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How To Get From Playa del Carmen to Tulum (6 Ways)

Looking for the best transportation from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, Mexico? Check out all the options you have to travel from Playa to Tulum (and vice versa Tulum to Playa del Carmen).

Planning a trip from Playa del Carmen to Tulum? You’re in for a treat! These two spots in the Riviera Maya are traveler favorites… and it’s easy to understand why. Playa del Carmen is fun and lively, with cool beaches and lots to do.

But don’t miss out on Tulum, just a short trip away. There’s plenty to do in Tulum! This beach town has amazing Mayan ruins on a cliff, beautiful cenotes, and trendy beach clubs. You can easily arrange a day trip to Tulum, but you really should stay a few nights here if you can.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the region and keep coming back to check out what’s new. So, I’ll show you the best ways to travel between these two places. Whether you’re looking for a quick bus ride or a fancy private tour, I’ve got you covered.

TOUR $43-170 per personBOOK IT HERE

So, how far is Tulum from Playa del Carmen? The cities are 40 miles (65 km) from each other, only an hour’s drive away.

There are quite a few transportation options available to make the journey. Some are pricier, some are affordable and more basic. What you choose should also depend on if you’re going on a day trip or if you’re moving with all your luggage. But without further ado, check out how to get to Tulum from Playa del Carmen.


Image of a gray and red ADO bus at the bus station in Playa del Carmen

A fantastic means of transport that will get you from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is the ADO bus. This is a good option if you want an affordable transfer without losing comfort.

⌛ Length:1 hour and 10 minutes
💲 Price:9 USD
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

To take the ADO bus in Playa del Carmen, head to the bus station at 5th Avenue and Benito Juarez (also called Terminal Turistica). There are two stations in Playa del Carmen, so make sure to check which station your hotel is closer to.

0.30 AM
1.30 AM
6.30 AM
7.30 AM
8.05 AM
8.50 AM
9.20 AM
10.00 AM
10.35 AM

12.35 PM
1.30 PM
3.35 PM
4.40 PM
5.30 PM
6.30 PM
7.00 PM
10.30 PM

There are many departures a day from Playa to Tulum starting at 6.30 AM and running pretty much every hour until 10.30 PM.

There are a couple extra services at 0.30 AM and 1.30 AM.

You can check out the current schedule on the ADO website (only in Spanish), but foreign credit cards don’t work to purchase tickets.

That’s why I recommend buying your ADO tickets on a third-party website like GuateGo, which is the one I use to purchase my bus tickets in Mexico.

ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

💲The cost of the ticket for the Playa del Carmen to Tulum bus is 9 USD at the time of writing. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Pros and Cons of ADO Bus

It offers the perfect balance of affordable yet comfortable. It’s a great option for solo travelers.

The bus won’t drop you off at your accommodation in Tulum, but at the ADO bus terminal in Tulum Centro. This is where you’ll need to take the Tulum ADO bus back to Playa del Carmen.

Tulum is quite spread out, and if you’re staying in the Hotel Zone you’ll need to take a taxi to reach your destination. There are plenty of taxis outside the station, but the rates they charge are exorbitant. You could end up paying more than for a taxi from Playa to Tulum, which is CRAZY.


If you want a private transportation option, you can take a taxi to Tulum.

The average taxi fare from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is approximately 700 MXN (40 USD) at the time of writing. If you are 2-3 people, you can split the cost of a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum and you can all enjoy a comfortable ride.

⌛ Length:1 hour
💲 Price:approx. 40 USD
👉 Where to book it:AT YOUR ACCOMMODATION

The best way to get a taxi is to get your hotel to call one for you. They can find a legitimate taxi company to pick you up at your hotel, which adds to the convenience of choosing this transportation option. This is important especially to help you avoid scams.

⚠️ Taxis are often not metered (or they are, but drivers don’t want to turn it on) which means they can easily charge you exorbitant prices. Make sure you agree on a price with your driver before the departure, or ask the hotel concierge to help you with that if you don’t speak Spanish.

Pros and Cons of Taxis

It’s a private trip for you and your group, and it takes you directly from your accommodation in Playa del Carmen to the new one in Tulum.

You usually can’t pre-book the taxi, so you’ll have to trust you’ll find an available driver by the time you’re ready to go.

You’ll have to make sure you’re not being scammed, which could potentially add some stress to your journey.


The cheapest way to get from Playa del Carmen downtown to Tulum is via colectivo. A colectivo is like a minibus that you share with other passengers for a very affordable price.

