You’ve just landed at the Cancun airport. Now what? If you wondering how to get from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen, don’t worry. It is super easy and relatively inexpensive. However, it is best to know all your transportation options and already know how you want to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen in advance.
We’ve lived in Playa del Carmen and have been to and from the Cancun airport 25+ times. Arranging your own transport to Playa del Carmen is easy, cheap, and safe. If you ask us, Playa del Carmen is the perfect place to stay when traveling to the Yucatan. There are tons of things to do in Playa del Carmen. It is close to some of the best cenotes in Mexico, visit Mayan Ruins, and much more.
Playa del Carmen is 45 minutes south of the Cancun airport and 45 minutes north of Tulum. It’s basically in the middle between Cancun and Tulum.
If you arrive on an international flight, you’ll most likely fly into the Cancun airport. Yes, there is the Cozumel Airport, but flights are often cheaper, and it’s easier to fly into Cancun overall. The best airport to fly to if you want to visit Playa del Carmen is Cancun International Airport (CUN). Which is the airport we always fly in and out of. If you fly into Cozumel, you’ll have to take the Cozumel ferry to Playa del Carmen, which will also involve taking a taxi from the Cozumel airport to the ferry.
Now let’s go through all five different transportation options from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen. Then you can choose which way is best for you.
Related Article: How to get from Cancun to Tulum Guide
- Best Option– Private Driver (click here for the company we use)
- Quickest Way – Private Driver $70 for up to 3 people
- Cheapest Option – ADO bus
1. Book a Private Driver from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen
Private transfer is the fastest and easiest way to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. You just walk out of the airport terminal and look for your name on a board, and in less than an hour, you arrive in Playa del Carmen. It’s that simple.
The cheapest private driver is $70 for up to 3 people one-way or $125 round trip, but the car that fits up to 6 people (price with six people is $75 one way $135 round trip).
If you are traveling with a larger group, a group service option fits up to 16 passengers for $120 one-way and $220 round trip.
You won’t find this price at the airport. Book online in advance here. If you are arriving early in the morning or late at night, we urge you to book a private driver in advance because the ADO buses don’t start running until 8:30 am.
We personally have used this company 10+ times now and have them booked for our upcoming trip. They are always on time, and it’s so nice just to grab our luggage and get in the van. Now that we are traveling with kids (and grandparents often, too), we usually just want to get to our destination ASAP after a flight.
Related Article: Complete Playa del Carmen Guide
2. Cancun Shared Airport Shuttle
The shared airport shuttles are only a really good option if you are a solo traveler in Mexico. If you are a couple, it would be cheaper to book a private car, and then you would have the entire car to yourself and go directly to your hotel.
Click here to book online. Prices are $34 one way per person. Make sure to bring some small US bills, as tipping in Mexico is standard. If you are traveling as a couple, you’ll spend $68. It would make more sense to book a private car for $70. Not only is it basically the same price, but you will go straight to your hotel in Playa del Carmen and get your vacation n Mexico started sooner.
We never take shared shuttles anymore for several reasons. You always have to wait for the shuttle OR other people to fill the shuttle. The shuttle never just leaves when you show up. Another reason we dislike them is they always pack them full. There is very little personal space in a shared shuttle. Someone is always sitting next to you (basically on top of you). And the final reason why we don’t like them is you stop at several hotels dropping off people before you get dropped off. We swear we are always the last to get dropped off and the first to get picked up…you end up spending so much time in the shuttle before you arrive.
Have ultimate freedom and save tons of money on tours with your own rental car! Don’t worry – It’s safe (we’ve rented 20+ times), the roads are good, and it’s easier than you think! We always rent from Discover Cars, it’s easy & they have the best prices.
3. Rent a Car
DO NOT RENT A CAR AT THE CANCUN AIRPORT. This is our preferred way of exploring the Yucatan and one of the cheapest. However, after several terrible experiences picking up rental cars at the Cancun airport, we no longer rent a car at the airport. Let’s just say every time we have waited 2+ hours trying to get our car, and lots of arguing because they change the price we booked it for, and they never give you the vehicle type you booked.
