How Far is Playa del Carmen from Cancun: Transportation Guide and Distance Comparison

How Far is Playa del Carmen from Cancun

Planning a trip from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and feeling overwhelmed by the choices? You’re not alone. Deciding on the best way to travel those miles can feel like trying to solve a puzzle with too many pieces.

Here’s a fact that might surprise you: Playa del Carmen is just 35 miles south of Cancun. This short distance means your perfect vacation spot is closer than you think, yet figuring out how to get there efficiently still stands as your mission.

This article breaks down every transportation option available, from taxi rides under blue skies to catching local buses bustling with stories. We dive into the pros, cons, costs, and little-known tips for each mode of transport, helping you make an informed decision that fits your adventure spirit and budget.

And because we know safety and fun are top priorities, we include advice on both. Are you ready for an insightful journey? Keep reading!

Locating Playa Del Carmen and Cancun on the Map

How Far is Playa del Carmen from Cancun

Playa Del Carmen sits on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, in Quintana Roo, Mexico. It’s part of the Riviera Maya, which stretches 75 miles south from Cancun to Tulum. This location is ideal for those seeking to immerse themselves in pristine waters and enjoy the sun.

And let’s not forget about Cancun—just a hop, skip, and jump away at 42 miles (68 km) north of Playa Del Carmen. The city is near the tip of the peninsula and acts as a gateway for travelers flying into its international airport.

Finding these places on a map is like spotting stars in the night sky—their charm makes them hard to miss! You’ll drive along Highway 307 if you’re going from one city to the other.

Imagine cruising down this road with views of dense jungles on one side and open skies above. Whether you’re landing in Cancun ready for adventure or chilling in Playa del Carmen before exploring more of Quintana Roo, Mexico beckons with open arms and endless beaches.

The Distance Between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen

Cancun and Playa del Carmen sit 42 miles apart. This stretch of road, known as Highway 307, offers a straight path that cars can travel on in about an hour. Think of it as a short hop between two slices of paradise—just long enough to enjoy the view but not so long that you start asking, “Are we there yet?”.

Driving from Cancun’s bustling streets to the laid-back vibe of Playa del Carmen becomes an adventure on this route. You’ll pass by captivating natural sights and get glimpses of the Caribbean Sea peeking through gaps in the foliage—a preview of the relaxation waiting at your destination.

Along this journey, every mile promises new stories to tell when you finally hit those warm sands.

There are various methods of traveling from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen

Ready to zip from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen? You’ve got options, from taxis that whisk you away, private rides where you call the shots, shared vans full of travel tales, rented wheels for the road-trippers at heart, buses that roll with the punches, to colectivos that turn every trip into an adventure.

Dive into the journey ahead and pick your path!

By Taxi

Taxis from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen offer a direct ride. They might seem like the go-to for simplicity. But be ready for the cost—these rides aren’t cheap! The fare can really surprise you, especially if you’re looking at keeping costs low.

Picture this: hailing a cab under the warm Mexican sun, luggage in hand, only to find out it’s going to cost quite a bit more than expected.

Drivers know their way around and will get you to your hotel or resort fast. This speed comes with its own price tag, though. Always agree on the fee before hopping in; otherwise, your wallet might feel lighter than planned by the journey’s end.

Despite the expense, there’s something about zooming through streets that makes starting a vacation feel real and immediate—just remember to hold onto your hat (and budget)!

Private Transfer

Opting for a private transfer with companies like Cancun Airport Transportations is a swanky way to zoom from Cancun International Airport to Playa del Carmen. Picture this: you step off the plane, breeze past the crowds, and there’s your ride—just for you or your group.

No waiting; no stops along the way unless you say so. The price tag reads about $70 one-way or a deal at $125 round-trip. Not bad for kicking off your vacation in style, right?

Now let’s talk speed, because we all know that less time traveling means more time enjoying those sunny beaches. Private shuttles win here; they’re the fastest of the fast lanes on this route, especially if you’re rolling deep with friends or family.

For up to three passengers, it’s $165 USD back and forth—not too shabby considering it’s your own personal chariot we’re talking about. And honestly, nothing beats that feeling of stepping into an air-conditioned vehicle that leads straight to paradise without any detours (unless you spy a taco stand worth stopping for).

