Tulum Airport: Fly Straight into Paradise with New Direct Flights

Yes, it’s official! As of December 1, 2023, Tulum has opened its doors to the international Tulum Airport, the Tulum Felipe Carrillo Airport (TQO)

For someone like me, who has frequently settled in Tulum as a digital nomad, the introduction of an international airport is a game-changer! It eliminates the need for the lengthy two-hour drive from Cancun to Tulum, streamlining the journey immensely!

While I’ve got plenty of Tulum insights to help you plan your visit, this guide focuses on practical information about the new Tulum Airport, its amenities, and how to get from the airport to Tulum–because let’s be honest, that’s step one to setting up your trip for success, am I right?

The new Tulum Airport

Ready to Fly Into the New International Tulum Airport?

Welcome to your in-depth guide to Tulum Airport, a critical new addition to the Riviera Maya that began domestic flights on December 2023 and had the first international flight on March 28, 2024. This modern facility is set to transform travel for all visitors heading to Tulum. 

Previously, your closest option was Cancun International Airport, roughly a 2-hour drive away, depending on traffic delays and road construction. But now, that’s changed for the better.

With the new Tulum airport in operation, the town is expected to receive nearly 5.5 million passengers on up to 32,000 flights annually. Crazy, right? Would love to know your thoughts on this! (I’ll share my opinion later). 

Whether you’re setting foot in Tulum for the first time or returning to relive its enchantment, this guide provides everything you need to know about the airport’s location, amenities, available airlines, and transportation options.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Tulum Airport!

New Tulum Airport Amenities

Designed with both comfort and convenience in mind, the Tulum International Airport (TQO) has a variety of amenities to ensure a smooth start to your Tulum adventure:

  • Airport Lounges: Relax and unwind before your flight in the comfortable lounge areas.
  • Free Wi-Fi: Stay connected with free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal.
  • Diverse Dining Options: From quick tacos to full meals, there’s something for every taste some places that are open are Beso, Tulum Beach, and Raw Love Café. 
  • Playgrounds For Kids: To help those traveling with little ones you will find there are two children’s playgrounds post-security.
  • Sleeping Pods: Sleeping pods can be rented by the hour or by the day. They come with a luggage compartment, a reclining chair, a power socket, a lamp, and a window shade.
  • Shops Offering Local Crafts: Pick up unique souvenirs and local crafts right at the airport.
  • Car Rentals: Easily rent a car to explore Tulum and the surrounding areas at your own pace. The onsite car rental services currently include Avis, Europcar, and Hertz.

This airport isn’t just a hub; it’s a gateway to Tulum and the broader Riviera Maya region, encouraging deeper engagement with the local culture and community.

Tulum Airport

Tulum Airport: Airlines & Destinations

Curious about which airlines are making their way to Tulum? The airport hosts 13 gates for both domestic and international flights, significantly enhancing Tulum’s accessibility. 

Here’s a snapshot of what’s available:

International Flights to Tulum Airport

  • Delta Air Lines: Offer direct flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).
  • American Airlines: Four daily flights, including two from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), one from Charlotte (CLT), and one from Miami (MIA).
  • United Airlines: Offers 22 weekly nonstop flights between the U.S. and Tulum Airport. Routes from Newark (EWR), Houston (IAH), Chicago (ORD), and Los Angeles (LAX).
  • Air Canada: Offers direct flights to Tulum airport from Toronto (YTZ) and Montreal (YUL).
  • JetBlue: Flights from New York (JFK) will begin in June 2024.
  • Copa Airlines: (a Panama-based airline) will begin direct flights to Tulum from Panama City (PYT) starting at the end of June 2024.

Domestic Flights to Tulum Airport

  • VivaAerobus: Providing services to Mexico City (Benito Juárez Mexico City International Airport and Felipe Ángeles AIFA International Airport), Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Tijuana.
  • Aeroméxico: Offering flights to Mexico City (Benito Juárez Mexico City Airport) with about 15 flights weekly.
  • Mexicana de Aviación: Revived by the Mexican government, this airline will connect Tulum to Mexico City (Felipe Ángeles Mexico City AIFA Airport).
  • Volaris: Considering adding flights to the new Tulum Airport soon.

Airlines plan to offer around 170,000 seats out of Tulum by July 2024, which is quite a jump from the 45,000 flown by Mexican carriers in recent months.

How Far Is Tulum From The Tulum Airport?

The Tulum Airport is about 24 miles (40 km) from the heart of Tulum. New roads through the jungle have been added to link the Tulum airport to the main highway, Carretera 307 which connects Cancun to Belize.

These new roads are a game-changer! The airport’s closeness to Tulum’s living accommodation areas means less time traveling and more time enjoying your holiday.

Heads-up: Google Maps might not have caught up with these new roads yet, so the times below are estimates. 

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Tulum Centro (Tulum Pueblo, or Tulum Town): About a 40-45 minute drive.
  • Tulum Hotel Zone: About a 50-60 minute drive (depending on the location of your hotel). 
  • Aldea Zama: About a 40-45 minute drive.
  • La Veleta: About a 35-40 minute drive.

Tulum Centro art walk
Art walk in Tulum Centro

Tulum Airport Transportation Options

There are a lot of different ways to get there from the Tulum Airport as you can see from the list below. I’ll be breaking down each one in more detail so you can pick the option that suits your budget and your group.

