Wondering how to get to Tulum from Cancun?
As there’s no Tulum airport, and the closest airport to Tulum is Cancun International Airport (code: CUN), you’ll fly there and then make your way two hours south to Tulum. But don’t worry — it’s very easy to travel from Cancun to Tulum Mexico — and you’re about to discover all your options!
This is by far the easiest, fastest, most stress-free and hassle-free way to get from Cancun Airport to Tulum with door to door service! You can book below with the Tripadvisor-backed company I recommend ⤵, or head here to find out why I say they are your best option.
Besides private transportation, you can rent a car in Cancun and drive to Tulum, book a shared shuttle, or take the ADO bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum. Besides these options, there’s colectivos (shared public transport vans) and Cancun taxis — but you’ll see why these are the worst choices.
Ready for a thorough breakdown of all your options? Keep reading for a list of all the four best ways to get from Cancun to Tulum, and the two worst ways that you’ll want to avoid.
How far is Tulum from Cancun?
Wondering about the Cancun to Tulum distance? As you can see below, the answer to How far is Cancun from Tulum? will depend on where you’re coming from in Cancun — but as a general figure, it’s about 80 miles (129km), and 1.5 to 2 hours of drive time.
- Cancun Airport to Tulum: The distance is 73 miles (118 km), and about 1.5 hours of drive time.
- Downtown Cancun to Tulum: The distance is 81 miles (131 km), which takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Cancun Hotel Zone to Tulum: The distance is 85 miles (137 km), and about 2 hours of drive time. Note: The Cancun Hotel Zone, or Zona Hotelera, is located on Cancun Beach.
How to get from Cancun to Tulum
As mentioned, the best and easiest way is to book private transportation from Cancun to Tulum. While there are cheaper ways, they often take triple the amount of time — and who wants to deal with that after getting off a flight, going through the Customs line, waiting for luggage, etc.!?
|Method||LENGTH OF TIME||ONE WAY COST|
|Private Shuttle||1.5 hours||$100+|
|Rental Car||1.5 hours||$25-45 (Per day)|
|Shared Shuttle||2.5 to 3 hours||$25-40|
|ADO Bus||2.5 to 4 hours||$15|
|Taxi Cab||1.5 hours||$100|
➤ Staying in Cancun? For a Cancun to Tulum day trip, the best way to visit is on a tour. Below you’ll find the best Tulum tours from Cancun, so you don’t miss any of the amazing things to do in Tulum.
Private Transfer from Cancun to Tulum
I recommended Cancun Airport Transportation, which has an impressive 4.5 star rating and 2,500+ reviews on Tripadvisor — and is the best private transfer Cancun to Tulum service. SAVE 25% by booking round trip, and relax knowing that your Tulum to Cancun Airport shuttle is handled!
During these strange travel times with Covid, a private service makes more sense than ever. Beyond not being in a shared bus or shuttle with 5-30 other passengers, a private service is the most convenient. As always, convenience comes with a price — but it’s not as steep as you think.
➤ Need accessible transport? Cancun Airport Transportation has vans with a wheelchair ramp.
For 1-3 passengers, you’re only looking at $175USD round trip; for 4-6 passengers, it’s $200USD round trip; and 7-9 passengers is $220 round trip. This is the total price you’d be splitting between all people, so for couples and groups, a private shuttle from Cancun to Tulum really is the way to go.
If you are traveling in a couple or small group, it’s actually one of the most economical options. Whether you’re in a group, couple, or just want private transport from Cancun to Tulum for health and safety, here are six reasons it’s the best option:
1. Leave on Your Schedule
With the private shuttle, you set the departure time. Imagine getting to Cancun airport after your flight, going through the Customs line, getting your luggage, and then having to wait another two hours to even get on the bus to Tulum — which will take another two hours to drive to Tulum 🤬
2. Bilingual Driver
With Cancun Airport Transportation, you’re guaranteed an English-speaking driver from Cancun to Tulum. For those who aren’t confident in their Spanish, having a bilingual guide who will guide you through the airport is a nice perk — especially after a long day of traveling!