Shared Shuttle

Taking a shared shuttle van from Cancun to Playa del Carmen can cost you about 600 MXN, or, let’s say, roughly 30 bucks per person. Yes, it feels like a steal, especially if your wallet isn’t too thick after booking that plush hotel by the beach.

These shuttle vans pack up to 12 passengers and roll out of the airport, turning what could be a lonely ride into an instant party on wheels—or at least an opportunity to make new friends with equally excited or tired travelers.

Remember to book your spot with companies like Cancun Shuttles before you arrive; it saves you from the hassle of waving down cabs or decoding local bus schedules.

Let’s paint this picture: You’re in for about one hour and forty-five minutes to two hours of travel time. Why so long? Well, these shuttles play the waiting game—lingering until every seat is filled.

It’s not just picking up people and zooming off. This might test your patience if you’re itching to hit Playa Del Carmen’s sandy shores ASAP but hey, look on the bright side—you get air conditioning and possibly some interesting chat partners from across the globe.

Use this time wisely; start planning which Mayan ruins or cenotes to dive into first once you hop off in Playa Del Carmen.

Car Rental

Renting a vehicle to journey from Cancun to Playa del Carmen? It’s like grabbing your own slice of freedom, with a sprinkle of adventure on top. Costs average around 600–800 MXN ($30–$40) daily.

Picture this: you behind the wheel, the road unfurling before you, not a care about bus schedules or taxi meters ticking away. Just ensure your driving license is in your pocket and you’re ready to roll right side up—the way they do it in Mexico.

Oh yes, and let’s not forget—keep an eye out for those who think traffic rules are more what you’d call “guidelines.”.

Before setting off, grab that collision damage waiver and check your credit card perks—it might just save you from splashing out extra on car insurance. Then there’s the fuel.

Ah, always more thirsty than expected! But hey, that’s all part of the journey’s charm. You might cross paths with some intriguing spots begging for an impromptu photo session or stumble upon a hidden beach that wasn’t on any map.

That’s the magic renting a car brings—a backstage pass to Playa del Carmen’s lesser-known gems without having someone else call the shots on where to go next.

Bus Travel

Traveling by bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is like hopping on a moving couch—easy, comfy, and straightforward. ADO buses roll out the red carpet for travelers with direct routes.

You hand over about $210 pesos ($12 USD), and they whisk you away on a journey lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. These large vehicles are not just any rides; they’re your ticket to kick back, relax, and maybe even catch a nap before hitting Playa’s vibrant streets.

Imagine this: you grab your seat, maybe snap a quick selfie for the ‘gram, and off you go! The scenery shifts from Cancun’s buzzing airport area through the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula’s lush landscapes.

It’s not just travel; it’s an experience wrapped in convenience and tied with a bow of affordability. Whether you’re counting pesos or simply prefer to travel without the hassle of driving yourself, ADO has got your back (and your bags).


Colectivos zip you from Cancun to Playa del Carmen for just 40–60 MXN, which is about $2–3 USD per person. Think of these shared vans as the thriftiest ride in town—minus the frills.

They’re not your pick if you dream of legroom and heaps of luggage space. Picture this: You hop on, squeeze into a seat with fellow adventurers, and make pit stops along the way. It’s all part of the journey.

Opting for a colectivo means saying yes to adventure over comfort. These rides don’t pull up to Cancun Airport, so plan accordingly. Solo travelers or those watching their wallets closely will find this option right up their alley.

Sure, it might take longer and test your patience with frequent stops, but hey, it’s pocket-friendly travel that gets you there while offering slices of local life through the window.

A Detailed Examination of Each Method

Let’s dive into the ways you can journey from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, each with its own flavor of adventure and mishaps waiting to happen. Imagine hopping into a taxi only to find out your driver thinks he’s in a race against time, or picturing yourself in a private transfer where luxury meets—well, let’s just say unexpected detours.

Shared shuttles might sell you on being easy on the wallet but remember, it’s like playing musical chairs with strangers—minus the music. Renting a car gives you freedom until you realize that navigating unknown roads feels like decoding an ancient map.

Buses? They are everyone’s go-to until you’re packed like sardines, wondering where personal space went.

And then there’s the Colectivo—think of it as the wild card for those who fancy themselves as Indiana Jones but end up feeling more like lost tourists in a local bazaar. Each method paints its own picture filled with vibrant hues of chaos and serenity.

