Playa del Carmen is located on the east side of the Yucatan peninsula, overlooking the stunning Caribbean coast. And although it’s right in the middle of the lush and vibrant Riviera Maya, it’s actually quite easy to get to!
Unless you’re traveling from a nearby city in Mexico, like Tulum or Cozumel, the best and easiest way to get to Playa del Carmen is via the Cancun airport, located a short 40 miles away. Another easy option is to fly into the Cozumel airport and take a ferry over to Playa.
This guide will show you all the ways to safely and easily get from the airport to Playa del Carmen!
How to Get to Playa del Carmen from the Cancun Airport
Located a short 40 miles away from the Cancun airport, Playa del Carmen is most easily reached by car or bus. Whether sharing the journey with other travelers or booking a private ride, the journey will be relatively quick (typically around an hour) and easy.
If you want a private and direct ride to your accommodation, then you’ll need to book a taxi. They’re safe and reliable, so they’re one of the most popular ways travelers get to Playa.
It’s recommended to book in advance, especially if you’re traveling with a group and need extra space, but you can also go to a verified taxi stand inside the Cancun airport to arrange a ride. Many taxis can fit up to 6-9 passengers and will also provide child seats upon request! The average cost is around $40-$70.
Here are some trusted taxi companies:
Note: There is no Uber in Playa del Carmen. While there is Uber in Cancun and you can technically call an Uber from the airport, most hotels have contracts with the local taxi union and won’t let Ubers onto their properties. It’s best not to risk it and just stick with booking a private taxi or take public transport.
We’ve got you covered with a list of the best hotels in Playa del Carmen!
The ADO bus is another one of the most popular, convenient, and cheapest ways to get to Playa del Carmen. It’s especially easy if you’re a solo traveler (and is very safe)!
If you can, buy your ADO bus ticket online, here. That way, all you have to do is find the bus stop and hop on! There’s also a stand at the airport where you can buy a ticket with cash or card, but be SURE you’re buying it at the official ADO bus ticket stand. The average cost is 240 pesos or about $14.
Most international flights arrive at Terminal 3 or Terminal 4. If you’re exiting Terminal 3, walk toward the right, and you’ll see the red ADO bus stand. If you’re exiting terminal 4, take the taxi and bus exit on the left, and the ADO bus stand will be right outside.
The bus is comfortable and air-conditioned, and the ride will be around 1 hour and 15 minutes. It will make only ONE stop in Playa del Carmen, so don’t miss it! The stop is on 5th Avenue and Juarez Avenue, right in the center of town. There are often plenty of taxis at the bus station if need a ride to your final destination.
However, insider tip, some taxis along 5th Avenue will try to charge inflated prices. If you don’t have too much luggage, walk up to 10th Avenue and flag down a taxi there for a more fair price.
Airport Scams to Be Aware Of
Taxi scams are super common at the Cancun airport. Drivers will approach you and try to convince you to use their services, which will be overpriced and not affiliated with any official company.
It’s also not uncommon for taxi drivers outside the airport to say that the ADO bus doesn’t exist anymore or that it’s not coming for a few hours, but it does exist and it comes very frequently!
Lastly, if you’re taking a shuttle to another terminal, taxi drivers will often try to tell you that the shuttle is delayed and won’t come for over an hour. But be assured that shuttles come regularly.
The Maya Train, a train line connected to the Cancun airport, is currently under construction. While it likely won’t be running by the time Women’s Travel Fest rolls around, once it does, it’ll make the journey from the airport to your Yucatán destination ultra-smooth. Stay tuned for updates!
Check out this tried and tested Compass Rose secret bra pocket wallet to protect your valuables against theft!
How to Get to Playa del Carmen from the Cozumel Airport
Another great way to get to Playa del Carmen is via the Cozumel Airport. While the Cancun airport is the most common and widely known way to get there, the Cozumel airport is super easy (some might say it’s easier!)
The Cozumel Airport is small and modern, with flights coming from U.S. hubs in Houston, DFW, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Miami. So, if you’re opting to fly into Cozumel from the U.S., you’ll either have to fly out of one of those airports or have a connecting flight through one of them.
Getting from Cozumel to Playa is a breeze (and actually really fun)! The first thing to note is that taxis cannot pick you up from the airport, so in order to get to the ferry, you’ll have to either take a shared shuttle ride (you can buy a ticket for this at the airport) or walk a short distance to get a taxi just outside of the airport. Both options won’t be more than a few dollars, and it’s less than a 10-minute drive to the dock.
Once you get to the ferry dock, walk down the pier and purchase your tickets (which are just under $20). The ferry comes about every 30 minutes. It’s a comfortable, 35-minute ride with a great view, and there’s even a bar on board to get the fun started right away!
The ferry drops you off at Calle 3 Sur, only a few blocks from the nearest taxi stand at 5th Avenue and Juarez Avenue. It’s an easy walk with minimal luggage, but if you have checked bags, you can take a tricycle taxi bike to the taxi stand (or even to your accommodation if happens to be close by).
Note: The new Tulum International Airport is currently under construction, and is expected to be finished in December 2023. So if you plan to visit Playa del Carmen in the new year, this would be another great airport to consider flying into.