Driving Cancun to Tulum: Important Info + Safety Tips (2023)
Planning on driving from Cancun to Tulum? You’ve come to the right guide!
I’m a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen and have taken the road from Cancun to Tulum many times.
As long as you know what to expect, driving from Cancun to Tulum is pretty easy! You’ll just want to be aware of a few things before you hit the road.
In this post, I’m sharing all the important information for driving Cancun to Tulum including the distance, duration, road conditions, and best transportation options–with or without a car.
I’ll also give some helpful travel tips for a safe and hassle-free ride.
Important Info for Driving from Cancun to Tulum
Here’s the key information you need to know before driving from Cancun to Tulum:
Driving Cancun to Tulum: Distance
The distance from Cancun to Tulum is about 82 miles (131 kilometers). The drive is very easy to navigate and is a straight shot down the main highway 307 (Carretera Federal).
The distance from Cancun Airport to Tulum is slightly less at about 73 miles (118 kilometers) and you’ll get to avoid any traffic congestion around downtown Cancun.
Driving Cancun to Tulum: Travel Time
The drive from downtown Cancun to Tulum takes approximately 2 hours. The Cancun Airport to Tulum drive time takes slightly less time at approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
However, this can sometimes take longer if you run into any traffic or road construction delays.
🚨 As of 2023, there is a very inconvenient road construction project near the Cancun Airport that is causing major delays depending on the time of day. And unfortunately, this construction project is expected to last for over 1 year so it won’t be going away any time soon.
Driving Cancun to Tulum: Road Conditions
The road conditions to travel from Cancun to Tulum are generally good on the main highway 307–it is a developed two-lane highway for most of the way.
There are some speed bumps and traffic checkpoints along the way you’ll want to be mindful of. And you might run into some traffic and slowdowns around the stop lights near Playa del Carmen.
In addition, the construction of the Maya Train along the highway can also cause traffic delays and occasional lane shifts.
🌴 Don’t expect a scenic coastal drive–you will mainly just see a lot of Mayan jungle!
Driving Cancun to Tulum: Traffic Checkpoints
There are a few different police checkpoints between Cancun and Tulum–both in between Cancun and Playa del Carmen and in between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
These are small police stands situated in the middle of the highway and most of the time you will just have to slow down and pass through them at a reduced speed.
As long as the police don’t suspect any illegal activity, they shouldn’t bother you and you’ll be on your way quickly.
✈️ Related Reading: How to Fly to Tulum: Closest Airport + Transport Options
How to Get From Cancun to Tulum: 6 Best Transportation Options
These are the 6 best transportation options for getting to Tulum from Cancun (with or without a car) whether you’re coming from Cancun International Airport or downtown Cancun.
🚙 It’s important to know that Uber at the Cancun Airport (and the entire Riviera Maya region) is not available so you’ll need to choose one of these options below!
1. Rent a Car to Drive from Cancun to Tulum
If you plan to rent a car to drive from Cancun to Tulum, then it’s better to rent one from downtown Cancun. If you must drive from Cancun Airport to Tulum, you should be very cautious with the Cancun airport car rental companies.
Mainly because there are a lot of horror stories about Cancun Airport car rentals including long wait times, not getting the car you booked, hidden fees, and extreme upcharges for insurance.
If you decide to rent a car directly from the airport, do your research and book online in advance. You can expect prices to be around $30 USD per day for a sedan.
I like to use Discover Cars because you can compare multiple car rental companies and see detailed ratings for overall value, ease of pick-up, efficiency of agents, car condition, and overall time spent.
Just be sure to read the fine print and check reviews carefully as rental car scams are unfortunately common in Mexico and much more prevalent at the Cancun Airport.
And when renting a car, you’ll have the freedom to go at your own pace and explore some more off-the-beaten-path destinations and Mayan Ruins in the state of Quintana Roo.
👉 Search for car rentals on Discover Cars by clicking here!
2. Take Private Transportation from Cancun to Tulum
Private transportation is also available to go from the Cancun Airport to Tulum and is the best way to go! This is the quickest, most hassle-free, and easiest option for getting to Tulum from the Cancun Airport.
After a long flight, it’s the most convenient way to go and definitely a nice treat to be picked up and get to your hotel or resort as quickly as possible with door-to-door service!
I highly recommend booking with Cancun Airport Transportation, which is a trusted company that provides reliable airport transfers with convenient online booking options and friendly private drivers.
Pricing options for Cancun to Tulum private car transportation are as follows:
- Private Van (up to 3 pax): $110 USD one way or $210 round trip
- Private SUV (up to 6 pax): $199 USD one way or $375 round trip
- Group Shuttle (up to 16 pax): $199 USD one way or $375 round trip
- Limo Service (up to 6 pax): $449 USD one way or $774 round trip
- Limo Service (up to 10 pax): $525 USD one way or $874 round trip
👉 Book a private transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum by clicking here! You’ll get the best deal by booking a round trip service.
