How To Get To The Tulum Ruins from Playa Del Carmen
Inside: The cheapest and best ways to get to the Tulum Ruins from Playa Del Carmen with Photos and Prices
Sitting poolside at my AirBnB in Playa Del Carmen, I realized I had read all the books I brought, drank all the margaritas I wanted, and had seen enough beach boys to last me for a while.
It was time for adventure!
I decided to trek to Tulum to see "las ruinas". Mayan ruins within an hour of my poolside retreat? Yep, Let’s do this.
There are a ton of tours that will take you to the ruins, but I'm a DIY kinda gal, so I figured that I'd wing it and see what happens. (LOL - You already know it’s gonna be a good time)
I decided to get there by "Colectivo," the shared bus. A taxi to the Tulum Ruins from Playa Del Carmen isn't extremely expensive and many taxi drivers will wait for you to take you back, but I wanted to experience the shared colectivo. LOVED IT!
On the corner of 2nd & 15th in Playa, there are a line of mini-buses. Go to the first bus in line and tell them where you are going, and the drivers will point you to the right bus to get on. When the bus is full, the driver takes off, and then they start loading the next bus. There was no wait for my colectivo and we left about 5 minutes after I got on it. I expected to pay when I got into the colectivo but the process is to pay when you arrive at your destination.
A note about me: Riding buses in unfamiliar locations causes me a wee bit of anxiety. My sole concern is, “will I know when to get off?” Unless I'm using an app that shows me where I am and where to get off (Google Maps, or City Mapper) I spend most of the ride being nervous. I asked the guy sitting next to me three times if I was still heading in the right direction. I'm pretty sure he got tired of me, especially because he didn't speak any English and my Spanish is mostly reserved for ordering food.
My new colectivo friend assured me that "Las Ruinas" were ahead and since I was the last one off the bus, I moved closer to the front and made sure the driver knew exactly where I wanted to get off. The bus drops people off and picks people up along the way, so don't worry if they turn off the main road, they are probably just headed to another bus stop.
The ruins themselves were...okay. I blame myself for having a mediocre experience. I left Playa around noon, and got to the Ruins around 1 pm.
THERE IS NO SHADE AT THE RUINS! NONE! Bring an umbrella, a hat, sunscreen, and a prayer.
After an hour of walking around in the blazing Mexican sun, I just didn't care to see another temple, house, or old brick - just give me water and shade. My fault, and I know it. I made better choices when I went to Chichen Itza - You'd be proud.
There is a beach you can swim in at the Tulum ruins, but the water was an uncomfortable shade of brown, and the water conditions were unclear because the flag that was supposed to show if it was safe was laying on its side. But there were families out there and they were having a great time.
When I was ready to leave, instead of walking back the way I entered, I used the rear exit and walked to the beach (maybe a 15 minute walk) - after walking on the sand for a few minutes (y'all know I was over walking in the sun) I found a beach club that looked like it might have some good eats.
Kai Hotel and Beach club in Tulum. Service was slow (it kind of is every where I've eaten in Mexico - but here I even had a long wait for bottled water) but I ate the best ahi-tuna tartare I think I've ever had. It could be the hunger getting to me, but this meal was amazing.
The options to get back to the colectivo were to walk all the way to the ruins, and then back through the ruins (hard pass) or take a taxi from the beach club to the colectivo. You know what time it is.
My taxi driver charged me less than the hotel told me to expect (thanks!) and then I got safely to the colectivo (without heat stroke) and made my way back to Playa Del Carmen. It was a great day seeing another side of Mexico, but I've gotta tell you - I was wiped the next day. I had no strength to do anything. I just hydrated and laid around the apartment. That sun is strong y'all, don't play games with it.
Taxi from my apartment to the colectivo stop :40 pesos ($2.00 USD)
Ticket into Ruins: 70 pesos ($3.50 USD)
Colectivo from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum Ruins: 40 pesos ($2.00 USD)
Lunch at Kai Beach Club: 360 pesos ($18.00 USD)
Taxi from Kai Beach Club to Colectivo Stop: 100 pesos ($5.00 USD)
Colectivo from Tulum to Playa Del Carmen: 40 pesos ($2.00 USD)
Taxi from colectivo stop in Playa to my apartment: 50 pesos ($2.50 USD)
So not counting the mangoes I bought on the walk up to the ruins from the colectivo stop, this was a 700 peso ($35 USD) day. Not bad for a chance to see ancient sites and experience something off the beaten path.
Have you been to the Tulum Ruins? What did you think? Do you have any advice for first timers?