Situated roughly 2 hours north of the heart of Tulum, Cancun Airport is a primary gateway with a variety of ground transportation options. A plethora of domestic and international carriers offer an extensive array of flight options from around the world, while the Mayan Train station in Cancun will only be an 8-minute minibus connection away.
Embarking on a Tulum vacation is akin to stepping into a slice of paradise, where pristine beaches meet vibrant nightlife and echoes of ancient Mayan civilization. But before you immerse yourself in the wonders of Tulum Mexico, it’s prudent to ensure you’re covered with reliable travel insurance.
Best Time to Fly
If Tulum is on your travel radar during its bustling high season, foresight is key. It’s crucial to lock in your transportation and initiate your flight hunt well in advance to avoid last-minute hitches. However, if you’re a savvy traveler looking for a bargain, the off-season might be your golden ticket. Venturing to Tulum during the summer months promises the allure of warm weather, minus the throngs of tourists. While your chances of encountering a rain shower might spike, rest assured, that the sun will still dominate the skies, ensuring your Tulum vacation remains sun-soaked and memorable.
Despite its burgeoning popularity as a tourist haven, Tulum hasn’t established its own airport yet. This might catch first-time visitors off guard, considering its reputation as a sought-after destination in Riviera Maya. The international airports in Cancun and Cozumel offer easy access to those visiting Tulum, while the domestic airports in Merida and Chetumal have flights from Mexico City and are also within a few hour’s drive.
Your quickest route to Tulum is through the bustling Cancun Airport, a journey that spans approximately 1.5 to 2 hours by car. As the second busiest hub in Mexico, this airport boasts four terminals teeming with amenities ranging from dining establishments to currency exchange kiosks, catering to the needs of every traveler.
The Merida International Airport, situated 264 km away, requires a roughly 3 hours drive to reach Tulum. For those who prioritize comfort and convenience, considering a private transfer from Merida to Tulum or snagging a rental car is advisable. Budget-conscious travelers can choose from approximately six buses departing Merida throughout the day. It’s wise to consult the ADO bus schedule online, especially if your travel plans are tight, and secure your ticket ahead of time. A bus ticket typically costs around $20, with buses operating between 6:30 AM and 8:15 PM, and the journey lasting about 4 hours.
The Cancun International Airport is a favored landing spot for tourists jetting in from the United States or Canada, thanks to a myriad of direct flights facilitated by major airlines like American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines. If budget is a concern, consider opting for economical carriers like Frontier or Spirit Airlines, which offer both direct and connecting international flights to Cancun, ensuring a smooth transition from Cancun Airport to Tulum.
An alternative, albeit less convenient option, is the Cozumel International Airport, nestled about 80 kilometers from Tulum. To reach Tulum from Cozumel Airport, one must undertake a ferry journey to Playa del Carmen, followed by an hour’s drive south. Though this route might appeal to those keen on exploring both Tulum and the island of Cozumel during their trip, it comes with a heftier price tag and extended travel time, owing to the multiple transportation options involved. Moreover, the airport primarily serves regional flights, offering limited international routes and thus, might not be the best transportation option for many travelers.
For those considering the Chetumal International Airport as their entry point, it’s essential to note that this hub primarily caters to domestic flights, with a handful connecting to and from Belize. You cannot book an international flight here. The journey from Chetumal to Tulum Mexico spans a considerable 3.5 hours by road. This route might be appealing if you’re eyeing a pitstop in Bacalar. Opting for the ADO bus from Chetumal will set you back about $22, while a private transfer to Tulum can start from a steeper $200.
The upcoming Tulum International Airport, officially christened Aeropuerto Internacional Felipe Carrillo Puerto, is slated to be positioned roughly 20 km (12.5 miles) south of Tulum. This aviation hub, in its initial phase, is designed to accommodate approximately 5.5 million passengers annually, with a capacity for up to 32,000 air operations each year. Aeromexico is likely to be the first carrier to stay flying to Tulum once airport construction is complete.
Key features include a sprawling 3,700-meter runway and 13 docking points for both domestic and international commercial aircraft. Additionally, there will be a dedicated platform for general and executive aviation, boasting 28 positions and an auxiliary hangar with space for 12 executive planes.
