Getting transportation to Tulum is simpler than many people expect.
First, hop on a plane and make your way to the Cancun International Airport (CUN). All major airlines from the U.S. and Canada fly into Cancun. There are also many airlines from Europe and South America that fly directly into Cancun.
Once you arrive in Cancun… Transportation to Tulum…
Taking a shuttle service to Tulum is far and away the most simple, pain-free option. They pick you up right as you are exiting the airport doors, help you with your luggage and take you straight to wherever you are staying here in Tulum. S-I-M-P-L-E. They will even stop at the grocery store along the way and wait for you if you’d like to pick up a few things on your way into town. The shuttle company that I recommend is Cancun Airport Transportation. Everyone has always been very pleased with their service.
Taking the shuttle to Tulum works out really well because once you are here, there is really no need for a car. Renting a bike and exploring that way and with an occasional taxi is the best way to see this place anyway!
There is also an option to take a bus to Tulum. ADO is the primary bus company in the Riviera Maya and connects all of the towns with large, comfortable/air-conditioned coach buses. While there is no direct service from the Cancun airport to Tulum, it is possible with a transfer in Playa Del Carmen. Buses to Playa Del Carmen pick up right past the Margaritaville kiosk once you exit the airport at Terminal 3 and leave every 30 min. Once you arrive in Playa Del Carmen you will have to take another bus to Tulum.
Renting a car is your third option and can be a little more complicated because of all of the insurance coverages offered. Some mandatory, some not mandatory but often implied as such. Here I’ll give you some basic info on the process but you can get a line by line breakdown of how all of the insurance coverages work out in Travel to Tulum, Your guide to paradise.
The best and least stressful way to rent a car in Mexico is to do all of your planning and research before you get there. Go with a rental company that you are familiar with. Check into what insurance coverage may or may not be covered through your credit card companies and I suggest printing out that information so you have it handy should the need arise or to cross-reference as you are checking out the car.
Driving to Tulum…
Once you leave the airport, the rest is easy! It is a very simple drive to Tulum and getting lost is unlikely. The only highway into town is Highway 307 and it will take you straight into Tulum from the Cancun airport. Keep an eye on the speed limit (it is posted frequently but also changes frequently) and follow it. It should take you about 1 ½ – 2 hours to make it into Tulum.