Playa del Carmen to Tulum

How to Get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum in 2023

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Trying to figure out how to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum? You’ve come to the right place!

I’m a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen, and I’ve traveled to Tulum from Playa del Carmen countless times and I’m here to help!

In this post, I’m sharing all the best ways to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum whether you’re looking for the cheapest, quickest, or most reliable option. 

Read on to learn how to travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum!

Tulum Beach

What to Know about Getting to Tulum from Playa del Carmen

First, let’s start with the basics about getting to Tulum:

Playa del Carmen to Tulum Distance

Tulum is located about 40 miles (65 km) south of Playa del Carmen straight down the main highway 307. It’s an easy and straight-forward route on a paved and developed highway.

Playa del Carmen to Tulum Travel Time

The Playa del Carmen to Tulum drive time is about 1 hour but you may face occasional traffic and road construction delays. 

How to Get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

There are many transportation options available to get to Tulum whether you’re looking for something cheap, quick, or convenient.

👉 TL;DR: In case you don’t have the time to get to all the details in this post, here’s a quick summary of the best transportation options:

  1. Cheapest Public Transportation: Colectivo
  2. Easiest Public Transportation: ADO Bus
  3. Quickest Transportation: Taxi
  4. Best Value Transportation: Rental Car
  5. Most Comfortable Transportation: Private Transfer
  6. Most Hassle-Free Transportation: Tulum Tour

Take a Colectivo

The cheapest way to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is to take a colectivo, which is a shared van service that runs continuously between the two towns.

Taking a colectivo can be a little confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, they are a very quick, easy, and inexpensive way to travel around the region. 

Playa del Carmen to Tulum Colectivo

Tulum Colectivo Station

As of 2023, colectivos can be picked up in downtown Playa del Carmen near the Chedraui grocery store and the main highway 307 (behind the McDonald’s).

There will be a line of colectivos and you’ll want to make sure you get on one that says “Tulum” on the side. 

Tulum Colectivo Schedule

Colectivos do not have a set schedule and just depart when they are full so you’ll never have to wait long to get on the road.

They typically depart every 5-10 minutes and run from early in the morning to around 11PM.

Once you’re on the colectivo, it will take a little longer to get to Tulum as colectivos stop frequently to pick people up and let them off along the way. 

There aren’t specific stops so you’ll need to tell the driver when you would like to get off if it’s before the final stop in Tulum.

If you don’t speak Spanish, this is probably the most nerve-wracking part of taking a colectivo so I would recommend letting the driver know your final destination as soon as you get on the colectivo so he knows where to let you off.

Travelista Tip: It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the GPS on your phone to track your location.

Tulum to Playa del Carmen Colectivo

Tulum Colectivo Cost

The colectivo to Tulum costs around $50 pesos (~$2.50 USD) and you will pay the driver upon exiting. 

It’s best to pay in pesos and you’ll want to have small bills on hand as most drivers will not have much change.

Once you get off the colectivo in Tulum, you can hail a taxi or rent bicycles to get the beach, Tulum hotels, or your vacation rental in Tulum.

Take the ADO Bus

For a more comfortable option than a colectivo, I would recommend taking the ADO bus, which is a large, charter-style bus.

The Playa del Carmen to Tulum ADO bus has set schedules and tickets can be booked online so this is a better option if you don’t speak Spanish and are nervous about taking a colectivo.

Playa del Carmen ADO

ADO Bus Schedule

The ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum departs very frequently with 2-3 departures every hour from early in the morning until around 11PM.  The travel time is 1 hour and 10 minutes.

ADO Bus Stations

The Playa del Carmen to Tulum bus departs from the Playa del Carmen Turisitica ADO station in downtown Playa del Carmen on 5th Avenue and Avenida Juarez.

They will drop you off at the ADO Station in Tulum, which is located right off the main highway just south of the Tulum town center.  

From there, you can take a taxi to the Tulum archeological site, cenotes, or the popular beachfront hotel zone.

Playa del Carmen Turistica ADO Station

How to Book ADO Tickets

ADO Playa del Carmen to Tulum tickets can be booked online on the ADO website and the cost is around $114 pesos (~$6.50 USD) each way. 

The ADO website is only in Spanish but is pretty straight forward.  For detailed instructions on booking ADO tickets, see my full step-by-step guide here.

