turquoise blue waters showing a Playa Del Carmen beach shoreline / Cancun to Playa Del Carmen

How to Get from Cozumel to Tulum, Mexico

Are you staying in Cozumel and looking to visit Tulum? Here is how to get from Cozumel to Tulum (or the other way around) easily, safely and cheaply!

There are five different ways to get from Cozumel to Tulum.

The first thing to factor into your plans is whether you’re visiting Tulum for the day or staying there overnight.

Because you must catch the ferry back to Cozumel from Playa Del Carmen after your day trip to Tulum, if you only visit for the day — Plan Accordingly!

Once you’ve decided whether to visit Tulum for the day or stay there overnight, time to discuss how to get from Cozumel to Tulum!

This detailed transportation guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to get from Cozumel to Tulum and a few tips/tricks for your trip!

Google map showing distance and way from how to get from Cozumel to Tulum
Credit: Goole Maps

How to Get from Cozumel to Tulum: 5 Ways

The distance between Cozumel and Tulum is approximately 80km, both located in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico.

All 5 ways from Cozumel to Tulum will involve a Ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen.

The only difference in each way is your transportation choice, and this will depend on your budget and how much time you have to travel.

These are the 5 different ways by ferry + transportation methods for how to get from Cozumel to Tulum.

  • Ferry and ADO Bus
  • Ferry and Shared Shuttle
  • Ferry and Private Transporation
  • Ferry and Rent a Car
  • Private Tours from Cozumel to Tulum

The cheapest way to get from Cozumel to Tulum is by Ferry + ADO Bus.

The most convenient way if you’re in a group of people or with your family is Ferry + Private Transporation.

The most convenient way, if you’re making a day trip to get from Cozumel to Tulum is by Private Tour.

Is it safe to take a bus in Mexico? Yes, it is safe; you have nothing to worry about. ADO is the largest bus travel company in Mexico and operates throughout Mexico.

The ADO buses are safe, reliable, and modern; I’ve used them to travel all over Mexico. ADO Bus is similar to Greyhound in the US and Flix Bus if you’re from Europe!

If you’re leaving Cozumel with your luggage and plan on going to Tulum, a great way to get to Tulum from Cozumel is by Ferry + Car Rental.

That’s because it’s challenging to get around Tulum, so not only will you use the car rental to get there, but you will also use it there!

Use Discovery Cars for your car rental; they’re the easiest and cheapest company!

several tourist lined up getting ready to get on the ferry from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen

Cozumel Ferry Information

Here is some important information about the Cozumel ferry operating between Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen.

Ferries from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen operate daily from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Ferries from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel operate daily from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

Between Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen, two main ferry companies operate.

Ultramar and Winjet are both similar, I’ve taken both, and there’s no difference. Whichever ferry is leaving soonest at your convenience, take it! – Check Cozumel Ferry Schedule

Book Ferry Tickets

Ferry COST: The ferry costs between $10-$13 US per Adult for each way. For a roundtrip booking, expect to pay $20-$25 US per Adult. You should purchase a single ticket so you don’t have a set time, just in case plans change throughout the day.

You don’t have to worry about being unable to return to Cozumel. There’s always room on the ferries to return; make sure you know the last ferry to Cozumel from Playa Del Carmen is at 10:00 PM daily.

While on the ferry, go outside and look at the beautiful views. If you have sea sickness, I’d advise staying inside because the trip can sometimes be choppy!

How Long is the ferry from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen?

Consider the time it takes to board the ferry, leave the port, and deboard; it will take around 45 minutes. However, the actual ferry ride is only 30 minutes long.

NOTE: No ferry operates between Cozumel and Tulum. The only ferry from Cozumel is between Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen. Once in Playa Del Carmen, you must take the bus, shared shuttle, drive, or hire a driver to get to Tulum.

Ferry and ADO Bus

a large ADO Bus driving in the streets of Mexico
Credit: Ado Bus

The ADO Bus is the cheapest and most popular way to travel from Cozumel to Tulum.

Once you’ve arrived at Playa Del Carmen ferry terminal from Cozumel, you must walk to the ADO Bus Station in Playa Del Carmen.

The ADO Bus station is very close to the ferry terminal, don’t worry, you don’t have to walk far! – The ADO Station is on 5th Avenue Street, opposite the large Mcdonald’s.

Buying a ticket at the ADO Bus station can be challenging at times; you should know basic Spanish to try and do this. To avoid any complications – Book ADO Tickets in Advance

I’ve used the ADO Buses all over Mexico and never had a problem; they’re comfortable, clean, and modern. The buses have WIFI on board, but it can sometimes be laggy.

From Playa Del Carmen to Tulum, the bus ride will take roughly 1 Hour and 15 Minutes, depending on the traffic on the main Highway 307. Sit back, relax, or nap, and get ready to explore Tulum!

Once you arrive in Tulum via the ADO Bus, you will get dropped off at the Tulum ADO Centro station in Tulum Town. This is the city center area of Tulum.

It would be best to take a taxi to your hotel or hostel. Walking with luggage from the bus station is something I’d advise against; the roads in Tulum are underdeveloped!

Taxis are costly in Tulum, and there is UBER, but it’s unsafe to take. If you want more information on Taxis in Tulum, please refer to my How to get around Tulum guide; I will share some tips to avoid being overcharged by taxis!

Ferry and Shared Shuttle

For those who prefer not to drive or take a bus, a shared shuttle bus is available for traveling from Cozumel to Tulum.

This is an excellent option for small groups who want to travel together and enjoy the scenery along the way.