So we now always take the private shuttle to our hotel, and then that same day or the next morning, we rent a car in Playa del Carmen or Tulum. We’ve done this since 2019, and it is much better than getting off the plane and dealing with the car rental people.
We usually rent a full-size car on Discovercars.com, but be prepared for them not to have the type of car you rented available. Read our complete renting a car in Cancun guide to answer all your questions. It is seriously easy and safe!
Renting a car is one of the best ways to see some of the best things to do in the Yucatan. There are many great places to check out and day trips from Playa del Carmen, which require a car. Renting a car with save you a ton of money.
Must Read: Our full guide to renting a car in Cancun
Driving in the Yucatan is super easy once you are outside of the cities. If you have Verizon or T-Mobile, you will have coverage; otherwise, consider picking up a local SIM card with Digicel to have data during your trip.
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels, check prices on Booking.com. We’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
4. ADO Bus Cancun to Playa del Carmen
When we were living in Playa del Carmen, we mainly used the ADO bus to get to and from the airport. It’s super easy and super cheap. The buses run roughly every 20-30 minutes from 8:15 am-10:35 p. Note the last bus is at 10:35 pm, and the first bus is at 8:15 am. Note that these times can change/
If you land at the Cancun airport on a 6 am flight (like we did once), you either have to wait over 2 hours for the ADO bus or opt for a private driver. Because we didn’t book private transport in advance online, we paid double the price in person at the airport. You can book your bus ticket online here in advance, which we recommend doing to secure your seat and preferred time.
NOTE: The ADO bus is the only bus legally permitted to operate public buses to and from the Cancun airport. The ADO bus from Cancun airport has routes to several destinations in the Yucatan, like Tulum, Valladolid, Holbox, Merida, and more.
How to find the ADO bus at Cancun Airport
- After customs and immigration, look for the ADO booth (inside the building). This is where you can buy a ticket. If you ask anyone for the ADO bus, they’ll point you in the right direction.
- With your bus ticket, go past all the taxi drivers/tour operators offering their overpriced rides.
- Head to where all the buses are pulling in. If you didn’t purchase it online here or inside the airport, you could purchase it right outside by the buses. Sometimes the inside ticket booth won’t be open, and you will have to purchase the ticket outside by the buses.
- The buses stop and pick up passengers at all airport terminals.
- Cost 250 pesos, roughly $18 USD, you can pay in USD, but you will get a better deal if you pay in pesos. Price does vary based on date/time. Sometimes, they have specials.
If you take the ADO bus to Playa del Carmen, you’ll more than likely then need to take a taxi to your hotel or Vrbo. This will add to the cost, so make sure to factor that in when deciding what is the best option for getting to Playa is for you.
Related Article: Must Visit Cenotes in Mexico
5. Taxi From Cancun to Playa del Carmen
You can catch a taxi at the Cancun airport and have them bring you wherever you’d like, but make sure to agree on a price first. We also suggest having exact change and making sure you agree on the price in whatever currency you are paying.
We personally haven’t had many, if any at all, good experiences with taxi drivers at the Cancun Airport. We would avoid taking a taxi to or from the airport.
Cancun Airport to an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen
If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort on a vacation package, this transfer will more than likely be included. If it isn’t included, don’t book it with the hotel or your travel agent. You can book it on your own much cheaper. You’ll find the best prices if you book before your trip, book online in advance here.
If you’re staying in Cozumel, you will want to organize a private transfer to the Cozumel ferry in Playa del Carmen. The prices are the same as above since the Cozumel ferry is in Playa del Carmen. Click here to read our complete Cozumel ferry guide. The ferry to Cozumel is a quick 30 minutes and only $10.
FAQ – How To Get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
Is there Uber in Cancun or Playa del Carmen?
