Navigating Tulum for the new visitor can be a bit tough. Knowing the best transportation options on your first visit even tougher. What is the best transportation option for your Tulum vacation? What are the transportation options in Tulum? Knowing your options first is the best way to make the decision and knowing where you Tulum hotel is the second way to help make this decision. The final criteria is what do you want to do on your Tulum vacation?Putit all together and you will find the best option for you!
Understand Tulum first before you make your transportation decisions
Tulum is bordered by ocean, jungle, mangroves and lagoons. This eco-diversity has forced the urban planning of this beach town. Unlike other cities in the Riviera Maya, Tulum does not have various roads to the beach and does not have city streets that run from the beach to the city center. There are three very distinct areas that are known as Tulum with each area separated by over 3 kms of unwalkable jungle or mangrove. There is one road down to the beach and one coastal road that runs horizontal to the beach for 14 kms.
The first area you will hit when you come into the town of Tulum is the Tulum ruins, this is the farthest point to the north. 3 kms later you will approach the Tulum beach road, the only road that leads to the hotels and restaurants located on the beach. If you continue on for one more kilometer you will reach the center of downtown Tulum, with all shops located on the highway and residential areas tucked in off the highway for about 4 blocks both east and west. If you are going to the beach, the beach road is 3 kms from the main highway to the Tulum coastal road. All beachfront hotels and restaurants are located on this one road, both on the beach and jungle sides with little community pockets located along the way.
Determine the best transportation that will provide you with flexibility.
There are four transportation options in Tulum, bicycles, taxis, public transportation (buses and vans) and rental cars. Which option you choose will depend on where you are staying and what you want to do on vacation. If you are hoping for an adventure vacation that takes throughout Tulum and into the ruins, small Mayan pueblos, jungle and all the different food options that Tulum has to offer, you will want to rent a car. If you are looking for a vacation that has you disconnected from the world, with a lot of reading, beach walking and swimming, you may want to consider minimal transportation and rent bikes or cars by the day to get you out and about on one or two days. Public transport is fun but limited. It will get you where you need to go but on someone elses schedule not yours. Bikes are great and add a sense of freedom and casualness to your vacation, but be ready for a some heated moments in the middle of the day and long rides, which for some is what they are looking for.
Rental car options before arriving in Tulum or in Tulum
International rental car places are available at the Cancun international airport and are also in Tulum. Hertz, Avis, Executive and more can be reserved in advance, picked up at the Cancun airport or if you do not want to make the drive after a long flight, rental cars are easily arranged in the town of Tulum. Credit card and drivers license is required and you can rent by the day, or by the week. Prices are good and will change depending on the time of year of your visit. For busy seasons like Christmas and New Years, reserve in advance to guarantee you have a car on hold.
Bicycle rentals in Tulum
There are several bike rental options on the beach and in the town of Tulum. Check with your hotel and see if they rent bikes or have bikes for their guests. More and more hotels are offering bicycle options for their guests as an easy means of transportation and an eco-friendly option for transportation. Bike rentals are by the day or week and most are beach cruiser bikes. If a bike is what you plan on using, bring a flashlight are armband reflectors so cars can see you at night.
Public transportation in Tulum
The bus terminal is located in downtown Tulum. Buses leave from the Cancun international airport a few times a day. The trip is direct with a few little stops on the highway in small towns and takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. Once you arrive in Tulum, a taxi will be needed to get you to beachfront hotels. Public buses are fully equipped with movies, comfortable seats, air conditioning and more. They are a great way to travel if you are okay to follow their schedule. Buses also go to all major ruin sites, other cities and more! If you are looking to go to a closer destination like the Tulum ruins, Xel-ha, or the Muyil Ruins, you can hop on a public van, called a collectivo, that will take you to your destination with multiple stops on the way. Collectivos travel up and down the highway from Tulum to Playa del Carmen or south to Felippe Carillo Puerto and all you need to do is wave one down on the highway, and tell the driver where you need to be dropped off.
Tulum is a fun city to travel around in and your transportation choices will add a different flavor to your vacation. No one can suggest the best option for you, your choice will depend on your vacation ideas, your budget and your sense of adventure. Most visitors opt out for a rental car as they love the freedom that this option provides. But, many love the adventure of bikes, public transport and even taxis.
Which option do you prefer when in Tulum?