How to get from Cancun to Tulum: The Best 6 Options + Useful Tips
If you’re considering going from Cancun to Tulum, there are many ways to do it; and in this post, I will tell you all of them.
Cancun and Tulum are both exciting tourist destinations located on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico’s Quintana Roo.
While Cancun is mainly known for its stunning All inclusive Hotels, turquoise sea, and its vibrant nightlife, Tulum boasts a more fishing town kind of vibe with trendy boutique hotels, the famous Tulum Mayan ruins, and many natural wonders.
Both destinations offer access to plenty of activities to choose from, such as snorkeling, diving, and swimming with exotic marine life; exploring ancient Mayan ruins, mystical cenotes, delicious Mexican and international cuisines, and much more.
The tropical climate of the region makes both of them all year-round destinations with warm weather and sunny days, with some exceptions.
Tulum’s closest airport is Cancun International Airport as well, located only 80 miles north. So if you are staying in Cancun, you can visit Tulum either by tour or by rental car. I will get to that in a minute.
INSIDER TIP – If you’re planning on just getting an Uber from Cancun to Tulum, or to go anywhere else in the city or Riviera Maya, it’s not really an option in this region. You will find Uber in many parts of Mexico, but not the Quintana Roo. The short story behind it is that Uber is having trouble operating here because of the local taxi union’s opposition.
However, you still don’t have to worry about getting from Cancun to Tulum. In this post, I will tell you about the many ways you can do it, along with some helpful tips, and also answer some questions people frequently ask. So let’s start!
In a rush? Here is a quick summary of how to get to Tulum From Cancun
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE EDITOR
ONE WAY COST
US$ 110 (from 1 to 3 p)
US$ 30 - 70 (per day)
BEST BANG FOR BUCK
3 - 4 hr
US$ 40 (per person)
US 7- 11
VALUE FOR MONEY
8 to 12 hours
from 100 USD
$US 100 - 150 (per taxi)
How to Go From Cancun Airport to Tulum
1. Private Transfer from Cancun to Tulum
The best option and the easiest way to travel from Cancun International airport to Tulum or anywhere in the region is by private transfer. You will find tons of companies to choose from when it comes to reserving a private transfer from Cancun airport to Tulum.
However, I recommend Cancun Airport Transportations Service a reputable company that offers:
- private transportation all for yourself
- a private driver that speaks English
- zero waiting time at the airport
- impeccable customer service
- door-to-door service
- 5⭐️ Reviews
Just keep in mind that private transfers are a bit more expensive compared to options like the ADO bus or Colectivos; but they’re well worth the money because of the hassle they save you.
In fact, a private transfer is one of the best ways to get from Cancun to Tulum. It’s both convenient and fast, and whether you’re a group of people, a couple, or just a solo traveler, you can book a private car suitable for your needs.
Cancun Airport Transportation has plenty of vehicle options to choose from, with professional drivers who speak English, and the overall reviews for the company are also great.
Pro tip – book your round trip in advance to get a discount !! 😎
2. Shared Shuttle from Cancun to Tulum
Shuttles are another great way to travel from Cancun airport to many other places in the Quintana Roo, including Tulum.
You will find tons of shared shuttles leaving from Cancun to Tulum, which makes them a convenient way to get there without waiting for much time or paying the costs of a cab/private transfer.
It’s even more convenient and faster if you’re taking a shuttle from Cancun airport because thousands of people travel to Tulum for vacation land here.
As such, there are many reliable shuttle services available at the airport. If you’re looking for one, Cancun Shuttles is a great service to book your trip from Cancun airport to Tulum.
3. ADO Bus to Tulum
ADO buses are by far the cheapest option to get from Cancun International Airport to Tulum ADO Bus Station, perfect for budget travelers.
They’re also very convenient to book; you can do it online, purchase bus tickets from the ADO booth at the airport, or buy it when you’re on the bus. These buses are cheap, convenient, and safe to travel to places like Playa del Carmen, Merida, and Tulum.
But there’s just one caveat—the ADO bus for Tulum only leaves a few times per day. Luckily, you can still use the ADO service to get to Tulum even if you miss the Tulum-bound bus.
