Are you trying to figure out how to get from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen? There are five transportation methods you can use to get from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen and back.
How Far is Playa Del Carmen from Cancun Airport?
The total distance from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen is 68km (42 miles); without traffic, it’s around 50 minutes drive time; with traffic, it’s a few minutes over an hour.
Not all Cancun to Playa Del Carmen transportation options are suited for everyone. For example, if you’re with a large group of friends or with a family, taking a private airport transfer is a better idea than, say, taking the ADO bus.
Those considering a taxi from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen, unless you’ve booked it in advance, I wouldn’t bother because of possible price gauging from taxi drivers at Cancun airport.
NOTE: I will mention the newly built Mayan Train in this list
One of the best ways to get to Playa Del Carmen from Cancun International Airport or the city center (Centro) of Cancun is by using the ADO Bus.
ADO is one of the largest bus companies in Mexico, and they offer travel all over the country throughout various cities.
You can go almost anywhere in Mexico with ADO buses. They offer many routes throughout Mexico.
For those from North America, the ADO bus is like Greyhound Buses. And for those from Europe, it’s similar to Flix Bus.
Book your ticket in advance. You can purchase a ticket at some ADO stations, but booking in advance is wise. You can bring luggage on the ADO bus; each passenger is allowed a backpack and suitcase.
To catch the ADO Bus from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen, first, make sure what Terminal you should go to; the Terminal number is shown on your bus ticket purchased.
There are Terminals 2, 3, and 4 at Cancun Airport. Make your way there once you walk outside the airport, and ask people there if you need clarification.
If you’re leaving from downtown Cancun, head to the ADO Centro station. From there, check the board stating which stand you should go to for your bus departure to Playa Del Carmen.
COST: $10 – $16 US Per Passenger Each Way
TIME: 1 Hour and a Half from the Airport – 1 hour from Centro
Why Take ADO Bus?
You should take the ADO bus because it’s the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen. It’s the most budget-friendly option!
It’s not the most convenient because you must make your way in Playa Del Carmen from the station to your destination with luggage, but Playa Del Carmen is very walkable, and it’s likely your hotel booking shouldn’t be too far from the ADO Playa Del Carmen station!
Private Airport Transfer
The best and most convenient way to get from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen is by private airport transfer.
Not only is it the fastest way to get to Playa Del Carmen from Cancun Airport, but the convenience of space for luggage, a private English-speaking driver, and hotel drop off.
You won’t have to worry about catching a bus or timing; they leave on your time, so if you’re stuck waiting for your luggage, it’s not a problem when you’ve got a private transfer!
If your flight is delayed, your driver will wait for you if your plane lands late. So you won’t have to worry about anything, there are many conveniences when booking a private airport transfer.
COST: $80 US or $16 US Per Person Each Way (5 passengers)
TIME: 1 Hour
Why Take a Private Airport Transfer?
You should take a private transfer from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen for several reasons. If you’re with a group of friends or with your family, it’s nice to have a private ride on the way to Playa Del Carmen.
Also, I’d assume you have a fair share of suitcases with you. Your own vehicle with a driver will have lots of room for that!
It’s door-to-door service; you get there, and your driver is waiting for you to take you right to your hotel in Playa Del Carmen. Nothing to worry about, no hassles whatsoever. The peace of mind is convenient, especially when traveling with a group or family.
A Private Airport Transfer is the Fastest method from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen.
Suppose you’re debating between taking the bus, a private taxi, or a shuttle.
Remember that once you get to the ADO bus station in Playa Del Carmen, you either have to take a $200-300 Mexican pesos ($10-15US) taxi to your hotel from the bus station or walk for 20/30 minutes (depending on where your hotel is) with your luggage.
Another great affordable to get from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen is by shared shuttle. A shared shuttle will take you right to your hotel in Playa Del Carmen, and the cost is only slightly higher than the ADO Bus!
The shared shuttle carries up to 12 passengers. They have plenty of room for your luggage. That said, usually only 1 piece of luggage is allowed, but sometimes they’ll accommodate more if the van isn’t full.
Expect seats to be full when taking a shared shuttle. It’s a popular transportation option from the airport. As stated earlier, it’s both an affordable and convenient way to get from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun International Airport.
Your transportation time will vary depending on where guests stay in your shared shuttle. On the way to Playa Del Carmen from Cancun are other popular beach areas, such as Puerto Morelos and Playa Paraiso.
But once you get to Playa Del Carmen, guest dropoffs should be quick because everything is close to each other in Playa Del Carmen.
COST: $20 US Per Passenger Each Way
TIME: 1 – 2 Hours
Why Take a Shared Shuttle?
If you’re a solo traveler or coming with your partner, it’s much cheaper than taking a Private Shuttle; with a private shuttle, it will cost you much more because you aren’t splitting the cost with friends. A shared shuttle will be cheaper.
Take a shared shuttle also if you’re looking for convenience, unlike the ADO bus that will drop you off at the ADO station in Playa Del Carmen.
A shared shuttle will take you directly to your hotel with your luggage. Remember, if you take the ADO bus, you must go to your hotel or get a $10-$15 US taxi to your hotel or walk.
