Cancun to Playa del Carmen

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Overview Compare Minivan Taxi Bus Colectivo From Airport Questions To Stay

How to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is a smaller coastal resort town in the Riviera Maya, but it still has a lot to offer. Many travellers tend to make Playa del Carmen their next port of call after Cancun due to its spectacular beaches, lively nightlife and access to some amazing cenotes.

You can spend your days hopping from one hip cafe to another or go window shopping at the boutiques along Quinta Avenida. Something you may want to try is Xcaret Park. It describes itself as a nature park but is probably closer to a theme park, offering over 50 natural and cultural attractions.

New to Playa del Carmen? Our compact Playa del Carmen guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Playa del Carmen!

4 ways to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen (Sorted on popularity)

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Shared Minivan1.5 hours475 MXN ($23)Check Minivan Tickets
Taxi1 hour700 MXN ($34)Read article for more info
Bus1 hour 20 minutes85 MXN ($4.15)Check Bus Tickets
Colectivo1.5 hours45 MXN ($2.20)Read article for more info

There are 4 ways to travel the 68 km (42 miles) from Cancun to Playa del Carmen: a 1.5-hour shared minivan, a 1-hour taxi, a 1-hour-20-minute bus, or a 1.5-hour colectivo. Fares range between 45 MXN ($2.20) and 700 MXN ($34).

The shared minivan is the option preferred by many tourists With a minivan service, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cancun and taken straight to your destination in Playa del Carmen. No need to worry about finding your way to and from bus terminals.

If you prefer private transportation, you can also take a taxi from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. It’s the fastest option at only 1 hour. Rates start from 700 MXN ($34), which can be cheaper than a shared minivan if you’re travelling with at least one companion.

Buses have set departures, offer more legroom, as well as enough room for your luggage. When travelling by bus, keep your belongings close to you. Getting pickpocketed on the bus is not uncommon in the Riviera Maya.

Colectivos are slightly cheaper than buses, but the journey time is longer due to multiple stops along the way. The colectivo also doesn’t offer space for luggage, so keep this in mind if you’re travelling with a suitcase or big backpack.

If you’re looking to travel from Cancun Airport directly to Tulum, there are options available that don’t require you to enter the city centre. You can find out more about this in the last section of this article.

Itinerary from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Shared Minivan

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours
Cost: 475 MXN ($23)
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours
Cost: 475 MXN ($23)

If you want to avoid going to/from bus terminals, shared minivans conveniently take you from door to door for only 475 MXN ($23). This service is offered by several companies and it is commonly booked online.

Although still more expensive than the bus, you can actually save money on taxi rides if you’re staying a bit far from the bus stations in both cities.

Shared minivans from Cancun to Playa del Carmen run every hour from 08:00 to 19:00. Travel time varies as it depends on the number of passengers and additional stops on the way, but is often around 1.5 hours.

Minivans are best booked online so that you won’t have to go to their office just to buy a ticket!

Check Minivan Tickets with BookAway

PRO-TIP: If you’re heading back to Cancun after visiting Playa del Carmen, you can book round trip tickets to get up to 20% discount!

Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Taxi

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 700 MXN ($34)
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 700 MXN ($34)

If you’re travelling with at least one other person, then a private transportation service will be a more cost-efficient option compared to taking a shared minivan. Unless there’s heavy traffic along the way, the entire taxi trip from Cancun to Playa del Carmen takes only about 1 hour.

Taxi rates start from 700 MXN ($34). Taxi drivers may try to charge you a higher rate, so it’s best to know the average price!

Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Bus

Duration: 1hr 20m
Cost: 85 MXN ($4.15)
Duration: 1hr 20m
Cost: 85 MXN ($4.15)

ADO, Mexico’s most popular bus company, is the sole operator for buses from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. ADO buses offer great quality service with buses that include AC, a toilet and reclining seats.

Note that Playa del Carmen has two ADO bus stations, one within the tourist area near the beach (Turistica) and another one that is still in the centre, but a little further from the tourist attractions (Alterna). Most buses will drop you off at Playa del Carmen Turistica bus station though.

ADO Bus schedule from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Bus OperatorSchedulesDurationCosts
ADO BusEvery 20 minutes from
07:00 to 23:00
1 hour 20 minutes85 MXN ($4.15)
Buy Your Bus Tickets

It’s best to book your ticket online at least a day before to be guaranteed a seat on your desired date and time. You can also buy your tickets at ADO bus station, but make sure to get there at least 30 minutes prior to your target departure time,

When booking, pay attention to the departure and arrival points as some buses depart from the airport and not from Cancun Central Bus Terminal.

Bus departure in Cancun

Cancun bus station is conveniently located in the city centre and is easily accessible by foot or via a short taxi ride.

If you’re staying in the resort/beach area, you can either take a taxi or save some money by using the local public transport. Lines R-1, R-3 and R-38 will drop you off at Avenida Tulum, right in front of the bus terminal.

Bus arrival in Playa del Carmen

The bus will drop you off at Turistica Bus Terminal, located in downtown Playa del Carmen. If your accommodation is nearby you can consider walking, but if you are staying further away, the best option is to take a taxi.

