There are a few different ways to travel from Cozumel to Tulum. In this post, I’ll describe each one and give you all of the information you need to help you get there safely and easily.
I’ve spent several months in Mexico and am familiar with all of the main methods of transportation around the Yucatan peninsula.
It’s really easy to travel to Tulum from Cozumel. However, the best form of transport for you will probably depend on a few factors, including your budget, time constraints, and preferences.
Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. I’ll go over all of the different options so that you can decide which one is best for you.
Different ways to travel from Cozumel to Tulum (or Tulum to Cozumel)
Here are the main ways to get from Cozumel to Tulum:
- Travel by passenger ferry
- Catch the bus
- Take a taxi
- Drive yourself
- Take a private transfer
- Shared shuttle
- Join an organised tour
- Take a colectivo
- Car ferry
Read on for more information on each of these transportation options.
If you need to travel in the other direction, from Tulum to Cozumel, the info is the same.
Check out this post for some useful Spanish phrases for travel.
1. Travel by passenger ferry
Unfortunately, there is no direct ferry from Cozumel to Tulum.
However, whichever method you choose to get from Cozumel to Tulum, first you need to take the ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, on the mainland.
Ultramar and Winjet both operate several passenger ferries per day throughout the year, weather permitting.
Ferries depart from the main pier in the centre of San Miguel de Cozumel – the Cozumel ferry terminal is here, on Google Maps. The journey takes about 45 minutes and is usually fairly smooth and easy.
Tickets cost 150-250 MXN (about $8-13 USD) each way, depending on the month and the time of day.
You can buy tickets on the day at the port. However, I recommend that you book your ferry tickets online beforehand. Booking in advance will help to ensure you get the best price and have a seat reserved.
2. Catch the bus
Taking the bus is one of the most affordable ways to get from Cozumel to Tulum.
First, you’ll need to take the ferry from San Miguel de Cozumel to Playa del Carmen (see above). Then, you can catch a bus from Playa direct to Tulum.
There are a few different bus companies to choose from, including ADO, Mayab, and Primera Plus. Each of these companies operates comfortable coaches with air conditioning, and many vehicles have WiFi.
The ADO bus station in Playa del Carmen is conveniently located here (Google Maps). It’s a 2-minute walk (250 metres) from the ferry terminal.
Once you reach Tulum, you can take a taxi or walk to your accommodation, depending on where it is.
Bus tickets usually cost around 150 MXN ($8 USD) each way and can be reserved online. You can also buy them from the bus station in Playa del Carmen. The journey typically takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
3. Take a taxi
Taking a taxi is one of the most convenient ways to travel from Cozumel to Tulum, Quintana Roo, although it’s also one of the priciest options.
As with taking the bus, first, you need to catch the ferry from San Miguel de Cozumel to Playa del Carmen Port. From here, you won’t have any trouble finding a taxi to take you to Tulum.
Only ever use official, licensed taxis and always agree on a price before getting into the car. Expect to pay around 600 pesos (about $32 USD) for a one-way ride, and the drive takes about an hour.
Be sure to tell the driver whether you’re going to Tulum beach or the main town. The price should be the same, but they’ll need to know where to go.
You can also book taxis in advance here, although this tends to cost more than agreeing on a price with a taxi driver directly.
4. Drive yourself
Driving from Cozumel to Tulum by rental car gives you the most flexibility and allows you to stop wherever you want along the route.
This is an excellent way to explore the gorgeous beaches and cenotes of the lush Mayan Riviera. The main highways are all excellent and easy to drive on.
There is a car ferry linking Cozumel to Playa del Carmen (more on this below). However, most car hire companies in Cozumel won’t allow you to take their cars to the mainland.
Unless you already hired a car on the mainland and took it across to Cozumel on the cargo ferry, you’ll probably need to catch the passenger ferry from Cozumel and hire a car in Playa del Carmen.
From there, it’s an easy 1-hour (65 kilometre) drive along a well-paved highway to Tulum.
There are plenty of rental car companies to choose from, including the usual international brands, and the whole process is normally quick and easy.
Just be sure to check all of the documentation – and the condition of the car – carefully before driving away (I usually take a video).
The best deals on car hire in Mexico are usually found on rentalcars.com.
5. Book a private transfer
One of the most comfortable and stress-free ways to travel from Cozumel to Tulum, Quintana Roo is to book a private transfer.
This is the perfect option for those who don’t want to worry about navigating public transport or driving, and simply want to sit back, relax, and let someone else take care of the journey.
However, you’ll still need to catch the passenger ferry from Cozumel to reach Playa del Carmen first, and then pick up your transfer from there.
I’m not aware of any private transfers that can take you all the way from Cozumel to Tulum directly (although if you are, I’d be super grateful if you could let me know in the comments below!).
Private transfers come in all shapes and sizes, from minivans that can accommodate larger groups to luxury cars. Prices can vary greatly depending on the type of car, although you should expect to pay between $20-50 USD per person.
Private transfers from Playa del Carmen to Tulum typically take about an hour door-to-door, so are comparable with a taxi.
6. Shared shuttle
Shared shuttles are similar to private transfers, although you usually have to share the vehicle with other passengers.
