Playa del Carmen to Tulum in Riviera Maya - Mexico

Bacalar to Tulum

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How to get from Bacalar to Tulum?

For those looking to continue their journey along the Riviera Maya, you’re next stop should undoubtedly be in Tulum. Aside from the picturesque beaches, Tulum is home to the third most visited archaeological ruins in Mexico. What makes them so spectacular is their backdrop, overlooking the turquoise ocean below. It’s really a sight to see!

Tulum boasts a laidback vibe that, compared to it’s neighbours like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, truly offers you a place to laid back. There’s also plenty of restaurants to hop between and taste Tulum’s delicious traditional cuisine.

The most popular way to travel the 215 km (133 miles) from Bacalar to Tulum is a 3-hour bus ride. Fares range between 258 and 340 MXN ($12 – $16).

Bus from Bacalar to Tulum

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus3 hours258 MXN ($12)Check bus tickets

The bus is by far the cheapest option and therefore the most feasible option for most travellers.

Private shuttles are also available along this route, but although they offer great convenience, this comes at a much higher price. They can be a good option if you’re traveling with a group of people as this provides the opportunity to share the costs. You can book this service via BookAway, where rates start at 3,360 MXN ($159).

Another alternative that has become popular with travellers is renting your own car in Bacalar. Rates start from 320 MXN ($15) a day. This option gives you the freedom to stop at any of the beaches or towns along the way, leave whenever you want and indulge in a bit of car karaoke. The only downside is that you will need to return the car to Bacalar or you’ll have to pay a $100 extra fee if you leave it in Tulum.

Itinerary from Bacalar to Tulum

Bus icon

Bacalar to Tulum by Bus


Duration: 3 hours
Cost: From 258 MXN ($12)

Buses to Tulum depart from the Bacalar’s main bus terminal, located on the town’s main road. This road is only 5-10 minutes away from the town’s centre and the lagoon’s beach by taxi.

If you’re too far from the bus terminal to walk, then the best option is to take a taxi.

Taxis in Bacalar are not metered, so make sure to agree on the rate before stepping in. A reasonable rate to go within the limits of Bacalar is between 60 – 130 MEX ($2.80 – $6).

Step 1: Bacalar to Tulum

Duration: 2 hours 50 minutes
Cost: 258 – 340 MXN ($12 – $16)

There are two bus companies that operate on the route from Bacalar to Tulum, ADO and AU. Both are very good in terms of quality, but ADO offers departures three times a day while AU offers just one.

All buses are first class, meaning they include AC, a toilet and reclining seats.

You can book your tickets online on ADO’s Website, or AU’s tickets are also offered on BookAway. If you prefer to book in person, you can buy them directly from the bus terminal as well.

Bus OperatorSchedulesDurationCostsBookings
ADO07:45-10:25
14:10-17:00
19:15-21:55
2 hours 50 minutes292 MXN ($14)Check bus tickets on ADO website
AU02:40-05:302 hours 50 minutes258 MXN ($12)Check bus tickets on ADO website

Check Bus Tickets on ADO Website

Step 2: Tulum Bus Terminal to City Centre

Duration: 5 – 10 minutes
Cost: 0 – 150 MXN ($7)

Once you’ve reached Tulum, you’ll be dropped at the main bus terminal, located in the town’s centre.

There are a number of accommodation options within walking distance from the bus terminal, but if you’re staying around the beach area, it’s best to take a taxi.

Taxis in Tulum are not metered, so make sure to agree on the rate before stepping in. An average rate from the bus terminal to the beach area is 150 MEX ($7).

  Hotel

Our favourite places to stay in Tulum


Tubo Tulum - Budget Friendly

Looking for something a bit different? Tubo Tulum makes sleeping an experience on its own. You can opt to sleep in a tent or in one of their large concrete tubes that house a comfy double bed.

The eco-friendly concept of the hostel, alongside their tropical garden, makes you feel like you’re chilling in the middle of the jungle. A very memorable stay for a very reasonable price.

  • Great location
  • Communal kitchen
  • Original and eco-friendly hotel

Private tents start from $19 per night, including breakfast

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La Palmita Budget Boutique Hotel - Mid-Range

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.

  • Bike rental available
  • Great rooftop area with hammocks and yoga mats
  • Excellent location
  • Huge beds

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Hotel Casa Santiago Tulum - Treating Yourself

There’s 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.

  • Outdoor pool and sun terrace
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Eco-friendly, including natural toiletries made in the region

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Turquoise Petit Hotel Tulum - Treating Yourself

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.

  • 2 outdoor swimming pools
  • Beautifully decorated
  • Attentive and friendly staff

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