How to Get From Cancun to Playa Del Carmen
Wondering how to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen or any other destinations on the Riviera Maya? In this post, I will tell you all the options you have both from Cancun Airport and Cancun Town.
If you want to reach any destination in the Yucatan Peninsula by plane, getting to Cancun is your best option. You might even want to spend a couple of days in Cancun and enjoy its amazing beach before moving on to your destination.
Or you want to go straight away to your hotel or apartment from Cancun airport. But how to get to your final paradise destination? I will tell you all about it in this post.
Although it’s very easy to go anywhere else in Mexico from Cancun, the multiple options you have can be overwhelming especially if you travel alone and you want to make sure you pick the safest option.
In this post, I will explain how to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and other destinations in detail.
In a hurry! This is the most recommended transportation from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen
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How to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
How far is Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
The distance between Cancun and Playa del Carmen is 68 km (42 miles) about 1 hour if you consider Down Town Cancun.
Distance from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen is a little less as you avoid Cancun traffic, 55 km (44 miles), and 45 minutes with no traffic.
Traveling from Cancún to Playa del Carmen is much less complicated than you think and you will find a variety of transportation options to choose from.
Here below I will explain all the available options of transportation between Playa del Carmen and Cancún, both ways.
How to get from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen
Transportation from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen can be tricky if you don’t know how to move around, especially because at your arrival the first thing you see is a bunch of people dressed in professional-looking uniforms offering you transfers but in reality, they are selling a timeshare, so make sure you avoid those. It’s never a deal (at least for you).
Read on for your best options.
🚌 ADO bus from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen
ADO busses offer the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, and you find rides from 8 am to 10 pm at almost every hour or 40 minutes. You can check out the ADO schedule here and book online. However, I would not recommend that just in case your flight is delayed.
How to find the ADO bus at Cancun Airport
► As soon as you clear customs just before getting out of the airport you will see different booths, mainly for car rentals, and tours. The ADO booth will be among them and if you don’t find it you can just ask around and they will point it to you.
►You can purchase the ticket right there or on the bus directly.
► Sometimes there is no agent available, so you can just get out of the airport and get straight to the bus stop and purchase the ticket on the bus.
If you can’t find it ask the tour reps waiting for their clients just outside the airport and they will point you in the right direction.
► One-way ticket for the ADO bus ride to Playa del Carmen from Cancun Airport is 208 MXN pesos (about 10 USD)
► ADO is the cheapest way of getting from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, or Merida. ADO fleet has modern busses equipped with AC and TV although very often it’s too loud and with low-quality movies or soap operas, obviously in Spanish, and the a/c is freaking cold.
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 never out of sight.
Private transportation or taxi from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen
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Cancun to Playa del Carmen private transportation is not the cheapest way to get to the destination but it’s definitely faster and more comfortable, besides being the safest one.
You have to know that transportation from Cancun airport is regulated and you need to have a special permit to be able to operate at the airport. So only authorized taxis or private companies can offer the service.
Therefore, I would recommend choosing private transportation with a trustworthy company versus a random taxi for the following reasons:
- No matter how late is your flight, there will be somebody with your name on a board waiting for you outside the airport
- They normally have better rates starting from 60USD and they offer different kinds of services and you don’t have to negotiate the price as you would have to do with taxis
- They offer more personalized and professional service and an English-speaking guide
Getting a shuttle from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen
Cancun airport shuttle is a very common way to get to Playa del Carmen with an average cost not as cheap as the ADO bus but less expensive than private transportation.
I partner with Get your Guide, which offers various options, including shared transportation from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen. They usually include a door-to-door service with rates starting from 300 pesos.
How to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun downtown
The best way to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun downtown is either by ADO bus or Colectivos. They are both located in the same area. See the map below.
