How to Get From Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen: 6 Ways to Travel
Wondering how to get from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen? I’ve got you covered! Read on to learn about all the possible options available to get you from Cancun Airport to where you want in Playa Del Carmen!
The Cancun International Airport is one of the busiest in all of Mexico, and there are millions of tourists arriving and departing each year — many of them on their way to Playa del Carmen. If you’re one of those visitors, you’ll probably want to get out of there as fast as you can (no need to stick around in the crowd).
Whether it’s your first or 15th time to Cancun, you’re probably looking for more than just a ride to Playa del Carmen. You want comfort, convenience, and value. Luckily I’ve already dug into all the options (and I’ve even tried out a few on my own).
While I recommend that you book a private shuttle, there are 6 easy-to-access ways to get to wherever you’re staying. Let’s dig into the best one for you!
From Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen: Quick Guide
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE EDITOR
ONE WAY COST
45 -60 min.
US$ 70 (from 1 to 3 p)
45 - 60 min
US$ 30 - 70 (per day)
BEST BANG FOR BUCK
60 min - 90 min
US$ 25 (per person)
from 349 USD
$US 12 (per person)
$US 80 - 150 (per taxi)
Where is Playa del Carmen?
Playa del Carmen is a gorgeous coastal resort town in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. With less than half the population of Cancun, this quaint little city mixes a lively nightlife loved by expats with calm, beautiful beaches.
The popular tourist beach town dots the coast of the Caribbean Sea, roughly 40 miles south of Cancun. It’s conveniently situated between the popular Mexican destinations of Cancun and Tulum (1-hour drive away from each one of them), making it the perfect stopping point for the traveler exploring the area.
How long does it take to get from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?
While Playa del Carmen is about an hour from Cancun, the Cancun International Airport is a tad bit outside the city.
If you’re jumping in a vehicle at the airport (especially if it’s a private shuttle that doesn’t have any stops but yours), you’ll have about a 45-minute drive. Though that depends on where in the city you’re being dropped off.
It’s worth noting if you’re going to be taking the ADO bus or a shared transportation shuttle, your drop-off time will be extended (unless you happen to be on the first stop!).
Best way to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
After a long day of travel, the last thing you want to do is figure out how to get from the airport to your hotel.
If you’re flying into Cancun, Mexico, you have a few different options for transportation from Cancun International Airport (CUN) to your final destination in Playa del Carmen.
These are your six best options when it comes to figuring out your transportation.
1. Private Shuttle (best option)
The fastest and most convenient way to get from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen is by private shuttle with one of the most established companies in Cancun Cancun Airport Transportation.
I love them for many reasons:
✔️ The staff is extremely friendly and yet professional, both the host that receives you at the airport and the drivers.
✔️ You can arrange for a private car to pick you up at the airport and take you straight to your hotel with little waiting time.
✔️ The shuttle is for you and your party. Whether you’re traveling by yourself, in a small group, or with young children, booking a private car will not only give you more space but you’ll end up at your destination faster.
✔️ It’s relatively cheap if you consider the level of service.
✔️ The quicker you’re out of the airport and on the road, the faster you’ll be enjoying drinks on the beach. To order private transport you’re looking at a starting price of $65.
✔️ They also have different kinds of vehicles for different price ranges.
✔️ They are reliable and provide a door-to-door service
✔️ They speak English
✔️ They include insurance
✔️ Their vehicles are impeccable
⭐️ LUXURY CAR – The same company also offers more luxurious car services like SUV or similar vehicles – CHECK RATES HERE ⤵️
OR GET YOUR QUOTE IN THE FORMAT BELOW⤵️
If you’re looking for an experience that’s halfway between the affordability of a bus and the comfort of a private vehicle, the shared shuttle is for you.
For as little as $25 USD per person, you can be picked up at the Cancun Airport and dropped off right at your hotel door in Playa del Carmen.
This is a more comfortable way to travel than the ADO bus. However, you’re still looking and an extended time period. While it depends on where you’re headed and how many stops are before your hotel, you’ll like be looking at 1.5+ hours.
Shared shuttles are comfortable, air-conditioned vans that take a limited amount of people. They run frequently throughout the day and night, so you will never have to wait long for one — though we recommend you book in advance to make your vacation as stress-free as possible.
3. Take the ADO bus (budget option)
For budget travelers looking for the cheapest option to make their way from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen, then the ADO bus is your best bet. While this bus ride will take longer (you’re looking at 1.5 hours as a starting point), you can snag a ticket for $12.
