Skip to Content

4 BEST Ways to Get from Tulum to Bacalar [2024]

Wondering how to get from Tulum to Bacalar? Whether you have a rental car, are on a budget, or looking for a comfortable transfer between the cities, you’ll find all the alternatives in this post. Check it out!

Bacalar is a town located near the border with Belize. It’s particularly known for being home to the Bacalar Lagoon, a narrow stretch of insanely blue waters that’s also referred to as the Seven Colors Lagoon. It’s one of the bluest and most impressive bodies of water in the world!  

You absolutely have to go on a boat trip and sail through its magnificent waters. Bacalar is also a very authentic town that retains its original charm, which allows visitors to get a sense of its past. 

In the past few years, it’s also become a hub for adventure sports, drawing in people eager to get their adrenaline pumping on the fast zip lines, boat trips, and whitewater rafting. 

Image of a woman floating in blue waters with a catamaran in the background, inserted in a post about the best ways to get from Tulum to Bacalar.

I’m certainly kicking myself for not visiting Bacalar earlier! I only made it here on my 3rd visit to the region, but this quickly became one of my favorite places in Mexico. Wait, it’s actually my favorite place in all of the Yucatan Peninsula!

As of today, only a small amount of tourists come down here, but I predict that it’s going to become more and more popular, especially with the new airport in Tulum. Which is why you need to act and go NOW!

Bacalar is definitely one of the best day trips from Tulum, but it’s even better to stay for a few days if you’ve got the time.

There are several ways to make the trip. Whether you have your own rental car or depend on public transportation, you’ll find them all covered below. Read on!


The distance from Tulum to Bacalar is approximately 134 miles, and the drive takes 2 hours and 40 minutes.


The most affordable option is to get from Tulum to Bacalar by bus. ADO is the main bus company in Mexico, offering transfers to pretty much anywhere in the country, and it has direct routes to Bacalar several times a day

Gray and red ADO bus driving on a road in Mexico

The number of daily buses varies between 11 and 13, but if you’re only going to Bacalar for the day, you should get the earliest possible route to make the most of your time there, which currently is at 9 AM.

Buses are air-conditioned and equipped with toilets and reclining seats to make your journey more comfortable.

Length:3 hours
💲 Price:25 USD per person (one way)
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

The ADO Bus from Tulum to Bacalar departs from the station located on Highway 307, between Calle Jupiter Nte. and Calle Alfa Nte, right in the center of Tulum. 

There are services almost every hour from 9 AM to 7.40 PM, and the bus ride takes a little less than 3 hours. You’ll arrive at Bacalar’s ADO station, which is on the town’s main road and close to many restaurants and hotels.

The average price of a one-way ticket is $25 at the time of writing, and while you can get them at the bus station, or even buy them from the driver on certain routes, you would be risking the availability on your chosen schedule if you show up before departure.

That’s why I suggest buying your bus ticket in advance for your desired day and route. I personally use GuateGo to book my ADO tickets. ➥ BOOK IT HERE  

Pros and Cons of the ADO Tulum-Bacalar Bus

✅ The bus is the cheapest way to make the trip from Tulum to Bacalar, so it’s ideal for those traveling on a tight budget.

❌ The bus ride takes longer than traveling by private transfer, and if you’re planning for a Bacalar day trip, you’ll spend around 6 hours sitting on a bus. In that case, I recommend a tour instead.


The drive from Tulum to Bacalar Lagoon takes close to 2.5 hours, and it’s a great way to get there if you’re planning on renting a car for your holidays. You’ll also have the flexibility to choose your travel schedules and indulge in any stop you want to make along the way. 

Image of a Car Rental sign at Cancun Airport
Length:2.5 hours
💲 Price: USD per day
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

My advice is to book your car online ahead of time. I use Discover Cars to compare prices and search for the best deals. It’s very safe and will save you a lot of time and hassle, compared to trying to avoid scams and being overcharged at the city rentals (more on that in a minute!) ➥ COMPARE PRICES HERE

Discover Cars is an online booking service that offers extensive rental options from various car rental agencies, making it easier to find a car that suits your needs and your budget.

I particularly like their cancellation policy, which typically allows you to cancel your booking for free up to 48 hours before the pickup time. However, it’s crucial to always read the specific terms and conditions of your rental agreement, as policies can vary based on the rate and rental company you choose.

Pros and Cons of a Rental Car

✅ The car will give you the ultimate freedom to choose your departure time, and the road to Bacalar is safe and well-paved. It’s also the best option for families in terms of cost efficiency.

