How to get from Cancun to Tulum

Cancun might be the most famous destination on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, but many people actually prefer Tulum. As it’s further away from Cancun’s 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.

The city is not just a beach destination either. Tulum is actually named after the famous archaeological ruins that sit upon a cliff overlooking the turquoise ocean. The 7.5m tall ruins are impressive by themselves, but cast against that backdrop, you can’t help but be in awe.

There are 3 ways to travel the 131 km (81 miles) from Cancun to Tulum: a 2.5-hour bus ride, 3-hour colectivo via Playa del Carmen or a 2.5 hour shared minivan. Fares range between 87 and 625 MXN ($4 – $29).

Bus, Colectivo via Playa del Carmen or Shared Minivan?

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus2.5 hoursFrom 200 MXN ($10)Check bus tickets
Colectivo via Playa del Carmen3.5 hours87 MXN ($4)Read article for info
Shared Minivan2.5 hoursFrom 625 MXN ($29)Check minivan tickets

Transport from Cancun airport

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus from Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 290 MXN ($14)Check bus tickets
Shared Minivan from Cancun Airport2.5 hoursFrom 675 MXN ($33)Check minivan tickets
Private transfer from Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 1,500 MXN ($70)Book a private transfer

The bus is a good combination between price and convenience. The bus goes directly to Tulum and is reasonably comfortable. You’ll have more space and enough room for your luggage, unlike with the Colectivo.

The Colectivo is the cheapest option out of the 3, however this does come at a price. You’ll need to change onto another vehicle in Playa del Carmen, adding a stop as well as extra travel time to your journey. Another downside is that the Mayan Rivera Colectivos tend not to have a lot of space for luggage, so if you’ve got big luggage it’s not really a feasible option. The total journey will costs 87 MXN ($4) when you pay in the bus.

Note that BookAway sells tickets for the Colectivo for $6, names as “Economy Minivan”. Don’t confuse this with the Tourist Minivan. If you prefer stress-free travel then a shared minivan may be more your style. They offer door-to-door service with free pick-up and drop off from Tulum to Cancun, starting at 625 MXN ($29).

If you want to skip any possibility of hassle, then the door-to-door shared minivan is probably your best option. It that takes you straight from Cancun to Tulum, starting at 625 MXN ($29).

Those travelling from Cancun airport directly to Tulum, there are options available that don’t require you to travel to Cancun’s city centre. You can find out more about this in the last section of this article.

 

Itinerary from Cancun to Tulum

 

Bus icon

Cancun to Tulum by Bus


Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 220 – 500 MXN ( $10-$23)

Cancun’s main bus station is conveniently located in the city centre, meaning is easily accessible by foot or by a short taxi ride.

If you’re staying in the resort/beach area you can 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 Tulum

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 220 – 350 MXN ($4-$17)

The bus companies that operate between Cancun and Tulum are ADO and AU. Both are good in terms of quality, but most travellers’ first choice is often ADO as it offers departures several times a day.

All buses are first class, meaning they 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 some will drop you at Tulum’s archeological site. Make sure you book the right bus journey!

Bus OperatorSchedulesDurationCostsSchedule
ADO07:10-09:40
09:20-11:50
12:10-14:40
13:15-15:45
20:50-23:20
3.5 hoursFrom 200 MXN ($10)Check bus tickets on ClickBus
AU16:05-18:40
18:10-20:45
3.5 hours260 MXN ($12)Check bus tickets on BookAway

Check Bus Tickets with ClickBus

Step 2: Tulum Bus Terminal to City Centre

Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: 0 – 150 MXN ($7)

The bus terminal in Tulum is located in the town centre. If your accommodation is nearby then you’ll be able to walk, but 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 beach area is 150 MEX ($7).

colectivo icon

Cancun to Tulum via Playa del Carmen by Colectivo


Duration: 3 hours
Cost: 87 MXN ($4)

Colectivos are the cheapest option to travel from Cancun to Tulum, but they’ll offer less space for your lugagga and another downside is that you’ll first have to take a Colectivo to Playa del Carmen and then switch to another one going to Tulum.