If you don’t speak Spanish, I would recommend booking ADO tickets on Busbud, which is an online booking tool but you’ll pay slightly more for the added convenience. 

👉 Book ADO tickets to Tulum on Busbud by clicking here!

Take a Private Taxi

Private taxis are abundantly available in Playa del Carmen and can be easily hailed to get to Tulum.

You can expect the Playa del Carmen to Tulum taxi price to be about $700 pesos (~$35 USD).

When taking a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, it’s always best to confirm the price of the taxi before getting in the car.  You’ll want to have enough cash on hand as credit cards are not accepted. 

Travelista Tip: Always wear a seatbelt when taking taxis especially for long distances.  Drivers in Mexico can be a little unpredictable and it’s not uncommon for accidents to occur. 

Playa del Carmen Taxi

Rent a Car

Alternatively, if you prefer to drive yourself, you can rent a car in Playa del Carmen to drive to Tulum for a day trip or overnight stay.

This would allow you the freedom to visit places on your own and explore some of the more off-the-beaten-path day trips near Tulum.

Renting a car is the best option for families or larger groups and gives you the freedom to explore some of the incredible Tulum cenotes, ancient Mayan Ruins, Tulum beaches, and hidden attractions like Kaan Luum Lagoon.

Driving to Tulum is very easy–you’ll just want to watch out for speed bumps and occasional traffic stops.

👉 For a hassle-free experience, book your car through my favorite rental service Discover Cars by clicking here!

Playa del Carmen to Tulum

Arrange a Private Transfer

For the most comfortable transportation option, you can also consider booking a private transfer from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

Similar to Cancun Airport transfers, this would typically be a private van or SUV that picks you up in Playa del Carmen and takes you wherever you want to go in Tulum.

When booking a private transfer, you’ll have a private driver and be able to completely customize your itinerary and pickup times.

While it’s more expensive, you’ll get the added convenience of a safe and comfortable ride without having to worry about driving in Mexico.

👉 Book a private transfer from Playa del Carmen to Tulum by clicking here!

Beaches in Tulum

Tulum Tours from Playa del Carmen

If you want to visit Tulum from Playa del Carmen, the most hassle-free option would be to book a tour with roundtrip transportation included.  

This would be an all-inclusive experience with fun activities like visiting the Tulum Ruins, snorkeling, cenote swims, riding ATVs, or ziplining.

Tulum Ruins Beach

How to Get from Playa del Carmen to the Tulum Ruins

If you want to visit the Tulum pyramids from Playa del Carmen, there are several transportation options similar to the methods outlined above.

Tulum Ruins Tour

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of driving or figuring out public transportation, then I would recommend booking a Tulum Ruins tour.

Most tours will include all entrance fees, a knowledgeable tour guide, and roundtrip transportation with hotel pickup.

In addition, many tours also include snorkeling and visits to nearby cenotes, which are hidden swimming holes that can only be found in the Yucatan peninsula.

With these added activities, you get more bang for your buck and a hassle free booking option.

👉 I recommend booking a Tulum Ruins tour with this tour company!

Travelista Tip: If you have a larger group or are looking for a more personalized experience, consider booking a private Tulum Ruins tour.

Tulum Ruins

By Car

If you want to visit the Tulum Ruins on your own, the best way to get there is by driving or renting a car.

It is a little less than an hour drive south of Playa del Carmen, driving directly south on the main highway 307.

You will see signs off the highway with the “Ruinas” symbol.  Turn left at the sign and you’ll arrive at the main entrance. 

Tulum Ruins Parking

Parking at the ruins is easily available and costs around $160 pesos (~ $8 USD) so make sure you have some cash on hand.

By Colectivo

If you don’t have a car, the cheapest way to get to the Tulum Ruins from Playa del Carmen is to take a colectivo (shared van).

It’s a little less than an hour’s drive from Playa del Carmen and costs around $45 pesos (~$2 USD) per person.

Follow the same steps as outlined above, however the Tulum Ruins stop is located before the main stop in downtown Tulum.

Tell the driver you’re going to the ruins (“ruinas” in Spanish) and you’ll be let off on the side of the highway.  Once you get off the colectivo, carefully cross the highway and head straight towards the main entrance.