A strategic 10.5-kilometer commercial and service corridor is in the pipeline to seamlessly connect Federal Highway 307 with the new Tulum airport. This strategic positioning ensures the airport is easily accessible from various destinations, drastically slashing travel time for tourists heading to locales like Tulum, Puerto Aventuras, and Akumal, compared to the Cancun International Airport.
Navigating from the Cancun International Airport to Tulum offers a plethora of transportation options to suit every traveler’s needs. Whether you’re leaning towards private transfers, shared shuttles, the ADO airport bus, taxis, or rental cars, planning ahead can save you both time and potential hassle.
- Cheapest Option: The ADO Bus comes in at a budget-friendly $20.
- Best Rental Car Service: Discover Cars, operating directly from Tulum.
- Best Shared Transfer: Cancun Shuttles, priced at $80.
- Best Private Transfer: Cancun Airport Transportation, with a tag of $155.
- Taxi: Generally not the recommended route.
For those keen on an economical journey, the ADO bus service is the best option for a cost-effective journey from Cancun Airport to Tulum, punctuated with a brief halt at Playa del Carmen. Approximately five buses operate daily from the T2, T3, and T4 terminals at the airport. To ensure a seamless journey, it’s prudent to familiarize yourself with the schedules in advance.
While these buses promise a comfortable, air-conditioned ride, travelers should factor in the additional journey from the Tulum bus station to their final destination. A one-way trip on the ADO bus typically costs between $10-$15 and takes about 2.5 hours. It stands out as the most economical and efficient way to get to Tulum.
Navigating the stretch from Cancun Airport to Tulum by car typically takes between 1.5 to 2 hours, covering a distance of roughly 73 miles (118 km). The journey from Cancun to Tulum is predominantly straightforward, thanks to the major highway. However, anticipate potential slowdowns around Playa del Carmen, coupled with sporadic police checkpoints and traffic halts.
Before embarking, it’s wise to stock up on refreshments and snacks. Upon reaching Tulum, especially if your destination is the bustling Hotel Zone on the primary Tulum beach road, brace yourself for potential traffic snarls, a common occurrence in this region.
A myriad of car rental options await at Cancun International Airport, ranging from renowned international chains to local outfits. Rental costs fluctuate based on the vehicle type and lease duration, but you can generally expect a range of $20-$50 daily, exclusive of insurance and additional charges. Always cross-check your travel insurance for car rental coverage and stay alert for potential add-ons like insurance premiums and tolls.
Ideal for solo voyagers or pairs, shared shuttles offer a convenient mode of transport. These services typically drop passengers at a central location in Tulum, from where you can either hoof it or hail a taxi to your accommodation.
Companies such as SuperShuttle and Happy Shuttle extend door-to-door services at competitive rates. However, be prepared for a communal experience, sharing your journey with fellow passengers and accommodating multiple stops. Shared shuttles can extend your travel time to 2-3 hours, with an average fare of about $40 per person.
For those seeking a tailored travel experience, private transfers are one of the best transportation options available. These services ensure a direct route from the airport to your hotel, eliminating concerns about luggage space. If you’re part of a group, this becomes an even more attractive option, allowing you to divvy up the cost of a minibus rather than paying individually.
Consider booking a round trip, encompassing both your journey to Tulum and the return to Cancun airport. Options range from Private SUV transfers to Limousine services. A standard rate for a private transfer hovers around $120 for a trio. Opting for a round trip can offer savings, with rates around $225. For those inclined towards luxury, companies like USA Transfers and Cancun Shuttle provide top-tier, reliable services.
Taxis remain a viable option at the airport. However, it’s crucial to negotiate and settle on a fare upfront. Remember, not all taxi operators accept card payments, so it’s prudent to be prepared.
Under the visionary leadership of Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the ambitious Maya Train project is set to revolutionize transportation and boost tourism in the region. Envisioned as a 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) railway behemoth, this network aims to interlink prominent towns and cities across the Yucatán Peninsula.
This monumental endeavor is poised to amplify tourism, pave the way for sustainable travel, and catalyze economic growth in the region. Upon completion, the Maya Train will seamlessly connect iconic destinations such as Cancún, Mérida, and Palenque, offering travelers an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the region’s rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural wonders.
