Traveling from Cancun to Playa del Carmen: A Complete Guide

Discover economical, reliable transport options from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. Quick and affordable for your Riviera Maya dream trip. Start planning now!

Traveling from Cancun to Playa del Carmen: A Complete Guide

Traveling from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is a journey many travelers embark on each year. Nestled along the stunning coastline of the Caribbean Sea, these two destinations are jewels of Mexico's Riviera Maya.

Wondering how to get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun? We've got you covered. This updated guide provides detailed information on how to navigate the 68 kilometers separating these two popular spots, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition from the hustle of Cancun to the laid-back charm of Playa del Carmen.



Cancun and Playa del Carmen are two of the most visited destinations in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. While Cancun is famous for its all-inclusive resorts and vibrant nightlife, Playa del Carmen offers a more relaxed atmosphere with charming beaches, boutique shops, and eclectic dining options.

Map showing the route from Cancun to Playa del Carmen along the Caribbean coastline, highlighting major transport options and landmarks.

Transportation Options

Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Bus (ADO)

The most popular and economical way to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is by bus. The ADO bus company provides frequent services between Cancun International Airport and Playa del Carmen. Buses are air-conditioned, comfortable, and offer free Wi-Fi. The journey typically takes about an hour, depending on traffic conditions, and tickets can be purchased directly at the airport or online in advance.

Cancun to Playa del Carmen by Colectivo

Colectivo vans offer a distinctive and economical travel solution between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Stationed conveniently across from the main ADO bus terminal on Tulum Avenue, these vans cater to travelers seeking efficient and budget-friendly alternatives to buses and taxis.

Get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun by Colectivo

Colectivos are renowned for their continuous service throughout the day, making them a reliable option for those who value flexibility and affordability in their travel plans.

Key Features of Colectivo Services

  • Frequent Departures: Colectivos are characterized by their high frequency of departures, ensuring that passengers rarely have to wait long.
  • Flexible Stops: These vans offer the advantage of stopping at various points along the route, which is ideal for travelers needing to reach specific locations not directly served by regular buses.
  • Cost Efficiency: Colectivos are typically less expensive than other forms of transport, making them a popular choice for cost-conscious travelers. Fares are conveniently paid in cash directly to the driver.
  • Basic Amenities: While amenities are basic, lacking the comfort of luxury tour buses, they meet the needs of travelers looking for a simple, authentic experience.

Services like Playa Express are just one of many colectivo options available, each providing different routes and schedules to suit a variety of travel needs.

Choosing the Right Colectivo

When selecting a colectivo, consider factors such as frequency of service, route flexibility, and fare costs. Travelers should prepare for a more straightforward and local travel experience, which differs significantly from more commercial tourist transportation options.

Is It Safe to Take the Colectivo to Playa del Carmen?

Traveling by colectivo to Playa del Carmen is a common choice for many visitors and locals alike. However, like any form of public transportation, there are several factors to consider ensuring your safety and comfort.

Firstly, colectivos are a shared transportation option, meaning you will be traveling with others, often strangers. This communal travel style is typical in the region and is generally considered safe, but it’s wise to be mindful of your personal belongings and maintain awareness of your surroundings.

Secondly, due to the nature of their service, which adheres to a specific route schedule, colectivo drivers are sometimes perceived as driving too quickly or aggressively. This driving style, intended to maintain timeliness, can feel unsettling to those not accustomed to local driving habits.

Lastly, it's important to note that many colectivo services do not provide passenger insurance in the event of an accident. This lack of insurance means that passengers might not be covered under the colectivo company’s policy, highlighting the need for travelers to have personal travel insurance that covers transportation incidents.

While colectivos offer an authentic and cost-effective way to explore Cancun and Playa del Carmen, passengers should weigh these considerations carefully and always plan for adequate travel insurance when using local transport services.

Cancun to Playa del Carmen By Taxi

Taxis are readily available at Cancun Airport and can be a convenient option for those looking for a direct route to Playa del Carmen. It is advisable to agree on the fare before departure, as rates can vary. The average taxi fare from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is approximately $50 USD, but prices can fluctuate during peak seasons.

