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How To Get From Cancun Airport to Tulum – Best Prices

How To Get From Cancun Airport to Tulum – Best Prices

Did you just land and wonder how to get from Cancun to Tulum Mexico? Getting from the Cancun Airport to Tulum in 2024 is pretty straightforward and way easier than you might think.

We used to live in Mexico and have gone from Cancun to Tulum a ton! The best way to go to Tulum from Cancun, and the fastest way, is via a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. This is the company we always use and recommend.

There are hotel shuttles, private drivers, shared shuttles, taxis, rental cars, and buses. We have been to Cancun and Tulum more times than we can count and have taken every mode of transportation from Canun to Tulum.

We aren’t big Cancun people. We typically get in and get out! This guide will mainly cover transportation from Cancun Airport to Tulum. However, we will also cover how to get to Tulum from Downtown Cancun and the Cancun hotel zone.

Getting in and out of the Cancun International Airport is super easy, and there are transport options for every traveler’s budget and travel style. Here are all the ways to travel to Tulum from Cancun Airport.

Book Private Cancun Airport Transportation

Driving from Cancun Airport road and other cars

Cancun to Tulum Distance

Most people don’t realize how far from Cancun Tulum is. After a long flight, it takes another 1.5 hours to over 4 hours. You will be in a vehicle for some time, so factor this in when deciding. If money is not an issue, book this company for the fastest way and most comfortable way.

The travel time all depends on what transportation from Cancun you take, traffic on the main highway and Tulum Beach Road, and if you are going to Tulum Beach or Tulum Centro.

How to Get From Cancun Airport to Tulum

Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen priv

1. Private Transfer Cancun to Tulum

The easiest and fastest way from Cancun to Tulum and get your vacation started is by private transfer. There will be tons of shuttles and transfers at the Cancun International Airport that will be willing to drive you to your hotel in Tulum or Playa del Carmen.

We, however, think it’s best and cheaper to arrange this online at home in advance. The last thing you want to do is haggle over prices and fight with drivers at the start of a Mexican vacation.

If you’re traveling as a group, this is the best option. Click here to book online for $180 for up to 8 people.

Related Articles: Mexico’s Best Cenotes

Cancun Airport Shuttle bus

2. Shared Shuttle Cancun to Tulum Shuttle

This is the cheapest Tulum shuttle you can find. Shared airport shuttles are another great option for solo travelers or those traveling on a budget. Most shared shuttles carry 1-12 passengers. We have been on shuttles where we happen to be the only guests from the airport, but we’ve also been on full shuttles.

If there are several people on the shuttle, you’ll be stopping to drop off people along the way, and it takes a lot longer than if you opt for the private shuttle. Another shared shuttle option is this one on Viator book online in advance.

Because there is no incentive to book round trip transfers, I would book a one-way first, and then, if everything is great, just book the shuttle from Tulum to Cancun online when in Mexico.

If you are traveling as a couple, booking a private transfer is only slightly more. This is a no-brainer to us as you won’t be stopping at other hotels. You’ll go straight to & from your hotel, which means more vacation time. Book a private transfer to Tulum from Cancun online here.

Related Article: How To Get From Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen

a couple sitting on the roof of a rental jeep in Aruba during a honeymoon
Explore on your own
#1 Tip – Rent a car in Mexico
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.

Ado bus at Cancun Airport

3. Bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum – ADO Bus

If you aren’t in a hurry and want to save money, then the ADO bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum is your best bet. On our first trip to Tulum, when looking at how to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum, we thought our only option was an expensive taxi or airport shuttle. Thankfully, we were wrong and found the ADO buses.

There are generally nine trips from the airport to Tulum. Buses depart between 9 am and 1030 pm (confirm times before you travel; these are subject to change). We suggest checking times and booking your ticket online in advance here.

Check for current bus times at here. The website is in Spanish, but even if you don’t know the language, you can figure it out for the most part, and your internet browser should translate it.

If you land in the morning or after these times, there are other options with buses that go to Playa Del Carmen and then on to Tulum. The ADO ticket agent will give you all the options.

