Want to know how to get from Cancun to Tulum? In this post, we’ll share a summary of all 5 options and compare each options on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
Cancun might be the most famous destination on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, but many people actually prefer to spend their time in the Riviera Maya in Tulum. Despite the many things you can do in Cancun, with its busy nightlife and big, luxurious resorts, Tulum offers a more laid-back atmosphere. Also, the beaches are just as good as Cancun’s, if not better, due to less development and tourists.
Tulum is not just a beach destination either. The city was actually named after the famous archaeological Mayan ruins that sit upon a cliff overlooking the turquoise ocean. The 7.5m tall ruins are impressive on their own but cast against that backdrop, you can’t help but be in awe.
Recommended reading:Gecko Routes Tulum travel guide – packed with tips about the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and how to get around in Tulum.
How to get from Cancun to Tulum (Sorted on popularity)
Cancun and Tulum are both located in the Yucatan peninsula. With a distance of 130km (81 miles), it takes 2.5-3 hours to travel from Cancun to Tulum. Costs vary between 87 MXN ($4.25) for the bus to 2,030 MXN ($99) for a private taxi.
Here are the 5 different ways: a 2.5-hour shared minivan, a 2.5-hour taxi, a 2.5-hour bus, a 2.5-hour direct colectivo, or a 3-hour colectivo via Playa del Carmen.
If you want to skip any possibility of hassle, then a door-to-door shared minivan is a great option. It takes you straight from Cancun to Tulum starting at 580 MXN ($28).
Travelling with a group or just prefer a private drive? Taxi’s are a bit more expensive on this route, but it will be the quickest option to travel door-to-door. Taxi fares start from 2,030 MXN ($99).
The bus is a good option if you want more legroom. Note though that they are not the safest, particularly from petty thieves. You can take an ADO bus or AU bus – both go directly from Cancun to Tulum and are reasonably comfortable. Bus fares start from 220 MXN ($10.50) with the ADO Bus.
On a budget? You can take a direct colectivo from Cancun to Tulum for 130 MXN ($6). This is the option preferred by locals and doesn’t really offer a lot of legroom, or even space for your luggage. Even cheaper is the indirect colectivo via Playa del Carmen. Combined fares are only around 87 MXN ($4.25), but you’ll have to switch colectivo around 1.5 hours into your journey.
Another option that we don’t discuss further in this article is renting a car to drive from Cancun to Tulum. Prices start from $25/day when you rent a car via Skyscanner, but will be higher when you book with a local agent.
Want to know how to get from Cancun airport to Tulum?
If you’re flying into the Cancun Airport on the Yucatan Peninsula, we have good news. Cancun Airport is the closest airport to Tulum and transportation to Tulum is very easy. No need to travel first to downtown Cancun. Find out more about travelling straight from Cancun Airport to Tulum in the last section of this article.
If you want to avoid going to/from bus terminals, shared minivans conveniently take you door-to-door. This service from Cancun to Tulum is offered by several companies and is commonly booked online.
Although still more expensive than the bus, this shared minivan may be a good option if you’re staying far from the bus terminals and want to save some money on taxis. You can book this service via BookAway.
Shared minivans include hotel pick-up and drop-off and cost around 580 MXN ($28). They run every hour from 08:00 to 19:00. Travel time varies depending on the number of passengers and additional stops on the way, but travel time from Cancun to Tulum is normally between 2.5 to 3 hours.
If you’re with a group, travelling by taxi or private transportation from Cancun to Tulum is a more practical option compared to taking the minivan. Prices start from 2,080 MXN ($100) for a taxi ride with trusted companies. Some taxi drivers from the streets may be willing to charge a lower rate. But keep in mind that they may not be as reliable as taxi drivers from established companies.
Another option is to rent a private car. It’s a bit cheaper than a taxi with rates from 2,030 MXN ($99) for a 4-seater car, but you’ll get a more spacious vehicle and a professional driver. You can also conveniently book this private transport from Cancun to Tulum online through BookAway.