If you are used to just opening the Uber/Lyft app and getting picked up at the airport, don’t plan on that at the Cancun airport. You will not be able to find an Uber at the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen or really anywhere. The taxi union basically doesn’t allow them to come to the airport.
Where is the Playa del Carmen Airport?
There is a very small airport in Playa del Carmen, but it is not where tourists fly in internationally. Cancun International airport is the biggest airport in the region and is where you will most likely fly in to.
How far is the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?
The Cancun airport is 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Playa del Carmen. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour on a day with no traffic. Lately, there has been traffic on the highway, which has caused it to take longer.
Can you take a collective from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen?
Colectivos are shared vans in Mexico that pick up passengers who flag them down on the road. They are the cheapest transportation in Mexico. HOWEVER, colectivos are not the Cancun airport. The closest thing to this would be a shared shuttle or the ADO bus. Technically, you could walk or take a taxi out of the airport grounds, get out on the street, and flag a collective down from there. However, with luggage and everything, we would advise against this.
Now that we walked you through all the transfer options from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, we hope we have helped you figure out what is best for you. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below!
Places in Mexico to Visit Before or After Playa del Carmen
If you’ve got more time to explore Mexico, there are some amazing places in Mexico nearby you should check out. If you can’t make it on this trip, consider them on your next trip. Make sure to check out some of our other Mexico articles to fuel your wanderlust.
Top 10 Things to do in Isla Holbox – Travel Guide 2023
We love Isla Holbox Island, which is located just off the northern coastline of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. We have been visiting Isla Holbox for the last 7 years and just…
5 Things you Should Know BEFORE Renting a Car in Cancun
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We hope we helped you decide what the best way to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun airport is for you. No matter how you choose to get there, you’ll still end up in paradise.
Wednesday 20th of March 2019
Where in Playa del Carmen does the ADO bus drop you off? My sister gets in to the airport much later than us and we were going to pick her up in Playa.
Thursday 21st of March 2019
The ADO bus will drop her off right on 5th Ave, it's across the street from McDonald's. 5th Ave & Juarez.
Saturday 2nd of February 2019
The ADO bus information that you provide is not correct. It is 9:39 P.M. and the next bus is not until 11:30. Had we known that we would have made other arrangements. It is Feb. 2 at now 9:42.
Sunday 3rd of February 2019
If a person inside the terminal tells you there are no buses currently, it is LIKELY they are a taxi driver trying to sell you a fare. This is most likely what happened to you. Don't trust anyone in the airport regarding buses except someone behind the ADO desk.
According to ADO's website, there are buses on Saturday nights at 21:15, 21:45, 22:30, 23:15, and 23:59. Buses do sell out or someone told you incorrect information.
Wednesday 2nd of January 2019
Wow, your website is incredibly helpful and inspiring. I am planning a bachelorette trip to Playa Del Carmen in February and was wondering which form of transportation you would recommend for 8 people once we get to our Airbnb? If we want to go to dinner or yoga, which form of transportation is best for a larger group? We haven't planned on renting a car.
Thank you, Chelsey D.
Monday 4th of February 2019
Sorry for the delay in response, but I think the best way to arrange your transport is with a local operator. One of the best places I would start is to message your Airbnb host and see if he has any contacts that could arrange this. The chances are they will know someone that drives a shuttle that could help. Alternatively, you could arrange multiple taxis for quick unplanned trips. You can hail one and if there isn't a second one, the driver should be able to call for a second or third taxi. Have a great trip!
Thursday 27th of December 2018
i just love your website. Its really well written and to the point. Thank you. I'm gonna be going to Cancun in February and I'm wondering if it is to dive a rental car at night. WE are planning to go to Xcaret and watch the show, that ends around 9 pm. Then we have to drive back to the hotel zone in Cancun. Waiting anxiously for you answer.
Saturday 29th of December 2018
We have driven many times in the dark and besides normal road hazards, I wouldn't worry. Xcaret is right off of the main highway. Just watch out for speed bumps, drive safe, and use GPS on your phone or device so you don't get off track! Safe Travels!