Cancun to Playa del Carmen Taxi fare

While taxis offer a convenient and direct route, understanding the fare structure can be crucial for budgeting your trip. Here's a breakdown of factors influencing Cancun to Playa del Carmen taxi costs:

  • Base Fare: There's a baseline rate for the journey, typically around MXN $700 (approximately USD $35).
  • Zone System: Cancun Airport operates under a zone system, where fares increase based on your destination zone in Playa del Carmen.
  • Number of Passengers: Fares are typically per-taxi, not per person. Splitting the cost with fellow travelers can be cost-effective.
  • Time of Day: Surcharges may apply for late-night or early morning taxi rides.
  • Negotiation: It's customary to negotiate the fare with authorized taxi representatives before hopping in. Agree on a fixed price to avoid surprises.

Tips for Using Taxis

  • Look for official taxi stands displaying authorized rates.
  • Confirm the fare upfront and get a receipt.
  • Have small denominations of Mexican Pesos (MXN) for easier payment.
  • Consider using ride-hailing apps like Uber or Didi for potential cost savings and fare transparency (availability may vary).

Shared shuttle Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Shared shuttles are another cost-effective transportation option. These services operate on a scheduled basis and can be booked in advance. They provide door-to-door service from the airport to your hotel in Playa del Carmen. The cost is generally lower than a private taxi and is ideal for solo travelers or couples.

Renting a Car

For those who prefer the freedom to explore at their own pace, renting a car is an excellent choice. Numerous rental agencies are located at Cancun Airport, offering a range of vehicles from economical models to luxury SUVs. The drive to Playa del Carmen is straightforward, following Highway 307 southbound, and provides the flexibility to stop at attractions along the way.

Hotel Transfers

Many hotels and resorts in Playa del Carmen offer airport transfer services. These can be a convenient and stress-free way to get to your accommodation, especially if you're traveling with a lot of luggage or in a group. It's worth checking with your hotel at the time of booking to see if they provide this service, as it can often be included in your room rate or available for a nominal fee.

Choosing the Best Transport Method

Selecting the best mode of transport depends on your budget, comfort level, and travel needs. Buses and shuttles offer the most budget-friendly options, while taxis or rental cars provide more privacy and convenience.

Cost Comparison for Different Group Sizes

  • Solo Travelers: Buses and shared shuttles are the most economical choices.
  • Couples or Small Groups: Shared shuttles or taxis can be cost-effective, particularly if the taxi fare is shared.
  • Larger Groups: Renting a vehicle or arranging a hotel shuttle can be more economical and provide flexibility.

Safety and Practical Tips

  • Safety: Travel during daylight hours if possible, and always use reputable transport services.
  • Practical Tips: Plan your route in advance, especially if driving. Keep local emergency numbers handy and always have a backup plan in case of delays.

Things to Do in Playa del Carmen

Once you arrive in Playa del Carmen, there are numerous activities and attractions to explore. From the vibrant Fifth Avenue, lined with shops and restaurants, to the serene beaches such as Playacar, there is something for everyone. Adventure enthusiasts can visit nearby cenotes for snorkeling and diving or explore ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum or Coba.


  • Q: How long does it take to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
    A: The travel time depends on the mode of transport but typically ranges from 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Q: What is the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
    A: The ADO bus is the most economical option, with fares as low as $10 USD one-way.
  • Q: Are there direct flights from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
    A: No, there are no direct flights given the close proximity of the destinations. Overland travel is the best option.
  • Q: Is it safe to rent a car and drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
    A: Yes, driving is safe as the route is well-traveled and straightforward along Highway 307.


Whether you choose the economical bus, a comfortable taxi, a shared shuttle, or the freedom of a rental car, traveling from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is easy and accessible. Each transport option offers a different experience, tailored to your personal preferences and travel style. Playa del Carmen awaits with its relaxed charm and myriad activities, making it a perfect complement to the dynamic atmosphere of Cancun. Enjoy your travel and make the most of your time in these beautiful Mexican Caribbean destinations!

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