ADO bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen vs Colectivos
The ADO bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is slightly more expensive than the colectivos and a little safer, according to many, just because the colectivo drivers are not shy when it comes to speed. ADO busses are bigger and they take a little extra time to get to the destination. They 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 65 to 85 MXN (approx. 3 to 4.5 USD)
Also, the ADO busses would stop only at the terminal ADO in Playa del Carmen, which is by the Quinta Avenida in the heart of Playa, whereas the collectivos can stop wherever you ask them along their route, of course.
Colectivo Fare – around 45 MXN (2USD approx.)
There are two kinds of colectivos though:
PLAYA EXPRESS: departing right in front of the ADO Terminal entrance.
REGULAR COLECTIVO: departing from the little plaza behind the Soriana Super, (as indicated on the map here below)
Getting from Cancun to Playa del Carmen by taxi
You can get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun downtown by taxi but I would recommend you negotiate the rate beforehand. It shouldn’t be more than 1000 MXN (50 USD), sometimes cheaper.
It’s best if you know somebody (maybe at your hotel) who suggests a trustworthy taxi diver or if you have used taxi before and 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.
How to get from Playa del Carmen to Cancun
If you need to go from Playa del Carmen to Cancun you will have the same options as above.
How to get from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport
From Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport Shuttle (Private).
I chose to partner with cancunairporttransportations.com since I found them to be a very established and professional company with lots of flattering reviews. They offer a private service and come and pick you up at your hotel at your desired time, with an English speaking driver for a seamless service.
Getting from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport by ADO bus
From Playa del Carmen bus station (on the 5th Av.) there are scheduled busses (ADO) going to the Airport at a specific time. They are usually reliable although I always suggest calculating a good margin of time from your scheduled flight, just in case, and book your seat in advance. You can do it online from ADO website.
From Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport by Taxi
If you have been in Playa del Carmen for a while during your vacation you might have met nice taxi drivers that you have established a good relationship with and they have taken you around maybe even on tours.
In this case, you might be able to negotiate a reasonable fair to Cancun Airport. (I paid 700 MXN in February 2020, just to give you an idea)
Getting a shared shuttle service from Playa del Carmen to Cancun airport
Also, from Playa del Carmen to Cancun, you can find a shared Shuttle service to get to the Cancun Airport. It’s advisable to book a return service one time.
Getting from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Downtown
How to get from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Downtown by Colectivos
Just like on the way from Cancún to Playa del Carmen, you have the two options for the colectivos (shared shuttle service):
Playa Express: They are minivan leaving from Calle 2 between 20th and 25th Avenues from their parking lot. They leave 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, they 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.
How to get from Playa del Carmen to Cancun downtown by ADO bus
In Playa del Carmen, there are two ADO bus stations. The one on 5th avenue is the terminal for local busses that run around the Yucatan peninsula, and that’s where you would get your bus to Cancun. Check on the ADO website for schedules and prices and to make a reservation.
Renting a Car at Cancun Airport
Renting a Car at Cancun airport as soon as you arrive is the best solution unless you are planning to spend all your time laying on a beach chair with a cocktail in your hand and the phone on the other.
If you are anything like me and you love to explore, the car rental is the best option as you will have the chance to get to off-the-beaten-track places and popular sites in freedom and at your own pace.
I would recommend discovercars.com platform where you can compare car rental prices and pick the most suitable one for you.
Discover Cars Mexico Review
Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.
Check out my posts about driving in Mexico and renting a car in Mexico so that you can get the best tips for your Mexican road trip adventure!
Is there UBER in Cancun or Playa del Carmen?
Unfortunately, there is no UBER in Cancun, nor in Playa del Carmen or Tulum but the above-mentioned options are much better than a taxi.
✨ 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
Isabella, author, editor, and founder
A passionate traveler and photographer, in love with life and adventures, Isabella is the founder and editor of Letstraveltomexico where she shares her love for Mexico, a fascinating country that she’s proud to call home. When she’s not exploring a new place you will find Isabella in a cafe, writing on this blog, or on her other sites Boundless Roads, Mexico Cenotes and Ruins and Letstraveltocancun.com where she loves to share her travels on and off the beaten path in Mexico and around the world.