⌛ Length:1.5 hours
💲 Price:3.5 USD
👉 Where to book it:ON SITE

Comfort varies from van to van, but some come with air-conditioning and comfortable seats, whereas others are more basic. If comfort is not the highest priority for you, this is a great option because it’s very cheap, especially if you are traveling alone or with just one companion.

The cost of riding a colectivo varies from your point of departure and destination, but the fare from Playa del Carmen to Tulum should be around 60 MXN ($3.5) per person.

You’ll find colectivos in Playa del Carmen at Calle 2 between 15th and 20th Avenue. If the colectivo to Tulum isn’t there, you can wait by the stand until the next one arrives. Colectivos depart very frequently from Playa del Carmen to Tulum (usually when they get full or every 10-20 minutes) so you won’t have to wait for long.

Colectivos are usually available from as early as 5 AM to as late as 11 PM, and the journey takes approximately 1.5 hours, although it depends on how many stops it makes along the way. If you are choosing this transportation option, leave early if you have to be somewhere at a set time!

👉 A few tips when riding the colectivo:

  • Make sure you bring small bills. This will make it easier to pay when you get off, most times the drivers won’t have change for big bills.
  • It’s also recommended that you bring smaller bags. I’ve seen people traveling with big suitcases on colectivos, but they might not accept you in the van if it’s already pretty full, and if they let you you’ll have to keep the suitcase under your legs.

Pros and Cons of the Colectivo

It’s the cheapest alternative of them all, costing only a few dollars per person for the ride.

❌ It takes longer than other options, as it stops along the way to pick up or drop off passengers.

It’s the least comfortable transfer. I especially don’t recommend it if you’re carrying big luggage.


A very convenient – though expensive – alternative to travel from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is via private transfer.

Smiling woman sitting inside a van with the Cancun Airport Transportation logo.

If budget is not an issue, then this is the perfect option. You can relax during the ride as your professional – and bilingual – driver safely takes you from Playa to Tulum door to door. No need to worry about directions or getting on the wrong collective.

This option really only makes sense if your group is bigger than 4 people, otherwise a taxi is of much better value.

⌛ Length:1 hour
💲 Price:200 USD (up to 8 passengers)
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

I’ve used Cancun Airport Transportation numerous times, and each time the service has been extraordinary. They’re very punctual, the vehicles are spotless and air-conditioned, and I’ve been offered complimentary beverages during the ride.

▶️ The private transfer will take you approximately one hour, and you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Playa del Carmen at your chosen time.

private service from Playa del Carmen to Tulum

💲The regular private transfer to Tulum costs $200 for up to 8 passengers, or $400 roundtrip. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

If you’re with a bigger group of people, are celebrating a special occasion, or need a wheelchair-friendly transfer, you might want to take a look at these other interesting services.

Group transportation (up to 16 passengers)BOOK IT HERE
Transportation for disabled passengers (up to 2 wheelchairs)BOOK IT HERE
Limo transportation (up to 14 passengers)BOOK IT HERE

Book your private shuttle in the search box down below 👇

Pros and Cons of Private Transfer

It’s the most comfortable way of getting to Tulum, and also the fastest. You’ll be picked up at your hotel in Playa del Carmen at your most convenient time and taken straight to your final destination.

You’ll be driven by a bilingual professional, ensuring you’re able to communicate freely with them.

The downside of this transfer is the price. As you probably noticed, it’s much more expensive than a shared shuttle or even a taxi.

Read what the reviews say:

”Had a great experience with this transportation. Armando was a great driver and super friendly. Highly recommend.”

Alexandra Ender – Check out other reviews


If you only plan on visiting Tulum for a day, why not check out some tours? As an organized trip, they include roundtrip transportation (phew, no need to think about it anymore!) plus visits to Tulum’s major attractions and fun activities.

These are, in my opinion, the best Tulum tours from Playa del Carmen.

▶️ The Tulum Guided Tour, Magical Cenote, Lagoon Snorkeling and Beachside Lunch is a 7-hour trip that starts with pick-up at your hotel. You’ll visit the magnificent Tulum Ruins, and then head to Yal Ku Lagoon. Snorkel among diverse marine life, visit a cenote, and enjoy a scrumptious lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Tulum Express Half-Day Tour from Playa del Carmen is fantastic for those with limited time. In just six hours you’ll get to explore the Tulum Ruins, soaking in its history and fascinating tales, and go to Tulum Beach. Spend some time swimming and relaxing before going back. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ The VIP Tulum Private Tour accommodates up to 15 people, so it’s ideal for big groups. You’ll visit the Tulum archaeological site with a guide, getting interesting insights into the city’s past. Then, head to Xunaan-Ha and Taak Bi Ha Cenotes for a splash. ➥ BOOK IT HERE


If you’re up for driving in Mexico, renting your own car can be the best way to get to Tulum from Playa del Carmen. This is especially true if you’re planning to go on a few day trips from Tulum (which you should!) or embark on a Yucatan road trip.

