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The Complete Guide to Driving from Cancun to Tulum in 2024

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Hey there, amigos! If you’re planning a trip to Cancun and looking to hit the road for some adventure, driving down to Tulum is the perfect road trip for you. We’ll look at tips for driving from Cancun to Tulum, so you won’t have to break the bank for gas money.

So, buckle up and get ready to ride, because this is no ordinary drive. You’ll be seeing more than just palm trees and ocean views. From funky beach towns to historic ruins and inevitably some gorgeous cenotes, this drive has got it all.

Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

🏨 Accommodation: I recommend Booking.com
✈️ Flights: for the cheapest flights, I use Skyscanner
🚗 Rental Car: I recommend Discover Cars
🛡️ Travel Insurance: for the best deals I rely on SafetyWing

And don’t worry about getting lost, because we’ll be giving you the down-low on the best scenic route from Cancun to Tulum.

Just make sure you’ve got your sunglasses, sunscreen, and your favorite playlist ready to roll, but first, let’s take a look at a few things…

Scroll on to read: The Complete Guide to Driving from Cancun to Tulum in 2024

Table of Contents

This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you use these links.

Essential Yucatan Travel Resources:

For more useful travel information on Yucatan, check out these articles:

Ultimate Yucatan Travel Guide (+ FREE Cheatsheet)
The Perfect Yucatan 1 Week Itinerary
What to Pack for Mexico: Travel Essentials
How to Travel Yucatan on a Budget (+ FREE Cheatsheet)
Where to Stay in Tulum in 2024
The Best Tulum Tours & Excursions

Top Advice:


How to get to Cancun

The main airport is Cancun International Airport (CUN). Click here for airport transfers from Cancun.

Best time to visit Yucatan

There’s a tropical climate in Yucatan, with a rainy and muggy season from June to October, a relatively cool season from November to February, and a hot season from March to May. The highest temperatures are around 40C at peak season, whilst in January it can fall as low as 15C.

What to pack

Plenty of sunblock, t-shirt, vests, casual shorts, swim shorts, flip flops, towel, sunglasses, cap/headwear.For a complete guide on everything you need to pack for Mexico, head over to What to Pack for Mexico: Travel Essentials (+ Free PDF Checklist)
what to pack for mexico

Good to know

Street food is delicious and ridiculously cheap here. So if you’re on a budget, head to the street vendors, especially the ones that attract a lot of locals (and don’t worry – the food is clean and cooked well). It’s also authentic Mexican food – much tastier than the expensive food you’ll find in touristy restaurants.

Make sure you get a SIM card

Purchase your TelCel Mexico SIM card here. Alternatively, you can buy a universal SIM card that isn’t tied to an operator.

The Complete Guide to Driving from Cancun to Tulum in 2024

Essential Information for Driving from Cancun to Tulum

  • Driving from Cancun to Tulum: Distance: We’re talking about a good ol’ fashioned road trip here of about 130 kilometers (or around 81 miles)
cancun tulum google map 1
  • How long does it take to drive from Cancun to Tulum? It’s about 1 hour and 50 minutes (depending on traffic, it could take just over 2 hours during peak times). From Cancun Airport, it takes 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • Cost of gas for driving from Cancun to Tulum? At one way it costs 252 Pesos ($14/£12)
  • Driving from Cancun to Tulum: Traffic Checkpoints: You may encounter some traffic along the way. (mainly because from 2023 there is road construction near Cancun Airport, anticipated to be stretched to more than 12 months)
  • Recommended scenic beach stops on the drive from Cancun to Tulum: Playa Delfines (Cancun), Playa Maroma (Playa del Carmen), Xpu-ha Beach (Puerto Aventuras), Akumal Beach (Akumal) and Tulum Beach (Tulum)

Word of advice: As of March 2023 there is heavy construction work near Cancun airport that is causing major delays. Unfortunately, it’s expected to last well over 1 year.

The Complete Guide to Driving from Cancun to Tulum in 2024 1
Tulum beach
  • Budget-friendly restaurants along the Cancun-Tulum route: El Pollo Bronco (several locations along the highway), Taqueria La Eufemia – located on the beach in Tulum, Antojitos La Chiapaneca: This family-owned restaurant in Playa del Carmen, Los Aguachiles -popular seafood spot in Tulum.

Download your FREE Yucatan Travel Cheatsheet

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Driving from Cancun to Tulum: Safety

Safe driving tips for the Cancun-Tulum route: Keep your eyes peeled: Be on the lookout for unexpected obstacles like potholes or speed bumps, and watch out for pedestrians crossing the road. Take it slow and steady: Make sure you have your Cancun to Tulum road trip itinerary – it’s better to arrive safely than not at all. Also, watch out for speed traps and traffic checkpoints (cops) along the way.

Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum at night? Driving from Cancun to Tulum at night is generally not recommended due to poor lighting, wildlife hazards, and security concerns.

Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum in 2023? Yes, it is quite safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum. Just follow the advice in this post and you’ll have a safe and smooth journey like you would in any other developed country.
Essential Item: As you may know, the water out the taps in Mexico is not recommended to drink. Carrying a Water-to-Go Filter Bottle will help keep you safe by filtering any water you put into it. It will also save you money and help save the planet from plastic waste (bonus!) Get 15% off your order when you checkout with the code: GIVEME15

How to Get from Cancun to Tulum: 6 Best Transportation Options

Please note: Uber at Cancun Airport (and in all of Mexico) is not available so you are limited to choosing from the options below.

