Lying by the Caribbean coast, Tulum is becoming an ever-more popular destination in the Riviera Maya. It used to be overshadowed by bigger cities on Mexico’s east coast like Playa del Carmen and Cancun. But as more people want to escape the bustle of these places, many are now heading to Tulum. Here you’ll find a more laid-back, bohemian vibe, making it a great place to relax.
The town of Tulum was named after its stunning ancient Mayan ruins perched on top of a cliff, overlooking the ocean below. The Tulum ruins are impressive in their own right, but cast against the backdrop of the sea, you can’t help but be in awe.
Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, the nearest airport to Tulum is Cancun Airport. A common itinerary for travellers is to begin exploration in Cancun, to be followed by Playa del Carmen, before heading to Tulum.
The most popular ways to travel the 65km (40 miles) from Playa del Carmen to Tulum are a 1-hour-10 minutes bus, a 1-hour colectivo, and a 1-hour taxi. Fares range from 45 MXN ($2.20) to 615 MXN ($30).
The bus is the best option if you’re travelling with luggage. Unlike the colectivo, most buses allow one large piece of luggage and one hand luggage per passenger. Buses also typically offer a more comfortable ride than with the colectivo. Plus they go straight from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, meaning a faster ride.
The cheapest option, but only by a few dollars, is the colectivo. However, they don’t have any room for luggage and will stop on the way to pick up and drop off passengers, meaning some extra travel time. If you’re planning on taking just a day trip from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, then the colectivo may be the better option as it also allows you to visit any of the attractions along the way.
If you don’t feel like taking public transport, you can take a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Prices start from 615 MXN ($30) for the 1-hour ride.
If you’re carrying huge luggage to Tulum, then it will be easiest to take the bus. Although a bit more expensive than the colectivo, you’ll have plenty of space for your stuff (at the luggage compartment) as well as good legroom.
The bus companies operating from Playa del Carmen to Tulum are ADO bus, OCC, and AU. All buses offer AC, a toilet and reclining seats.
Both ADO bus and OCC bus are good in terms of quality. AU, on the other hand, is very cheap, but do not receive as good reviews. So we recommend taking either ADO bus or OCC. A bus ticket costs only 98 MXN ($5).
Bus schedule from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
14 departures a day from 00:30 to 19:55
1 hour 10 minutes
98 MXN ($5)
1 hour 10 minutes
98 MXN ($5)
52 MXN ($2.50)
We recommend to book your tickets online through BookAway to get a guaranteed seat at your desired time. Alternatively, you can buy your tickets at the bus station in Playa del Carmen. If you don’t book in advance, make sure to go there early in order to get a seat on the bus.
Bus departure and arrival points in Playa del Carmen and Tulum
When booking, pay attention to the departure and arrival points.
You can find an ADO bus station from 2 terminals in downtown Playa del Carmen – Turistica and Alterna. Turistica is the main bus station located just across Parque Los Fundadores and all ADO buses actually depart from there. But if you are able to reserve a seat in Alterna (located 1km away from Turistica), the bus will also stop there to pick you up.
In Tulum, the buses make a last stop at 2 different locations – the ADO bus station located in the town centre and the Tulum Ruins, which is situated 4km east of downtown Tulum.
Depending on where you’re staying, you may have to take a taxi to or from the bus stations.
Playa del Carmen to Tulum by Colectivo
Duration: 1 hour Cost: 45 MXN ($2.20)
Colectivos are the cheapest option to travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. They are also the cheapest way to get to any of the cenotes, archaeological ruins, or beaches on the way. Unlike buses, colectivos are allowed to stop everywhere.
As they are used mostly by local workers and not by tourists, they don’t have space for luggage. Therefore, the colectivos are only a good option for day trips to Tulum or if you are travelling with just hand luggage. Also if you are already in Tulum, it’s a great way to reach the Tulum ruins.
The 1-hour ride from Playa del Carmen to Tulum costs around 45 MXN ($2.20), but prices can increase during peak tourist seasons, around December to February.
Which Colectivo company to choose?
The 2 main companies operating from Playa del Carmen to Tulum are Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos. They run every 15 minutes or when the vehicle reaches its capacity.
Playa Express operates from 04:00 to 23:00. More comfortable than Foraneos with more space between seats and working AC.
Colectivos Foraneos run 24 hours.
An alternative to the local colectivos are the shared minivans operated by Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas. They cater more to tourists so the ride will be tons more comfortable than the ordinary colectivos. They’re a bit more expensive though as a ticket costs 83 MXN ($4). You can pre-book your ride via BookAway.
Where can I find the Colectivos from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum?
Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos depart from the colectivo bus stop in Playa del Carmen, located in the tourist area, just a couple of blocks away from the main bus terminal. Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas depart from a few blocks away, at Benito Juarez Avenue.
All colectivos park at the bus terminal in Tulum. However, unlike buses, you can get off prior to the last stop if your accommodation is on the way or if you want to go to the archaeological ruins before entering town.
Playa del Carmen to Tulum by Taxi
Duration: 1 hour Cost: 615 MXN ($30)
If you’re travelling with a group and have extra budget, a private taxi is the most convenient option from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. With a taxi, you can ask to be dropped off anywhere in Tulum – you can go straight to the Mayan ruins or to one of Tulum’s beautiful beaches like Playa Paraiso.
If you only want to explore Tulum on a day trip, then the taxi is the best choice.
Rates start from 615 MXN ($30) for a 3-seater car. You can hail a taxi from the street, but we recommend getting one outside of 5th Avenue as prices are often more expensive from the tourist area.
Also, taxis are not metered in Playa del Carmen so make sure you agree on a price before getting in!
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
How far are the Tulum ruins from Tulum Town?
The Tulum ruins are located only 4km from Tulum town and can easily be reached by a 10 minute colectivo. You can find these colectivo’s on the mainstreet of Tulum town. Want to visit more sights in the area? You can also rent a bike and use the bicycle path that will lead you to the Tulum ruins. After you visited the Tulum ruins, it’s only a short 20-minute bike ride to Playa Paraiso or 25 minutes to Tulum Beach.
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.
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
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.