3. It doesn’t matter if your flight’s late
If your flight arrives late, or if you have any issues clearing Customs, or if there’s any delay or issues with your luggage (we’ve all been there!), your private shuttle will still be available for you. With a shared shuttle, you’d have to be rebooked, and with the bus, you’d have to buy a new ticket.
4. Nice Cars, SUVs and Vans
Cancun Airport Transportation guarantees you’re in an insured, new, and air conditioned vehicle. While many shared shuttles from Cancun to Tulum do have AC, it’s not always a guarantee, and on a two-hours drive in the tropics after a flight, it’s not a good start to your Tulum trip!
5. Door to Door Service
With the private shuttle, your driver will meet you with a greeter sign in the Arrivals area in the airport. They will walk you and your luggage outside to the car or SUV, and drive you straight to your Tulum accommodation.
Keep in mind that if you take a shared shuttle or the bus, you’ll then have to take a taxi to your accommodation. Depending on where you’re staying, plan for $100-300 pesos ($5-15USD). Note: There’s no Uber in Tulum or Cancun.
6. Fastest Option
As time is always the most precious commodity while on vacation — and no one seems to have enough of it — you may want to spend a bit more money, as long as you’re saving a good chunk of time!
Shared shuttles will often make stops at the other three terminals to pick up other passengers, then do drop offs all along the route. Many shared shuttles also stop in three other cities, Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen, on the way to Tulum.
In short, with your private shuttle, getting from Cancun to Tulum is usually a 1.5 hour trip. When going by shared shuttle, plan for at least 2.5 to 3 hours. A rental car will also take about 1.5 hours, but other than that, a private shuttle is the fastest option.
Book your Cancun to Tulum private transport
Rent a Car at Cancun Airport
Beside a private transport service, getting a Cancun car rental from the airport is the second best option. Now, for those who just plan to relax on Tulum Beach with a drink in hand, soaking up the sun and partying at night — skip the rental car and opt for the Tulum shuttle.
However, if you’re planning to do a few Tulum day trips to nearby Valladolid, Coba Ruins, and some of these other amazing places in the Yucatan Peninsula, then a car is the way to go. For car rentals, the best place to get one is in Cancun Airport, as it has the biggest selection.
When booking your car online, I recommend and personally use Discover Cars. They are great because they search both international companies, and local Mexican companies, so you get the best price.
Best Place to Rent a Car in Cancun
Cancun Airport car rental rates will be slightly more than offsite rentals. However, airport rentals simplify the process and save a lot of time. Since you usually pay more money in taxis to get to the offsite rental agency than you’d pay in extra airport rental costs — just rent at the airport!
Pros and Cons of a Tulum Car Rental
- PRO: Freedom! With your own car, you can visit as many attractions as you want. You also get to explore at your own pace, versus being on a group tour and having to stick to their timeline.
- CON: Parking! Parking in Tulum isn’t always easy or cheap. In fact, find out if your Tulum accommodation offers free parking, as some Tulum beach resorts don’t.
How much are Cancun car rentals?
Mexico car rental rates will always vary, but figure about $25USD per day for an economy car with the minimum Personal Liability Insurance, and about $45USD per day for full coverage.
If you’ve looked online for a Mexico rental car, you might see $5-10USD rentals. If these rates seem too good to be true, that’s because they are. This is the price for just the car, with no insurance, taxes, fees, etc., factored in. To be safe, assume the car will be at least $25 per day.
Do I need Mexico Car Insurance?
Yes! At the minimum, you need Personal Liability Insurance to drive in Mexico. If you’re paying out of pocket, this is about $15-20USD per day. Some people have coverage through a credit card — but this can be a tricky claims process, should you have to use it (see below).