1. Renting a Car to Drive from Cancun to Tulum: If you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore the beautiful coastline at your own pace, renting a car might be your best bet. Plus, you’ll have the freedom to stop at any of the stunning beaches or delicious taco stands along the way.  I always use Discover Cars because it allows me to comapre the best car rental companies for driving from Cancun to Tulum and see detailed reviews of car condiiton, efficiency, ease of pick, and overall value.

2. Using the ADO Bus from Cancun to Tulum: The ADO Bus is a popular option for those looking for comfort and convenience at a price tag of 340 pesos ($19/£16) The buses are air-conditioned and equipped with comfy seats, so you can relax and enjoy the scenic ride. The buses leave frequently from the Cancun bus station, and the ride takes about 2 hours. You can book your tickets below:

The Complete Guide to Driving from Cancun to Tulum in 2024 2

3. Getting a Colectivo from Cancun to Tulum: Colectivos are shared vans that run along the highway from Cancun to Tulum. They’re a great option if you’re on a budget (130 pesos which is $7/£6), and they run frequently throughout the day. Just be prepared for a crowded ride, and make sure you know where to catch them.

4. Getting a Taxi from Cancun to Tulum: Taxis are always available in Cancun, and they can take you directly to Tulum. However, they can be expensive, so make sure you negotiate the price beforehand, and in cash – expect this to be around 2,000 pesos, approx $110/£93.

5. Private Transfer: Want to travel in luxury? A private transfer might be the way to go. You’ll have your own personal driver who will pick you up from your hotel in Cancun and take you directly to your hotel in Tulum. Not only is it perfect for avoiding the hassle of public transportation, it’s also cheaper than getting a taxi. Again, be sure to book in advance.

6. Bicycle: Feeling active? Renting a bicycle is a great way to explore the beautiful coastline and soak up the sun. Just be prepared for a long ride, as it’s about a 120 km journey from Cancun to Tulum, yes it’s a long option but… if you have what it takes, why not!

One of many cenotes around Tulum

Top attractions to visit when driving from Cancun to Tulum

Venture Park

Attraction park packed with adrenaline and adventure – from zip lines to rollercoasters, and wave pools to swimming with dolphins.📍Book your tickets here

Mayan Ruins tours (Tulum, Chichen Itza)

Take a private tour of the Mayan ruins in Tulum and around the Yucatan, including the iconic Chichen Itza coupled with Valladolid. Whether a half-day or full day tour, use the widget below to book a tour that suits you:

Xel-Ha Adventure Waterpark

Book an all-inclusive day trip at the sprawling Xel-Ha waterpark near Tulum that’s jam-packed with exciting activities, exotic animals, and swimming with dolphins, perfect for all the family.📍Book your tickets here

Cenotes swimming, snorkel with turtles, and ATV tours 

Book a guided tour that combines activities such as swimming in cenotes, snorkeling with turtles, ziplining, ATV tours, ruins, and more! Select your options from the widget below:

Xenotes Oasis Maya Adventure Park

Book an all-inclusive day trip at the Cenotes Oasis Maya paradise that’s got everything from ziplining, abseiling, swimming in cenotes, kayaking, cliff-jumping, and more!📍Book your tickets here
Zip-wiring over cenotes in Mexico

Wrap up: Driving from Cancun to Tulum in 2024

And that’s a wrap… driving from Cancun to Tulum in 2024 might seem like a challenge, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing all the beauty this journey has to offer.

Remember to keep an eye out for those pesky speed bumps and potholes, and watch out for the occasional cow crossing. And let’s not forget about the infamous Mexican drivers – just keep your cool and avoid any road rage, and you’ll be just fine.

If you’re not quite ready for a road trip, lets go for alternative transportation options that are available –  from private shuttles to budget-friendly buses. No matter what you choose, the journey is one you won’t forget – the road from Cancun to Tulum offers breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and lush jungle.

So sit back, buckle up, grab some snacks, and enjoy the ride!

Where to Stay in Tulum:

Driving from Cancun to Tulum: FAQs

How much does it cost to hire a private driver from Cancun to Tulum?

The cost of hiring a private driver from Cancun to Tulum can vary depending on the provider and type of vehicle. Prices can range from around $50 to $150 USD.

Where can I find a reliable private driver for the Cancun to Tulum route?

There are many private transportation companies that operate in Cancun and Tulum. You can find them online through a search engine or by asking your hotel or travel agent for recommendations.

How long does it take to drive from Cancun to Tulum?

It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to drive from Cancun to Tulum, depending on traffic and the route taken.

Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum?

Yes, it is generally safe to drive from Cancun to Tulum. The highway is well-maintained, and there are plenty of signs and gas stations along the way. However, it is important to drive defensively and follow traffic rules.

Is it possible to travel from Cancun to Tulum by boat?

While there are some boat tours that go from Cancun to Tulum, it is not a common or practical mode of transportation. The distance is too far for a typical boat, and there are no direct ferry services between the two locations.

Are there shuttle services available from Cancun to Tulum?

Yes, there are several shuttle services that operate between Cancun and Tulum. These services can be booked online or through a travel agency, and prices can vary depending on the provider.

How long does it take to travel from Cancun to Tulum by car?

It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to drive from Cancun to Tulum, depending on traffic and the route taken.

Is there a bus service from Cancun to Tulum?

Yes, there is a bus service operated by ADO that runs from Cancun to Tulum. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and the buses are comfortable and air-conditioned. Tickets can be purchased online or at the bus station.