Wondering how to get from Cancun to Tulum? In this post, I’m going to share the 7 best options you have to get from Cancun to Tulum and vice-versa. From the cheapest way to the fastest and most comfortable.
Tulum is one of the most demanded destinations for its spectacular endless beach and for the bohemian vibes that make Tulum one of Mexico’s most attractive destinations for style-conscious travelers and ex-pats alike.
Many artists and foreigners searching for a new lifestyle have been flocking over the years and contributing to transforming this old fisherman town into one of the most upscale Mexican destinations.
There is no airport in Tulum yet. So if you are flying to Mexico, the closest airport to Tulum is Cancun International Airport, connected to all the main world destinations.
The best way to get from Tulum to Cancun?
The fastest and most convenient way to get there is by Cancun Airport Transportation service, one of the most trustworthy companies in Mexico.
They speak English, they are reliable and offer a private service for your party, whether it’s one person or 5. They have an average rating of 4.7/5⭐️.
You can read the amazing reviews for their Tulum Cancun shuttle service before booking.
However, there are many other ways to get from Cancun to Tulum and I am going to tell you all about them in this post.
In a rush? Worry not!
⬇️ Check Cancun to Tulum at a glance on this table ⬇️
ONE WAY COST
US$ 110 (from 1 to 3 p)
US$ 30 - 70 (per day)
1.5 - 2 hrs
US$ 32 (per person)
2.5' - 4 hrs
$US 18 (per person)
US$ 5 (per person)
$US 80 - 150 (per taxi)
5 to 8 hrs
$US 30 - 150 (pp)
$ US 1000 - 1500 (per ride)
Getting from Cancun to Tulum | Where is Tulum Located
How far is Tulum from Cancun?
The distance Tulum – Cancun Downtown is 131 km, about 81 miles, and 2h to 2h 40 minutes depending on how you travel. You will see what I mean later on.
From Cancun Airport to Tulum it’s a little shorter, 118km (73mi), 1h 25 min to 2 hours.
How to get from Cancun airport to Tulum
There are several transport options from Cancun Airport to Tulum, and it might be overwhelming if you don’t know how to move around.
And that’s why I am writing this post. To make things easy and very clear for you!
WATCH OUT FIRST! – First of all, you need to know that when you come out of the airport you will be approached by a group of people nicely dressed in uniform offering a transfer to your place.
Just ignore them.
They are vendors selling timeshare deals, which are everything but a deal.
And if you are wondering, THERE IS NO UBER in Cancun or the entire state of Quintana Roo.
1. ADO bus transfer from Cancun Airport to Tulum (cheapest way)
The cheapest way to get from Cancun to Tulum is by the ADO bus.
There are only two rides per day on the route Cancun Tulum Cancun.
However you can just hop on the ADO bus to Playa del Carmen, which is more frequent, and then from Playa del Carmen to Tulum will be easy either by ADO or Colectivo. You can check out the ADO schedules here and book online.
However, in this case, I would rather wait until you land, just in case your flight is delayed.
COST – 340 MXN (about 18 USD)
TIME – 2.5 – 4 hours (depending on how long you have to wait for the next ride)
How to find the ADO bus at Cancun Airport
► After you clear customs, you will see the ADO booth, among others, such as car rentals and rate exchange. If you don’t find it, you can ask around, and they will point it to you.
► You can purchase the ticket either at the ADO booth or directly on the bus.
► Sometimes there is no agent available, so you can get out of the airport and get straight to the bus stop and purchase the ticket on the bus.
► If you can’t find where the bus stand is, there are many tour reps around. You can ask them, and they will tell you where it is.
► One-way ticket for an ADO bus ride from Cancun Airport to Tulum is 208 MXN pesos (about 10 USD)
► ADO is the cheapest way to get from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, or Merida. The ADO busses are modern and equipped with AC and TV, which is playing all the time. Sometimes the AC is way too cold. So be prepared.
They are super safe, and they store your luggage beneath the bus, with overhead compartments for your small bags, although I always recommend keeping your personal belonging on your lap and always with you.
2. Private transportation from Cancun Airport to Tulum (fastest and safest)
The best airport transfer from Cancun to Tulum or anywhere else is offered by the company Cancun airport transportation. They have some of the best reviews I found! And this is the company I would rely on if I didn’t have friends picking me up.
5 reasons why they are the best option to get you from Cancun to Tulum in my opinion
⏰ They are reliable
🇺🇸 They Speak English
💰They don’t have hidden fees
✅ They are insured
😎 They offer a private service so you have the van all for yourself and your party
They may be more expensive than the bus, but they are more reliable than the taxi for sure, and their private service is worth every penny.
