How to get from Cancun airport to Tulum, Mexico

Our writer Christian

By Christian - Updated on 25 January 2021

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It is quite easy to get from Cancun airport to Tulum, although the distance between them may seem far away, getting to Tulum is easier than you think. The number of ways to get to Tulum from Cancun airport can be overwhelming for many travellers, that is why in this article we will give you the best recommendations to get to Tulum according to your travel needs and budget, so you can avoid any surprises or bad experiences during your trip.

A paradisiacal destination in the Riviera Maya: Tulum

The Riviera Maya is known for having the best beaches in the Caribbean, and Tulum is one of the most recognized destinations for the beauty of its beaches and its history recorded in its archaeological zones. And not only that, but many of the best ecotourism hotels are in the Riviera of Tulum as they are: Papaya Playa, Be Tulum, Ahau Tulum, Azulik, among others.

beach in tulum

Tulum is especially recognized for the connection with nature that it offers, whether it be from exploring and enjoying a Cenote, which are among the most spectacular in the Riviera Maya, as well as diving in the reefs of the region. In spite of being a small city with a little more than 24 thousand inhabitants, the center of this one has a great quantity of restaurants and small hotels.

Cancun International Airport (CUN)

The Cancun airport is the second most visited airport in Mexico, and has 4 air terminals, although currently only terminals 2, 3 and 4 are in use. It is located 16 kilometers (10 miles) from downtown Cancun, on the Cancun-Chetumal Highway. And it is the closest commercial airport to Tulum, since Tulum does not have an airport, so there are no direct flights to Tulum, you can say that this is the closest airport to Tulum and it is two hours away from this place.

cancun airport to tulum

How to get from Cancun airport to Tulum by different ways

Unlike many tourists believe, Tulum is not located in Cancun, Tulum is located 118.3 km (73.5 Miles) away from the Cancun airport and get from Cancun airport to Tulum can be tedious if you do not choose correctly the way you will get to Tulum, of course you must make it clear, that we list the different options, as each one is adapted to the budget and type of trip of each traveler, so you can make the best choose and live the experience of getting from Cancun airport to Tulum to the fullest. 

Booking private shuttle from Cancun airport to Tulum

Definitely, it is the most comfortable, safe and even economical option to get from Cancun airport to Tulum. Private shuttles may seem expensive compared to other means of transportation such as ADO buses or public transport, however they offer a great advantage over all means of transportation found at the Cancun airport.

The advantages of private shuttle

The main advantage is the ease of booking, since you can easily enter the transportation company's page, select the number of people planning to travel, your destination, the type of service, the time of your arrival and if you want to add any snacks or drinks to enjoy during your trip. Most vans carry from 1 to 15 passengers, so it is really comfortable and economical for families and groups.

transportation from cancun airport to tulum

The service is direct, so unless you request it, there are no additional stops anywhere, this allows you to start enjoying your vacation, without wasting time waiting for schedules, or with uncomfortable changes in the final rates without notice. There are even discounts when booking a return service, companies like Cancun Airport Transportation also offer flight monitoring, so you don't have to worry if your flight is delayed or brought forward, the fare will be the same and the service will be ready upon your arrival.

Prices and services regulated internationally

Companies as Cancun Airport Transportation are regulated by all national and international laws, you can even review their comments and qualifications to make the best decision before you travel. Although its price is somewhat high compared to other options, it is ideal for families, since for 1380 pesos ( 69 USD) can travel up to 8 people, and is even cheaper than public transport or taking a bus in addition to being safer and more comfortable.

And it's especially useful for group events, as the larger vans can comfortably carry 15 passengers and their luggage, so a larger group can be accommodated in several vans at a low price. 

How to get from Cancun airport to Tulum by ADO bus

If you are traveling on a limited budget, with plenty of time and patience to wait for several hours at the bus terminal, then the ADO bus from Cancun airport to Tulum is an option to consider. 

The good, bad and ugly of the ADO bus service

Its main advantage is the price, since it is between 190 to 270 pesos (9 to 14 USD) per person, for groups or families it is an inefficient and even expensive transport. However, to get from the Cancun airport to Tulum alone is an option to consider, especially if you are a backpacker and have no problems with waiting time, as there are only 5 bus departure schedules, so you will almost always have to wait at least a few hours to board your ADO bus. The buses are quite comfortable, as they have comfortable seats and air conditioning (this region is very hot, so this is almost a must).

Please note that the times to board these buses may vary, but there are usually 5 trips during the day from the airport to Tulum. The buses leave the airport at 10:20 AM, 11:20 AM, 12:20 AM, 2:15 PM, 7:15 PM, so if you arrive after 7:15 you will have to wait until the next day to take an ADO bus. 