The costs for both rides are only around 90 MXN ($4) and can be paid directly on the bus. Alternatively, you can also book the Economy Bus by Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas on BookAway for a slightly higher price ($6). This Colectivo is often also called “Colectivos Foraneos” (derived from the full name  Colectivos Foraneos Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas).

Extra note on the Colectivo’s running between Cancun-Playa del Carmen-Tulum

Colectivo’s running on the route from Cancun-Playa del Carmen-Tulum are originally not intended for tourists as they mainly transport locals and workers from the resorts and tourist attractions.

They have become popular among independent travellers and low-budget tourists because they stop everywhere so they allow people to visit multiple beaches, cenotes and ruins without paying for expensive tours.

This means the microbus will stop constantly, not just a couple of times and (at least on pre-covid times) the can get crowded with people standing. Also, as the Colectivos are predominantly used by local workers and not tourists, they don’t have space for luggage.

Also note that these microbuses are different from the Colectivos going from Cancun to Holbox or Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, for example. Those are intended for tourists and have a better level of comfort.

For the above reasons, we recommend to use the Colectivos in this region mainly for day trips to Tulum or if you’re only traveling with hand luggage only.

Step 1: Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 45 MXN ($2)

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

There are two companies operating this route: Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos. Each company has their own stop and buses from both run 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 this service should probably be your first choice.

The rate to Playa del Carmen is 45 MXN ($2,) but it can increase during peak tourist season between December-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 ($1.90)

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.

The ride to Tulum is around 42 MXN ($1.90), but prices can increase during peak tourist seasons.

The Colectivo’ last stop is just a couple of blocks away from the main bus terminal in Tulum. However, unlike buses, you can get off before if your accommodation is on the way or if you want to go to the archaeological ruins before entering town.
minivan icon

Cancun to Tulum by Shared Minivan


Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
Cost: 625 MXN ($29)

If you want to avoid going to/from bus terminals, shared minivans conveniently take you door-to-door. This service is offered by several companies and commonly booked online.

Although still more expensive than the bus, this shared minivan may still 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 pickup and drop-off, and cost 625 MXN ($29). They 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 between 2.5 to 3 hours.

Check Shared Minivan Tickets with BookAway

 

Travelling from Cancun Airport to Tulum

Duration: 2-2.5 hours
Cost: From 350 MXN ($17)

If you are arriving at Cancun airport and want to travel directly to Tulum you can do it by bus, taxi, shared minivan or with a private shuttle.

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.

Compare transport options from Cancun Airport to Tulum

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus from Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 290 MXN ($14)Check bus tickets
Shared Minivan from Cancun Airport2.5 hoursFrom 675 MXN ($33)Check minivan tickets
Private transfer from Cancun Airport2 hoursFrom 1,500 MXN ($70)Book a private transfer

Bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: From 350 MXN ($17)

Buses from Cancun International Airport to Tulum are run by the company ADO and depart five times a day from 11:05 to 21:45 (roughly every 2 hours).

To take the bus, make your way to the ADO counter in the arrivals hall to purchase your ticket or book it online through ClickBus. Tickets cost 290 MXN ($14).

Shared minivan from Cancun Airport to Tulum

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: From 675 MXN ($33)

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 Tulum. You can book this service on BookAway for $33.

Private transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: From 1,500 MXN ($70)

Another good option is to hire a private transfer. Your driver will be waiting for you outside the arrivals gate to take your accommodation in Tulum.

This service is provided by several companies, which you can check availability and book online with.

Two companies with the best reviews and cost/benefit ratio are eTransfers and Happy Shuttle Cancun. Rates start at $70 for a one way trip.

Taxis are available 24/7 at the airport and the average rate to Tulum is $80. You must purchase your ticket at any of the taxi counters inside the arrivals hall.

 

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COVID-19 Limitations: Transportation services have limited availability and schedules might be less frequent. Please check our recommended booking websites for the most recent schedules.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to recent travel restrictions, most of the transportation services are currently unavailable or subject to change.