(Not always though. I’ve taken plenty of “shared” shuttles in Mexico and had the whole minibus to myself!)
This means that shared shuttles are often significantly cheaper than booking a private transfer, with a single ticket tending to cost around $15-20 USD. This is still more expensive than catching the bus though, so bear that in mind if you’re travelling on a budget.
Shared shuttles also tend to take a bit longer than taking a private transfer. They usually pick up passengers from various places and make stops along the way, so the journey can take anywhere from 1-2 hours.
7. Join an organised tour
Joining a tour is an excellent way to get from Cozumel to Tulum. Guided tours provide an easy solution and take the hassle out of sorting out logistics, although of course, you do pay extra for this.
You can either take a small group tour or hire a private guide. And there are various different options to choose from, from day trips to longer multi-day adventures.
As well as visiting Tulum, many tours will also take you to other natural beauty spots, cenotes, beaches, temples, and other historical landmarks along the Riviera Maya and other parts of Quintana Roo state.
Or check out a few of these other tours:
8. Take a colectivo
Colectivos are shared minibus taxis that run on certain routes. You find them all over Mexico. They don’t have a fixed timetable or a set departure time but leave when they’re full.
Again, you’ll need to first take the passenger ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen. There are many colectivos that run between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, and the journey takes between 1-2 hours.
This is definitely the cheapest way of getting between the two places, with tickets only costing 40 pesos (about $2 USD). It’s is a great option if you’re trying to travel as cheaply as possible.
However, it’s also the most cramped, least comfortable way of travelling and may not be suitable if you have lots of luggage.
You can’t purchase tickets or reserve a space in advance. Just head to the corner of Avenida 20 and Calle 2 Norte (here, on Google Maps) and look out for minibusses displaying signs to Tulum. It’s about an 8-minute walk from the ferry terminal.
9. Car ferry
There is a car ferry that runs between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. However, given that most car hire companies in Cozumel don’t allow you to take their cars to the mainland, you’ll probably only need to use the car ferry if you hired a car on the mainland and took it across to Cozumel previously.
The vehicle ferry departs from a different pier than the footpassenger ferry. It’s about 2.5 kilometres south of the centre of San Miguel de Cozumel (here, on Google Maps), where most of the large cruise ships moor.
These vehicle ferries take you to a place on the mainland called Calica, which is about 9 kilometres south of Playa, in the direction of Tulum (here – Google Maps). It’s quite close to the Xcaret theme park.
The trip takes approximately one hour and there are several departures per day.
There are two companies that operate this route: Transcaribe and Ultramar Carga. They both charge about $30 USD per standard car for a one-way journey.
FAQs on travelling from Cozumel to Tulum
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about how to travel from Cozumel to Tulum, Mexico.
How to get from Cozumel airport to Playa del Carmen?
The best way to get from Cozumel airport to Playa del Carmen is to either catch a taxi or book a transfer. Check availability and prices here.
What is the best way to get to Tulum?
The best way to get to Tulum depends on your budget, time constraints, and preferences.
Booking a taxi or a private transfer is the easiest (but most expensive) way. Taking a colectivo is the cheapest (but probably least comfortable) option.
Renting a car can be a good idea if you want to have the most flexibility. This also allows you to see other places en route to Tulum.
How long is the ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen?
The ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen typically takes around 45 minutes each way and ferries run every day of the year (weather permitting), with multiple crossings per day.
Is there a direct ferry from Cozumel to Tulum?
Sadly, no – there is no direct Cozumel to Tulum ferry. You need to catch the ferry to Playa del Carmen, then take one of the many buses (or a taxi/colectivo/shuttle) to Tulum.
How much is a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum?
A taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum will cost around 600 pesos (about $32 USD).
Can I take an Uber to Tulum?
No, there’s no Uber in Tulum or Playa del Carmen.
How many days is enough in Tulum?
That depends on what you want to do there, though I’d say you ought to allow at least three days to explore the ruins and beaches in Tulum.
Why is Tulum so famous?
Tulum is famous for its stunning archaeological site, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, picture-perfect white sand beaches, and the clear warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
When’s the best time to visit Tulum?
The best time to visit Tulum is in the spring (February-May) when temperatures are pleasant and it doesn’t rain too much.
Best hotels in Tulum
Tulum has plenty of excellent hotels for every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for an affordable hotel with basic amenities or a luxurious beachfront property, you’re spoilt for choice.
Here are four Tulum hotels that I recommend:
- Casa Almendro (budget)
- Casa Elda (mid-range)
- Casa Colibrí Tankah (high-end/luxury)
- Mi Amor a Colibri Boutique Hotel (super high-end)
Looking for somewhere to stay in Cozumel? Check out my post reviewing the top boutique hotels in Cozumel!
Final thoughts on the best way to get from Cozumel to Tulum
It’s great to have so many different options when deciding how to get from Cozumel to Tulum.
Personally, I usually take the ferry and then the ADO bus service whenever visiting Tulum as I find it’s a great compromise between affordability and comfort.
If you’d like to visit more of the Yucatan independently, I’d recommend hiring a car and exploring at your own pace.
What’s your preferred way to travel to Tulum from Cozumel? Let me know in the comments below!