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Getting Around Tulum

The best way to get around Tulum is by taxi. You can walk or bike to the beaches, to the ruins and to Tulum Pueblo, but there's a chance of overexerting yourself. You can rent a car in Cancún or Playa del Carmen, but it is not recommended because of reported auto crimes. Buses aren't a viable option either – the only ones available are the shuttles that take vacationers to and from the other Riviera Maya areas, and to and from the airport in Cancún.

Privately owned buses travel the difference between Tulum and the rest of Riviera Maya, as do colectivos, or chauffeured white vans. To visit the island of Cozumel, you can take the bus to Playa del Carmen, followed by a ferry ride.

Keep in mind, there is no airport in Tulum, so you'll need to fly to a neighboring airport and travel from there. The closest airports to Tulum are the Cancún International Airport (CUN), which is about 75 miles north, and Cozumel International Airport (CZM), which is about 50 miles northeast. Because Cozumel is an island, you'll have to take a ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen and arrange for transportation from there to Tulum.

Car Driving from Cancún or Playa del Carmen to Tulum is not worth the hassle – residents motor the rocky roads swiftly, and you could easily be overwhelmed. Some travel sites have also reported problems with auto robberies (particularly at night) and even police scams, where the officers pull drivers over and then demand a bribe. If you do decide to drive, you will not need to obtain an international driver's license; your U.S. license is valid in Mexico.
Taxi Taxis pretty much have a monopoly on getting you from your hotel to the beach (your other options are to walk, bike, drive yourself – and the last one is not recommended), but you can also use them to get to the ruins or the reserves. They hang out around the hotel areas, but you can also find them near the bus terminal. Luckily, the fixed fares are reasonable. You'll pay around 100 pesos (about $5) to ride from the popular hotels to the beach and ruins. 
Bike

You'll get a little exercise, and a little independence, by biking your way around town. Some hotels offer complimentary bike rentals to their guests, but there are also a handful of companies (including Ola Bike Tulum and iBike Tulum) that will deliver wheels directly to your hotel. Some also offer tours of the area to cenotes and beaches.

On Foot Walking is always affordable, and in Tulum, it's also feasible. You could choose to walk from the hotel areas to the beaches, the ruins and even Tulum Pueblo, depending on where you're located. However, you may find taxis are a more comfortable option, given the heat. And you should always exercise common sense and not walk long distances alone at night.

Explore More of Tulum

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