Important: When booking your ride online, make sure that your car’s departure point is downtown Cancun or the Hotel Zone, wherever you’re staying. Fares for taxis and private cars from Cancun Airport to Tulum are about $30 cheaper and may look tempting, but keep in mind that the airport is 20 minutes away from Cancun’s tourist area.
Buses operating from Cancun to Tulum depart from ADO Bus Station along Calle Pino in the city centre. The terminal is easily accessible by foot or by a short taxi ride.
If you’re staying in Cancun hotel zone, you can save some money by taking the bus. Lines R-1, R-3 and R-38 all make a stop at Avenida Tulum, right in front of the bus terminal.
Step 1: Cancun to Tulum
Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: 220 MXN ($10.50)
Transportation from Cancun to Tulum is operated by two main bus companies: ADO Bus and AU Bus. Both are good in terms of quality, but most travellers take the ADO Bus as their departures are more frequent.
All buses are labeled as first class, meaning they include AC, a toilet and reclining seats. ADO buses also have TV, but you might not have any need for it as your eyes will be glued to the window view for most of the journey.
You can get a bus ticket from from Cancun to Tulum for 220 MXN ($10.50).
You can book your tickets online or buy them directly from the ADO bus terminal, where all buses depart from. When booking, pay attention to the departure and arrival points. Some buses depart from the airport and some will drop you off at Tulum’s archaeological site. Make sure you book the right bus journey!
When you travel with ADO or AU bus from Cancun to Tulum, the bus will arrive at the ADO bus station, the main bus terminal in Tulum. As it’s located in Tulum town centre, your accommodation might be within walking distance. For those staying at the beach area, the best option is to take a taxi.
Taxis in Tulum are not metered so make sure to agree on the rate before stepping in. A good average rate to the Tulum beach area is 150 MXN ($7).
Cancun to Tulum by Colectivo
Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: 130 MXN ($INF)
Most colectivos operating from Cancun to Tulum are indirect, meaning you’ll have to make a stop and transfer at Playa del Carmen. With combined fares from 87 MXN ($4.25), we can’t argue that this is the cheapest rate.
However, we also found a direct colectivo that is only $2.50 more expensive. With this economy minivan ride offered by Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas, you’ll have a more comfortable 2.5-hour journey from Cancun to Tulum. You won’t have to make a minivan transfer and you can complete your journey at least 30 minutes faster!
The direct colectivo from Cancun to Tulum departs every hour, on the hour, from 08:00 to 20:00. A ticket costs 130 MXN ($6).
You can board the colectivo from Puente Peatonal in downtown Cancun and you will be dropped off along Calle Jupiter in Tulum city centre. This is about 10km or 15 minutes drive from the Cancun hotel zone.
We highly recommend booking your ticket online beforehand to avoid any hassle and to be guaranteed a seat. You can easily do so via BookAway, which offers great customer service.
Indirect colectivo via Playa del Carmen
Duration: 3 hours Cost: 87 MXN ($4.25)
Do you prefer to take the colectivo the local way? And the cheapest way possible? If yes, then you can take the indirect route via Playa del Carmen. For this option, you’ll first have to take a colectivo to Playa del Carmen and then switch to another one going to Tulum.
Combined fares are only around 90 MXN ($4.40) and can be paid directly on the bus.
There are two companies operating this route: Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos. Each company has their own stop and their buses depart every 15 minutes, or when the vehicle reaches capacity.
Playa Express operates from 04:00 to 23:00, while Colectivos Foraneos runs 24 hours. Keep in mind that Playa Express’ vehicles are more comfortable with more space between seats and working AC, so we recommend making this your first choice.
The rate to Playa del Carmen is 45 MXN ($2.20), but it can increase during peak tourist season between December to February. Unfortunately, there’s no option to book online. So you’ll need to go to the stop and pay directly to the bus driver.
Step 2: Playa del Carmen to Tulum
Duration: 1 hour Cost: 42 MXN ($2.05)
When you arrive in Playa del Carmen, get off at the last stop. This is where you’ll also find the colectivos to Tulum. They are operated by the same two companies and run every 15 minutes as well.
The ride from Playa del Carmen to Tulum costs around 42 MXN ($2.05), but prices can increase during peak tourist seasons.