I recommend that you book your bus ticket online before you arrive in Cancun. Of course, you can book your bus when you get there, but having your ticket purchased in advance will make the overall experience less stressful!
However, keep in mind that if your flight is delayed and you missed the bus you will need to purchase another ticket (not fun!).
4. Rent a car (most convenient option)
Not every traveler wants to be on someone else’s time. If you like to go on your own and determine your own timeline, then renting a car is for you. Not only does this mean you get a chance to travel on your own terms, but you can explore beyond your resort wherever you want.
If you are concerned about driving in Cancun, or you are not sure if you really need a car, I’ve got you covered as well. 😜
There are plenty of choices for renting a car at the Cancun Airport, which means you should compare prices before you commit.
In most cases, you’ll be looking at somewhere between $30 and $50 per day in rental fees. You’ll also want to make sure you tack on insurance just in case.
Renting a car is the ideal travel method for independent explorers. You can get off the resort and explore Playa del Carmen at your own pace. With a rental car, you’ll be looking at roughly an hour to get to the city. Make sure you’re aware of local traffic laws and double-check the map before you head out.
I would recommend booking with the Discover cars platform as you can compare prices and conditions and you can choose the one that suits you best and they have cheap full insurance.
Discover cars is a great Car rental search platform to compare different car rental companies and choose the one that fits your needs. With more than 70000 Reviews and an average of 4.5/5 Score, Discover Cars help you find the best Car Rental company in Cancun.
Tips for renting a car in Cancun
As I explain in my post about renting a car and driving in Cancun, renting a car is the best way to enjoy Cancun and its surroundings discover amazing places, and set your schedule without having to depend on others.
However, there are a few things that you should know about renting a car in Cancun:
✔️Get full coverage insurance with zero deductible and read very well what is included in the policy
✔️When you pick up the car make sure you take a video and photos with your phone inside and out. This way if they accuse you of any damages you have proof.
✔️ Follow the road laws and never bribe the police, ever!
✔️ keep some cash (in Mexican Pesos) in case at the gas station the credit card machine doesn’t work
✔️ Be aware of the topes (bump speeds) they are not always marked
✔️ Avoid driving at night – you never know what can happen and it’s not fun to be in the middle of nowhere in the dark without assistance
✔️ If anything happens always call the car rental (they must give you an emergency number) first.
✔️ Go out, explore and have fun!
5. Ride in a luxurious limo (splurge)
Who doesn’t love to travel in style? If you want to get from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen with some real flare, consider renting yourself a limo. This mode of transportation is not only comfortable and convenient but, in Mexico, it’s relatively affordable.
While it depends on who you’re renting through and where you’re headed, booking a stretch-limo starts at $349 US for up to 6 people. I recommend that you book a car in advance, that way you’re sure you have someone lined up.
A limo ride might not be the best travel method for everyone. But if you want to travel in style, a limo won’t disappoint.
Cancun Airport Transportations have two types of limo:
Crysler 300 up to 6 people + luggage
Suburban up to 10 pax + lugguage
6. Take a taxi (least recommended)
I don’t recommend taking a taxi from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen, though it does tend to be the most obvious answer. Taxis in the area don’t typically have meters, making it pretty easy to get ripped off.
If you choose to take a taxi, you’re probably looking at roughly $70 to $120, depending on where in the city you’re headed. Make sure that you discuss (and agree to) the fee beforehand with the driver. Ultimately, this trip should take you about an hour.
Cancun to Playa del Carmen FAQs
Is there Uber in Playa del Carmen?
While Uber can legally operate in Quintana Roo, it’s not available in either Playa del Carmen or Cancun. That means that you’re not able to take an Uber from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen. Instead, take one of the methods I’ve already mentioned.
How much is a shuttle from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?
The most popular option to travel between the Cancun Airport and Playa del Carmen is the shuttle, which is comfortable and relatively affordable.
The cost of a shuttle from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen will depend on a few factors, including the company you choose and the number of people in your group. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around $20-$30 USD per person for a one-way trip on a shared shuttle.
If you’re looking for something more private, you can book a shuttle for just you (or you and your party) starting at $65 USD per car.
How much is a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport?
Hiring a taxi to get you from Playa del Carmen to the Cancun Airport will cost you $100+. Taxis are not the most affordable way to travel between the two cities.
