If you want to make the most of the place you’re visiting, you need to get around as easily as possible. With that in mind, you might wonder: do you need a car in Tulum?
Tulum is a small enough town where you don’t necessarily need a car to get around. You can visit most nearby sights and beaches by walking, cycling, or public transport. You might want a car if you plan on traveling further afield, but taxis and busses are often a safer, if not cheaper, option.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to get around Tulum and the surrounding area so that you know exactly what kind of transport will best suit your needs when you arrive.
How Do You Get Around in Tulum?
To get around Tulum and the surrounding area, you have a lot of options. Depending on the type of trip that you have planned, any one of them might be right for you.
- Car: You can rent a car from various places nearby or from one of the airports that you might fly into, though they are an expensive option that does come with certain risks.
- Taxi: An easy way to get to and from nearly anywhere around Tulum is to use one of the many taxi services, but they can be pricey.
- Bus: There are public buses that run shuttle services to Cancún Airport as well as popular locations nearby like Playa del Carmen.
- Ferry: If you want to visit any of the islands, or are traveling to Tulum via Cozumel, then you will need to use a ferry.
- Cycling: Biking around Tulum is a very popular way to travel, and there are many different bike and scooter rental options in the town.
- Walking: Of course, you can simply rely on your own two feet to get you where you need to go!
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get Around Tulum?
The cheapest way to get around Tulum is to walk, as it literally doesn’t cost you a thing. Of course, you won’t be able to walk to the airport and back or travel out to far-flung places on foot.
The buses are very cheap ways to get to some of the most popular locations nearby, like Cancún or Playa del Carmen. The buses around Tulum generally cost about 50-100 pesos per person per trip (around $2.50-$5.00 USD). The MAYAB is a slightly cheaper second-class option, or you can opt for the ADO, which is the more direct bus.
If you want to rent a bike, you generally look at between 200 and 300 pesos per day ($10-$15 USD), which is a pretty reasonable price for a good amount of freedom. It is also much cheaper to rent a bike for a short period if you only need them for one journey at a time.
Taxis are a very expensive option for getting around Tulum. Some taxis charge as much as 500 pesos ($25 USD) for a 5km journey. On the other hand, a couple of taxi trips will certainly still be less expensive than paying for a rental car for the entirety of your stay.
Related article: Best Way to Get Mexican Pesos.
Is Tulum a Walkable City?
So, is it possible to avoid transportation costs altogether? Is Tulum a walkable city? Well, it depends on what you consider to be walkable – and what you want to see.
The town of Tulum itself is not very large at all, and it is definitely reasonable to walk around most of it without any difficulties. It would only take you about 30 minutes to cross from one side of town to the other, and most of the attractions are on a 10-block stretch of the main road – Avenida Tulum.
With that being said, it does get very hot, and the journey from Tulum Pueblo to Tulum Playa (the main beach) is around 3km, without much shade. That can feel like a long way to walk in the midday sun!
If you’re feeling brave, though, you can even walk to some of the other main attractions nearby – the Tulum Ruins are just 45 minutes away by foot.
Do You Need a Car When Visiting Tulum?
Now that we know all of the different ways to get around Tulum, is there an argument for needing a car when you visit? Although you can certainly get around the town without one, and even visit some of the most popular locations nearby, a car gives you more freedom.
If you have your own car, you can travel a little further off the beaten track and visit some areas that are trickier to get to. If you really want to do some exploring, then it is definitely something to consider.
It should be said, however, that many people find renting a car in Tulum to be a complete waste of money, if not a stressful and dangerous experience. It is far from a necessity, and if you’re visiting for the first time, then you will have more than enough to see and do without needing your own car.
Is It Safe to Drive in Tulum?
Despite the potential freedoms that a car of your own can offer you, it might not always be the wisest idea. There are risks to renting a car in this part of the world.
The roads themselves are rocky, but this doesn’t stop the locals from driving fast and recklessly. A lot of travelers also report auto robberies or being stopped by police, who may even demand a bribe before letting you continue on your way.
All in all, having your own car in and around Tulum can seem like more stress than it’s worth, and that’s not including gas prices and the overall cost of the vehicle in the first place.
Recap: Do You Need a Car in Tulum?
So, do you need a car in Tulum? Definitely not, although some people might like the option if they want to travel further afield.
The town is very easy to navigate by foot or bicycle, and you can even hire a taxi for some of the longer journeys. Getting to and from the airport is also much cheaper and simpler by bus than it is by car.
Overall, renting a car in Tulum is quite an expensive option, sometimes problematic, option. With police stops, dangerous roads, and potential robberies to contend with, you might be better off sticking to buses and bicycles.
Also check out this article: How To Do Tulum On A Budget.