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How to Get Around in Tulum

Susan Laurent
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by Susan Laurent

Tulum is located in the Quintana Roo state, one of the safest states in Mexico. It lies right on the Caribbean coastline, close to other popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Puerta Vallarta, Cozumel, and Valladolid.

The province was also a walled Mayan portal city, so there are lots of ancient ruins, cenotes (underground freshwater sinkholes where you can swim and snorkel), and wonderful beaches to explore. For such a beautiful, culturally-rich place, Tulum is actually quite affordable – making it a top budget-friendly destination.

If you’re planning a trip to Tulum without your own car or a rental, you’re probably wondering how to get around this lovely city. Well, we’re here to talk about just that!

How to Get to Tulum in the Most Affordable Way: Cancun International Airport

Cancun International Airport

Cancun is a big city 70 miles north of Tulum. This city also has the second biggest airport in Mexico (following Mexico City), providing passage to almost twenty million international passengers every year.

Cancun International Airport receives flights from all over the world, including almost every city in the United States, and all major airports out of Asia, Canada, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, and Australia. So, catching a flight to Cancun is unlikely to present a problem, unless you are an alien looking to recover the bodies of your fallen comrades.

But, how do you get to Tulum? There are three ways to get to Tulum from the Cancun airport:

  • A prearranged hotel transfer: You can prearrange a hotel transfer shuttle on the airport’s official website. There are shared and private vehicle options. If you pick a shared transfer, you’ll likely pay $75 to $100, depending on the type of vehicle. If you want a private transfer, be prepared to pay $100 to $200. Luxurious transfers might cost you more than $300. Private transfer is the priciest but also the most comfortable way to get to Tulum, especially if you’re carrying too much or traveling with your family. After all, it’s almost a two-hour drive, so your children can do with a bit of luxury.
  • Taxis: The Cancun International Airport has its own taxi services. These taxis charge $175 for driving to the Tulum Hotel Zone, but the airport allows you to prearrange a taxi online before your flight. Should you do so, you’ll get a discount and the taxi fare will be only $72, which is quite a bargain.
  • ADO bus to Tulum: Autobuses de Orienté (ADO) is a private company that operates on the Caribbean coast of Mexico and travels to Cancun International Airport. The buses are quite comfy and modern, with enough luggage space, free wi-fi, and air-conditioning. They cost only $18.80, meaning they’re the most affordable means of transportation from Cancun International Airport. However, these buses take more than shuttles and taxis to arrive at Tulum: a ride usually takes more than three hours. Additionally, it’s a good idea to purchase tickets prior to your flight since they sell out quite quickly.

Public Transportation in Tulum

Tulum doesn’t have a municipal transportation system like you’d find in Cancun or Mexico City. Your public transportation options are limited to colectivos and taxis.



Colectivos are privately-owned white minivans that take passengers from Tulum all the way to Cancun. These minivans depart from central Tulum, only accept Mexican currency, and cost 12 to 50 Mexican pesos (roughly $0.70 to $3), depending on your destination.

Colectivos aren’t like public buses in that they don’t have designated stops where passengers should wait. If you want to get on one, you just need to raise your arm, and if there’s space inside, the driver will stop. Similarly, when you want to get off, you just need to ask the driver to stop.

Although this sounds a bit chaotic, it’s actually an excellent opportunity to explore all the curiosities between Tulum and Cancun. Must-see spots include adventure parks, white sand beaches, the town of Playa del Carmen, ancient ruins, and cenotes.

Keep in mind, though, that traveling with a colectivo isn’t comfortable since these vehicles get too crowded at times. So, pack lightly, dress comfortably, and get ready to abandon any notions of personal space.



In Tulum, you’ll find no rideshare options like Uber. So, the taxis have quite the monopoly in transporting tourists from their hotel to ruins.

Fortunately, rides from the Hotel Zone to central Tulum, the ruins, or the beaches last fifteen minutes maximum. The fare is quite reasonable, too – in most cases, you’ll only need to pay about 100 Mexican pesos, or $6.

However, you should ask the taxi driver how much you’ll be charged before taking the passenger seat. You may demand to see their fare chart, too, just to avoid getting ripped off.

Is Tulum Bicycle-Friendly?

Yes, Tulum is bicycle-friendly. The town roads have designated bike lanes, and the local drivers are used to cyclists on roads, even if they’re not always completely respectful to them.

Actually, hotels in Tulum typically have their own bike rental side gigs with reasonable prices. To rent a bicycle for the duration of an entire day, the cost is about 150 pesos, less than ten dollars.

And if your hotel doesn’t offer bicycle rentals, you are not out of options. There are companies like Ola Bike Tulum and iBike Tulum that rent out several bicycle types.

These companies charge more than the hotels as you’ll pay 200 pesos ($12) to rent a bike for 24 hours, but you’ll be getting better-quality models.

In addition, iBike Tulum has scooters in its catalog. These cost 700 pesos per day ($41), but they offer more time and freedom to explore.

Is Tulum Walkable?

You can easily explore Tulum by walking as it’s a compact place consisting of three parts that are nested close together: Tulum Pueblo (the town), Tulum Playa (the beach and the Hotel Zone), and Tulum Ruins.

Tulum Pueblo might be bustling with activity, which might make it seem bigger and more crowded than it is, but it’s actually just a ten-block stretch, which is walkable. Of course, on hot summer days, a taxi or a bicycle ride will render your adventures less exhausting.

Tulum Playa is a bit bigger than the town itself, sprawling for six miles along the Caribbean Sea. We don’t recommend that you walk all that distance in one go, and why should you? It’s a beach where you can have a little swim and a brief lay-down, refresh yourself with a drink at one of the beach clubs, and keep on exploring.

Tulum Ruins are right at the end of this beach, too, so your forays won’t be for nothing.

On a final note, walking in Tulum is totally safe both day and night. However, to be on the safe side, don’t stray too far away from your hotel during the night.

Key Takeaways

Tulum is a popular vacation destination because it’s affordable and it offers all the desired tourist attractions: a lively little Mexican town, majestic beaches, and ancient ruins. However, getting around Tulum is a bit of a challenge if you don’t have a car because there’s no public transportation system.

Rather, you have white minivans (colectivos) that can take you all the way to Cancun and back. In addition, taxis are reasonably priced for those who want to explore Tulum.

If you are bored of traveling on four wheels, rest assured, Tulum is a bicycle-friendly place. Hotels rent their own bicycles, and if yours doesn’t, you can find a bike via Ola Bike Tulum or iBike Tulum.

Lastly, if you like being physically active, you can explore all parts of Tulum (the town, the beach, and the ruins) on foot.

About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
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