Just take the Playa del Carmen ADO bus, and once there, try to find an ADO or Colectivo to Tulum. It’s a tiny bit more hassle, but worth it if you want to travel frugally.
4. Renting a Car from Cancun International Airport to Tulum
In my opinion, a car rental is definitely the top choice if you’re exploring a place. First, it saves you a lot of trouble, including waiting for a bus.
Second, it can actually be the cheaper option overall if you consider the many places you will get to visit, which would’ve cost a ton if you paid for a cab to and from each one.
Lastly, you can drive around at your own pace and explore incredible places like archeological sites, jungles, cenotes, and parks, as well as bars, restaurants, shops, and many other attractions.
Again, the options are plenty when it comes to car rental companies available at the airport. You can find one right after you clear customs. The prices are pretty much the same at the airport as you would find anywhere else, but I highly recommend comparing them still to find the best bang for your buck.
Just be wary that many rental companies end up charging you hidden fees on top of the price mentioned, so try to avoid those.
Discover Cars is one of the places where you can compare prices online, see what you’re getting without any hidden fees involved, and find the best car rental deal for yourself.
They’re quite reputable, so you won’t have to worry about paying extra for anything later on.
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
Renting a car in Cancun, or anywhere else, gets sometimes a bit overwhelming because of the not-so-flattering reputation that rental cars have made for themself as being scammy, which sometimes can feel true. So here are some tips for renting a car.
✔️ Make sure you have what you need to rent a car in Mexico
- The legal age to drive in Mexico is 18 years old. However, if you’re renting a car, you have to be 21 or older
- You need a driving license issued at least from 6 months to one year prior to the date you’re renting a car, in order to rent a car in Cancun.
- If your national driving license is in Latin alphabet, then you won’t need a separate International Driving Permit (IDP) to rent and drive a car in Mexico.
- The majority of car rental companies will also require you to have a credit card. (Budget also accepts debit cards but at some conditions)
- Having CDW insurance is also required for you to rent a car in Mexico. Typically, most companies will already include it in their base rate.
✔️ Compare prices on Discover Car Rentals
If you don´t have your own trustworthy car company, you can use Discover Car Rentals to compare prices and policies among different car rentals. This site is
✔️ Read the fine print of the contract
I know what you are thinking now, who does that? Well, if you don´t want to be bothered, just ask the rental staff what is included in the full insurance and what it´s, and make sure you ask specific questions.
✔️ Check out what they are asking as a security deposit before confirming
Many car companies require a very high security deposit to protect themselves in case of an accident or theft. Usually, the amount drops significantly when you purchase the full insurance with zero deductible, which I recommend, for your peace of mind.
✔️ Take pictures and videos of the car
Even if you purchased the full insurance, make sure you take pictures and videos of the car when you pick it up and keep the paperwork they hand you with all the scratches and faults marked on it. This way will prevent you from getting charged for damages that you didn´t do.
✔️ Do not sign up for the included fuel
Usually among the hidden costs is the offer to include the fuel, which means that you don´t need to bring the car back with the same amount of fuel that you found when you received it. Usually, you would pay more if you accept the option.
However, you need to make sure that when you drop off the car, the fuel is at the same level as when you picked it up. Otherwise, they will charge you a sort of “fuel tax”.
Tips for driving in Cancun
Driving in Cancun and the Yucatan peninsula is very safe but there are a few things that you should know to have a flawless trip. I am sharing the most important ones but make sure you check my detailed post if you are going to rent a car, for more detailed information.
► Respect the local laws, including speed limit, and seat belt, don´t drive and talk, and don´t drink and drive.
► The speed limits in Mexico are written in kilometers, not miles.
► Get a local SIM Card so that you can stay connected all the time
► Download google map so that you can check it offline in case you lose signal.
► Do not bribe the police even if they are trying to charge you unfairly. Just tell them to give you the fine and a written note or to go to the police station.
► Keep some Cash with you in Mexican Pesos for the toll roads (which only accept local money and no cards) and for the gas stations which sometimes don´t accept cards.
► Tip the gas station staff. Gas stations have employees to refuel your car, it’s a good thing to tip them some pesos as they’re quite underpaid.