How much is Uber from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?
You cannot take Uber from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen.
Is there a shuttle bus from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?
The ADO bus goes from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen, and you can snag a ticket for 225 pesos ($12).
A new bus leaves every 30 minutes, and you can expect to be on it for an hour or more, depending on where you’re staying. It’s the most economical way to get to the beachy resort city, but you do have to sacrifice extra time.
How much do you tip a shuttle from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
Both private and shared shuttles from Cancun to Playa del Carmen are affordable, can be booked in advance, and typically come with a service-oriented driver that’s able to provide lots of helpful tips.
If you’re using a private shuttle, consider tipping the driver around 100 pesos ($5.20) is appropriate. For shared shuttles, 20 to 50 pesos per person ($1 to $2.50) is fine.
Is Playa del Carmen better than Cancun?
Both Playa del Carmen and Cancun are family-friendly, beach-centric destinations with great nightlife, shopping, and food. Cancun has a reputation for being popular with a younger crowd looking for vibrant nightlife.
To be fair, both destinations can offer vibrant nightlife, but Playa del Carmen is a smaller community that has a more laid-back vibe.
In fact, Playa del Carmen mixes the casual beach vibe with a lively nightlife and tends to be favored by long-term ex-pats looking to stick around in Mexico for a while.
The biggest difference between Playa del Carmen and Cancun is that in Playa del Carmen the city center, is cute and walkable and one block from the beach, while in Cancun everything is spread out and far from the beach, and, let’s be honest, there is no city center.
In Cancun, the only walkable places are the Lagoon Nichupte promenade, in front of Plaza Las Americas, called Malecon, the cycle lane that stretches along the Hotel Zone, and Plaza la Isla.
Quick travel tips to Playa del Carmen and Cancun
👍🏽 make sure you explore around and try the delicious restaurants in Cancun and Playa del Carmen
👍🏽 Whether by car rental, bus or tour, do not miss Chichen Itza and Valladolid, Tulum ruins, the mystical Cenotes, Isla Mujeres, and the whale sharks (if it’s summer).
👍🏽 Both Playa del Carmen and Cancun are great for diving and snorkeling. Make sure you do some of it.
👍🏽 Both Playa del Carmen and Cancun are great for solo travelers, just make sure you stay aware of your surroundings and don’t do silly things 🙂 Check out my guide linked above for more info.
❌ Don’t drink tap water, but you can use ice and eat salad. Use bottled water to brush your teeth as well just to be on the safe side.
❌ Use sunblock to protect you from sunstroke, even if it’s cloudy. But not before swimming in cenotes or in the ocean. Use rashguards instead, as they are more eco-friendly.
❌ Use mosquito spray. Bugs bite are just annoying but, although, in minimal amounts, there have been cases of zika and dengue. So keep the bugs away from your skin.
❌ If somebody approaches you, be kind but not naive, and trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable feel free to move away.
Is it safe to take a taxi from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?
Yes, it’s typically safe to take a taxi from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen. But we don’t recommend it because it tends to be one of the more costly choices.
Cabs in Cancun and Playa del Carmen don’t have fare meters like you’d expect them to — that means it’s incredibly important to agree on a price with the driver before you get in the cab.
If you choose to go this route you should expect a bill of roughly $100+, depending on where in the city you’re headed.
Is Playa del Carmen in Cancun?
No, Playa del Carmen is not in Cancun. It is a separate city roughly 43 miles south of Cancun. If you’re traveling from Playa del Carmen to downtown Cancun, you’re looking at roughly an hour-long drive.
However, the Cancun Airport is a few minutes out of the city, which means your drive is likely closer to 45 minutes.
Final thoughts: Traveling from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
If you’re headed to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, chances are you’re flying into Cancun International Airport. It’s one of the busiest airports in the country and sees thousands of daily visitors — so chances are you won’t want to stick around in the crowd.
There are plenty of options to get from the airport in Cancun to your hotel in Playa del Carmen, no matter your budget or privacy preference.
While taking a taxi seems to be the most obvious option, it’s also one of the more costly. Instead, I recommend taking a private or shared shuttle which will get you there faster and for less money.
But regardless of what transportation method you choose, make sure you have a few pesos on hand for a tip. And, do yourself a favor and book your transportation in advance. You don’t want to start your vacation off on a bad note by trying to figure out how to get to your hotel on the go!
About the Author
Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!