3. Take a Taxi from Cancun to Tulum
Taxis are readily available in Cancun and can be a good option to take to Tulum from downtown Cancun or from the Cancun Hotel Zone.
I would not recommend taking a taxi service from the Cancun Airport because they are extremely overpriced and a hassle to arrange.
Only official airport taxis are allowed at the Cancun Airport, which lets taxi drivers get away with charging outrageous fares.
It’s much easier and safer to take a taxi to Tulum from downtown Cancun or from the Hotel Zone. But be prepared–it will still be expensive!
You can expect the taxi cost from downtown Cancun to Tulum to be about $2,000 pesos (~$100 USD) or more each way. And you cannot pay for taxis with a credit card so be sure to have enough cash on hand.
4. Take a Shared Shuttle from Cancun to Tulum
Another more economical option for getting to Tulum from the Cancun Airport is to take a shared airport shuttle.
Cancun Airport to Tulum shared shuttles run frequently from the airport and typically hold up to 15 passengers. Each passenger will then get dropped off at their hotel or resort along the route to Tulum.
While this is a cheaper option, the downside is that it can often take a long time to get to your resort with so many stops along the way.
The normal 2-hour ride can often turn into 3+ hours depending on how many people there are to drop off.
I recommend booking the Cancun to Tulum shuttle service with Cancun Shuttles, which costs about $37 USD one way.
👉 Book a shared shuttle from Cancun Airport to Tulum by clicking here!
5. Take the ADO Bus from Cancun to Tulum
The ADO bus is a comfortable, charter-style bus that can be taken to Tulum from the Cancun Airport OR from the ADO bus station in downtown Cancun.
ADO Bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum
The ADO Airport Bus is the cheapest option to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum. At only $340 pesos (~$17 USD) each way, the ADO bus is safe, comfortable, and the best option for budget travelers.
The charter-style ADO bus is very large and comfortable with air conditioning, restrooms, and televisions onboard. The travel time from the Cancun Airport to Tulum is about 2 hours and 55 minutes, with a stop in Playa del Carmen.
ADO tickets can be purchased directly at the ADO ticket counter at the airport. It’s best not to purchase tickets ahead of time as it can be very hard to predict what time you’ll actually be exiting the airport after going through Customs and retrieving your luggage.
You can easily purchase your bus tickets at the ADO counter and hop on the next departing bus. The final destination is the ADO bus station in the Tulum town center.
ADO Bus from Downtown Cancun to Tulum
ADO buses can also be taken to Tulum from the ADO station in downtown Cancun. The trip takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes, with a stop at the Tulum Ruins archaeological site.
The cost is around $218 pesos (~$11 USD) each way and there are departures roughly every hour. ADO tickets can be purchased on the ADO website (Spanish only) or on Busbud (English).
The Cancun to Tulum bus is an affordable and comfortable way to travel between Cancun and Tulum and a great option if you don’t have a car.
👉 Book ADO Bus Cancun to Tulum tickets on Busbud by clicking here!
6. Take a Colectivo from Cancun to Tulum
The cheapest way to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is to take a colectivo, which is a shared public transportation van service that runs continuously along the main highway 307.
Note colectivos cannot be taken from the Cancun Airport so this is only an option if you’re coming from downtown Cancun.
When traveling from Cancun to Tulum by colectivo, you’ll need to first take a colectivo from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and then transfer to another colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.
Colectivos can be picked up at the main ADO station in downtown Cancun and you can either get on a regular colectivo OR the Playa Express.
Both are going to the same place but the Playa Express buses are larger and more comfortable.
Colectivos do not have specific bus stops along the way but rather pick people up off the side of the highway and drop them off upon request.
The cost to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is around $50 pesos (~$2.50 USD) and can be paid upon exiting. You’ll want to have small bills on hand as most drivers will not have much change.
Once you get to Playa del Carmen, the colectivos to Tulum are near the same station and you’ll follow the same process. They will drop you off in downtown Tulum, where you can take a taxi or walk to your final destination.
🚐 Related Reading: How to Get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum
Driving Cancun to Tulum: Safety
Here’s what you need to know when it comes to safety:
Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum 2023?
Driving to Tulum from Cancun is safe and the drive is relatively easy on a well-developed main highway. But you’ll still want to take precautions for a safe ride.
Be sure to drive carefully, follow the speed limit, and be cautious around traffic checkpoints. As long as you are not doing anything illegal, the police most likely wave you through quickly and easily.
Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum at night?
As in any foreign destination, it’s best to avoid driving at night if you’re not familiar with the area. With limited visibility, it can be more challenging to navigate.
And there are more inherent safety risks when driving at night. While the Cancun to Tulum highway is pretty well-lit, I recommend avoiding driving at night in Mexico altogether if possible.