► Beware of topes (speed bumps). They are very high sometimes and they can damage your car
► Don’t park where is not allowed as they will give you a fine and take off your license plate.
► If anything happens call your car rental emergency number first thing, which is also one reason more why you should get a local SIM Card.
► Mexicans drive on the right side of the road, so adjust to that if you’re coming from Britain or any other country with left-sided traffic.
► Avoid driving at night; but if you must, it’s best to keep on the main road.
► If you want to avoid beggars or window cleaners at signals, saying no, or, if you want to help, it´s another reason why you should keep some Mexican Pesos with you.
How to Go From Cancun Hotel Zone to Tulum
Private Tulum Transfer from Hotel Zone
A Private transfer to Tulum is an option from the Hotel Zone of Cancun as well. As I mentioned earlier, these are definitely one of the best when it comes to getting from Cancun to Tulum. They not only provide convenience and cheaper fares compared to taxis, but also cut the hassle of having to rely on a random cab or haggle an unreasonable price down to an amount you’re willing to pay.
So, if you’re looking to get from the Cancun Hotel Zone to Tulum fast and comfortably, a private transfer will be the perfect way to do it.
Also, the private transfer company I mentioned earlier (Cancun Airport Transportations) is not limited to the airport but provides a hotel-to-hotel service saving you from the hassle to get to the bus station and finding a taxi to get to the next hotel.
You can book one of their vehicles to take you to Tulum from the Cancun Hotel Zone zone as well. And since they provide a reliable service, with fair prices as well as bilingual drivers, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it wherever you can.
Get your free quote here ⤵️
Rent a Car from Hotel Zone to Tulum
Car rentals are another great way of going from Cancun Hotel Zone to Tulum. Just a quick glance at Discover Cars will find you the best rental for a trip to Tulum, which means going there in a vehicle of your choice at the best price.
What’s more, you can also use the car rental for a lot more than just getting to Tulum because you can stop in some of the amazing cenotes along the way, and while in Tulum you can explore the amazing sites in the surrounding areas, including the pristine beaches of the Riviera Maya, archeological sites, lagoons, the biosphere of Sian Kaan and more cenotes.
Renting a car from Cancun Down Town or Hotel Zone is slightly cheaper than renting it from the Airport because the taxes are lower.
How to Go From Cancun Town to Tulum
How to Take the ADO Bus from Cancun to Tulum
If you’re in downtown Cancun, the best way to make it to Tulum is definitely the ADO bus service. But, since the distance to Tulum is a bit more from downtown, it will take you longer to get there, especially with an ADO bus.
However, the slightly higher price and 2 hours 45 minutes of the journey are worth the extra luggage room and safer way of traveling compared to colectivo, which is something like 3 USD cheaper but less comfortable.
Also, the good thing about ADO buses is that you can check their schedule online and book a ticket from the ADO website as well.
To board the ADO public buses you need to get to the ADO Bus Terminal in Cancun because they don´t do any other stops along the way, except for Playa del Carmen (in some cases).
Public Transportation from Cancun to Tulum (“Collectivos”)
Colectivos are basically minivans used for public transportation in many places within Mexico, and you will find these in Cancun as well.
These are one of the cheapest options when it comes to getting from point A to point B, but they aren’t exactly ideal to get from Cancun to Tulum. They only go from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, and then you need to find another colectivo to get to Tulum from Playa del Carmen.
I don’t recommend using colectivos to get to Tulum if you’re going from Cancun, especially if you have bags. However, if you are on a very tight budget and don’t mind the extra hassle, then they might be a suitable option for you.
On the other hand, private transfers or ADO buses are options that cost you a bit more, but they’re far better and definitely worth the extra cost.
From Cancun to Tulum Day trips
If you’re visiting Tulum only for a glance and not staying there, day trips are also a great way to do it. You will find lots of great tours from Cancun to Tulum, which cover the best highlights of the town and come with the added benefit of all the transportation included.
Here below I have selected the top-rated ones for you.
➡ Viator Exclusive Combo Tour: Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling Plus Cenote and Caves
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2584 Reviews
This Viator Exclusive Combo Tour is one of the best options when it comes to tours to Tulum. The tour is designed to take you on a Yucatan adventure with lots of activities included, most of which are in Tulum! You will explore the mesmerizing ruins and visit a cenote.