The taxi journey from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen was quite enjoyable

Grabbing a cab from Cancun to Playa del Carmen? Expect to shell out between $30 and $50. Yep, that’s the going rate for this popular route. This mode of transport ranks as one of the simplest ways to get from point A to point B if you’re not up for navigating bus schedules or haggling with rental car agencies.

Taxi drivers know the ins and outs, zooming past famous beach spots and maybe sharing a local tip or two.

As you hop into the taxi at Cancun Airport, let excitement take over. The drive is scenic—think palm trees waving hello and glimpses of crystal-clear waters peeking through gaps between buildings.

And while it might seem like an ordinary trip, each mile brings you closer to Playa del Carmen’s vibrant streets lined with shops, restaurants, and more beaches than your heart could desire.

Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride; before you know it, you’ll be stepping out into paradise, ready to explore everything Playa Del Carmen has in store.

Private transfers: pros and cons

Opting for a private transfer is like having your own chauffeur from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen. It’s all about comfort and ease—they meet you right at the airport, handle your luggage, and take you straight to your doorstep in Playa del Carmen.

There is no need to haggle with taxi drivers or figure out bus schedules. With companies like Cancun Airport Transportation charging around $70 one-way or $125 round-trip, it feels almost luxurious.

You kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Yet, every rose has its thorns. Going solo with your transport means missing out on making new friends during shared rides. And let’s not forget the price tag—those dollars could also fund a day exploring Cozumel Island or renting snorkeling gear at Xcaret Park.

In essence, while private transfers offer unbeatable convenience and personal space after a long flight, they do come at a premium that might eat into your adventure budget elsewhere.

Shared Shuttles: An Economical Choice

Shared shuttles pack a punch for those keeping an eye on their wallets. At a cost of 600 MXN ($30) per person, they transport you from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen at an affordable price.

Imagine boarding a vehicle that can accommodate 12 passengers—it’s akin to having a small party on wheels! Yet, it’s not just about saving coins; these rides give you sights and scenes of the Yucatan as bonus entertainment.

They do take their time—roughly 2.5 hours during rush hours—but who’s racing?

This mode of travel rolls out the welcome carpet for social butterflies and solo adventurers alike. You get to meet fellow passengers, share stories—or snacks—and start your vacation before even hitting Playa del Carmen’s sandy beaches.

While patience is crucial when navigating through peak season traffic with your newfound friends, remember that every minute you spend in that shuttle brings you closer to paradise while keeping your budget intact.

Renting a Car: A Flexible Option

Renting a car turns the trip from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen into an adventure. It’s 35 miles of freedom, and you drive at your own pace. With a rental, stops for photos or snacks are on your terms.

Make sure you inspect your vehicle well and get travel insurance to cover those “just in case” moments.

Choosing to rent a car also means you can visit places off the beaten path, like Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Places like Coba or Dos Ojos become reachable without waiting for shuttles or buses.

Remember, always have your credit cards ready for fees and protect yourself with personal liability insurance against any surprises on the road.

Bus Travel: The Most Common Method

Traveling between Cancun and Playa del Carmen? The ADO coach makes it a breeze. This large vehicle takes passengers directly from the airport to their sunny destination, costing only about $12 for a one-way trip.

The coaches roll out of all terminals at intervals ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. It’s like clockwork—efficient and reliable.

Boarding one of these coaches means you’re on the fast track to starting your vacation right away. Many who land in Cancun eager to dip their toes in Playa del Carmen’s sandy shores prefer this method because tickets are easy to snag, either online or at kiosks in the terminal.

With plenty of space for luggage and comfortable seating, it turns travel time into chill time—just what every traveler needs after a flight.

Colectivo: For the Adventurous Traveler

Hop on a colectivo and your wallet breathes a sigh of relief. With just $2 USD, this ride takes you from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. Sure, it might not be the throne room of comfort—and yes, time seems to stretch a bit longer here—but oh, the stories you’ll gather! Picture yourself squished between locals and fellow travelers, each stop an unpredictable adventure.

The charm? It’s raw travel stripped down to its bones.

You’re not just moving; you’re collecting snapshots of daily Yucatan life. Each bump on the road? A hearty laugh was shared with new friends. I missed your stop because the view outside was too distracting. Congratulations! You’ve got yourself an unplanned mini-tour.