👉 Book your round-trip private transport from Cancun to Tulum in advance (save 10$) with Cancun Airport Transportation
👇BOOK YOUR TRANSFER NOW USING THIS EASY FORM👇
It’s not the cheapest way but the fastest and the most comfortable.
Since transportation from Cancun airport is regulated, only authorized companies can have access to and operate at the airport.
3. Getting from Cancun Airport to Tulum by taxi
A taxi from Cancun to Tulum can cost from 80 to 150 USD. I would always recommend choosing a private transfer to Cancun Tulum with a trustworthy company versus a random taxi for the following reasons:
↳ You don’t have to negotiate the rate or risk being ripped off. With a transportation company, the rates are set and reasonable.
↳ You will find somebody waiting for you with a board in their hands, regardless of your arrival time or delays.
↳ They offer different kinds of services starting from 100 USD per person.
↳ They offer more personalized and professional service and an English-speaking guide.
4. 🚗 Driving from Cancun to Tulum 🚗
Renting a car at the airport in Cancun is another great option if you are anything like me and love to explore the destination at your own pace.
Driving in Tulum and around is the best way to know all the amazing cenotes, archeological sites, colonial cities, and other natural wonders.
Differently from any other destinations renting a car at the airport and in city pick-up locations doesn’t make much difference in price. So you can rent a car at the beginning of your trip to Mexico and you don’t have to rely on buses or taxis, which sometimes can be annoying.
Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.
5. Getting to Tulum from Cancun by shared shuttle
This is another great option if you are traveling on a budget but you don’t want to wait for the ADO bus.
Depending on your destination this shuttle service will cost around 32 USD per person and will take you from the airport to your hotel.
Even if you may need to wait at the airport for other passengers to arrive, the waiting time is usually reasonable.
6. Getting from Cancun Airport to Tulum by colectivo ( minivan)
This option is definitely the cheapest but it’s also the longest and less comfortable. I wouldn’t recommend it but for the sake of information, I have included it here.
Colectivo buses are not available at the airport. So you will need to get to Cancun ADO bus in Downtown Cancun, which is about 20 minute’s ride (you can get the ADO bus or a taxi, but you will spend a fortune on that).
There are two minivan companies one it’s called Playa Express, and they leave from the parking lot right in front of the ADO bus entrance. The other one is just a minivan to Playa del carmen leaving from a square right across the street ( Avenida Tulum) from the ADO Bus terminal.
These minivans from Cancun will take you to Playa del Carmen, situated one hour from Cancun, halfway to Tulum. From there you will need to hop into another van that runs from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.
I am sure you will agree with me that this is such a hassle and it’s not the best way to start your Mexican holiday, right? I hope that among the above-mentioned options you have found a better one that suite your budget and schedule.
How to get to Tulum from Cancun downtown
The best way to get to Tulum from Cancun downtown is either by ADO bus or Colectivos. Their terminals are both located in the same area. See the map below.
7. Ado bus from Cancun to Tulum
The ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum takes more time to get to the destination, almost 2h 45′ because it’s slower than the colectivos and has to enter into Playa del Carmen traffic to drop off and pick up.
It is slightly more expensive than the colectivos and a little safer, just because their drivers are more cautious when it comes to speed.
ADO buses have a specific schedule which you can find here on the ADO website where you can book your trip in advance. The fare varies according to the different times of the day.
ADO Fare – from 194 to 226 MXN (approx. 10 to 13 USD)
8. How to get from Cancun to Tulum by colectivo (small vans)
If you choose to use the colectivos you need to know that you will have to get to Playa del Carmen first and from there get on another one to Tulum.
Colectivo Fare – around 45 MXN (2 USD approx.) for each segment. (total 90 MXN- 5 USD)
There are two kinds of colectivos though:
PLAYA EXPRESS: Depart right in front of the ADO CancunTerminal entrance and get to its terminal in the heart of Playa on Av 20.
REGULAR COLECTIVO: Depart from the little plaza behind the Soriana Super just opposite the ADO Cancun Terminal (as indicated on the map here below) and get to the Chedraui parking lot.
Once in Playa del Carmen, you will need to walk on the main road (Carretera Federal) under the bridge where the other vans for Tulum will depart.
9. Getting from the city of Cancun to Tulum by taxi
You can get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun downtown (or from your hotel in the Hotel Zone) by taxi, but I would recommend negotiating the rate beforehand.
It shouldn’t be more than 2000 MXN (100 USD), sometimes cheaper.
