Playa del Carmen is a smaller coastal resort town compared to Cancun, but it still has a lot to offer. Many travellers then to make Playa del Carmen their next port of call after Cancun due to it’s spectacular beaches, lively nightlife and access to some amazing cenotes in the surrounding area.
You can spend your days hopping between hip and delicious cafes or wander around the boutiques at the ‘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 to explore.
The most popular ways to travel the 68 km (42 miles) from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is a 1 hour and 15 minutes bus ride, a 1.5-hour ‘colectivo’ and a 1.5-hour shared minivan. Fares range between 45 and 475 MXN ($4 – $22).
Buses are largely considered the best transport option to cover this route as they have set departures, offer more comfort and space, as well as enough room for your luggage. The only downside compared to the Colectivo is that they’re not as frequent.
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.
A shared minivan is considerably more expensive than the other two options, but they do offer ultimate convenience due to the door-to-door service.
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.
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes Cost: From 65 MXN ($3)
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 on Avenida Tulum, right in front of the bus terminal.
Step 1: Cancun to Playa del Carmen
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes Cost: 65 MXN ($3)
The bus company running between Cancun and Playa del Carmen is ADO, who offer a great quality service with first class buses that include AC, a toilet and reclining seats.
You can book your tickets online or buy them directly from the bus terminal. When booking, pay attention to the departure and arrival points as some buses depart from the airport and not from Cancun central bus terminal.
Another thing to note is that Playa del Carmen has two bus terminals, one within the tourist area near the beach and another one that is still in the centre, but a little further from the tourist attractions. Most buses will drop you at ‘Playa del Carmen Turistica’ bus station though.
Step 2: Playa del Carmen bus terminal to City Centre
Duration: 5 minutes Cost: 0 – 150 MXN ($7)
The bus will drop you at Playa del Carmen Turista bust terminal, located in the town’s centre. If your accommodation is nearby you can consider walking, but if you are staying further away, the best option is to take a taxi.
If you decide to take a taxi, keep in mind they are not metered so it is better to agree on the rate before stepping in. A reasonable rate to go within the limits of Playa del Carmen is between 70 – 150 MEX ($3.20 – $7).
Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Colectivo
Duration: 1.5 hours Cost: 45 MXN ($2)
Colectivos are the cheapest option to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen.
However, they are mostly used by local workers and not by tourists, so they don’t have any space for luggage. Therefore, they are a good option for day trips to Playa del Carmen or if you are travelling with hand luggage only.
The average rate to Playa del Carmen is 45 MXN ($2), but it can increase depending on if it’s peak tourist season. There’s no option to book online, so you’ll need to go directly to the stop and pay for your ticket to the bus driver.
Which Colectivo company to choose?
There are two companies operating this route: Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos and 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 chrome Cancun to Playa Del Carmen?
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 main bus terminal, so the same directions apply.
Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Shared Minivan
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours Cost: 475 MXN ($22)
If you want to avoid going to/from bus terminals, shared minivans conveniently take you from door to door for only 625 MXN ($29). This service is offered by several companies and it is commonly booked online.
Although still more expensive than the bus, this shared minivan may be a good option if you’re not close to the bus terminals and want to save some money on taxis. You can book this service via BookAway.
Shared minivans run every hour from 08:00 to 19:00. The travel time is variable as it depends on the number of passengers and additional stops on the way, but is often around 1.5 hours.
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours Cost: From 208 MXN ($9.50)
If you’re arriving at Cancun airport and want to travel directly to Playa del Carmen, you can do it by bus, taxi, shared minivan or with a private shuttle. All four options have an average duration of 1 hour.
Bus from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen
Buses from the 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) from Cancun International Airport.
The bus rate is 208 MXN ($9.50). Look for the ADO counter in the arrivals hall to purchase your ticket or book it online through ADO’s website.
Shared Minivan from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen
Shared minivans are an intermediate option between buses and private transfers.
They depart every hour, 24 hours a day from Cancun’s airport and will drop you at your accommodation in Playa del Carmen.
Private transfer from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen
Another good option is to hire a private transfer, where your driver will be waiting for you outside the arrivals gate to take you to your accommodation in Playa del Carmen. This service is provided by several companies, which you can check availability for and book online in advance.
A slight alternative to a pre-organised private transfer is to jump in a taxi. Taxis are available 24/7 at the airport, however they are more expensive than a private transfer at around $65. You’ll need to purchase your ticket at one of the taxi counters inside the arrivals hall before you can get in your taxi.
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.
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.
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!