Colectivos turn mere journeys into episodes worth recounting—where every ride promises more than just getting from point A to B, but weaving through the fabric of local life itself.

Comparing the Cost and Time of Each Method

Let’s dive into a world where saving a penny means a richer travel experience. Imagine having more to spend on tacos and souvenirs. Yes, we’re talking about getting from Cancun to Playa del Carmen without breaking the bank or wasting precious beach time. With a smorgasbord of options, each traveler finds a fit as snug as a perfect sombrero.

Method Cost (USD) Time (Minutes)
Taxi Variable 60-70
Private Transfer 70 one-way 60-70
Shared Shuttle 30 per person 60-90
Car Rental 30-40/day 60-70
Bus Travel As low as 10 70-80
Colectivo Cheap 90-120
Airport Shuttle 25 60-70

Quick peeks reveal startling facts. Paying more doesn’t always mean arriving faster. Taxis, while flexible, can be pricier and their costs swing like a hammock in the breeze. Private transfers stand at $70 for a cozy ride, but did someone say ‘economical’? Shared shuttles wave at us with a $30 tag, saving us dollars for that extra margarita. For those loving the feel of the wheel, car rentals at $30–$40 a day offer freedom to explore every nook and cranny. Meanwhile, the bus, the unsung hero, tiptoes in with tickets as low as $10 but don’t forget it makes stops. Colectivos, the wild card, beckons the adventure-seekers with their ‘cheap’ whisper, promising stories to tell. And, for those wanting a balance of comfort and price, airport shuttles glide in at $25.

Each choice writes its own tale. Whether it’s the thrill of a bargain with the bus or the allure of liberty in a rental car, the journey from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is as varied as the fish in the Caribbean Sea. Remember, the best choice is not just about reaching the destination; it’s about adding color to your travel canvas.

What to Expect on the Journey?

When traveling from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, you get more than just a ride. You dive into the beauty of Yucatan. Picture this: windows down, wind in your hair, and a view that’s nothing short of a postcard from paradise.

The road stretches like a ribbon through lush landscapes and hints at adventures around every turn. Whether by taxi, shuttle, or even your own rental car, each choice offers its own brand of excitement.

The journey is as smooth as it gets—most times. Sure, there might be bumps along the way—literal ones if you choose public buses or an unexpected adventure with colectivos zipping closer to local life.

However, think about it. Isn’t that part of the fun? With stories to tell and sights seared into memory—from roadside stands selling fresh fruit to snapshots of daily life—you’re not just moving between points A and B; you’re soaking up experiences mile by mile.

And before you know it, Playa del Carmen welcomes you with open arms, ready for whatever comes next on your travel itinerary!

Traveling from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen: Safety Considerations

Playa del Carmen is usually safe, yet night walks demand caution. Opt for travel insurance like Safety Wing to cover unexpected events, especially with COVID-19 still around. Booking your ride in advance can save you from overpaying and ensure a safer trip.

Airport taxis often charge more than expected, so consider other options like Cancun Airport Transportation or shared shuttle services for peace of mind.

Choosing the right transport can make all the difference. Private transfers offer safety and comfort without breaking the bank—around US$70 one way. For those on a budget, shared shuttles or ADO buses provide clean, air-conditioned rides at lower prices.

Always keep an eye on your belongings and trust your gut feelings about situations and people during your journey.

Is there an Uber in Cancun?

Yes, Uber works in Cancun. It might seem like an easy ride from the airport to your hotel, but there’s a catch. Drivers often won’t take you all the way to Playa del Carmen. You could find yourself halfway there, looking for another car or taxi service to complete your journey.

This doesn’t make it the top pick for getting to Playa del Carmen.

Choosing Uber means you’ve got an app that’s familiar and easy to use right at your fingertips. But with this convenience comes a little adventure—maybe more than you bargained for if reaching Playa Del Carmen is your final destination.

With other transportation options available, consider how far you’re going and what makes sense for you.

Exploring Playa del Carmen: Highlights and Recommendations

Exploring Playa Del Carmen offers more than just beautiful beaches and clear blue waters. It’s a traveler’s paradise, packed with adventures waiting around every corner.

