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cancun transfer guideWhen you are traveling to Playa del Carmen in Mexico, or close by destinations such as Tulum & Cozumel, the main airport for the whole region is the Cancun International Airport, and the airport code for this destination is “CUN”. The process to flying to this airport is very straight forward, and the same process as when you travel internationally. You will first de-bard the plane, proceed to immigration. Once you get your passport stamped, you will then go to the luggage pick-up area to get your bags. Once you have your bags, then next step is to go through customs where they will inspect everything you are bringing into the country. Make sure you see a list of permitted items that you can bring into the country before departing. For the most part, they are checking for contraband by nationals. They go pretty easy on tourists and foreigners. There will be green or red light that will appear after you are instructed to press a button. Red means you go to secondary inspection, and green means you are free to proceed. This light is completely random, so if you get red, don’t be concerned and just let them inspect your bags. Below each of the available options will be presented to you along with the pros and cons of each, and when to use what.


cancun international airport transportationOnce you proceed to the exit, please make sure to DECLINE TRANSPORTATION AND TRANSFER OFFERS INSIDE THE AIRPORT. They will look like transportation companies at this Cancun terminal, however they will most likely be offers for something else such as overpriced activities or even worse, time-shares. Make sure to only talk to the representatives of either your destination resort if they will be providing you with transportation from the Cancun Airport. Or only talk to the people of the company you hired for your transfer. Beware of con-artists at the terminal who will literally take your bags and have you follow them and demand payment for transportation. Not only will the price be very high, but these companies are not legitimate, don’t have a license or insurance. So make sure to always book your transfer online for the best savings and to make sure that you are going with a reputable transportation company.


ADO BusFrom all the transportation options you will be presented, this will be by the most economical. To Playa del Carmen you will end up paying about $146 pesos. Fortunately all the buses departing Cancun by ADO have air-conditioning as it gets quite hot and humid. And  after a long flight you definitely don’t want to suffer in secondary transportation. These buses depart about every 30 minutes from the Airport. You may have long wait times for this transportation option specially during high season. So if you are on a budget, you will simply have to wait. If you are not, choose a shuttle transfer. The luggage you bring with you, will need to go underneath the bus in the storage space. You cannot bring it with you in the cabin. So make sure to have food, drinks and any important items with you in a smaller bag such as a backpack. The bus will make many stops along the way, and it’s not always the same.

It depends if passengers have bought tickets for stops along the way, one popular destination is Puerto Morelos. Drivers always check prior to departing the Cancun Airport. When you get to Playa del Carmen, you will be in a very central location which is 5th Ave and Juarez. From here you can walk to your place of stay if it’s close by. But most likely, you will need to take a cab. Depending on how many people and bags you have with you this may pose a challenge. As cabs only fit 4 people and just a few bags. They are also expensive. If your stay is not easily reachable from the ADO Bus, a direct shuttle will probably cost you the same or less than the Bus and the Cab combined.

When you arrive to the airport, to find the ADO buses will depend on what terminar you have arrived to at the Cancun Airport. This also depends on wether you are traveling nationally, internationally and which airline. Not to worry, here are some simple instructions:

• Terminal 3 Arrivals: Ignore anyone that talks to you unless it is someone with the ADO Logo. Exit the airport and turn right and continue walking towards the large red and gray buses. You will see an ADO bus booth where you can purchase your tickets. Not always is the credit card terminal working, so make sure to bring cash with you.

• Terminal 2 Arrivals: Only talk to authorized personnel with and ADO logo. Walk outside and follow the signs and instructions to get to Termal 3. Once you are at terminal 3, continue walking straight towards the big red and gray buses and locate the ADO Bus ticket booth. Make sure to have cash with you in case the credit card terminal is not working.

INCLUSIVE TRANSFERS: (included with some packages)

airport transfers included with vacation packageA lot of vacation complete packages will often offer you a transfer and transportation to your final destination. Such as when you are going to an all-inclusive resort. The process is the same when you book a private shuttle online, which will be the most convenient. Upon reaching the exit of the airport, you simply look for drivers holding up signs and look for your name. Then you are all set, they help you with your bags and direct you to the correct shuttle. This is by far the safest. Forget the bus if you are looking for convenience.