You might want to ask your hotel concierge if they know a reliable taxi driver who suggests a trustworthy taxi diver or if you have used a taxi before.
You found somebody particularly nice, and you might want to ask for his/her number and call them when you need them. I normally do that.
10. Getting from Cancun to Tulum on a tour
If you have decided to spend your vacation in Cancun you might want to consider visiting Tulum on a day trip, which is one of the most popular things to do in Cancun. Here below are some tour options.
➢ 3-in-1 Discovery Combo Tour: Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling Plus Cenote and Caves
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2465 reviews!!
This popular full-day tour from Cancun lasts around 8 hours and will take you to visit some of the most popular attractions in Tulum, from the Mayan Ruins to the underwater world and of course a cenote.
- Tulum Ruins, Caribbean Sea snorkeling, and cenote combo tour
- Explore the Mayan Ruins in Tulum
- Snorkel through a coral reef in the Caribbean Sea
- Hotel pickup and drop-off are included
👉 Book your Combo tour from Cancun to Tulum ruins, beach and cenote on VIATOR
➢ Tulum and Cenotes tour
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1475 reviews!!
This tour to Tulum from Cancun lasts about 5 to 6 hours. They will pick you up at your hotel and take you to take a dip into some of the most spectacular cenotes after the visit to the spectacular Tulum Mayan Ruins
👉 Book your Tulum and Cenotes tour on VIATOR
➢ Tulum Guided Tour, Magical Cenote, Lagoon Snorkeling, and Beachside Lunch
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 480 reviews!!
But it’s not all. You will visit the Tulum ruins, of course, and will enjoy one of the mystical and refreshing Mayan cenotes.
👉 Book your Tulum Guided Tour on VIATOR
11. Book an airport transfer from Cancun to Tulum through your hotel
If you are staying in one of the spectacular hotels in Cancun, it may be quicker to ask your hotel concierge to book a transfer for you.
Every hotel has deals with different companies so I cannot say how much it would be. However, be prepared to pay inflated fees. On that I am sure.
12. Cancun to Tulum by helicopter
If you are ready for a real treat and feel like splurging you may want to check out a transfer via helicopter.
I have never experienced it nor know anyone who has done it. So I can’t really recommend any company that does that. But I know it’s an option, an expensive one.
The ones I checked had a rate between 1000 and 1500 USD per ride.
If it was me, I would rather book more tours and SPA treatments instead. 😜
How to get from Tulum to Cancun
✅ From Tulum to Cancun Airport Shuttle (Private)
The service Tulum – Cancun Airport is also covered by cancunairporttransportations.com. I found them to be a very established and professional company with lots of flattering reviews.
They offer a private door-to-door service at your desired time, with an English-speaking driver.
✅ Getting from Tulum to Cancun Airport by ADO bus
The ADO terminal in Tulum is located in the “Pueblo” Downtown on the main road. There are only 2 scheduled buses going to the Airport at a specific time and it will take about 2 hours to get there.
They are usually on time although you must consider the long distance and the chance of a delay.
I always suggest calculating a good margin of time from your scheduled flight, just in case, and booking your seat in advance. You can do it online from ADO website.
If the ADO schedule doesn’t match your flights then you might want to consider getting to Playa del Carmen and get the Airport ADO Bus from there, where there are more busses running during the day.
✅ From Tulum to Cancun International Airport by Taxi
Taxis in Tulum are extremely expensive for some reason and most of the time tend to take advantage of unwary tourists, so I would rather book a private shuttle like the one mentioned above, which I find safer and more reliable.
Obviously unless during your stay you have met a good trustworthy taxi driver (there are still some left) that is willing to offer you the service at a reasonable, fair price.
✅ How to get from Tulum to Cancun Downtown by Colectivos
Just like on the way from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, you have to connect in Playa del Carmen and get on another van (colectivo) from Playa del Carmen to Cancun.
From Tulum to Playa del Carmen
You can find the colectivos minivans parked right opposite the ADO station. They leave at any time no stop as soon as they are almost full.
From Playa del Carmen to Cancun
Playa Express: They leave from Calle 2 between 20th and 25th Avenues from their parking lot on a regular basis during the day and will leave even if not full. There is also a new pickup spot at the ADO bus station on 20th Avenue and 12th Street.
Their terminal is right in front of the ADO bus terminal in Cancun although they can drop you off anywhere you wish along their route.
Regular minivan – a little smaller than the Playa Express, leave from the corner of 2nd Street and 20th Avenue. There is a parking lot at the northeast corner of the intersection where they will be yelling out “Cancun”.
