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Getting from Cancun to Playa del Carmen (and return)

Playa del Carmen, a coastal resort town in Mexico, is at the center of the Mayan Riviera. Located about 70 km from Cancun and 20 km from Cozumel , the town has a distinct European flavor and a more relaxed atmosphere than the other resorts in the area.

Quick summary

In the past it used to be tricky and expensive to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. But not anymore. You can get to Playa del Carmen direct from Cancun International Airport either by bus (public or private), taxi or rental car. The same options are available from downtown Cancun. The cheapest way to travel is the public bus.

Buses from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

The closest international airport to Playa del Carmen is Cancun International Airport (CUN), from which you can take the public or private bus. The public buses are operated by Riviera and the buses leave from outside the main hall. Single adult tickets are 65 pesos (about US$7) and you can buy them from the Riviera counter within the airport. There are 11 buses per day , every hour, with the first departure at 10:30 a.m.

There are also buses which depart from Cancun , but please note that they don’t leave from the hotel zone. The bus stop is in downtown Cancun and the buses are operated by ADO. There are buses every 15 minutes until 9 p.m. and every hour until after midnight. You can check the schedule here (Spanish only).

There are also numerous private companies which offer service from the airport to Playa del Carmen. They take you directly to the hotel and you must reserve a seat in advance.

Colectivo and taxi from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Colectivo is usually a van, which will take up to 10 persons. Tickets work out to about US$18 per person but there isn’t a schedule. Basically, you get a ticket from any of the TTC kiosks and wait until the colectivo is full to justify the trip. It may stop in other resorts, so there’s no way to tell how long the trip would take.

The other option is to get a taxi. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the airport to Playa del Carmen and you should pay about US$65.

Driving from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

A good idea is to rent a car at the airport and drive to Playa del Carmen, thus not having to deal with bus schedules and taxi fares.

Playa del Carmen is located about 55.5 km from Cancun International Airport and the trip should be completed in about 45 minutes. If you leave from downtown Cancun, the driving distance is about 70 km and you should be able to cover it in less than an hour.

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