Playa del Carmen is a popular and fast-evolving destination in the Riviera Maya. Located close to Cancun, it offers a more relaxed vibe, but there are still plenty of things to do. You can spend your days sunbathing by the beach, hopping between cafes, and wandering around the boutiques at Quinta Avenida. At the heart of Playa del Carmen is its palm-tree-lined beaches and music, best enjoyed at a bar by the shore!
Something a bit different is Xcaret Park, a nature park (we’d call it more a theme park) that has more than 50 natural and cultural attractions to explore. You can find this just outside of Playa del Carmen. Or if you really want to escape back to nature, there are a number of cenotes to explore nearby.
There are 3 ways you can travel the 65km (40 miles) from Tulum to Playa del Carmen: a 1-hour bus, a 1-hour-15-minute colectivo, and a 1-hour taxi. Fares range between 45 MXN ($2.20) and 615 MXN ($30).
The bus is a good combination of comfort and budget when travelling from Tulum to Playa del Carmen. ADO Bus operates several trips throughout the day. You can get a ticket from 80 MXN ($4) and travel time is a little over an hour.
The colectivo is a great option if you want to travel more like a local. This is because they are predominantly used by commuters. But that also means they don’t have space for big suitcases or backpacks. So if you’re taking a colectivo, travel light!
If you don’t mind spending more for the most convenient option, you can take a taxi. Fares start from 615 MXN ($30) for the 1-hour ride.
We highly recommend booking your tickets online via BookAway to be guaranteed a seat on your desired date and time. If you prefer to purchase your ticket at the bus station, make sure you get there at least 30 minutes before departure time.
Bus departure and arrival points in Tulum and Playa del Carmen
It’s important to pay attention to the departure and arrival points when booking your ride.
In Tulum, the buses depart from 2 different locations – the ADO bus station located in the town centre and the Tulum Ruins, which is situated 4km east of downtown Tulum.
You will arrive at Playa del Carmen after a little over 1 hour. Make sure you pick a bus that makes its last stop near your accommodation!
There are also 2 terminals in downtown Playa del Carmen – Turistica and Alterna. Turistica is the main bus station located just across Parque Los Fundadores. Alterna is located 1km away from Turistica, a bit outside of the tourist centre.
Depending on where you’re staying, you may have to take a taxi to or from the bus stations.
Tulum to Playa del Carmen by Colectivo
Duration: 1 hour Cost: 45 MXN ($2.20)
Colectivos are the cheapest option to travel from Tulum to Playa del Carmen. They are also the cheapest way to get to any of the cenotes, archaeological ruins and beaches in the Riviera Maya. Unlike buses, they are allowed to stop everywhere.
Warning: As they are used mostly by local workers and not by tourists, they don’t have space for luggage, making them only a good option for day trips to Playa del Carmen or if you are travelling with only hand luggage.
The ride to Playa del Carmen typically costs 45 MXN ($2.20). Keep in mind though that prices can increase during peak tourist seasons, around December to February.
Which Colectivo company to choose?
The 2 main companies operating between Playa del Carmen and Tulum are Playa Express and Colectivos Foraneos. They depart 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, on the other hand, is available 24 hours.
If you’re looking for a more comfortable alternative, we recommend the colectivos operated by Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas. They cater more to tourists so the ride will be tons more comfortable than ordinary colectivos. Just be prepared to pay a bit more as a ticket costs 83 MXN ($4). You can pre-book your ride via BookAway.
Where can I find the Colectivos from Tulum to Playa del Carmen?
Unlike buses, colectivos also allow you to get off prior to the last stop if your accommodation is on the way.
Tulum to Playa del Carmen by Taxi
Duration: 1 hour Cost: 615 MXN ($30)
Are you travelling with a group and want more convenience? A private taxi is a great way to hop from one destination to the next in the Riviera Maya. If you only want to explore Playa del Carmen on a day trip, then the taxi is the best choice as it allows you to save a lot of time and hassle.
No need to find your way to and from bus stations. You can hail a taxi from almost anywhere in Tulum, even from the Tulum ruins. Rates start from 615 MXN ($30) for a 3-seater car and travel time is around 1 hour.
Frequently asked questions
Can you rent a car from Tulum to Playa del Carmen?
Yes, you can rent a car when travelling between Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Rental cars in Mexico are very cheap. Prices start from 570 MXN ($28) for a 24-hour rental and 2,375 MXN ($116) if you want to rent for a week. For the cheapest rentals and most extensive selection, book one through Kayak or Skyscanner. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license if you want to rent a car! We also recommend that you check out our Top 10 Tips on car rentals to help you save money.
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!