Quick & Easy | Getting From The Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen

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. 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 overall easier to fly into Cancun. If you do fly into Cozumel you’ll have to take the Cozumel ferry to Playa del Carmen. 

We’ll run through all the different ways from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen. Then you can choose which one way is best for you. 

Related Article: How to get from Cancun to Tulum Guide

Private Driver

The fastest and easiest way to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is by a private driver. 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 $60 for up to 3 people one-way or $110 round trip, but the car that fits up to 6 people (price with 6 people is $70 one way $120 round trip). 

If you are traveling with a larger group there is a group service option that fits up to 16 passengers for $99 one way and $175 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 6 times now and have them booked for our upcoming trip. They are always on time and it’s so nice to just grab our luggage and get in the car. 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

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 $60. Not only is it cheaper but this way you will go straight to your hotel in Playa del Carmen and get your vacation n Mexico started sooner.

woman standing next to a rental car in Cancun after picking it up from the airport

Rent a Car

DO NOT RENT A CAR AT THE 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 every time we have 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 book.

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. This is what we’ve done since 2019 and it is so much better than getting off the plane and dealing with the car rental people. 

We usually rent a full-size car on Rentalcars.com but be prepared for them to not 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 so 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.*

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 8:30 am-12: 30 am, note the last bus is at 12:30 am and the first bus is at 8:30 am.

If you arrive at 6 am (like we did once) you either have to wait over 2 hours for the 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.

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 your ticket inside you can 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 200 pesos roughly $10 USD, you can pay in USD but you will get a better deal if you pay in pesos

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 to getting to Playa is for you.

Related Article: Must Visit Cenotes in Mexico

Taxi/Uber Cancun to 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 from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen or really anywhere. The taxi union basically doesn’t allow them to come to the airport. 

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.

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.

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We hoped we helped you decide what is the best way to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun airport. No matter which way you choose to get there you’ll still end up in paradise. 



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