Additionally, snorkeling in the sea, exploring some Caribbean coral reef, and a buffet lunch are also included in the tour. The tour guides are bilingual and very professional, so you can expect an immersive experience on this tour.
All the entrance fees are covered, and snorkeling and diving equipment is provided by the company as well. But the best part is, on top of all the fun perks of the tour itself, hotel pick-up and drop-off in an air-conditioned vehicle are provided by the tour operators if you’re staying in Cancun!
➡ Tulum and Cenotes Tour
The Tulum and Cenotes Tour is another great way to visit Tulum from Cancun, especially if you want to keep it focused on the historical and mystical side of town. The tour consists of a day trip to two of the Riviera Maya’s most popular attractions—the Tulum archeological site and a couple of cenotes (one open and one underground) that you can swim in.
The tour is very pocket-friendly, and also includes the Tulum Ruins entrance fee as well as a guided tour of the site. However, the two cenotes that you will visit—Cenote Chen Há and Cenote Mariposa—have separate conservation fees that are not included, so you will have to pay those out of your pocket if you want to swim in the cenote.
I recommend this tour if you want to visit Tulum but not spend a whole day on the trip. The entire tour only takes around 5 to 6 hours, and roundtrip air-conditioned transportation is provided by the tour company.
You can choose your preferred pick-up location, which will also be the drop-off location.
➡ Tulum Guided Tour, Magical Cenote, Lagoon Snorkeling, and Beachside Lunch
This Tulum Guided Tour is a premium experience if you want to explore the laid-back town with a tour either from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. The first stop of the tour are the breathtaking Tulum ruins, where you get a highly-professional guided tour of the site, and then some extra time to explore around on your own.
Then the tour moves on to another unforgettable aspect of a Tulum trip—cenotes! The tour includes stops at two natural cenotes following the Tulum ruins visit.
Afterward, you get to see the charming Yal Ku Lagoon, where you can also go for a refreshing snorkeling experience.
Lastly, the tour makes a stop at the stunning Punta Venado Eco-Aventura, an exclusive white-sand Caribbean beach, where you can enjoy a delicious lunch with the sublime blues of the Caribbean in view. }
Round-trip transportation, snorkel gear, life jacket, bottled water, and entry fees for all the above-mentioned attractions are also included in the tour price.
Cancun to Tulum: Frequently Asked Questions
How much is a taxi from Cancun to Tulum?
I don’t recommend taking a taxi to get from Cancun to Tulum, but if you must know, a taxi ride from Cancun to Tulum will cost you anywhere between 2000 MXN (90 USD) to 2,500 MXN (100 USD).
That’s just the one-way fare for a cab ride to Tulum from Cancun, so you can already see how expensive it gets.
Then there’s the fact that you have to negotiate and agree on a fare with the taxi drivers before you get into the taxi, otherwise, you might get asked for even more when you get there.
All in all, it’s not worth the trouble. If available, book a private transfer instead; it’s not only hassle-free but cheaper and more reliable as well.
Besides, if you pre-book a round trip you get an extra discount. Otherwise, go with the ADO bus service or a car rental.
What is the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Tulum?
The ADO buses going from Cancun to Tulum are hands down the cheapest option to travel between the two destinations.
On top of being very safe and comfortable, they provide the best value for your money.
Their schedule is readily available on the website, and they’re also quite easy to book. You can do it online, through the ADO booths in Cancun and at the airport, as well as when you get on the bus.
Is driving from Cancun to Tulum Safe?
Yes, driving from Cancun to Tulum is very safe and beautiful. Along the road, you will find a lot of interesting places to visit such as beautiful cenotes, villages, beaches, and great restaurants.
It’s one straight road so you cannot get lost. Just pay attention to traffic and respect the speed limit.
You will also find a lot of speed bumps in the proximity of towns and inhabited areas. So watch out for those and for people who come out of nowhere to cross the road.
Also, it’s a high-traffic road so just be careful. Other than that, it is indeed safe.
Are ADO buses safe?
