How to travel from Cancún to Playa del Carmen by bus
Every 15 minutes a bus leaves from ADO bus station in downtown Cancun to Playa Del Carmen. It is a fun ride, bus station to bus station and in Playa Del Carmen the bus station is right on 5th Avenue. The main street of Touristic Playa del Carmen and that is just 1 block from the beach.
Travel from the Hotel zone or your Cancun Area to ADO bus station, in Downtown Cancun.
When you live in the Hotel zone bus number 1 comes close to ADO, check the front window to see if it drives all the way to ADO bus station or maybe you have to walk a little, the bus driver will point out where to go or use Google maps.
The area where you will be walking is considered safe, and I walk there a lot without any problems.
You buy your ticket at the ticket counter, any will do, if you pay cash, otherwise check which one to use. It says “Cash Only” specifically. If you buy an open ticket for the return, you have to get in line in Playa del Carmen to change it for a designated bus ticket.
Buying a round trip is nice but does not save any time or money
As a foreigner you pay full fare: 80 pesos one way trip per person for Mexicans there is a lower rate.
There is 1 stop in Puerto Morelos
The buses have a toilet and there is a movie (Spanish) on small screens in the bus.
There is 1 vendor in Cancun bus station that enters the bus to sell food and snacks.
TIP: If you want to save on snacks and water, buy those at the OXXO shop across the street from the bus station.
The ride takes around 90 minutes, depending on traffic. and you get off at Playa del Carmen bus station which is right in the touristic centre of Playa del Camren, 5th avenue, with lots of shops and restaurants. And only 1 block away from the public beach.
Returning to Cancún
To return to Cancun you buy a ticket or change your open return ticket (Which has a value of 6 months) for the bus to downtown Cancun. Busses leave every 15 minutes.
Once you have reached Cancún you can get off just in front of the Plaza las Americas, and take a bus or taxi there to the hotel zone. Or stay on board until the ADO bus station and get any bus from there going to “Hotelles”. (R1 or R2)
At the ADO bus station, R1-buses stop on the right side of the bus station, when you exit, cross the street, keep right, and just around the corner next to the footbridge there is a bus stop.
Just wave one down that says Hotelles and get off in the vicinity of your hotel. Busfare for city-busses is 12 pesos.
Step by step:
buses depart every 15 minutes
buy your ticket at the ticket counter, they will tell you which bus departs at what time and how many minutes before departure
go to the buses, they are behind the ticket counters
staff will scan your ticket and point out which bus to take, just follow their directions
enjoy the ride!
Staff at ADO bus station speak English with a little hesitation, just be polite and have some patience, they are there to help and very friendly.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.