It’s about a 10 minute walk to the entrance but there is also a shuttle train that drives visitors from the parking lot to the main entrance, which can be taken for a small fee.

Tulum Ruins Mexico

By ADO Bus

The Tulum Ruins can also be reached by taking the ADO bus from Playa del Carmen and the route offers drop off directly at the Tulum archaeological site (Tulum Zona Arqueologica).

The ADO bus to the Tulum Ruins is a little more expensive than a colectivo and runs less frequently but is an easier and more comfortable option especially if you don’t speak Spanish.

ADO Bus Playa del Carmen to Tulum Ruins Schedule

The ADO bus to the Tulum Ruins runs less frequently–there is about 1 departure every hour only from 9:00AM-12:00PM.

The travel time is 1 hour and 5 minutes with stops at Xcaret and Xel-Ha.

ADO Playa del Carmen to Tulum Ruins Cost

ADO tickets can be booked on the ADO website (Spanish only), directly at the ADO station in Playa del Carmen, or online via Busbud. 

Note the destination for the Tulum Ruins is called “Tulum Zona Arqueologica”. The cost is around $110 pesos (~$6 USD) each way.

👉 Book ADO tickets to the Tulum Ruins on Busbud by clicking here!

FAQs about Getting from Tulum to Playa del Carmen

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about getting to Tulum:

Is there a shuttle from Playa del Carmen to Tulum?

The ADO bus is a comfortable charter-style bus that runs from Playa del Carmen downtown to Tulum and costs around $114 pesos (~$6.50 USD).

Can you pay for taxis and public transportation with a credit card?

No, you cannot pay for taxis or public transportation with a credit card in Playa del Carmen or Tulum.

Make sure to have enough cash on hand (pesos or USD) and always confirm the price upfront before getting in the car.

Is it safe to travel to Tulum?

There has been an increase in drug violence in Tulum in recent years but it is still highly visited by tourists.

If you are traveling alone, it is safer to go to Tulum during the day and stick to the main tourist sites.

Is there Uber in Playa del Carmen and Tulum?

Uber in Playa del Carmen is currently not safe to use even if you find that it works in your Uber app.

Legislation was recently passed in Quintana Roo to allow Uber to operate, however opposition from the taxi syndicate has made it dangerous for Uber to start service in Riviera Maya.

There have been reports of violence against Uber drivers and passengers so it’s currently unsafe to use Uber in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, or Cancun.

🚕 Related Reading: Where You Can Uber in Mexico

Ziggy's Beach Club Tulum

Tips for Traveling from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

Follow these tips for a safe and hassle-free experience when traveling to Tulum:

  • Have cash on hand: When traveling in Mexico, it’s always best to have some cash on hand (pesos or USD) as most transportation methods will not accept credit cards. I would also recommend having small bills as most bus drivers and taxi drivers do not have much change.

  • Wear a seatbelt: You’re unlikely to find functioning seatbelts on colectivos but I would definitely recommend wearing a seatbelt in taxis and private transfers.  Driving on the highway to Tulum means higher speeds and car accidents are common.

  • Keep your valuables in your lap: When taking the ADO bus, it’s best to keep your valuables with you in your lap rather than storing them in the luggage hold below the bus. I personally use and recommend this belt bag, which allows you to keep your valuables strapped to you at all times.
ADO Bus Mexico
  • Don’t forget travel insurance: As I mentioned, car accidents are common in Mexico so travel insurance is essential especially if you’re planning to travel long distances. Insurance plans in your home country most likely will not cover accidents abroad. 

👉 I recommend Travel Insurance Master, which is a handy travel insurance marketplace where you can compare policies.  Get a FREE quote by clicking here!

  • Check out some less well-known attractions along the way: In between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, you’ll find many fun attractions like cenotes, hidden beaches, and adventure parks.  Consider checking out some of these attractions along the way:

Conclusion: Playa del Carmen to Tulum Transportation Guide

I hope this Tulum Playa del Carmen transportation and travel guide was helpful in your travel planning and now you know how to get to Tulum!

The cheapest and most common way to get there is to take a colectivo (shared van). However, the ADO bus, taxis, rentals cars, and private transfers are also available.

Or you can consider booking an all-inclusive Tulum tour with round-trip transportation included.

And read my guide for getting around Tulum to discover the best transportation methods once you get there!