Tips for Driving from Cancun to Tulum
Follow these important safety tips when driving to Tulum from Cancun for a hassle-free ride:
- Drive carefully and respect the speed limit: There can be a lot of traffic on the Cancun to Tulum drive, so make sure to drive carefully and obey the speed limit. The last thing you want is to get pulled over in a foreign country.
- Watch out for speed bumps: Mexico is known for its speed bumps (“topes” in Spanish) and they can definitely sneak up on you! Be on the lookout for the “Topes” sign and reduce speed as you approach them.
- Be mindful of merging traffic: There are a few points on the highway (mainly around Playa del Carmen) where there aren’t really any dedicated merging lanes for oncoming traffic. This means there will often be a lineup of traffic on the ramps waiting to merge onto the highway. Be aware of this and yield to merging traffic.
- Be cautious around checkpoints: There are a few different police checkpoints on the way from Cancun to Tulum. Most of the time you will just have to slow down and pass through them at a reduced speed. However, if the police suspect anything suspicious, they may stop your vehicle and perform a search. Be sure to follow any directions from the police officers.
- Wear a seatbelt: Anytime you are driving in Mexico, be sure to wear a seatbelt. The drivers in Mexico are a little unpredictable and it’s not uncommon for accidents to happen. In fact, when my Dad came to visit me in Playa del Carmen, he broke his hand in a taxi accident while not wearing a seatbelt. Be sure to buckle up for the entire Cancun to Tulum distance!
- Don’t get confused by the highway signs: Along the route, you’ll often see official road signs for Riviera Maya hotels, towns, and attractions like the Xcaret parks. This can be deceiving because it seems like these places are coming up but in reality they are MUCH further down the main road. It’s best to stick to Google Maps or GPS navigation to get to your destination.
- Avoid driving at night: If possible, avoid driving at night. There are more inherent risks at night and the lack of visibility can be dangerous if you’re not familiar with the area.
🚨 Do you need travel insurance for Mexico? Yes! Most insurance plans in your home country will not cover incidents abroad. I recommend using Travel Insurance Master, which is a handy travel insurance marketplace where you can compare policies. Get a FREE quote by clicking here!
Driving from Cancun to Tulum: FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about driving Cancun Tulum:
The Cancun to Tulum drive time is approximately 2 hours. However, this driving time can vary depending on traffic and road conditions.
Cancun is approximately 120 minutes away from Tulum.
Tulum is generally a safe place to drive as long as you follow proper precautions.
When driving in Tulum, be sure to drive carefully, follow the speed limit, watch out for speed bumps, and be cautious around traffic checkpoints.
And while getting around Tulum, you’ll also want to be careful when driving along the Tulum beach road as it can get congested with vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Renting a car to drive from Cancun to Tulum will cost around $30 USD per day. Alternatively, private transportation can be arranged from the Cancun Airport to Tulum for around $110 USD each way.
A shared shuttle from Cancun to Tulum is around $37 USD per person with dropoff at your hotel. Alternatively, the ADO Airport bus costs $340 pesos ($17 USD) per person with a dropoff in downtown Tulum.
Conclusion: Driving Cancun to Tulum in 2023
I hope this driving guide was helpful in planning your trip from Cancun to Tulum! It’s really an easy drive as long as you know what to lookout for.
Remember to drive carefully, respect the speed limit, be cautious around the traffic checkpoints, and avoid driving at night if possible. And don’t forget the topes!
As long as you follow the safety tips outlined in this guide, you’re sure to have an enjoyable trip. Now that you know how to get to Tulum from Cancun, it’s time to start planning your itinerary!
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Tulum or around the Yucatan peninsula, check out my post on the best day trips from Tulum!
Traveling to Mexico soon?
These are the Mexico travel resources I use and recommend:
🏨 Hotels: I always find the best deals for Mexico hotels and resorts on Booking.com. If you prefer a vacation rental, check VRBO as they are often cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: I recommend using Skyscanner for the best Mexico flight deals. Be sure to sign up for their price alerts for your preferred travel dates.
🚗 Rental Cars: I like to use Discover Cars because you can compare multiple car rental companies and see detailed ratings for overall value, ease of pick-up, efficiency of agents, car condition, and overall time spent.
🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: I recommend booking a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation for the quickest and most hassle-free option!
🤿 Tours & Activities: I always use Viator or GetYourGuide for booking tours and activities in Mexico. You can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour for a full refund, plus they have excellent customer service if you were to have any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: After my Dad broke his hand in a taxi accident in Playa del Carmen, I always recommend buying travel insurance before your trip for added peace of mind! I recommend Travel Insurance Master for short trips or Safety Wing for digital nomads.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Don’t forget to add biodegradable sunscreen to your Mexico packing list! Regular sunscreen is prohibited when swimming in the ocean and cenotes in Mexico, so you’ll need to pack some biodegradable sunscreen for sun protection. I recommend Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is reef-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free.