HOW TO GET TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN: (including ADO Bus transportation)

cancun to playa del carmenThere are several options to getting to playa del carmen, this is approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour travel distance depending on the transportation transfer method. This does not include waiting times, which can also be avoided. The cheapest is the ADO Bus for those who are traveling alone, or on a tight budget. If you are with more than 2 or 3 people, your best bet is taking a playa del carmen shuttle transfer. Always book online prior to your travel to get the best savings and avoid wait times. If you did not book online and you have a mobile phone, it’s best to jump online and book. If you do not have a mobile phone, then you will have to shop around at the exist only with established booths. They will be more expensive, however you will be safe. Never go with anyone soliciting directly to you with no credentials. 


cancun to tulum airport transferJust like with Playa, there are several options to get to Tulum. The first one is the ADO Bus, however the Tulum shuttle transfer service is highly recommended as the best transfer option. Tulum is about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours travel time depending on the transfer method. The bus will be the slowest, followed by a shared shuttle, then a cab. And the absolute fastest is a private shuttle. This is specially convenient if you are traveling with more than 1 person, and 8 or less. As you will all fit in a single van for a flat fee. Making it in some cases, the least costly option as well as the fastest.


cancun airport to cozumel ferry transferWhen going to Cozumel, you will have two options. Flying directly to Cozumel, or flying to the Cancun Airport. Due to the limited flights from Cozumel and also the cost factor, your best bet will will the Cancun International Airport. From here you can take the ADO Bus to Playa del Carmen, and from there, walk over 2 blocks to the Cozumel Ferry Port. Departures are every 15 minutes from 6am to about 10pm. If you are arriving after 10pm, stay in Playa del Carmen instead and catch the ferry the next day. The most convenient will be the Cozumel shuttle transfer, which will take you directly from the Cancun Airport to the Cozumel Ferry port. No stops, safe, direct, convenient and inexpensive. If you are traveling alone, your best bet is the bus, if you are with 2 or more and want to specially arrive quickly after a long flight and have no stops, then choose the private shuttle. 


Booking transportation in advance is highly recommended from the Cancun Airport. Here are some trusted companies to choose from and offer easy online booking for peace of mind.

  • Playa Vacation Shuttles
  • Arcotransfer
  • Airportbestprices
  • Canada Transfers
  • Cancun Cct
  • Cancun Limo
  • Cancun Valet
  • Cancun Transportations
  • Cancun Airport Transportations
  • DreamDays Limousine Transfers
  • Entertainment Plus
  • Transfers-USA
  • USA Transfers
  • WISETRIP Private Transfer

When you book your Cancun Airport shuttle transfer with any of these companies, you will be greeted by their representative right at the exit to the airport and will help you with your bags and direct you to your shuttle. Playa-Vacation has the best service taking you there directly with no stops with a flat-fee and fits up to 8 people with bags.

Transfer Driver Tips: A good rule of thumb depending on how confortable you are is to tip your driver anywhere from 15 to 20%. 15% is the norm in Mexico no matter where you go. Including restaurantes and any other service. The driver that takes you there, may not be the same on for your return, so keep this in mind to spare some change for the return trip. 


Some of the companies available at the Cancun Airport are: Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, and Alamo. Locally in Playa del Carmen, you will find some additional private companies such as: Happy Car, CP Rentals and Veloz. Before you run to book your ride, make sure you know this very important information: Insurance in Mexico is very expensive and it is required to rent any car. From the price you see online that you will pay for your booking, you will have to budget and extra 35 to 50 usd per day just for the insurance. This is something that is deceiving and catches people by surprise day in and day out at the Cancun Airport. Not only is it extremely expensive but it is absolutely required and in most cases it will cost more than the actual rental rate of the car itself.

A great piece of advice is to call your existing insurance company, advice them that you are going to Mexico, and ask them if you have, or can get coverage. Not only may the coverage be better than the one that is offered locally, which will be the minimum dictated by law. But it will also translate to huge savings.


This is by far the most expensive option you can choose, and leave it for an emergency. If the airport is too busy, and you did not book your shuttle transfer in advance and the buses are all booked, then take a cab. You will only fit up to 4 passengers from the Cancun Airport and this transportation method has an extremely limited luggage space. Traveling with a large group will mean getting more than one cab. Expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $90 USD. High season, maybe even higher than that. Taxis back to the Cancun Airport, are also not recommended. Unless you have no other options left and it’s an emergency. You can expect the same pricing for your return.

WHTI - Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative New Requirements:

The new requirements came into effect on 1/8/17 and applies to all US Citizens that travel by air to and from Cancun, Mexico. You are required to travel with a Passport, as without it you will not be able to travel back or enter the USA. If you are traveling by land or sea, you may be required to present the passport as well. By land, you may be required to present other documents such as a drivers license if you do not have a passport. The type of documentation you must present is determined by the Department of State Website.


If you are looking for additional information on how to keep safe, watch the weather in this huricane prone area and other transportation options as well as things to do, activities, tours and the best attraction, visit this guide.