If you’re planning to decline coverage altogether, first, know the company can deny your rental. For those who have booked through a third party rental site where you’ve already paid in full, you’ll then have to haggle with them for a refund.
Second, they will likely put a hold of about $2,500USD on your card. Make sure to use a credit card for this. With a credit card, the money is held; whereas with a debit, the money is actually taken (then returned), but you’d be out the $2,500 until you return the rental.
Credit Card Insurance through a U.S. Card
Some United States credit cards provide insurance for card holders. However, if anything happens, you have to pay for the damages out of pocket when you return the car in Mexico. You’ll then file a claim with the credit card company, and hope they fully reimburse you in a timely manner.
I have been in Mexico long enough, and heard enough horror stories, that I 100% always tell people not to rely on this. If you do opt for credit card coverage, call them before your Tulum trip and double check their coverage policy, so you know you’re comfortable with it.
Additional Tips for Renting a Car at Cancun Airport
- Take photos and/or video of all scratches, dings and dents to the car’s exterior. You’ll want to do the same for the car’s interior, noting stains, rips in the fabric, etc.
- Have all your emails accessible with any rental agreement booking information. If you want, you can print them out, though it’s not necessary.
- If you intend to decline insurance, have some information stating your credit card is covering you — as all drivers must have proof of the minimum liability coverage. Note: Some companies will not let you take the car if you decline, so be prepared with a backup plan.
Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum?
The road from Cancun to Tulum is Highway 307. It’s not a big highway, but rather, a well-maintained 4-lane road that’s comfortable to drive on, even in a compact car. Note: A bigger car or SUV is better if you’re exploring other places in Yucatan.
From the airport, you’ll find lots of signs directing you to Highway 307. You then just have to take this one road for a simple, straight shot drive all the way to Tulum. Depending on traffic and weather conditions, the Cancun to Tulum drive time is about 1.5 to 2 hours.
While often not recommended to drive at night in Mexico, you should be fine on this road if you arrive at night. Highway 307 is frequented by tourists driving from Cancun to Tulum, so the government does their part to keep it nice and safe. Do watch your speed at night, as there’s always police checkpoints.
Cancun to Tulum Map
Police Checkpoints on the Way to Tulum
There are three police checkpoints on Highway 307; though sometimes they set up additional checkpoints. It’s usually a fast procedure: Traffic will funnel down into one lane, police will do a quick check to make sure nothing’s out of the ordinary, and you’ll go on your merry way.
The police may ask you to pull over, see your rental papers, your driver’s license, etc. — so have your documents handy. This is standard procedure to verify you don’t have anything illegal, aren’t driving without a license and aren’t drunk on your Cancun to Tulum drive.
Additional Mexico Driving Tips
- Just like in the U.S., you drive on the right side in Mexico.
- Beware of topes in Mexico! These are speed bumps, and they are all over, even on highways. Often, there’s no sign alerting you to them — so keep your eyes on the road.
- Speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. Don’t worry about doing math for the conversion rate; just make sure the speedometer matches the number on the signs.
- Keep your rental paperwork, like proof of insurance, the car rental agreement and anything else, in the glove compartment at all times.
- Head to this article, Renting A Car in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know, for additional Mexico driving tips.
The shared airport shuttle from Cancun to Tulum carries up to 12 passengers, in a Nissan Urvan (or similar). With all seats full, the Cancun to Tulum shuttle time trip can be up to four hours (though its usually closer to 2.5 or 3) — versus just 1.5 in your private shuttle.
Not only will you have to pick up passengers in all four airport terminals, but you’ll also make several off-highway stops along the way to other popular destinations like Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and more. Note: If you’re arriving on the weekend, expect a full shuttle.
Private Shuttle vs Shared Shuttle
Unless you’re a solo traveler, or on a very strict budget, the private shuttle is the best option.
