Playa del Carmen getting from the Cancun or Cozumel airport to Playa.
- You may fly into either Cancun or Cozumel to get to Playa del Carmen, so don't forget to check airfares into both of those cities.
- To enter Mexico, you need to present either a Passport, or both a driver's license (or state ID card) and an official birth certificate with a raised seal (not a copy of a birth certificate).
Beginning December 31, 2006-US Citizens must have a Passport.
- After going through customs and immigration in Mexico you will be given a "tourist card". You need to hang on to your tourist card throughout your stay in Mexico, as you will need to present that at check-in when you arrive back at the Cancun or Cozumel airport to return home.
- If you are staying at a small hotel in Playa, taking the bus from the airport from Cancun is the least expensive option to get to town. You may take a taxi or a shuttle, but those can get pretty pricey.
Transportation From Cancun
If you fly into Cancun, the most economical way to get to Playa del Carmen is to take the Riviera Bus from the airport. The bus will take you straight to Playa del Carmen's bus station on Fifth Avenue and Juarez. You will arrive at either Terminal 2 or Terminal 3 at the Cancun airport. You can catch the bus to Playa del Carmen from either terminal.
The hardest part about taking the Riviera Bus is finding the bus. There are other bus companies, and they are more expensive and the vendors who sell tickets for those companies will tell you there is no more Riviera Bus to Playa. Don't believe them.
Playa del Carmen Bus Station
- From the Cancun Airport Terminal 3--after you depart customs/immigrations, walk outside of Terminal 3 and go to the right and it is a short walk to the bus stands.
- From the Cancun Airport Terminal 2--you go to the right and walk way down past the main entrance to the end of the parking lot area and that is where busses are parked. If you want, you can go inside of Terminal 2, and there is a bar there. Across from the bar is a little stand that sells the tickets to the Riviera Bus. The ADO employee who sells the tickets can help direct you to the bus stand, too. After you purchase your ticket, which is 106 pesos (about ten dollars) one way, you walk back outside of Terminal 2 and walk to the right again. All the way toward the end of the parking lot is where the Riviera Bus will come to pick you up. It may seem confusing the first time.
- You can also just pay the driver for the ticket at the bus. You may pay in either pesos or US dollars.
- Busses are painted red. Look for ADO and Riviera written on the side. On the front the bus will either say Playa del Carmen or Cancun.
- The ADO Airport Bus takes you to the Main Bus Station located on Fifth Avenue in downtown Playa del Carmen. Most of the hotels are within walking distance. There is a taxi cab stand located across from the bus station on Fifth Avenue and Juarez.
Airport Travel Tips!
-It takes about 45 minutes to get to and from the airport. Departing Cancun you need to be at the airport two hours before departure. Lines can be long, and Cancun does hand-inspect all checked luggage.
-US Travelers may lock their luggage, although TSA can open your luggage, if they need to. You may purchase special locks that TSA has tools they can use to open your luggage, enabling them to relock it afterwards.
-Lighters are not permitted in checked luggage and are considered a dangerous goods item.
-Strike-anywhere matches are prohibited and considered a dangerous goods item.
-You may bring a corkscrew in carry-on luggage, but it may not have a blade. They usually see them in the machine, so it's best to just put them in checked luggage so you won't get delayed going through security.
-You may not bring a cattle prod in your carry-on luggage.
-(you never know)
-For more info check TSA's Probhibited Items List.
-You may or may not get: a snack, a pillow, a free bag of pretzels, the full can, a magazine, a movie, and/or a smile on your flight. Be prepared, bring your own, but do know you are restricted from bringing many foods, along with a host of other items through US Customs.
-For Mexican Customs information and a wealth of other information please reference:
Tips for Travelers to Mexico.
Transportation From Cozumel
- If you fly into Cozumel, you will need to take a taxi from the Cozumel Airport to the ferry pier. The ferry ride to Playa del Carmen takes about 30 minutes. Fares should be about 4.00 for the taxi and 22.00 for a roundtrip ferry ticket.
The ferry pier in Playa del Carmen is located near Señor Frogs. Just walk straight up the street to Carlos and Charlie's to get to 5th Avenue.
The Zocalo (main town square-see map) is to the right of the ferry pier as you exit. Kitty-corner from the Zocalo is the bus station, right on 5th Avenue. Pretty much everywhere we go in town, from hotels to bars, shopping and restaurants is located in this area. The "happening" part of Playa runs in the area from the beach to 5th Avenue, and from the Ferry Pier to Avenue Constituyentes. (clicking on the map opens a full-sized version in a new window)
- Both the Ferry and Bus are pretty modern, and have bathrooms onboard. Riviera Buses are comfortable with plenty of legroom and footrests. Seats recline and have seat belts. The buses are air-conditioned, have televisions and overhead space for carry-on bags.
Getting Around Playa del Carmen
- If you are staying at an all-inclusive Resort, most of them have their own shuttle system that you set up with them to take you from the airport to your resort.
- Taxi Cab fare from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen costs approximately 55.00.
The other direction, Playa del Carmen to the Cancun Airport costs approximately 25.00.
- Always negotiate and settle on a taxi fare before you get into the cab. Playa del Carmen taxi fares around the Mayan Riviera range from about 8.00-80.00.
- One of the great things about staying in town, instead of a resort, is that you really don't need to rent a car to get around. You can walk anywhere in Playa del Carmen. A taxi cab in town is really cheap, about a dollar. You can grab a bus at the Main Bus Station downtown to take you to Cancun, Tulum, Xel Ha, XCaret, Chichen Itza, along with many other places.
- Always ask which bus station you will be departing from when using bus transport from Playa del Carmen. There is another bus station located a few blocks from the 5th Avenue station, and some buses depart from there, also.
- There are also "collectivos", or vans, that run up and down the highway from Playa del Carmen to Tulum for 2 dollars. The ferry will take you to Cozumel.
- If you would like to make many stops during a day trip, there are many car rental facilities located in Playa. The ones that offer really cheap rates on the signs outside usually want you to tour a timeshare resort in order to get that rate.
- Another option is to go to the taxi stand and negotiate renting a taxi for the entire day. I've gotten one for as little as $60.00. You will have to negotiate the price with the driver. The driver will take you to the places you want to visit, and wait for you while you tour ruins, snorkel, etc. Don't forget to tip the driver.
- For a list of useful travel phrases to help you check out the Spanish Guide