

  • Good for road trips and multi-day excursions
  • More freedom to roam around at your own pace
  • Can be reserved online before you arrive
  • Car rental stands available in the airport

Cons

  • Not all beaches and tourist destinations have ample parking space
  • Not ideal for one-day trips
  • Some hotels charge additional fees for car parking

Shared Shuttle from Cancun to Tulum

Taking a shared van from Cancun to Tulum is a cost-effective yet efficient option

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Price: Starts at 580 MXN (28.63 USD) per person

 

Shared shuttles combine cost-effectiveness and convenience of door-to-door service. This form of transportation is readily available in airports and select areas around downtown Cancun. Taking shared shuttle services from Cancun to Tulum is most ideal for solo travelers since taking a taxi or a private car can cost you more.

 

Similar to a rental car, you can book a shared shuttle online before your trip. From the airport, the driver or a staff (usually bilingual) is ready to welcome you and help you with your bags. A maximum of 8 to 12 passengers can be accommodated in each van. When the vehicle departs, all you need to do is to sit back and relax until you reach your hotel. You can also book a shuttle at the airport or in the city, but deals won’t be as good as compared to booking in advance.

 

Since you’re sharing the vehicle with other passengers, it might take a while for you to get to your hotel. If your hotel is located in far-flung areas, chances are that you’ll be the last passenger to be dropped off. Drivers can also make short stops at groceries and souvenir shops for other passengers which adds to the overall travel time.

Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • Door-to-door service
  • Advance booking is available online
  • Ideal for solo travelers

Cons

  • Can take a long time depending on other passengers (Not ideal for travelers who are short on time)
  • Not much legroom
  • Some companies don’t accept walk-ins

Private Transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum

Private transfers offer door-to-door services that are ideal for bigger groups

Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

Price: Starts at 2,000 MXN (98.73 USD) per vehicle

 

For large groups or those who want a bit of comfort and privacy on their trip from Cancun to Tulum, private transfers are the best choice. From the airport or any place in the city, enjoy the luxury of having a private driver that will take you to your destination. Gone are the worries about catching the bus or stressing yourself over the requirements for getting a rental car!

 

You can book a private transfer service prior to your trip so by the time you’ve exited the terminal, your driver will be waiting. Private transfers are also available any time of the day or night, although some companies charge extra for night and early morning arrivals. Some Tulum resorts also offer airport pickup; just make sure to inquire and confirm if you’ll have to pay extra. As compared to shared shuttles, private transfers are the better option for large groups since you can split the price of the vehicle rather than paying per person.

 

However, this isn’t recommended for solo travelers since you’ll be paying a solo premium price unless you’re willing to splurge. It’s also better to book your private transfer in advance since some on-the-spot offers are inflated and can come with hidden charges if not negotiated well.

Pros

  • Door-to-door service
  • Service can be booked through your hotel
  • Ideal for large groups
  • No luggage restrictions

Cons

  • Higher fees for solo passengers
  • Hotels can charge extra for private transfers
  • Prices for on-the-spot booking may be inflated

Guided Tour from Cancun to Tulum

Tourists observing the ruins and beaches in Tulum

Photo by Thank You (21 Millions+) views on Flickr

Price: Starts at 580 MXN (28.63 USD) per person

 

Guided tours are slowly becoming a popular way of traveling from Cancun to Tulum. On the Internet and around town, you can find local tour operators or third-party providers that offer guided tours to Tulum. Normally, tour prices include a local guide, transportation fees, admission fees, and meals. In some instances, travelers can enjoy additional perks like hotel pick-up and drop-off, kayak rentals, and early access to tourist sites.

 

This is a perfect option if you’re planning to visit Tulum on a day tour or if you’re short on time. Moreover, guided tours save you the hassle of planning which sites to visit and getting to your destination. You also have the opportunity to meet fellow tourists and socialize on a group tour. If you want to cover popular attractions in a single day, guided tours are your best option to get to Tulum from Cancun.

 

On the other hand, guided tours can also have their downsides. Since the itinerary is pre-planned, there is little or no free time spent so you have to be mindful of the time. There are less opportunities for spontaneity since the van departs for another destination at a certain time. In addition, tour guides can make or break your overall tour experience. If the guide isn’t informative or not engaging, chances are you won’t be able to enjoy your trip. Guided tours are also not ideal for tourists who are iffy about spending the day with strangers.

Pros

  • Ideal for tourists that are short on time
  • Can provide direct hotel pick-up
  • Extras may include early access to tourist sites, food, and kayak rentals
  • Guide, transportation, and meals included

Cons

  • Tourists have no control of the time spent on every site
  • Fewer opportunities for spontaneity
  • The overall experience can depend on the guide

Cancun to Tulum FAQs

Aerial view of Tulum's white sands and pristine waters

Photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash

How far is Tulum from Cancun?

Tulum is more or less 131 kilometers (81 miles) away from Cancun. On your way to Tulum, you’ll pass by gorgeous beach towns, cenotes, and cities like the famous Playa del Carmen. If you have more time to spare, you can make stops along the way to make the most of your trip between cities. That way, you’re also able to cover more sites and discover what other places the Riviera Maya has in store.

 

Do take note that Tulum doesn’t have an airport and that the closest airport to Tulum is Cancun Airport. There are different Cancun Airport transportation options that will take you to your hotel or destination in Tulum.

What is the fastest way to get to Tulum?

The fastest way to Tulum is by taking a rental car or private transfer. As compared to other modes of transportation, there are fewer stops along the way to drop passengers off or for bathroom or gas breaks. The only downside to taking private transportation like car rental or hiring a driver is that it’s more expensive, especially for solo travelers.

Do I need travel insurance when traveling from Cancun to Tulum?

Travel insurance isn’t compulsory when going to Tulum, but it comes in handy when dealing with unforeseen events like flight delays and trip cancellations. Private medical facilities in Mexico can be expensive and without travel insurance, you’ll have to pay for all fees on your own.

Is there Uber in Cancun?

Uber is available and operates in the Cancun area. However, there have been recent conflicts between Uber drivers and taxi companies so it’s better to look for other options. You can opt for a private transfer or take a taxi instead.

Is driving from Cancun to Tulum safe?

The roads connecting Cancun and Tulum are generally safe, with modern highways and wide lanes. Like European countries and in the US, driving is on the right side so you won’t have to worry about big adjustments. That said, you should still make sure to follow road rules and pay attention to speed limits. Take note that the speed limit is listed in kilometers per hour and it can change along the highway. If you’re wondering about driving from Cancun to Tulum at night, it is also relatively safe as well. Although some roads aren’t well-lit, you can just adjust your car’s speed to avoid accidents. Just make sure to exercise proper safety precautions when driving and you should get to your destination safely.

Embark On a Memorable Trip From Cancun to Tulum!

Whether you’re coming from Cancun Airport or the city, there are different ways of getting to the famous resort town. We’ve outlined all the advantages and disadvantages of each which should help you decide on your mode of transport. Now that you know how to get from Cancun to Tulum, you’ll have a worry-free epic adventure at its beaches, cenotes, and ruins!