Not only do you get door to door service in less than half the time, it’s also often cheaper. For up to three passengers, the private shuttle is $175 round trip — so $88 when split by two, and $59 split three ways. The shared shuttle is about $75 round trip, so private is usually the cheapest way to go!
ADO Bus from Cancun Airport to Tulum
Cancun to Tulum bus schedule
The ADO Cancun to Tulum bus departs from Cancun Airport at various times throughout the day, from Terminals 2, 3 and 4. Most U.S. airlines arrive at Terminal 3 or 4, but you can click here to see which Cancun Airport terminal your airline arrives in.
▶︎ BOOK NOW! One-Way Cancun to Tulum ADO bus tickets cost $262 pesos, or about $15USD.
Be aware there are only five direct buses each day. If none of these times word, you’ll want to take the ADO bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, then a second bus from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. For more info on a stop in Playa del Carmen, and keep scrolling.
ado bus cancun to tulum schedule
- 10:45 am
- 12:05 pm
- 2:55 pm
- 7:40 pm
- 9:35 pm
This has been the Cancun Airport to Tulum ADO bus schedule for some time now, but double check the ADO website, as they can change it at any time. Note: Their website is horrible, so you’ll want to use the widget below to book your Tulum bus tickets ⤵
ADO Bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
What if you arrive either earlier or after the scheduled departure times? The next best option is to take the Cancun to Playa del Carmen bus, and then take a second bus to Tulum. There are many more Cancun to Playa del Carmen ADO bus options, departing about every 30-45 minutes all day long.
In Playa del Carmen, you can buy a second ticket on the ADO to Tulum, or save a few bucks by taking the second-class Mayab Bus. ADO is a first class bus, with nicer amenities like AC, recliner seats, electric outlets for plugs, and a bathroom — all of which you likely won’t have on Mayab.
RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 Traveling to Playa del Carmen: The Ultimate First-Timer’s Guide
To save even a few more pesos, take a colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. Colectivos are shared public transportation vans, common throughout Mexico. From the Playa del Carmen ADO station, just ask a staff member where to catch the colectivo to Tulum; it’s only a few blocks away.
Is the ADO bus for solo female travelers?
Yes! In fact, you’ll probably meet other solo travelers and other Mexico travelers when traveling from Cancun to Tulum on the ADO bus — as it’s a safe, popular, comfortable and inexpensive option. ADO is Mexico’s largest bus company, beloved by tourists and locals alike.
Cancun to Tulum Colectivo
Wondering, What’s the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Tulum? That would definitely be the colectivo, as it’s only about $3USD. However — you get what you pay for, and this is not a recommended way to get to Tulum.
The first thing you need to know is the colectivo (small, shared public transportation van) is cheaper than the ADO bus, but only by about $10USD. For how inconvenient this trip ends up being, it’s just not worth sacrificing so much travel time and comfort for a few bucks.
This trip takes twice as long as the bus, at about four hours, because colectivos makes tons of stops along the way. There’s no direct Cancun to Tulum colectivo, so you’ll take the first one to Playa del Carmen, then a second. to Tulum. You’ll also have luggage, so you have to hope there’s enough space!
While colectivos are an inexpensive way to get around in much of Mexico, you’ll rarely ever hear anyone describe them as comfortable. The ride itself will be bumpy, and there won’t be AC on the colectivo — and don’t forget this is a two hour trip in the tropics!
Save yourself the hassle, and just book an ADO ticket!
RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 Tulum Beach House Rentals: 10 Best Beachfront Tulum Villas
Taxi from Cancun to Tulum
How much is a taxi from Cancun to Tulum?
Short answer: A LOT — about $100-200USD, depending on your luck.
In truth, a Cancun to Tulum taxi is actually your worst option, and you should only even consider this in an emergency when you have no other options. Here’s why:
“Normal” taxis are not allowed inside Cancun Airport; only sanctioned airport taxis. Cancun Airport cabs have to pay a special tax to be able to enter — and that fee is passed down to you. Beyond this fee, sadly, scamming travelers isn’t uncommon with taxis in Mexico (or anywhere).