Keep in mind that taxis in Playa del Carmen are not metered so it’s better to agree on the rate before stepping in. A reasonable rate to go within the limits of Playa del Carmen is between 70 MXN ($3.40) to 150 MXN ($7).

Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Colectivo

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 45 MXN ($2.20)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 45 MXN ($2.20)

Colectivos are the cheapest option to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, and a very popular mode of transport in the Riviera Maya.

However, they are mostly used by local workers and not by tourists, so they don’t have any space for luggage. Therefore, we think that colectivos are a good option only for day trips to Playa del Carmen or if you are travelling with just hand luggage.

The average rate to Playa del Carmen by colectivo is 45 MXN ($2.20), but can go higher during peak season (December to April). There’s no option to book online, but colectivos depart frequently throughout the day and you can just pay directly to the driver.

Which Colectivo company to choose?

There are two companies operating this route: Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos – each one has its own stop. Both run every 15 minutes or when the vehicle reaches its capacity.

Playa Express operates from 04:00 to 23:00 while Colectivos Foraneos run 24 hours. It’s good to know that Playa Express’ vehicles are more comfortable with more space between seats and working AC, so keep that as your first choice.

Where to find the Colectivos from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen?

Colectivos to Playa del Carmen depart from two stops close to Cancun’s Central Bus Terminal in the city centre.

When you arrive in Playa del Carmen, the Colectivo bus stop is located within the tourist area, just a couple of blocks away from the Turistica Bus Terminal.

From Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours
Cost: 208 MXN ($10)
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours
Cost: 208 MXN ($10)

If you’re arriving at Cancun International Airport and want to travel directly to Playa del Carmen, you have 3 options: a shared minivan or Cancun Airport shuttle, a taxi/private transfer or a bus. All 3 options for airport transfer have an average duration of 1 to 1.5 hours.

Shared Minivan from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen

When it comes to Cancun Airport transportation, minivans are the best option for solo and couple travellers. They offer a good mix of budget and convenience when travelling from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen.

Minivans depart every hour, 24 hours a day from Cancun Airport and will drop you off at your accommodation in Playa del Carmen.

You can book a Cancun Airport shuttle service on BookAway with fares from 280 MXN ($13.50).

Private transfer from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen

Another good option is to hire a private Cancun Airport transfer, where your driver will be waiting for you outside the arrivals gate to take you to your accommodation in Playa del Carmen.

We recommend booking your ride through BookAway, which offers spacious cars that come with professional drivers. Rates for a private shuttle from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen start from 960 MXN ($47).

Other options to book with are popular local travel agencies like eTransfers and Happy Shuttle Cancun.

A slight alternative to a pre-organised private transfer is to jump in a taxi. Taxis are available 24/7 at the airport, but it’s important to note that they are more expensive than private transfers at around $65. You’ll need to purchase your ticket at one of the taxi counters inside the arrivals hall before getting a taxi ride.

Bus from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen

Buses from Cancun International Airport to Playa del Carmen are run by the company ADO and depart several times a day from 08:30 to 21:45 (roughly every hour).

The bus rate is 212 MXN ($10). You can book your ticket online beforehand through BookAway. You can also buy them at the airport ticket counter, but there might be a long line of passengers queueing for tickets.

FAQ How to get there

Frequently asked questions

Can you get a rental car from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?

Yes, you can be your very own private driver when travelling between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. 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 of rental car companies, 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 when renting a car.

 

Our favourite places to stay in Playa del Carmen


Maya Villa Condo Hotel and Beach Club - Treating yourself

Playa del Carmen is full of luxury hotels and beach clubs, but Maya Villa is one of the best. Guests staying at the hotel get access to both a gym and the beach club!

The hotel boasts a Mayan and tropical style with its natural decor and airness. The turquoise pool winds around the hotel, dotted with waterfalls that create a relaxing soundtrack to the hotel. You can also enjoy a hot tub on the roof!

  • Hot tub and huge swimming pool
  • Large and bright rooms
  • Access to beach club and gym
  • Steps away from the beach

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Check Latest Price

Opal Suites Apartments - Treating yourself

Opal Suites offers luxury apartments with all of the facilities you get with a good hotel. Staying here you’ll have access to a gym, rooftop swimming pool and even a barbeque.

Each stunning apartment contains all you’ll need, a kitchen, washing machine, balcony and even Netflix. This can be a great option if you’re staying in Playa del Carmen for a couple of weeks, so you can have similar facilities as at home.

Double rooms start from $80 per night

Check Latest Price

Vainilla Bed and Breakfast Mexico - Budget Friendly

Start the day right with the hotel’s complimentary breakfast, made up of fresh and home-made goodies. You can literally taste how much love the host puts into the food as well as the overall running of the hotel.

Just looking at the hotel will make you feel happy. It’s bursting with colour, both on the walls and from the fruit plants that surround the garden. The hotel gets its name from the vanilla plants around the hostel, so basically everywhere smells great.

  • Superb breakfast
  • Swimming pool
  • Very friendly host
  • Bright and clean decor

Double rooms between $15-$40 per night

Check Latest Price

 

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