I usually use Discover Cars to book a rental car in advance. This search engine compares all the major companies, ensuring you get the best rates possible. ➥ COMPARE PRICES HERE

Discover Cars is a rental booking service that offers a wide range of options from different car rental agencies and makes it easier to find a car that suits your needs and your budget.

I particularly like the cancellation policy they offer. With Discover Cars, you can typically cancel your booking for free up to 48 hours before the pickup time – a more generous cancelation policy than other platforms. However, it’s important to always read the specific terms and conditions of your rental agreement for exact details. This is because policies can vary based on the rate and rental company you choose.

Pros and Cons of a Rental Car

When you drive your own car, you can visit as many attractions as you want and go at your own pace. It gives you more freedom to explore the Yucatan Peninsula, especially if you want to visit attractions that are not in town such as some of the most beautiful Tulum cenotes.

❌ You might have difficulty parking, especially in the town’s main attractions such as Tulum Beach. I’d suggest checking with your hotel to see if they have free parking if you plan on renting a car. It’s also a good idea to do some research on the parking options at the locations you’ll visit.

Police officers stopping tourists for imaginary infractions or asking for bribes is not unheard of in the region, so you might have to deal with that when driving in the Riviera Maya.

Tips for Renting a Car in Playa del Carmen

⚠️ You should be on the lookout for potential scams when renting a car in Mexico. The most common ones include the following:

▶️ Car rental companies in Mexico can charge exorbitant fees for damages (even on little scratches) on the car, even if it wasn’t your fault. So it’s crucial that you take pictures of the vehicle before you use it, to prove that any prior scratches are not on you.

▶️ Another prevalent scam is telling you you’re required to buy insurance: you’re NOT. They’ll make it seem that is mandatory, but they’re lying. Just tell them no, and if they insist you’re better off finding a different company to rent your car from.

This is one of the main reasons I suggest booking your car online in advance.BOOK YOUR CAR HERE


Ruins Beach in Tulum, with turquoise waters on the right side of the image, and greenery with some Mayan ruins on the left

Are you heading from Playa del Carmen to the Tulum Ruins for the day? Going to the ruins rather than Tulum town is just slightly different, as the Tulum ruins are located a 15-minute drive from the town.

▶️ If you’re traveling by private taxi or rental car, nothing changes.

▶️ If you’re traveling by colectivo, make sure you tell the driver to stop at the ruins (in Spanish it’s “las ruinas de Tulum”). Otherwise, it probably won’t stop and you’ll have to take a taxi from Tulum town, which is not convenient.

▶️ Taking the bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum ruins? There are a few buses a day that travel directly to the Tulum ruins. At the time of writing, this is the schedule.

Playa del Carmen to Tulum Ruins:
9 AM
10.50 AM
11.50 AM

I suggest to check out the current schedule before traveling. The ADO website is only in Spanish and doesn’t allow purchases with foreign credit cards, so you can use GuateGo instead. ➥ BOOK YOUR BUS HERE

Tulum Ruins to Playa del Carmen:
12.10 PM
1.10 PM
3.25 PM
5.25 PM

▶️ Would you rather visit Tulum ruins with a tour? Check out the Tulum Express Half-Day Tour from Playa del Carmen. You can find millions of Tulum tours from Playa del Carmen, but this one offers a memorable experience.

After being picked up from your hotel in Playa del Carmen, you’ll go on a 2-hour guided tour of the Tulum ruins. Then you’ll have some free time to enjoy the beautiful Tulum Beach, or continue exploring the archaeological site – whichever you prefer!

It’s a 6-hour trip that ends back at your accommodation. ➥ BOOK IT HERE


How far is Playa del Carmen from Tulum?

The Playa del Carmen to Tulum distance is 65 kilometers (40 miles). It takes approximately 1 hour to drive between the cities.

Is there a bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum?

Yes, there are many departures a day of ADO buses buses from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Check the section about buses above for the Playa del Carmen to Tulum bus schedule.

How much is a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum?

A taxi to Tulum will cost approximately 700 MXN, about 40 USD at the time of writing. Alternatively, you can pre-book a private transfer.

… and it’s a wrap! Hopefully, this info is useful for you to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.