Once you walk outside of the airport, and even as you’re approaching the exit, you’ll start to be approached by the Cancun Airport taxi services. Depending on how they judge your appearance (ie. how well you’re dressed, if you look like it’s your first time in Mexico, etc.), they’ll give you that price.
🚕💨 Wondering if you can do an Uber Cancun to Tulum trip — No, there’s no Uber in Cancun.
For this reason, you might get a price of up to $200USD, which is about the cost of a luxury private transfer. However, if it’s nighttime, or they don’t think you know any better, it’s just what they will tell you, hoping you really don’t know better — But now you do!
Save yourself the hassle and haggle by just booking your Cancun to Tulum private shuttle. They will come find you in the terminal, walk you and your luggage outside to the van, and drive you straight to your Tulum accommodation.
A Word of Warning About Cancun Taxis
Cancun taxi drivers are famous for, and quite good at, tricking people into taking a taxi. Often, they say there aren’t rental cars available, or the busses aren’t running, or anything they think will work. Take whatever they say with a grain of salt, and only believe what you’ve seen with your own eyes.
Set the Price Before You Get In
With Mexico taxis, you negotiate and agree on the fare before getting in the taxi, as many don’t don’t have meters. If you don’t know this and just jump in the car, they will throw out some exorbitant price when you arrive in Tulum — so agree on a firm price before taking the cab.
Cancun to Tulum Tours
For those staying at a Cancun hotel or resort, the best way to get to Tulum is on a tour. With the tour, you don’t have to worry about anything — except enjoying yourself! The tours are only headed to the best things to see in Tulum, so you’re sure to experience all the must see Tulum sites.
Here are some of the best Cancun to Tulum tours, and day trip from Cancun to Tulum options, which you can book right now!
FAQs: How to Get from Cancun to Tulum
Is there Uber in Cancun? Is there Uber in Tulum?
Wondering, Can I take Uber from Cancun to Tulum? Sadly, no, there’s no Uber in Tulum.
While there is Uber in much of Mexico, there is basically no Uber anywhere in Quintana Roo state — which is where both Cancun and Tulum are located. Once in Tulum, you’ll also have to get around by taxi, by renting a bike or moped, or with your rental car.
Is there a Cancun to Tulum flight?
There’s no airport in Tulum Mexico, so the nearest airport to Tulum Mexico is Cancun International Airport (code: CUN).
At one time, there was a Cancun to Tulum helicopter transfer service, but it seems to be on hold during Covid. The flights to Tulum Mexico via helicopter cost $1,000USD one way, and had luggage weight restrictions most couldn’t meet — so it wasn’t the most practical Cancun Tulum route.
Flights to Cancun
How far is Cancun to Tulum?
As there’s no airport for Tulum, you’re going to have to first get to Cancun, then head to Tulum. The distance from Cancun to Tulum will depend on where you’re coming from in Cancun, as you see below, but it’s about 80 miles (129km).
- Cancun Airport to Tulum: The distance is 73 miles (118 km), and about 1.5 hours of drive time.
- Downtown Cancun to Tulum: The distance is 81 miles (131 km), which takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Cancun Hotel Zone to Tulum: The distance is from the Zona Hotelera on Cancun Beach to Tulum is 85 miles (137 km), and about 2 hours of drive time.
How to get from the Cancun Hotel Zone to Tulum
Staying in the Zona Hotelera (Cancun Hotel Zone/Cancun beach) and want to see Tulum? As there’s no ADO bus terminal on the beach, you can take a taxi to Downtown or the airport and catch the bus there. You can also get a Cancun rental car and drive; from Cancun Beach, it will take about two hours.
How to get from Downtown Cancun to Tulum
There are three Downtown Cancun bus terminals, but you’ll want to go to the main Cancun ADO bus station, on Calle Pino. From there, you have plenty of options, with frequent ADO buses to Tulum all day long — and at cheaper rates than the Cancun to Tulum bus from the airport.