Read our where to stay in Tulum article before booking your accommodation. If you are staying in Tulum Beach, you’ll have to take a taxi from the bus station. Taxis from Tulum Town to Tulum Beach cost $25 USD and up. The taxi drivers in Tulum have banned together and are charging crazy high prices. There is no uber in Tulum.

Related Article: Why Merida is Worth the Trip

How to Find the ADO Bus Cancun Airport

  • After clearing customs and immigration, there will be an ADO booth 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 in hand, walk past all the taxi drivers and tour operators trying to get you on their overpriced rides and towards the buses.
  • You can purchase your bus ticket inside or outside the buses. Sometimes, the inside ticket booth will have a sign saying “no agent available” or something. That means going outside to purchase your ticket. You can also book your ticket here in advance.
  • The buses stop and pick up passengers at three airport terminals T2, T3, and T4.
  • Cost 400 pesos, or you can pay in USD, but you will get a better deal if you pay in pesos.
Ado bus terminal in Tulum

ADO Tulum Bus Terminal

The bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum only has one stop in Tulum, and the Tulum bus station is located in Tulum Centro. If you are staying in Tulum Beach, you must take one of the taxis as Tulum has no Uber.

Related Article: Things to do in Tulum

Picture of a taxi in Playa del Carmen and Tulum area

4. Taxi From Cancun Airport to Tulum

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 Tulum or really anywhere. The taxi union basically doesn’t allow Uber in Cancun. 

You can catch a traditional taxis 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 taxis or taxi drivers at the Cancun Airport. We would avoid taking a taxi from Cancun.

TRAVEL TIP – The trunk space isn’t super big in a taxi, and sometimes the drivers have a spare tire or other personal items in there. Just a heads up if you have a lot of luggage. Make sure to read my Tulum packing list to help you decide what to pack for Tulum.

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

5. Renting a Car to Get from Cancun to Tulum and beyond

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 from Cancun Airport.

Let’s just say every time we have, we have waited 2+ hours trying to get our rental car, and lots of arguing because they change the price we booked it for and never give us the vehicle type we booked.

So we now always take other Cancun transport, usually a private shuttle to our hotel. Then we rent a car in Tulum that same day or the next morning. We’ve done this since 2019, and it is much better than getting off a flight and dealing with the car rental people. 

However, we will say that returning a rental car at Cancun Airport has always been super easy and fast.

We usually rent a full-size car on, but be prepared for them not to have the type of car you rented available. Read our complete renting a car in Mexico guide to answer all your questions. It is seriously easy and safe!

This is by far the best way to explore Tulum. You’ll have a car to see all the great things in the Riviera Maya and several Mayan Ruins and cenotes near Tulum without taking tours.

There are many things to do in the Yucatan, cenotes to explore, and beaches to swim in. You’ll want a car. Check out some of the best restaurants in Tulum, too. Our favorite is El Asadero. They have the best arrachera.

Related Article: Xpu Ha, The Best Kept Secret In The Yucatan

Hotel Shuttle Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen people with signs

6. Tulum Hotel with Free Airport Shuttle

When deciding where to stay in Tulum, you might want to look at hotels that offer free airport transportation. Typically, Tulum All-Inclusive resorts offer free shuttles. If you are traveling with kids, here are our favorite family resorts in Tulum.

Once you land, go through immigration and customs, and have your bags with you. You will go outside and be greeted by a sea of people with signs with various hotels and transfer companies. The photo above is from Cancun Airport and what you will see.

Once you find your hotel on a sign, most likely, they will have a clipboard with your name and have you go to another area while they wait for all passengers. You may have to wait a while, but typically under an hour.

NOTE: Most often, hotel airport shuttles will bring you to the airport three hours before your departing flight. Expect to leave your Tulum hotel 6 hours before your flight. Often, you don’t get much say on when you leave. They tell you what shuttle you are on based on your flight.

If all that sounds like a headache and lots of wasted vacation time, I agree with you. Some travelers, like myself, book a private transfer so there is no waiting or getting to the airport way too early.

Best Ways – How to Get From Cancun to Tulum

Cancun Beach & hotel zone

How to Go From the Cancun Beach Hotel Zone to Tulum

The most popular hotels in Cancun are located in the Cancun hotel zone, which is 7 miles from Downtown Cancun, where the main Cancun bus station is located. So the only easy and comfortable option is a private transfer.