✅ Attractions in Bacalar are spread out, even if Bacalar is a small town. Having your own car might make it easier to visit places and not having to deal with taxis.

❌ There are no gas stations on the way from Tulum to Bacalar other than Felipe Carrillo Puerto, making it imperative to fill the tank before leaving to avoid any inconveniences.

Tips for Renting a Car in Mexico

⚠️ If you’re renting a car in Tulum, there are some things you need to know in advance, as unfortunately scams aren’t infrequent when it comes to car rentals in Mexico

▶️ Car rental companies might try to trick you into buying insurance, which you absolutely don’t need as long as you have your own credit card or travel insurance.

They’ll insist that it’s mandatory, but they’re lying. If they get too persistent on the subject, it’s better to walk away and find a new place to rent your vehicle. 

▶️ Once you’ve rented your car, one of the most important tips you should follow is to take pictures of the vehicle. Otherwise, you might end up being charged for damages or scratches that were already there. And you won’t have a way to prove it wasn’t you! 

👉 These circumstances usually happen when you’re trying to rent a car last minute. If you pre-booked your vehicle online, you shouldn’t be asked to pay anything extra (although taking photos of the car is always a good practice!)


Visiting Bacalar as a day trip is in my opinion one of the best things to do in Tulum. If you’re only going for one day, and you’d rather avoid the hassle of driving or going through bus schedules to get there, I’d recommend booking a Bacalar tour.

You’ll be taken to Bacalar from Tulum and back, and have all the activities included.

▶️ The 7 Color Lagoon Tour is a full-day excursion that includes the use of kayaks and swings, a boat tour around Laguna Bacalar, an à la carte lunch, and a visit to a cenote. It departs from Tulum and Playa del Carmen. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Tulum to Bacalar Day Trip is a private sailing experience that takes you and your group on a 12-hour excursion. You’ll navigate across the lagoon, discover Bacalar’s history, snorkel in crystal clear waters, and enjoy a scrumptious lunch onboard. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Pros and Cons of the Tours

You just need to show up on time – everything else is handled by another person! You won’t have to go through the hassle of planning the trip, from choosing transfer options to activities or lunch. If you’re just interested in a day trip, this is for sure the best option.

Unless you choose a private experience, which usually allows for more flexibility, you’ll have to follow the tour’s fixed schedule.

❌ It’s not the cheapest option out there – understandably, as it includes lunch and activities – so it’s not very cost-efficient for big groups or those on a budget.


The overall best and most comfortable option is to book a private transfer to get to Bacalar. While it might also be the most expensive alternative, it’s definitely cost-efficient if you’re traveling with a group! 

You’ll be picked up from your hotel by an English-speaking driver, so you don’t have to deal with language barriers. You’ll then be taken directly to Bacalar in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle. 

I highly recommend pre-booking your transfer in advance and doing so with a trusted company. This way you’ll ensure the comfortable ride from Tulum is hassle-free and insured. 

Cancun Airport Transportation van in Tulum.

The company I recommend, Cancun Airport Transportation, is the one I personally use when I travel in Mexico, so you know you’re in good hands.

Length:2.5 hours
💲 Price:643 USD one way (up to 3 passengers)
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

I’ve booked transfers with them numerous times, both to get from the airport to my hotel and to travel between cities in Quintana Roo, and I’ve always had an extraordinary experience.

The drivers are very polite and – most importantly – excellent at their job, making me feel safe on every journey. I’ve also been offered complimentary refreshments and enjoyed a hassle-free ride to my destination every time.

👉 To find the prices and book your journey on the website, you’ll have to select the one-way – hotel to hotel option. Even if you’re not spending the night in Bacalar, choose a hotel in town to access the page with all the transfer info and book yours.  

▶️ The private transfer is for up to 3 passengers, so it’s great for couples or small groups. You’ll have a bilingual driver, travel in a completely insured vehicle, and even get to choose the departure time.

Private Transportation from Tulum to Bacalar

💲The cost is $643 for one way at the time of writing, and $1,285 roundtrip (slightly less if you’re coming from Tulum Downtown), so it’s more convenient to book both journeys at once. All taxes are included in the price, so there won’t be any hidden fees. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ If you’re in the mood for something fancier or celebrating a special occasion, you can book the luxury transfer to travel in a Suburban vehicle or similar. You’ll enjoy VIP service, and a stress-free, fully enjoyable experience. 

