We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Getting to Tulum on My Own

Which Playa del Carmen hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Maryland
Level Contributor
125 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Getting to Tulum on My Own

So I've spent a few weeks researching the forums here to find the best ways to get to Tulum. For the sake of saving as much money as possible, and not having time restrictions, I decided to skip the tour and try to get there myself.

I've read so many things, cabs, collectivos, ADO, and my head is spinning. Can anyone tell me the easiest and cheapest way to get to Tulum from GRP? I realize that I'll probably have to go into PDC before anything else though.

I am just terrified I'm going to get lost!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Yucatan Peninsula
Level Contributor
19,185 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

I have no idea what GRP is (an all inclusive no doubt but I'd have no clue where it is in relation to Playa) but its very easy to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum by bus.

There was a lot of debate here so all I can tell you is what I found out based on first hand experiece in March. The ADO (first class) buses run regularly from the OLD terminal in Playa - on 5th Avenue and Avenida Juarez. They could leave from the new terminal too. When I was going in the am, they were pretty much every hour until about noon - then they get more sparse. The Mayab bus is fine too - you may make all of 5 minutes more in stops. Its air conditioned, but no bathroom.

If you're going to the ruins, ask the driver to tell you when you are at Tulum Ruinas. If you're going to the actual town of Tulum, the bus will pull into the station and let you off. You'll come to the ruins before the station so keep your ears open after you pass Akumal.

You can also take the collectivo if you're just going for the day without luggage.

Maryland
Level Contributor
125 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

Thank you evening. I'll make note of everything. I do plan to go for the day (without luggage), and from what I've read many people say to take the ADO rather than the collectivo. I hope this is all as easy as it sounds!

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Playa del Carmen
Level Contributor
2,282 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

If you dont mind a bit of a walk through the town of playa you can just walk out of your resort to 5th ave, turn left and walk down 5th ave to the bus station. Its across from the McDonalds. You will not get lost, unless you have your eyes closed LOL. If you start to freak out about it, just ask anyone almost everyone speaks english. Before you start your journey, make sure the ruins are open. If they are, bring your swim suit, have to swim there its awesome.

Maryland
Level Contributor
125 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

Thanks chigal! It does seem easy enough and will save me a heck of a lot of money. And I can't wait to swim there. That's one of the main reasons I am skipping the tour--so I can just hang out on the beach.

I've read that the public beach at Tulum is not in the same area as the ruins. How far is it? Walking distance?

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Beach Vacations
Level Contributor
1,654 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

I just got back from my first trip to PDC and did a daytrip from PDC to Tulum on my own. I was going to take the Mayab (2nd class) bus since it would stop near the Tulum ruins (my understanding is that the ADO (1st class) buses only stop at the station in town), but when I got to the bus station in PDC (5th and Jaurez), they were not following the schedule on the website, so I decided to take the collectivo rather than wait an hour for the next Mayab bus. The collectivo was 35 pesos each way (I think Mayab is 28 pesos each way, and the ADO is about 50 or so pesos); admission to the ruins was 51 pesos). I just walked around the ruins myself and read a few signs, but if you want more information, you can pay guides. FYI, I was a little concerned about using the collectivo based on some of the things I read on TripAdvisor, but I thought it was fine (clean, operational), and it had a mix of tourists and locals. I also took the collectivo back to PDC. They have collectivo vans waiting near the intersection of the road to the ruins and highway 307. The only negative on the return was waiting about 30 minutes until the van filled with passengers (but at least sitting in the A/C bus was better than standing by the highway). Overall, it was very easy and inexpensive (and I don't even speak Spanish).

St Paul, MN
Destination Expert
for Playa del Carmen
Level Contributor
12,202 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

You can see a map of Tulum on this web site. The beach beneath the ruins is very nice, but the cliffs (just to the right of the ruins) and the usually angry sea don't allow you to get around to the beach in Tulum. All the coastline is open to the public.

http://www.sac-be.com/maps_travel.shtml

Maryland
Level Contributor
125 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

Thanks so much beachdreams2. I could kiss you right now! Nice to know that you felt confident enough to use a mix of transportation. That makes me feel a lot better. I just checked out the travelyucatan.com website (which is where I assume you found the bus schedule you mentioned?) and there is some great information about the bus systems there.

Thanks OldTraveller3! I guess I was wrong about them being a distance away. Thats a good thing!

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Beach Vacations
Level Contributor
1,654 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

PinkLuxe,

I used every mode of transportation (except driving a car myself) during my trip and managed fine. About the beach, that was my primary purpose in going to Tulum (I figured I would do a quick walk-through of the ruins since I was there). I strongly encourage you to go beyond the beach right at the ruins. You can walk to the north part of Tulum beaches or take a cab there or to the south Tulum beaches. I walked to El Parasaio beach club, and that was a great beach. I heard the beaches further south were nice too, but unfortunately, I didn't get to them.

Here are some instructions I copied from a post before my trip about accessing the beach from the ruins:

"...you can take a cab on the short 5 minute ride to the Tulum beaches OR when standing outside the Tulum temple wall waiting for the tram pick up, look to your left and notice a long road heading into the jungle. If you walk down that road, in 3/4 mile you'll reach El Paraiso (cut out to the beach as soon as you find a way, or at Zacil Kin, whichever comes first)".

Getting around PDC is really easy because the streets are a logical grid system. The only thing that confused me a little bit once was that Jaurez is the divider between north and south, so the numbered streets repeat (kind of like in in Washington, DC but not nearly as confusing because it is just north and south)!

Dallas, TX
Level Contributor
470 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

My only thing to add is that the ADO stop for the Tulum ruins is on the side of the main highway. You must cross the highway on foot, so just beware. It's a bit disconcerting if you aren't expecting to just hop out of the bus. I'm sure there were some signs, I just never saw them b/c we sat on the left side of the bus.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Playa del Carmen
Level Contributor
2,282 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Getting to Tulum on My Own

You walk down the long staircase at the ruins and your at the beach. Its gorgeous!!