Tulum, Mexico FAQ
Where to stay in Tulum
Tulum is a small town, at about five miles from one end to the other. It basically consists of these three Tulum neighborhoods: Downtown Tulum (also called Tulum Town or Tulum Pueblo), Aldea Zama and Tulum Beach. Below, you’ll find info on each — or you can use these guides to book ⤵
Aldea Zama: When friends, family and followers ask me where to stay in Tulum, I always suggest Aldea Zama. It has a great central location between the beach and downtown, and a lot of newer construction buildings, with modern amenities — like high speed WiFi and AC — not always available on the beach.
Tulum Beach: Instagram worthy Tulum Beach is the Tulum you’ve seen in photos. Here, you’ll find all the beautiful beach resorts, large-scale art installations, high end restaurants, cool bars, and all Tulum photo spots and more. It’s also, by far, the most expensive part of Tulum.
RELATED ARTICLE 🧜♀️ 10 Best Cenote Tours in Tulum: Visit All the Best Tulum Cenotes
Is Tulum safe?
For the most part: Yes! Aside from hurricanes, drinking too much (don’t forget your Anti-Hangover Meds!), sunburns and petty crime, Tulum is safe. In fact, all of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is considered safe for visitors.
Though Tulum is mostly safe, you’ll still want to follow general travel safety measures, like avoiding places and people that seem unsafe. In addition, watch your alcohol intake, don’t take drinks from strangers, remain aware of your surroundings and belongings — and you’ll have a great Tulum vacation.
Is Tulum expensive?
Frankly, Tulum isn’t cheap, and it’s fast becoming one of the most expensive Mexico beach towns. Now, that’s not to say Tulum budget travel is impossible — only that it requires a solid plan. For example, you’ll want to take the ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum, and follow these other Tulum budget tips.
Is Tulum worth visiting?
If you understand what you’re signing up for — higher price tags, rustic vibes and lots of other tourists — and you don’t mind those things, you’ll enjoy your Tulum trip. If you’re looking to lay on a beautiful Mexican Caribbean beach, sip cocktails, take photos and swim in the cenotes, then Tulum is for you.
Like all places, the key to enjoying Tulum is managing your expectations of it — Think Instagram vs. Reality! If you’re fully aware the photos you’ve seen online are heavily edited, cropped and filtered, then you’re already well on your way to managing Tulum expectations.
Which is better? Cancun vs Tulum
Quite simply, determining which place is better will come down to personal preferences. The two cities share the same beautiful beachfront real estate along the Caribbean Sea, but have totally different vibes.
Cancun is definitely ideal for travelers who just want to relax, swim, eat and drink. In fact, Cancun has some of the best all inclusive resorts in Mexico where you can do just that. While there are also all inclusive Tulum Resorts — Tulum wins in the culture department and the cool department.
Though possibly on its way to becoming over-crowded, Tulum still has a lot to offer with the Tulum Ruins right on the beach, the Tulum cenotes (natural jungle pools) to swim in, and overall bohemian vibe. Cancun, however, is more established, with a more solid tourism infrastructure.
Final Thoughts: Cancun to Tulum Transportation
As Cancun has one of the biggest airports in Mexico, with direct flights from around the world, you’ll have no issues getting to Cancun. Hopefully you now see that once you’re in Cancun, you have plenty of options about how to get to Tulum from Cancun.
When factoring in convenience and price, booking private transportation in advance is the best way to get from Cancun to Tulum. For solo travelers and Tulum budget travel, a shared shuttle and the ADO bus and also great options. However, for groups of two or more, private transportation is your best bet.
Which of these Cancun to Tulum transfer options will you choose?
I’d love to hear from you! Please join the conversation and leave me a comment down below. If you need Cancun to Tulum travel advice, I’ll do my best to help.