The shared shuttle minibus vans seat around 12 people, which you will share with your small group or others coming from Cancun Airport going to Tulum.

Book your Ferry from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen for a morning departure. That way, you will have time to get breakfast in Playa Del Carmen before taking the Shared Shuttle to Tulum.

When you take a Shared Shuttle, you will get to skip the hassle of the ADO Bus, and if you’re in a small group, it’s more convenient to keep everyone together, family-friendly for sure!

Ferry and Private Transporation

various vehicle types you can book for transportation from Cancun Airport

Consider a private transfer for the most comfortable transportation option to Tulum from Playa Del Carmen.

A private transfer offers the convenience of a stress-free trip and is the perfect option if you’re in a group or simply looking to be in a vehicle alone.

Booking a private transfer also means you’ll have a private driver, meaning you can choose your departure time.

Private transfers tend to operate 24/7 daily, so there’s that extra convenience.

Private transfers offer a variety of options to suit different needs and preferences.

From spacious minivans that fit up to 12 people or luxury cars, private transfers can provide a comfortable and convenient transportation to Tulum from Playa Del Carmen.

However, you still need to take the ferry from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen first, and from there, your private transfer/driver will be waiting for you!

While private transportation is the most comfortable and convenient way, regarding all methods for how to get to Tulum from Cozumel, it’s also the most expensive way.

Ferry and Car Rental

Renting a car is a convenient option for traveling from Cozumel to Tulum. After taking the ferry to Playa Del Carmen, you can easily rent a car and hit the road.

The drive from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum is straightforward because the entire drive is on one road, the main Highway 307, which runs along the Riviera Maya coastline. So if you’re up to drive to Tulum, don’t worry; it’s easy!

When driving between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, the distance is 65km and should take only 1 Hour.

If you have time to spare, you can stop halfway in Akumal, a small town famous for snorkeling with sea turtles, and conveniently, it’s on the way to Tulum! Akumal is between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. Or stop at a cenote or two along the way!

Another reason why it’s a great idea to rent a car and drive to Tulum is because you could use one in Tulum.

Areas in Tulum are spread out, the city center is not close to the beach, and different attractions are far from one another. For the most part, the only way to get around Tulum is by either car or taxi.

Be sure to check all documentation before leaving, and check the car’s condition before driving. I recommend you take a video of the car to have proof of its original condition.

For those looking to explore the region, renting a car is an ideal form of transportation in this list of all methods for how to get to Tulum from Cozumel!

Tours from Cozumel to Tulum

Going on a tour is an excellent way to get from Cozumel to Tulum. Attending a guided tour provides complete convenience and eliminates the hassle of organizing anything on your own!

You can either attend one of the many tours operating from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum daily or speak to tour operators and set up a private tour.

Recommended Top-Rated Cozumel to Tulum tour

Tulum has many attractions, ruins, temples, cenotes, the famous Tulum Beach, and more!

If you’re visiting Cozumel and your time is limited but would like to visit Tulum, a tour of Tulum from Cozumel is an excellent idea.

You don’t have to spend time planning anything, and you’ll get to see Tulum!

How to Get Around Tulum

You know all the ways how to get from Cozumel to Tulum. Now let’s discuss how to get around Tulum.

Different areas are spread out from one another in Tulum; you may look at the map and think, “Oh I can walk there” and then when you check, it’s an hour’s walk, not short!

Tulum’s most common transportation methods are bikes, taxis, or driving around.

Taxis being the most common in Tulum, read my guide on how to get around Tulum; I’ve highlighted many important tips you need to know!

a sandy trail leading to the Tulum North Beach area showing clear blue skies, palm trees and turquoise blue waters
Tulum North Beach

How Many Days do you Need in Tulum?

It all depends on the experience you’re looking to have. I recommend visiting Tulum for at least 2-3 days.

This will give you enough time to check out Tulum Town, spend a day at a Tulum Beach Club, and see the Mayan Ruins and cenotes here.

If you want to visit Tulum and get a feel for the town, I recommend spending 6-12 days here.

RELATED: Best Restaurants in Tulum (including some Cheap Eats in Tulum)

Where to Stay in Tulum

Tulum has three different areas to choose from, and because Tulum isn’t walkable, each area has its pros/cons; you should choose wisely.

Staying in Centro Tulum, is more budget-friendly, and you’ll be closer to shops/restaurants and the ADO Bus station. By the way, Tulum Town and Centro Tulum are the same place.

Staying by the beach in the Hotel Zone area in Tulum is nice, but it will cost you more!

Tulum Beach: For those who want to be close to the beach, the downside is other than fancy restaurants, staying here means you’re further from most things in Tulum.

Aldea Zama: This is the most popular area in Tulum; it’s in the middle between Centro Tulum and the beach; staying here means you’re close to both main areas of Tulum.

Centro Tulum: Staying here means you’re close to all the restaurants, bars, shops, and more. It’s very convenient, but you will be furthest from the beach among these three areas.

Trees and two chairs surrounding a Jacuzzi in Aldea Zama Tulum, Mexico
Tulum Rental in Aldea Zama
Is there a direct ferry from Cozumel to Tulum?

Unfortunately, there is no direct ferry from Cozumel to Tulum. You must take the ferry from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen and then make your way to Tulum.

How long does it take to travel from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum?

From Playa Del Carmen, it takes 1 to 2 hours to reach Tulum, depending on your transportation and the traffic.

Can you fly directly to Tulum Mexico?

At the moment, you cannot fly directly into Tulum. Tulum plans to build an airport, but it doesn’t seem likely to be finished anytime soon!

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