Transportation in the Riviera Maya can be quite a challenge when planning the trip. There are many interesting places to see in the area and you must know how to get around this Mexican region to fully enjoy your trip. From touring the charming coastal paths on a motorcycle to getting to know the traditional buses, there are infinite ways to get around the Riviera Maya. Here we will explore the most used transport options so you can tour this Caribbean paradise.
TRANSPORTATION IN THE RIVIERA MAYA: HOW TO MOVE AROUND THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN
1. Rental car to move around the Riviera Maya
If what you are looking for is to move around the Riviera Maya with the greatest possible freedom, renting a car can be a wonderful option. Highway 307 that runs through the area is easy to navigate, although it can get congested in areas near cities. It is important that you take into account The best time to travel to Cancun. If you avoid the busiest months, traffic shouldn’t be a problem. During the low season, when a lot of rain accumulates, you should be prepared to drive in adverse weather conditions.
Also, you should be prepared to pay parking fees. in the main tourist attractions and knowing that it can be difficult to find a parking space in some areas, such as the hotelier of Tulum.
In relation to the price, you can find cars from €20 a day to move around the Riviera Maya as long as you drop it off at the same pick-up office. Where there are more offers and better prices is usually the Cancun airport, although we recommend you extend your search to other branches in downtown Cancun because sometimes they offer better rates as they do not have an airport supplement.
We recommend you read our complete article with 15 tips for driving in Mexico with a rental car. Mainly, we suggest have full coverage insurance so you don’t lose a ton of money in case anything happenstake photos of the condition of the vehicle, keep all the necessary documents in the glove box, be careful with bad road conditions and drive during the day for better visibility.
1.1. Rent a motorcycle for short transfers in the Riviera Maya
Experiencing the Riviera Maya on a motorcycle is quite an adventure. With the wind caressing your face and the freedom to move at your own pace, it is the ideal transport if you plan to base yourself in one place during your stay and you won’t be carrying large suitcases. You can reach the best beaches in the area and make short journeys for less money than renting a car. Also, it is much easier to find parking in crowded areas. looks like a great option in places like Tulum or Playa del Carmen.
The roads of the Riviera Maya are mostly safe and well maintained. However, you must bear in mind that, outside of highly touristic areas, The asphalt may not be in the best condition and you need to be more careful.
In addition, it is important that you consider using all security measures when traveling by motorcycle. Make sure you always wear your helmet, maintain a moderate speed and respect local traffic regulations. Even since the weather in the Riviera Maya can be hot and humid, it is best to hydrate properly and protect your skin from the sun while riding a motorcycle.
2. ADO buses, a good transportation option in the Riviera Maya
If you are planning a longer and more comfortable tripthe Riviera Maya also has an established bus system that is especially useful for transfers to and from the Cancun airport.
ADO bus stations are central points in the major cities on the route, and tickets can be reserved online in advance. or even be purchased at the ticket office on the day of your trip. Of course, keep in mind that the most popular routes fill up in high season. These buses also go to popular tourist destinations such as the Gran Cenote, the ruins of Tulum and Cobá, what makes them a very practical transport with which you can relax throughout the journey.
You can even easily plan day trips from Playa del Carmen, enjoy a night in Merida or visit the impressive archaeological site of Chichen Itza. And it is that they cover routes throughout the Yucatan peninsula. ADO buses are comfortable, have air conditioning and bathrooms on board. In addition, you will not have any luggage restrictions.
So that you have a better idea of the prices, here we leave you some of the best routes you can take during your trip:
- Cancun – Tulum: from €21
- Cancun – Playa del Carmen: from €13
- Tulum – Valladolid: from €10
- Valladolid – Merida: from €11
3. Hire excursions along the Riviera Maya
In case you want a quiet vacation, staying in the same hotel during your entire stay, You will not have to worry too much about transportation in the Riviera Maya. However, we recommend you do some excursions to discover the most emblematic places in the area.
For example, you can choose to explore ancient archaeological ruins at Chichén Itzá and Cobá, immerse yourself in the incredible crystal clear waters of several cenotes and delve into the exuberant tropical jungle. In addition, one of the main advantages of hiring an excursion is that you will not have to worry about logistics. They are in charge of organizing transportation, giving you a lot of interesting information with a guide in Spanish, providing you with lunch and you will even have tickets to the main tourist places in the area.
Other options that we most recommend is to enjoy the impressive landscapes of Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres. On this excursion you will begin by exploring the Isla Contoy National Park, where you will be able to enjoy nature and then relax while snorkeling in one of the largest coral reefs in the world. Finally and after a delicious Mexican foodyou will have one hour of free time to explore Isla Mujeres.
Although if you are looking for a cheaper trip and just as impressive, the excursion to Holbox Island may be your best option. During this journey, you will enjoy impressive virgin beaches, even one that can only be accessed from the sea.
But that’s not all, another advantage of the excursions is the possibility of meeting other travelers and sharing the excitement of discovering the Riviera Maya together.. You will be able to make friends, exchange experiences and create unforgettable memories during the trip.
4. Taxis, private transfers and shuttles
Taxis are a convenient option for traveling around the area, although fares are often higher compared to colectivos. For example, a trip from Playa del Carmen to Tulum can cost around €35. Although it is a transportation in the Riviera Maya that can be more comfortable, it can easily get out of budget, that’s why We recommend it in case you only visit a couple of places or go heavily loaded with luggage.
In addition, the region is normally divided into zones with pre-established rates that are published in the most important tourist places. However, To avoid scams, we suggest you research prices online before leaving or book your transfer in advance.. Another important aspect is that taxis are usually small cars, so large groups should be divided.
5. Collectives, the cheapest transport in the Riviera Maya
If you are looking for the cheapest transportation in the Riviera MayaEven if you sacrifice your comfort, buses are the perfect option for you. For example, the cost of a trip between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is usually around 50 pesos. However, the main disadvantage of the buses is that they make the most of the space by putting in a lot of passengers. Therefore, They are not comfortable for long trips nor do they have space for large suitcases.
The largest concentration of the groups is in Playa del Carmen, specifically at the intersection of Calle 2 Norte and 25 Avenida Sur. There they divide into two routes, one going north and the other south. These vans leave once they are full and stop anywhere people are waiting to get on or off. Which makes them an excellent option to go from Cancun to Tulum or to the towns and beaches in between as a day trip for very little money..
It is important to note that the buses only stop to pick up passengers when there is availability, so there may not be space if they pass by. Although surely another will pass in a few minutes to take you to your destination. There are many buses in the area!
Guide to visit Cancun:
6. Ferries to reach the islands of the Riviera Maya
We cannot forget that some of the most beautiful places in this area are islands. Therefore, ferries are a convenient transportation option in the Riviera Maya to move between islands and coastal cities, allowing you to enjoy impressive landscapes while sailing through the Caribbean Sea.
The journeys are short and they will give you the opportunity to enjoy a unique view throughout the tour. For example, a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel takes approximately 35 minutes.
If you are in Cancun and want to get to Isla Mujeres, you can also use a ferry. Travel time is barely half an hour and you can also buy your ticket online.
Although it does not strictly belong to the area that is considered Riviera Maya, we have to talk about Holbox. This little island in the north of the Yucatan peninsula should not be missing from your itinerary to visit the Mexican Caribbean. It is located a couple of hours from Cancun and it is very easy to get there. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can hire a Holbox day trip from Cancun. It is one of our favorite beach spots in the world!
Guide to visit Holbox:
SUMMARY WITH ALL THE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS IN THE RIVIERA MAYA
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