They absolutely are. In fact, ADO buses are one of the safest public transport options when it comes to getting from Cancun to Tulum.
These buses are driven by professional and experienced drivers, who take care, not to Overspeed or make unsafe overtakes.
Do I need travel insurance?
The short answer is: Yes, you do!
If you ask me I have two recommended travel insurance companies, one is SafetyWing, which I find relatively affordable and quite comprehensive.
The other is not a company but a site aggregator, Travel Insurance Master which will help you find the perfect insurance for you. You fill out the form with the information about your profile and requirements and they select the insurance company that is a good fit.
Where to find ADO bus stop at Cancun Airport?
Finding the ADO bus at the Cancun Airport is pretty straightforward. At the airport, you will see car rentals, currency exchange, and other such services right after clearing customs.
The ADO booth is also one of them. Alternatively, you can just ask someone after clearing customs and they should be able to show you the way to the booth.
Once at the booth, you can inquire about the ADO bus schedule and purchase a ticket as well. But if you don’t find an agent at the booth, head outside the airport and look for the ADO bus itself. It’s located just outside the terminal.
Again, asking around is a good idea. When you find it, you can purchase a ticket on the bus.
Where will ADO bus drop me off in Tulum?
The ADO bus has two terminals in Tulum: the Centro station and one on the interstate leading to the Tulum ruins. The ADO terminal in downtown Tulum is its main stop, so that’s where the ADO bus will most likely drop you off in Tulum.
Things to know about taking a bus from Cancun to Tulum
Taking a bus from Cancun to Tulum is not that complicated. All you need to do is find the ADO bus service and purchase a ticket.
- ADO buses are one of the cheapest options to get from Cancun to Tulum. They’re also safe, secure, and very comfortable.
- These buses leave from both the Cancun International Airport terminal and the Cancun downtown terminal.
- Make sure to check the schedule on the ADO website before making a reservation, because the buses going to Tulum are infrequent.
- If you don’t find a bus from Cancun to Tulum, you can also take one going to Playa del Carmen (those are more frequent) and make it to Tulum once you get there.
- The travel time between Cancun and Tulum on a bus is usually between 2 and half hours to 4 hours. This is because of the distance combined with the waiting time for the buses leaving for Tulum.
- Usually, traveling to Tulum from Cancun via bus is a much better option compared to shared shuttles or taxis. The only other option that is on par with it is a private transfer with a reliable company like Cancun Airport Transportations.
Is Tulum safe to visit?
Yes. Tulum is a very safe destination in Mexico. Thousands of people visit here every year for an unforgettable vacation. To enjoy a safe and memorable trip here, all you will need to do is follow some common sense safety measures like you would anywhere else in the world.
Is Tulum worth a visit?
Definitely. Tulum is one of the places where you get to experience the authentic charm of a small fishing village of Mexico. What’s more, the Mayan ruins, jungle, cenotes, water sports, beach bars, yoga, and delicious food served at the many restaurants here are also some of the most amazing things and worth experiencing!
How many days should I spend in Tulum?
Usually, you can see the best of Tulum within 3 to 4 days of staying here. But if you want to explore it on a deeper level, then a week’s stay is recommended. Of course, you can stay even longer and not run out of great things to do and explore.
A quick note on Cancun International Airport
Cancun International Airport is one of Mexico’s busiest airports. Located in the Caribbean region of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Cancun serves as an important gateway to the Yucatán Peninsula.
The airport has four terminals, which offer a variety of services to travelers such as shops, outlets, car rentals, ADO booths, and currency exchange services. There is a free airport shuttle service to take you from one terminal to another.
For those flying out from Cancun International Airport, it is recommended to arrive at least two hours prior to departure if traveling internationally or 90 minutes before boarding if flying domestically. This will ensure plenty of time for check-in procedures, security checks, and immigration inspections upon arrival at the airport.
In case you leave very early in the morning you can spend your last night in Cancun in one of the hotels near the airport and avoid outrageously early wake-up calls.
Cancun to Tulum: final thoughts
Now you know how easy it is to get from Cancun to Tulum and how many options you have. Make sure you keep the best one for your needs and have a safe and memorable trip!
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!