The colectivo’s last stop is just a couple of blocks away from the main bus station in Tulum. However, unlike buses, you can get off prior if your accommodation is on the way or if you want to go to the archaeological ruins before entering Tulum town.
Colectivo’s between Cancun-Playa del Carmen-Tulum
Colectivo’s running on the route from Cancun-Playa del Carmen-Tulum are originally not intended for tourists. They mainly transport locals and workers from the resorts and tourist attractions.
But in the past years, they have become popular among independent travellers and low-budget tourists to bring them around the Riviera Maya. The advantage is that they stop everywhere so they allow people to visit multiple beaches, cenotes and ruins without paying for expensive tours.
How to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum
Duration: 2-2.5 hours Cost: From 300 MXN ($14.50)
If you want to travel directly from Cancun Airport to Tulum, you can take a direct bus, taxi, shared minivan/airport shuttle or a private shuttle. As it’s the closest airport to Tulum, you’ll have plenty of options!
All four options have an average duration of 2 hours, but the bus may take an extra 15 minutes as it makes a stop in Playa del Carmen.
Shared minivans are a great way to travel from Cancun International Airport straight to your hotel’s doorstep. They depart every hour, 24 hours a day. You can book a Cancun airport shuttle from Cancun to Tulum on BookAway with fares from 492 MXN ($24).
Taxi from Cancun Airport to Tulum
Duration: 2 hours Cost: 1,390 MXN ($68)
Another good option from Cancun Airport to Tulum is to hire a private transfer. Your driver will be waiting for you outside the arrivals gate to take you to your accommodation in Tulum.
A private transfer is a convenient way to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum, even cheaper than the bus or minivan if you’re travelling with a group. Through BookAway, you can get a 6 to 8-seater minivan for 1,390 MXN ($68).
You can get a private shuttle from one of many companies providing them at Cancun Airport. Better yet, check the availability and book one online. Two local agencies with the best reviews and cost/benefit ratio are eTransfers and Happy Shuttle Cancun. Rates start at 1,400 MXN ($68) for a one-way trip.
Taxis are also available 24/7 at Cancun International Airport and the average rate to get to Tulum is 1,600 MXN ($78). You can purchase your ticket at any taxi counter inside the arrivals hall.
Bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum
Duration: 2 hours Cost: From 300 MXN ($14.50)
Buses from Cancun International Airport to Tulum are run by the ADO bus company. They depart five times a day from 11:05 to 21:45 (roughly every 2 hours). A very popular company in Mexico, you are assured of a comfortable and secure ride when taking an ADO bus.
Make your way to the ADO bus counter in the arrivals hall to purchase your ticket or book it online through ClickBus. A bus ticket costs 300 MXN ($14.50).
Yes, you can be your very own private driver when traveling from Cancun to Tulum.
Rental cars in Mexico are very cheap. Prices start from 570 MXN ($27.50) for a 24-hour rental and 2,375 MXN ($115) if you want to rent for a week. For the cheapest rentals and most extensive selection, book one through Kayak or Skyscanner. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license! We also recommend that you check out our Top 10 Tips on car rentals to help you save money.
Put on your complimentary bathrobe and enjoy the tranquility of this hotel. Every aspect of the hotel is so beautifully and intricately designed that you can’t help but be relaxed here.
The decor is truly stunning with splashes of turquoise all around you.
There’s not one, but two pools to take a refreshing dip after you enjoyed your complimentary breakfast. The vibrant rooms are the perfect place to retire to at the end of the day.
There are too many great things to mention about Casa Santiago. It’s an eco-sustainable hotel with a refreshing pool and sun-loungers, perfect for relaxing around. An added bonus, all rooms offer balconies with pool views.
The star of the show though? The staff! They’re always there to help you out. Whether it be answering a question or helping you to organise a tour in Tulum.
The creative murals that you’ll find throughout the entire hotel, give La Palmita a vibrant and artistic feel.
The beds are massive and incredibly comfortable, offering a great night's sleep after a busy day in Tulum. You can also chill on your own private balcony or the big roof terrace. Plonk yourself in one of the many hammocks and enjoy the sunset.