If you are set on taking the bus, first find out if your hotel has a free Cancun airport shuttle. If they do, then we suggest taking that and catching the bus there. The bus ticket might cost more, but you will save on the taxi ride to the Cancun bus station.

Cancun Airport Transportation van in front of Cancun sign

Private Tulum Transfer from Cancun Hotel Zone

This is the best way and the only way we go. We always use this company. This way, you go directly from your Cancun hotel to your Tulum hotel.

How to Get from Downtown Cancun to Tulum

If you are staying at a hotel in Downtown Cancun, you can easily rent a car, take the bus, catch a local Collectivo, or still opt for a private driver. You have all the options easily accessible.

a shuttle van stuck in traffic on the road to Tulum

Rent a Car from Cancun Drive to Tulum

Renting a car in Cancun Airport or picking up a rental car in Cancun downtown and driving from Cancun to Tulum is one of the easy ways. The road from Cancun to Tulum is well-marked and paved. It is a straight shot once you are on the main highway.

We always rent online here. They compare all the best rental car companies and offer the best rates. We have noticed it is more expensive to get a rental car at Cancun Airport vs. Downton Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

So compare rental car prices at different locations, how much a shuttle would be, and what the best options for you would be.

ADO Bus from Cancun to Tulum

If you are staying in Cancun, go to the ADO Terminal Centro, which is the main ADO Cancun bus station. The address is Calle Pino, SM23, MZ56. Click here to see it on Google Maps.

Buses do sell out, so we advise buying your ticket in advance. You can buy ADO bus tickets here to save money and time and skip a trip to the bus station the day before.

ADO buses go all over the Yucatan Peninsula and the Riviera Maya. Most budget travelers mainly travel by bus because the prices are good, there are good options for times, and often bus stations are centrally located and near hostels and affordable hotels.

NOTE: The bus to Tulum is cheaper from the above Cancun ADO bus station than the bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum.

highway to Tulum

FAQ How to Get to Tulum

Can you Fly to Tulum?

No, you cannot fly to Tulum. There is no international or domestic airport in Tulum. They are currently building a Tulum Airport.

It isn’t scheduled to be open until 2024, and from what we are reading, it will be for domestic flights within Mexico, and Cancun isn’t listed as one of the destinations.

What is the Closest Airport to Tulum, and where should you fly if going to Tulum?

The closest airport is Cancun International Airport (CUN), just under 2 hours away from private Cancun airport transportation services.

Is Tulum in Cancun?

No, Tulum is not in Cancun. The distance from Cancun to Tulum is 73 miles south of Cancun.

How is the Drive from Cancun to Tulum?

The drive from Cancun to Tulum is super easy and smooth. The entire drive from Cancun is on Mexico 307, which is a main 4+ lane highway with a few stop-n-go lights and checkpoints along the way.

map drive from Cancun to Tulum

How Long is the Drive From Tulum to Cancun Airport?

Travel time varies depending on your mode of transport. If you book a private shuttle, it takes less than 2 hours to get to Tulum. If you take a shared Tulum shuttle from Cancun Airport, you’ll have to wait for all the passengers to get through immigration and customs before settling into the shuttle.

Then, from there, it will take an average of 2.5-3.5 hours, depending on how many other passengers there are and the number of hotel stops. The ADO bus to Tulum from Cancun will take 3+ hours after leaving the airport.

The ADO bus will most likely stop in Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen ADO bust station, dropping off and picking up passengers, which adds on time.

Is the ADO bus safe?

Yes, I have personally taken the bus as a solo female traveler and felt totally comfortable and safe. The bus is a mix of tourists and locals going to various destinations in the Riveria Maya and the Yucatan Penisula.

Related Article: Things to do in Cancun

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Places in Mexico to Visit Before or After Tulum

If you’ve got more time to travel and explore Mexico, there are some amazing places in Mexico you should check out. If you can’t go 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 hope we have helped you decide what the best way to get to Tulum from Cancun airport is. No matter which way you choose to get there, you’ll still end up in paradise. 

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