Getting from Cancun to Tulum doesn’t have to be complicated, and if you’re spending any time at all in the Yucatán Peninsula, don’t hesitate to make this trip.
The ancient town of Tulum has a long history that dates back to the Mayan empire, and you can still see the influence of days past in the town’s awe-inspiring ruins. But it’s not just history buffs that are drawn to this jungle oasis.
Beach bums from around the world flock here to enjoy the gorgeous white sand beaches, and foodies also turn out en masse to get a taste of the city’s popular food and party scene.
No matter what your reason is for visiting Tulum, you’ll need to figure out how to get there. While there is no airport in the city itself, there are a few in the surrounding area. Tulum is a hidden gem no longer, and the transportation options to get here are plentiful.
The quickest and easiest way to get to Tulum is from Cancun, and below we’ve highlighted the best options for a safe and easy journey.
Transportation from Cancun Airport to Tulum
The worst way to travel is to travel unprepared, so if you’re hoping to spend as much time as possible in Tulum, make sure you touch down in Cancun with a solid plan for getting there.
There are multiple options to get from Cancun to Tulum, but some are better geared towards budget travelers while others make more sense for groups or those looking for a little extra comfort.
At a glance, here are your best options on how to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum
Read on for an in-depth overview of all of your options.
- Pre-book a private transfer from Cancun airport to Tulum
- Take the Ado Bus from Cancun airport to Tulum
- Hop on the Cancun to Tulum shared shuttle
- Book an airport transfer to Tulum through your hotel
- Take a taxi from Cancun airport to Tulum
How to Get from Cancun to Tulum
One of the best ways to get from Cancun to Tulum is by hiring a private transfer. This is especially true if you are traveling in a group of more than two people, if you’ve never been to Mexico and don’t speak Spanish, or if you’re just looking for a simple, hassle-free way to travel.
Although not the cheapest option, if you are traveling with others the fare of a private shuttle is significantly less than that of a taxi or even a shared shuttle, as you only pay the base vehicle price rather than a per-head fee.
You also won’t need to worry about any transfers or dropping off other passengers, as it will only be you and yours in the vehicle. You also won’t need to figure out how to take a taxi or bus to your hotel once you reach Tulum, as the private shuttle will drop you off right at the doors of your hotel. A representative will greet you at the airport when you land and lead you to your private, fully insured, air-conditioned vehicle, complete with an English-speaking driver – it doesn’t get much better than this folks!
Private transfer rates vary depending on season, company, and how large of a vehicle you will need to accommodate your travel crew, but you can expect to pay around 90- 100 USD for a one-way trip. The best deals will be found by booking ahead of time, and this also ensures that you won’t be ripped off and that your journey from Cancun to Tulum goes as seamlessly as possible.
ADO Bus from Cancun to Tulum
Those looking for the best way to travel from Cancun to Tulum on a budget should grab a seat on the ADO Bus. This public bus line is the only one that operates inside of the airport, and you’ll find direct routes to Tulum at every terminal. After you pass through customs, head into the hall and look for the ADO bus booth. However, to secure your seat, we recommend booking your bus tickets in advance using Bookaway
At the time of writing, a trip from the Cancun airport to Tulum via the ADO bus will cost you 300 pesos (around 15 USD), and although this is the cheapest option, you will still get to enjoy a comfortable ride with reclining seats, air conditioning, and at least one bathroom on board.
That being said, the buses are known for playing loud films throughout the journey, so if you’re hoping for a little peace and quiet don’t forget to pack some headphones or earplugs.
Buses run several times a day from the Cancun airport to Tulum, though you may have to spend a bit of time waiting depending on what time your flight gets in. If you happen to miss the bus you were planning on taking, don’t fret.
You could always hitch a ride to Playa del Carmen and switch lines to Tulum from there, as buses run from Playa del Carmen to Tulum every half-hour. If you find yourself waiting for a connection here, there are a few restaurants in the bus terminal where you can grab a bite to eat or imbibe a refreshing drink while you wait.
Once you arrive in Tulum, you’ll be dropped off at the central bus station, and from here you’ll find a whole host of taxis waiting to take you wherever you need to go. Taxis are safe in Tulum, but be sure to agree on a rate before you hop in – there are no meters, and drivers are known to extort higher rates from unassuming tourists. You’ll also want to pay in pesos if at all possible, as you’ll likely get a horrible exchange rate for the US dollar.
Cancun to Tulum Shuttle
Another option for getting from Cancun to Tulum is by taking a shared shuttle from the airport. This is a great option for those traveling solo or those looking for a more budget-friendly yet convenient way to travel.
Just like the private transfer, the shared shuttle will have staff to greet you when you arrive at the airport, but there are a few downsides to this option as well. The trip will likely take quite a bit longer than a private transfer, or even the bus, as you’ll need to stop multiple times to drop off other passengers (and all of their luggage) along the way.
You can expect to pay around 25-35 USD per person for the shared shuttle, and if you are traveling with more than two people, it actually ends up being cheaper to take a private transfer than a shared one. Even if you are just two it might be worth it to fork over the extra cost for the added convenience and speedy journey.
You can book your transport in advance using Bookaway. Click below to see various transport options.
