How to Get to Playa del Carmen from the Cancun Airport

If you’re traveling to Playa from outside of Mexico, you’re likely going to arrive Cancun first. In this article, we’ll show you how to get to Playa del Carmen from the Cancun airport on a budget.

Playa del Carmen is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Mexico. Located on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen welcomes over 1 million people every year — which is a lot considering the population of the city is just over 300,000! 

Most people who visit Playa fly into Cancun, which is a 70km drive north. To help you save time and money, we wanted to share how you can get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen easily and affordably.

Getting to Playa del Carmen from Cancun Airport

When you arrive at the Cancun International Airport, you have three options when it comes to getting to Playa del Carmen:

1. Taking a Shuttle from the Cancun Airport

These usually need to be arranged in advance (i.e. before you fly to Mexico). Most hotels and resorts can help you with this as they usually have a partnership with one of the many shuttle companies. Prices vary depending on the location of the hotel where you are staying. Some hotels also have transportation to and from the airport included, so you should check if you’re staying at a hotel that offers that.

Something to keep in mind is that a shuttle service’s cost also depends on the number of people sharing the ride with you and the type of vehicle you select. It can go range around $25 USD up to $125 USD per person.

2. Renting a Car at the Cancun Airport. 

Car rentals are available at the Cancun airport. There are large international companies here (Alamo, Europcar, Hertz) as well as smaller local companies. These, however, also need to be booked in advance. If you’d like to know our best tips on how to rent a car in Mexico for cheap, check out this article and video on this subject. Using the tips we share in that video, we’ve managed to pay only $3.37 USD for a 5 day rental in Guadalajara, Mexico.

But car rental prices also vary a lot depending on the vehicle, the location, the number of people you’re looking to accommodate, and any extra services you need. It also depends on if you’re buying the rental company’s insurance or if you have your own. 

On average, a small vehicle from the airport in Cancun can cost about $60 USD per day for just the vehicle. 

3. Taking the Bus from the Cancun Airport. 

This is what we do every time we visit Playa del Carmen when we can’t get a ride from May’s dad who lives in Playa del Carmen. 

Once you land in Cancun, you’re going to make your way almost all the way to the exit of the airport. Before you exit the building you’ll see the ADO kiosk to your right, it’s located past the car rental agencies. It used to be the case that you could just walk outside all the way to where the buses park (right side of the parking lot) and buy your tickets there, but now you have to do so at the kiosk. 

ADO is the name of the most popular bus company of the Mayan Riviera area. They have busses leaving from the airport to Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and even Merida. 

The cost of a ticket from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen is currently $216 MXN – around $10.8 USD (as of august of 2021). There are buses leaving the airport almost every 30 minutes from 8 am to 10 pm. 

The ride takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes and the buses have reclining seats, A/C, and screens where they play movies or music videos to keep you entertained. 

Check out ADO’s website where you can find current information on routes, pricing, and schedules. There you can also make your reservation and pay for your tickets. Just keep in mind that sometimes the website doesn’t take foreign credit or debit cards. We’ve never had issues booking on site once we have arrived in Cancun.


Arriving at a new destination can be challenging — especially if you don’t speak the language or need to find your way to a different city after you land. By following the steps above you’ll be able to save money and safely get to Playa del Carmen without paying an arm or a leg for a shuttle or rental. 

Plus, by taking the bus you’ll get to interact with more locals and put your Spanish-speaking skills to the test!

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