Luxury Service Transfer from Tulum to Bacalar

💲The cost for the luxury transfer is $1,165 one way, and $2,330 roundtrip. It accommodates up to 6 people and includes all taxes, insurance, door-to-door service, and a bilingual guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Depending on your needs, you might need a different type of service. If you’re a large group, it will be more cost-efficient to book a vehicle that can accommodate all of you rather than booking several private cars.

Group transportation (up to 16 passengers)BOOK IT HERE

Book your private shuttle in the search box down below 👇

Pros and Cons of the Private Airport Transfer

✅ It’s the fastest way to get from Tulum to Bacalar, as it’s a private service for you and your friends which will take you directly from your hotel to your destination.

✅ You get to choose the time you want your ride to pick you up, so no need to get up early if you don’t feel like it.

✅ Your driver is guaranteed to be bilingual, so you don’t need to worry about not speaking Spanish, plus you’ll benefit from the driver’s recommendations and advice.

❌ It’s a more expensive option than taking the public bus. Solo and budget travelers might prefer to look at other alternatives.

Read what the reviews say:

“I am amazed at how reliable the service was provided by Cancun Airport Transportation. Drivers showed up on time and in certain occasions 10-15 minutes earlier than expected. We booked 5 different times as we moved between cities during our 8 day stay. I felt secured and comfortable with their services. The drivers offered me and my family refreshments and advice to places to visit. The vans used to transport my family members were always clean and in good shape. Beyond pleased, I will refer them to anyone needing transport in Cancun.

Issabella F. Colon – Check out other reviews


If you’re looking for flights to Bacalar, you can sort of find some depending on where you’re coming from. Bacalar’s closest airport is 24 miles away, in Chetumal. You can get a domestic flight to Chetumal from Cancun or Mexico City

If you’re going to Bacalar from Tulum, though, it won’t be possible to fly there, so you’ll have to use one of the other means of transport along the more popular routes.

An alternative is to fly to Cancun and then use one of the previous options to get to Bacalar.

▶️ The private transfer from Cancun Airport to Bacalar takes approximately 4 hours. You’ll be welcomed at the airport by your bilingual driver, and taken directly to your destination in Bacalar, so it’s a very smooth experience. As always, the transfer is insured and vehicles include A/C.

Private Transfer from Cancun Airport to Bacalar

💲The vehicle accommodates up to 3 passengers, and it costs $555 for one way and $1,080 roundtrip. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ If you’re on a budget, you can take the ADO Bus from Cancun to Bacalar. You’ll first have to make your way from the airport to Cancun Downtown, also by ADO Bus, and from there catch the bus to Bacalar. 

💲The duration of the journey is a little over 5 hours, and tickets cost $41 at the time of writing. ➥ BOOK IT HERE


Is Bacalar worth visiting?

Bacalar is a beautiful place, surrounded by nature and with a laid-back vibe that makes it worth visiting for a relaxing few days.

Is it safe to drive from Tulum to Bacalar?

It’s very safe to travel from Tulum to Lake Bacalar by car, and the road is well-paved.

How much is a bus from Tulum to Bacalar?

The bus Tulum to Bacalar costs an average of 15-20 USD, and you’ll arrive in a little less than 3 hours. The same goes if you’re taking the bus from Bacalar to Tulum.

How long to visit Bacalar?

Travelers usually spend an average of 3 days in Bacalar. That’s a great number of days to see everything in town and enjoy the lagoon.

What’s the best way to get from Tulum to Bacalar?

One of the ultimate ways to get to Bacalar is by private transfer. This allows you to enjoy a personalized trip and manage your schedule. You can also take a Tulum-Bacalar bus, or join one of the tours to the lagoon.

How far is Bacalar from Tulum?

The distance Bacalar – Tulum is 134 miles, and it takes about 2.5 hours to drive from one city to the other. Bacalar is one of the best day trips from Tulum!

How to get to Bacalar from Tulum?

There are several ways you can make the journey. You can take the ADO Tulum to Bacalar Bus, which takes around 3 hours to get there. Otherwise, you can book a private transfer or join a tour for a hassle-free Bacalar day trip from Tulum.

Is there a car rental in Bacalar?

Yes, there are car rental options in Bacalar.

Can I get from Tulum to Bacalar by colectivo?

There are no colectivos that cover the distance between both cities. The closest option is the ADO bus.

What are the buses operating from Tulum to Bacalar?

Looking for Bacalar bus services? The main company to make the journey from Tulum to Bacalar is ADO, serving over 10 daily transfers. Autobuses Unidos is a lesser-known company with a few trips a day to the town’s centre.

  • 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.