Airport Shuttle via Hotel
Depending on where you are staying, a transfer from the Cancun airport to Tulum may be included in your stay. Some of the bigger resorts in the area offer this perk, but it is by no means common procedure. It’s worth looking into though, and if your hotel does offer this service, it’s definitely the best way to get from Cancun to Tulum.
All you need to do is provide them with your arrival details so they can make arrangements for your journey.
Just because you CAN take a taxi from Cancun airport to Tulum doesn’t mean that you should, and this type of transportation should only be used as a last resort. This is by far and away the worst option, and even if you have above-average haggling skills and speak great Spanish, the minimum you can expect to pay is 1500 pesos (about 75 USD).
If you do decide to take a taxi from Cancun to Tulum, be warned that you will likely be swindled into paying extra fees, and spur of the moment fares can often cost up to five times more than pre-arranged deals. You’ll need to pay in all cash – so be sure you have pesos rather than dollars if you are hoping to get the correct change back.
Some taxi drivers have also been known to lie to travelers to get them into the car, with common fables including tales about closed car rental car places and buses not running. This is why it’s a good idea to pre-book your travel from Cancun to Tulum, and if you are in doubt, always go and check it out for yourself before taking the taxi driver’s word for it.
FAQ about traveling from Cancun to Tulum
When is the best time to visit Cancun?
The best time to go to Cancun is the shoulder months of April, May, November, and the beginning of December. For a complete answer to this question I recommend you check out our guide to the best time to visit Cancun, which includes a complete breakdown by months.
Is there an airport in Tulum?
There is no airport in Tulum, but there are a few in the nearby area. Cancun, Chetumal, and Cozumel all have airports, but making the trip from the Cancun airport to Tulum is the most convenient option, as this is where most international travelers fly into.
How far is Tulum from Cancun?
Tulum is situated 130 kilometers (about 80 miles) south of Cancun, and depending on traffic, weather, and which mode of transportation you are taking, you can expect the trip to take anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
Is there Uber in Cancun?
While there is Uber in Cancun, you won’t be able to order one from the airport.
Cancun taxi drivers have been in a long standing battle with local Uber drivers, causing problems for the ride sharing company around Cancun and other parts of Mexico. Uber drivers have not had an easy go of it, and some even report falling victim to physical damage to their vehicles while driving.
Unfortunately, most times the officials side with the unofficial taxi mob, and only registered taxis are allowed in the airport. You could always try to find an Uber in the downtown Cancun area, and if you’re lucky you might be able to find a reasonably priced trip to Tulum. Taxis in the hotel zone will definitely jack up their prices.
That being said, there are a lot of iffy circumstances at play, and even if you can get a ride to Tulum, there is no Uber service in the town itself – so you’ll be on your own for finding a way back to Cancun.
Looking for a hotel to stay in Tulum? check out these awesome hotels in Tulum!
Are taxis safe in Cancun?
Taxis are a safe option for travel in Cancun and if you’re arriving at the airport, all of the taxis waiting outside are registered and official.
The problem with taxis in Cancun is that they are known to be unrelenting in their extortion of tourists, and if you look like you have money, the driver will charge you accordingly. There are no meters, so the price is completely up to the driver, which is part of the reason it is so important to negotiate a price before you get in the car.
While sometimes taxis are the only option, they should really be used as a last resort, especially if you are looking for a transit from the Cancun airport to Tulum. There are plenty of better, cheaper, and more convenient options, especially if you plan your transportation ahead of time.
How do I get from downtown Cancun to Tulum?
If you’ve spent some time in Cancun and now you’re looking to get to Tulum, you won’t need to go all the way back to the airport to find good transportation options.
The cheapest way to get from downtown Cancun to Tulum is via a colectivo, or shared van. You can find colectivos across the street from the ADO bus station, and although prices are not fixed, you will not be scammed into paying a large fee just because you are a tourist.
There is no direct colectivo from Cancun to Tulum, so you’ll need to get off at Playa del Carmen and switch vans. Although this is not the most convenient option, it is definitely the cheapest, and you should pay no more than 100 pesos (around 5 USD) for the whole trip.
The ADO bus is another inexpensive way to travel from downtown Cancun to Tulum, and it’s also a lot more convenient. The bus station is right downtown and departs for Tulum over 20 times a day at the time of writing. Ticket prices range between 5-13 USD depending on your time of departure. The buses boast reclining seats and air conditioning, so you can count on a comfortable and direct journey to Tulum.
You could also take a taxi from Cancun to Tulum, but this option is not recommended due to the price and inconsistent rates for tourists. If you can find one, an Uber will be cheaper, but these are sometimes hard to come by in Cancun.
Check out this Mexico travel guide for awesome tips on where to stay and what to do!
How do I get back to Cancun from Tulum?
Most transfer options from Cancun to Tulum offer round trip tickets, and you’ll usually get a better price when you book this way.
The exceptions to this general rule are the taxi and Uber rides. Taxis will be slightly less expensive on the way back from Tulum, but you can still expect to pay more for this mode of transportation. Ubers are not available in Tulum at this point in time.
Planning a Trip to Mexico? Read these Guides:
- Best time to go to Cancun
- 13 Marvelous Mayan Ruins in Mexico You Have to Visit
- The 10 Best Beaches in Mexico You Have to Visit
- Things to Do in Isla Mujeres