Depending on which area of Tulum you go to, it can be the ideal means of transportation or just the opposite, if your hotel or destination is in the center of Tulum it will be the ideal means for you, since there are only two ADO terminals right in the center and in the ruins of Tulum, if you go to a particular hotel it is no longer recommended, since you will have to take a taxi to the Tulum hotel zone, and the costs rise considerably.

Where to find the ADO station

After you get off the plane, you will pass through customs and immigration, right after that there will be an ADO booth where you can buy a ticket if you did not buy it online, you can also ask the people there by the ADO bus terminal and they will point you in the right direction. Remember that the bus will stop at other terminals along the way, such as in Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen.

Rent a car to get from Cancun airport to tulum and Riviera Maya

Perhaps from all, this is the favorite of many and with good reason, since it is the most economical and the one that offers the most freedom to explore, since it is not only limited to Tulum, but you can also explore the Riviera Maya, Yucatan and places near to Cancun, only paying the car rental, gasoline and tolls. 

rentig a car in tulum

One of the best options to get from Cancun airport to Tulum

Its main advantage over other means of transportation to get from the Cancun airport to Tulum, is its practicality, because unlike the transports that have a mapped route, on board your car you can move freely to wherever you want, even if you change hotels, you have total control of the destinations you plan to visit, it is quite useful to visit theme parks, beaches and Cenotes. Whether you want to explore every corner of Tulum or the most famous destinations of the Riviera Maya.

Certainly, there are different car rentals for every budget and type of trip, since you can rent vans, compact cars, full size cars, etc. some are cheaper than others and it is always important to consider the gas consumption of the car you choose, since this will drastically change the expense or savings in your budget.

About insurance when renting a car in Cancun

In Mexico, car insurance is mandatory to be able to drive without problems through the different cities of the country, including Tulum, so it is important to book with a company that is transparent in this matter, better if it includes insurance and taxes in the rate, since this way you have a clear idea of the final cost from the moment you make the reservation. 

Avoid companies that do not include insurance

Avoid whenever possible companies that offer you ridiculously low rates, such as companies that offer rentals from $1 USD, since they don't include taxes or insurance. These types of companies have given a bad idea that all car rental companies have hidden fees, and that you will end up paying up to twice as much as with an honest company.

Book only with reliable agencies with insurance included

Prices vary according to the model of vehicle, a particularly recommended company is City Car Rental, since they offer rates from $20.53 USD per day with insurance and taxes included, plus pick up at the Cancun International Airport (CUN) and have a large fleet of vehicles.

How to get from cancun airport to tulum by collective transport

Perhaps this is the cheapest option if you travel alone, the inconvenience begins if you travel with more people, since either for the cost per person could pay a private transportation service or rent a car or truck. Even if you travel with light luggage it is very uncomfortable, since most of the time, the vans are totally full of passengers and there is no room for luggage.

public transportation in tulum

More inconvenient than other ways to get to Tulum

As we said before in this article, the airport is very far from downtown Cancun, so you will have to use a transport to get to downtown Cancun, where the station for these vehicles is located. Departures are usually every 10 minutes or whenever they are full. Avoid the rush hours of 5:00 AM to 9:AM and 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, which is when most workers go to their jobs or homes.

For approximately 40 pesos (2 USD) per person, you will be taken from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. Once in Playa del Carmen station, you can take another van to Tulum for 60 pesos (3 USD), which is quite economical for a lone traveler with light luggage. Ideal for backpackers.

Hire a private driver at arrival to the airport

It is important not to confuse it with the private shuttle service. If you have ever traveled to Cancun, you have certainly been invaded by many tour operators, carriers and taxi drivers when leaving the terminal. 

Among these are the private drivers who offer to take you to any destination in Tulum, however this is one of the least recommended options for getting from Cancun to Tulum, as there is no regulation of these, either in quality or price. So you can agree on an initial rate and the driver can change the rate without notice at the time of travel, a lot of travelers have had very bad experiences with this type of service.

The least recommended to get from Cancun airport to Tulum

It's not recommended to start your vacation with this type of service, there is no regulation regarding prices, much less guarantee security during your transfer, besides that in many cases you end up arguing with the driver about changes in rates and charges without explanation. It is much safer to book online with a regulated private transportation company such as Cancun Airport Transportation, both for the sake of your pocket and your travel experience. 

trip to cancun

The most important thing is to enjoy your trip to Tulum

Whether you travel from far away or not so far away to Tulum, the most important thing is that you enjoy every moment in this earthly paradise, and if that means paying a little more, in the end the experience will be worth it, they have always said that the cheaper is more expensive and this includes traveling from the Cancun airport to Tulum, but not only that, but it is always better to plan your trip, and book everything in advance, knowing the final price of each service you will use during your trip will help you take better care of your budget and have the best experience during your arrival from Cancun airport to Tulum. 

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