This expansive transportation matrix promises to unlock a treasure trove of experiences for travelers, from unearthing hidden archaeological gems to embarking on panoramic journeys across the Yucatán Peninsula.
Below you’ll find answers to our most frequently asked questions related new Tulum Airport Project, along with travel tips for those flying into this area.
Until the new Tulum (TUY) Airport is operational, Cancun International Airport (CUN) is the best option. It not only offers the closest proximity to Tulum but also hosts a vast array of international flights.
Booking a private transfer, shared shuttle, or boarding the ADO bus directly from the Cancun International Airport offer are the best options for Cancun airport transport. Once the new Maya Train is operational in December 2023, however, it will be faster and cheaper than all but the bus.
Only after December 1st, 2023 will you be be to take domestic flights directly into Tulum, using the new minted TUY Airport, while international flights are expected to start in April 2024. In the meantime, the best alterative option is flying into Cancun (CUN).
Currently, yes until the Tulum Airport is finished, most passengers will book tickets to Cancun International and take a bus or private transfer to their Tulum hotel or vacation rental. Other nearby airports in Quintana Roo can be found in tourist destinations such as Cozumel, Merida, or Chetumal but require longer and more costly journeys.
Cancun International (CUN) is the superior choice given its shorter travel time of 1.5-2 hours by car. Cozumel requires a longer journey of about 3 hours, which includes a ferry ride to Playa del Carmen before taking the Federal Highway to Tulum.
As of now, no. Most private jet services choose to land in either Cancun or Cozumel. However, a luxurious Tulum Airport is on the horizon, with plans to inaugurate domestic flights in December 2023.
Yes, but this will not be budget-friendly until the new airport in Tulum is fully operational in April 2024. Given the likelihood of landing at Cancun Airport, a two-hour taxi ride to Tulum could cost upwards of $150-$200. Booking an ADO bus ticket for $20 or the forthcoming Mayan Train set to start operations in December is more feasible. Pre-booking a shared or private transfer is also a more cost-effective solution.
It’s roughly 75 miles or around 120 kilometers with a journey spanning anywhere from 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes depending on construction and tourist season traffic.
While Cozumel International Airport might be the nearest to Tulum in terms of direct distance, the Cancun International Airport offers a quicker transit, clocking in at about 1.5-2 hours. However, the travel landscape is set for a significant shift with the inauguration of a new international airport in Tulum. This facility is slated to commence domestic operations on December 1st, 2023, and will usher in international flights by April 2024, promising a substantial reduction in travel time.
As the crow flies, it’s only 50 miles (82 km), but it will require a complicated 2.5-3 hour journey as the Island of Cozumel has no connection to the mainland other than via ferry.
Currently, the answer is no. The much-anticipated Tulum Airport is projected to open its doors between December 2023 and April 2024, though a concrete date remains elusive. Until this development materializes, travelers will need to book flights to alternative airports like Cancun, Cozumel, Merida, or Chetumal and then orchestrate onward transportation to Tulum.
No, it remains a work in progress, but the ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated for December 1, 2023, with Viva Aerobus being the first airline out of the gates.
The closest airport is Cancun International which connects to a multitude of global hotspots, from New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto to London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, and Paris. Taxis or private transfers from Cancun (CUN) can take around 1.5 hours, while a shared shuttle or ADO bus is normally 2.0-3.0 hours. Once the Maya Tren goes live in December, it will be the fastest way from Cancun to Tulum.
For now, you’ll need to arrive at Cancun International Airport (CUN) while Tulum TQO (not TUY) is still under construction. On December 1, 2023, domestic flights within Mexico will be available on Aeromexico and Viva Aerobus. Delta has also announced flights from Atlanta (ATL) starting on March 28, 2024.
No. Soon, but not yet. As of October 2023, the Tulum International Airport (TQO) is only 65% complete, but eyeing a December 2023 launch for flights within Mexico. For now, travelers should prepare for Cancun International arrivals and seek out transportation to Tulum such as a private shuttle, ADO bus, or rental car.
About 20 km (around 12.5 miles) south of Tulum. The Tren Maya will stop have an airport stop at TQO with a drop-off in the city center (Tulum Pueblo). For a beach hotel destination, your best option would be to take a taxi from the Tulum train station or hire a private transfer to meet you in person at Tulum Airport.