  1. Stroll down Quinta Avenida. This pedestrian-only lane buzzes with life. Shops, cafes, and street performers fill the air with excitement. You’ll feel the pulse of Playa del Carmen here.
  2. Enjoy the beach life. The shores are where the magic happens. Sunbathe, swim, or dive into water sports. The clear waters invite you for snorkeling adventures among colorful reefs.
  3. Rent a bicycle: Use BiciPlaya to find a ride and pedal your way through town. It’s fun and keeps you fit while zipping past cars stuck in traffic.
  4. Discover ancient ruins: A short trip can take you to breathtaking Mayan ruins nearby. Tulum is not far off and offers a history lesson with an ocean view.
  5. Dive into cenotes: These natural pits or sinkholes are gateways to an underwater world. Crystal-clear waters make them perfect for swimming, diving, or simply admiring their beauty.
  6. Taste local cuisine: Taco stands and seafood restaurants line up the streets, offering flavors that will dance on your tongue—spicy, savory, and sweet—all find their place here.
  7. Enjoy nightlife: When the sun sets, Playa del Carmen wakes up again—this time to party. Clubs and bars offer beats and rhythms that keep feet moving till dawn.
  8. Shop at local markets: Find handmade crafts, art, and souvenirs at markets spread around town—perfect gifts for folks back home or mementos for yourself.
  9. Relax at a spa: After days filled with activities, treat yourself to some pampering at one of the many spas around town.
  10. Take a cooking class: Learn how to bring the taste of Mexico home by joining a local cooking class—a delicious way to spend your day!
  11. Spot wildlife at eco-parks: Xcaret and Xel-Há offer glimpses into Mexico’s rich biodiversity with activities for everyone in these ecological parks.
  12. Day trip to Cozumel: A ferry ride away lies Cozumel—an island known for its scuba diving spots among vibrant coral reefs.
  13. Join guided tours of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve—it’s untouched nature at its best; think dolphins, turtles, and birds in their natural habitat.
  14. End your day watching the sunset from a rooftop bar—you haven’t seen true beauty until you’ve seen the sun dip below this horizon.

Every corner turned offers something new—adventures await!

Frequently Asked Questions

Travelers often have lots of questions when planning their trip from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. Here are some common inquiries with answers to help make your journey smooth.

  1. How long is the drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?
  • Expect the drive to last about 45 minutes to an hour, though it might vary with traffic.
  1. Is there a bus service that can take me directly from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?
  • Yes, airport buses run regularly between these spots. Look for signs or ask at the information desk for the next departure.
  1. Can I rent a car at Cancun Airport?
  • Absolutely! Car rental companies like Hertz are available at the airport. Renting a car gives you flexibility in your travel plans.
  1. Are taxi services safe for getting to Playa del Carmen?
  • Taxis are generally safe, but always agree on a fare before you start your ride.
  1. What’s a colectivo and how do I use one?
  • A colectivo is a shared van that operates between cities. It’s cheaper but less comfortable than a bus or taxi. You can catch one from their designated stops; just tell the driver your destination.
  1. Should I book a private transfer in advance?
  • Booking a private airport shuttle ahead of time ensures you have a ride waiting and can avoid haggling over prices or dealing with delays.
  1. What’s the safest way to travel at night?
  • For nighttime travel, consider booking private transport or using well-kknown bus companies for added safety.
  1. How do I know which method of transportation is best for me?
  • Think about what’s important: cost, comfort, or convenience? Buses and colectivos are cheap, renting a car offers freedom, and taxis or private shuttles offer ease and comfort.
  1. Is Playa del Carmen safe for tourists?
  • Yes, it’s considered safe with the usual travel precautions advised—keep an eye on your belongings and stay aware of your surroundings.
  1. Does Uber operate in Cancun for rides to Playa del Carmen?
  • Currently, Uber isn’t available in Cancun due to local regulations and competition from traditional taxi services.


Playa del Carmen waits 35 miles from Cancun, whispering tales of adventure and relaxation on the Yucatan’s sun-kissed coast. Whether you choose wheels for one or join a merry band in a shuttle, each path offers its own color to your journey.

The scent of the ocean air mixes with the thrill of discovery as tires hum across the pavement or feet shuffle in anticipation at bus stops. Costs vary like waves on the beach—some gently lap at your budget while others dare you to leap.

And beyond every turn? Stories are waiting to be lived and shared—from exploring ancient ruins to diving into crystal-clear cenotes. Let’s not forget that Playa del Carmen isn’t just a destination but a start—to adventures unknown.

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