Their terminal is close to the ADO station, besides the Soriana super, as indicated in the above map.
Is there UBER in Tulum or Cancun?
Unfortunately, there is no UBER in the entire state of Quintana Roo. They tried but the taxi lobby just made the UBER driver’s life impossible if not too risky, so they give up.
Need somewhere to stay in Tulum?
I’ve got you covered as well. With so many hotel options, in Tulum, you can find a nice hotel for every budget.
Here below I am sharing my favorite hotel per each category. If you want to learn more in detail you can check out my guide to the best hotels in Tulum.
Keep in mind that there is only one all-inclusive hotel in Tulum, so if this is your kind of place, you should stay in one of the hotels in the Riviera Maya, included in my guide.
► Best Tulum Hotel on the Beach: Habitas
Book it on Booking.com | Expedia
► Best Tulum Hotel for healthy-conscious travelers: Sanara
Book it on Booking.com | Expedia
► Best Tulum Co-living for Digital Nomads: Selinas Tulum
Book it on Hotels.com | Expedia
► Best Tulum Hotel in Downtown: Zenses Wellness and Spa
Book it on Booking.com | Expedia
► Best Tulum Hotel for a romantic escape: La Valise
Book it on Booking.com | Expedia
► Best All-inclusive Hotel in Tulum: Kore Tulum Retreat & Spa Resort (adult only)
Book it on Booking.com | Expedia
► Best Tulum Hotel for Families: La Zebra Tulum
Book it on Booking.com | Expedia
► Best cheap hotel in Tulum: Hotel Santiago
Book it on Booking.com | Expedia
How to get from Cancun to Tulum: Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know how to get to Tulum from Cancun, let’s find out more about Tulum.
Is Tulum worth visiting?
Yes indeed! Despite the unreasonable growth Tulum still conserves the small-town charm and the beach is one of the best in the Mexican Caribbean, very swimmable and extensive for endless walks.
What’s better Tulum or Cancun? What’s better Playa del Carmen or Tulum?
It’s impossible to reply to this question because they are all different destinations and yet all amazing depending on the kind of traveler you are and what you are looking for.
But worry not because I have the answer for you in this detailed post on Cancun vs Playa del Carmen vs Tulum.
How far is Cancun Airport to Tulum?
118 km/ 73 miles – the road is one straight line that connects Cancun to Playa del Carmen and Tulum ad it’s known as Carretera Federal (federal Highway)
Is driving a car from Cancun to Tulum safe?
Driving in Mexico is generally safe most of the time, depending on which region. Renting a Car in Cancun is a great option to enjoy your vacation in total freedom. The other option is getting to Tulum by transfer and then renting a car in Tulum for a few days, which is also a good way to spend your time in Tulum
Is there an airport in Tulum?
There is no airport in Tulum at the moment even if there is a project to build one. So in order to get to Tulum from abroad you will need to fly to Cancun, the closest international airport to Tulum.
Getting from Cancun to Tulum: final thoughts
As you may have noticed my favorite way to get to Tulum From Cancun (airport to hotel or from hotel to hotel is with a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation, and prebook your it in advance. That is unless you are going to rent a car for the duration of your stay.
In this way, it’s best to rent a car from Cancun Airport so that you can move around at your own pace from the start.
✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨
👉 Do I Need Travel Insurance to Travel to Mexico?
I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and know that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out SafetyWing which I have used and find it affordable and comprehensive and also Travel Insurance Master which is great because you can insert all your information and what kind of insurance you need and their system will pull out the best insurance for your need.
🚰 Can I Drink Tap Water in Mexico?
No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.
🚗 Is It Safe to Drive in Mexico?
The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I recommend Discover Cars because the site offers the option to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.
Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.
📱 Will My Phone Work in Mexico?
It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!
🤕 Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now?
The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around.
Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunting expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keeping a low profile.
Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:
💉 Do I Need Any Vaccine to Travel to Mexico?
No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico
🇲🇽 Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Mexico?
If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form that you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine.
Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards.
It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa
💸 Where Do I Find the Best Travel Deals for Mexico? 💸
A trip to Mexico can be expensive if you love to travel with all the comforts (like I do). There are a few tricks that will help you find the best deals. Here are my tips:
👉 DON’T travel in the high season, which is Holy week, Christmas and winter in general, and August.
👉 Book months in advance to find early booking discounts
👉 Use aggregators such as Discover Cars to find price comparisons and VRBO for vacation rentals!
👉 Look for packages flights+hotels on Expedia.
👉 Check on Booking.com or Hotels.com for hotel deals