Renting a Car from Cancun Airport
Renting a car from Cancun Airport is a great idea if you want to explore the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan region.
But if you’re coming here for vacation and you prefer to explore in a group on tours or take other forms of transportation from place to place, then a car rental won’t make sense for you.
There are many great places to visit nearby Playa Del Carmen, only a 2-4 hour drive away. And if you’d like to explore these other places, this is when a car rental is quite convenient.
Here are places/cities you can visit easily with a car rental in Playa Del Carmen.
Valladolid – 2 Hours Drive / Famous for restaurants, cenotes and being close to Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza – 2.5 Hours Drive / Famous as the historical Mayan City
Bacalar – 3.5 Hours Drive / Famous for the Bacalar Lagoon, nature, cenotes, and more
Merida – 3.5 Hours Drive / The capital of the Yucatan and the best food city in the region
Sisal – 4.5 Hours Drive / Quiet port beach town, very affordable to visit
On that note, if you’ve read my extensive guide on Playa Del Carmen, you’ll know that a car rental when visiting Playa Del Carmen doesn’t make sense, and that’s because the city is very walkable. You can get anywhere in around 20/30 minutes on foot! – And if you don’t feel like walking, taxis are everywhere.
Knowing some places you will drive to have Toll Road Highways (costing around 20US per way) is essential.
Discover Cars is great; you can book everything in advance, and they will search for the best possible deal for the type of vehicle you’re looking for.
COST: Depends on Vehicle Type and Insurance Purchase
TIME: 1 Hour
Why Rent a Car?
You love to explore and want to explore on your own time. As mentioned, there’s a lot to see in this part of Mexico, and the Quintana Roo and Yucatan regions are full of many great things to see and do.
Mayan Train from Cancun Airport
The Mayan Train from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen is another easy way to get from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen.
Tren Maya, or Mayan Train, operates in five different states on this side of Mexico. Two of those states are both the Yucatan and Quintana Roo regions.
Many tourism agencies have heard approximately $30-$50 US (500-1000 pesos) per ticket, depending on the distance traveled. Tickets will be organized within the Tren Maya app.
Luggage passenger information and ticket costs still need to be answered. You can view my updated Mayan Train guide for more in-depth info.
COST: Currently Unknown
TIME: Estimate – 45 minutes
Why Take the Mayan Train?
Once completed, it will be the fastest and most convenient way to get to Playa Del Carmen. No other form of transportation on this list even comes close.
The critical question is the cost; this will determine whether many take it or not—factoring in both time/convenience and the cost of the ticket to get to Playa from Cancun.
Getting from Playa del Carmen to Cancun Airport
You’re all finished with your trip to Playa Del Carmen and are now looking to return to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen.
Here are your options, from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun International Airport.
ADO Bus to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen
You can book your ADO Bus ticket from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun Airport and make sure you go to the right station. Playa Del Carmen has two ADO bus stations.
Mayan Train to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen
Once more details about the Mayan Train are released, I will update this article about all you need to know for going from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun Airport by train.
Shuttle (Private) to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen
If you didn’t purchase a roundtrip booking when initially booking a private shuttle. Please feel free to Book your Private Shuttle Here.
Shuttle (Shared) to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen
Book your Shared Shuttle Here.
Drive to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen (Car Rental)
Taxi to Cancun from Playa Del Carmen
If you’re in a rush and have yet to make any reservations for a ride back to the airport, you can always take a taxi from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun Airport, but there are some things you should be aware of before you do so.
Most taxi drivers will likely give you an inflated price. So you have to negotiate your way to a reasonable price often.
A fair price for a taxi from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun Airport is between 1,100 to 1,300 Mexican pesos ($60-$70 US). Please don’t take a taxi entirely if you don’t want to do this.
If you speak with a Taxi driver and get to a reasonable price, please confirm the agreed-upon price with the driver before taking the taxi. This is important. Also, could you confirm with them that this price is WITH toll fees included?
Is there Uber in Mexico?
Uber was not operating in Cancun and this region of Mexico because of a lawsuit by taxi unions.
But recently, in early 2023, that changed with a critical court hearing allowing UBER to operate within the region.
That being said, Uber drivers cannot go to Cancun International Airport, so taking Uber to Cancun Airport or leaving the Airport using Uber is not an option.
Fastest Way to Get from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen
Both methods will take around an hour to get to your hotel in Playa Del Carmen.
Cancun to Playa Del Carmen – Final Thoughts
There you have it; those are all the transportation methods to get from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen.
Once you arrive at Cancun International Airport, it’s usually quite chaotic and busy, especially during the high season from November to April.
So it’s best to have some sort of transportation reservation prior to making your way to Mexico. There are many on-demand transportation services at the airport, but sometimes you’ll run into a few scams, unfortunately.
What is the best way to get to Playa Del Carmen?
Is there a new train from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
Yes, the Mayan Train operates along the Riviera Maya, and you can take it from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen.
Is there a shuttle from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen?
Yes, there is. Nexus operates a frequent airport shuttle from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen.
How do you get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
There are many ways; you can take the ADO Bus, a taxi, or the Mayan Train.
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