  • Take the Ado bus: Regular schedules to and from downtown Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
  • Take a Private Shuttle or Taxi: Both private and shared shuttle services are available.
  • Rent a car from Tulum Airport
  • Take the Maya Train

Option 1: Take The Bus From Tulum Airport

The Tulum Airport offers public transportation to and from the town center via the ADO Bus, but the schedule is limited. To buy tickets, you’ll need to download the ADO app (available on iOS and Google Play) and search for ‘Aeropuerto Felipe Carrillo Tulum’ as your origin or destination—don’t rely on the official ADO website as it hasn’t been updated yet. 

  • Tickets typically cost around $10 USD each way.

Option 2: Private Taxi & Shuttle Transfers

For those looking for a bit more comfort, private car transfers are available. If you’re traveling in a small group of 1-3 people, prices range from $38 USD to Tulum Centro up to $200 USD to Cancun, depending on where you’re headed.

Larger groups can opt for vans or SUVs, which accommodate 1-9 passengers, with prices ranging from $80 USD to Tulum Centro and up to $250 to Cancun

➡️ These services cover various destinations including Akumal, Puerto Aventuras, Bacalar, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Cancun, and others.

Option 3: Take the Maya Train

Tulum has a train? What? Yes!! In sync with the opening of the Tulum Airport, Mexico’s ambitious Tren Maya (Maya Train) project launched on December 15, 2023

This extensive railway project connects the entire Yucatan Peninsula, making stops at key tourist and cultural sites across Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Chiapas, and Tabasco. 

The high-speed train promises an exciting new way to explore ancient Mayan ruins, vibrant cities, cenotes, and breathtaking natural landscapes throughout southern Mexico.

Option 4: Rent A Car From Tulum Airport

Renting a car from Tulum Airport could be a great option if you plan to explore the region at your own pace. 

Rental agencies like Avis, Europcar, and Hertz offer a range of vehicles from about $60 USD per day for a standard car to around $128 USD for a midsize and about $200 USD per day for a compact SUV.

Tips for Renting a Car in Mexico

When renting a car in Mexico, opting for something low-key is the way to go. A less flashy car is less likely to draw attention to you and your belongings—sometimes, the more basic, the better!

  • Bring an AUX Cord: Not all rental cars will have modern amenities, so packing an AUX cord might save your day if you want to enjoy some tunes on the road.
  • Watch Out for Rental Scams: Be cautious with car rental agencies. Some may insist on selling you additional insurance, but remember, you have the right to politely decline or check other options.
  • Check Your Insurance: Before you book, double-check your travel insurance or credit card benefits, as many offer rental car insurance. This can save you from unnecessary extra costs.
  • Driving Tips: Driving in Mexico is on the right side of the road, just like in the US. However, be prepared for frequent speed bumps and not-so-great signage warning about them. Keep your eyes peeled to avoid any surprises.
  • Parking in Tulum: If you’re staying on the main beach side of Tulum, where all the chic hotels and clubs are, parking can be tricky. Make sure to confirm with your hotel if parking is included to avoid any headaches.

With these tips in hand, you should be well-prepared for a smooth driving experience in Mexico, letting you focus more on enjoying your trip and less on logistical hassles.

All of the above transportation options provide a variety of ways to exit the airport and start your adventure in Tulum and beyond, whether you’re looking for budget public transport, private convenience, the freedom of your own car, or a scenic train ride through the heart of the Yucatan.

Reflecting on Tulum’s New Airport and Its Impact on Local Tourism

As Tulum’s landscape rapidly changes with new roads, sidewalks, apartment buildings, and restaurants, I wanted to take a moment to discuss what the new Tulum airport means for the area’s future. It’s a hot topic among locals and travelers alike, and the opinions I’ve gathered are mixed, to say the least.

Having lived in Tulum multiple times, I witness new developments spring up almost daily, and it’s hard not to feel conflicted. On one hand, Tulum’s natural beauty and unique vibe make it an irresistible tropical destination. 

On the other, this rapid growth stirs concerns about Tulum transforming into the next Cabo or Cancun—places known more for their bustling tourism than for tranquil escapes. With this expansion could come increased crime rates, soaring living costs, and the displacement of local communities. Not to mention, the potential for the area to lose its charm and become just another crowded tourist hotspot.

From my perspective, the new airport signifies a tipping point. While it promises enhanced accessibility and more visitors, which can be great for the economy, there’s also a significant risk of Tulum losing what makes it so special. The cost of living here is already climbing, and it worries me how these changes might reshape the community and the environment.

If you’re planning a visit, I urge you to travel mindfully. Respect the natural beauty of Tulum, be considerate to its residents, and engage with the culture in a way that adds value rather than detracting from it. We all have a role to play in preserving the magic of the places we visit.

➡️ I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think the new airport will be beneficial or detrimental to Tulum in the long term? Please share your opinions in the comments below or reach out on my social media. 

FAQs About the Tulum’s New Airport

What’s the Tulum Airport code?

TQO — Tulum Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport.

How do I book a flight to Tulum?

Booking a flight to Tulum is easier than ever before using the integrated flight search widget by Skyscanner — one of the best websites for comparing airlines and ticket prices for just about every destination in the world.

1. Start by searching for flights to Tulum using the flight search widget above.

2. Sort through a list of available flights to see which one works best for you and your schedule.

3. Choose your preferred airline, route, time of arrival and book!

Where is the Tulum Airport located?

Google Maps Location: Aeropuerto Internacional de Tulum Felipe Carrillo Puerto (TQO)

Tulum Airport Address: Felipe Carrillo Puerto, 9F7C+72, 77130 Macario Gómez, Q.R, México

Can you fly directly into Tulum?

Yes! The new Tulum Aiport is now more accessible than ever with direct domestic and international flights.

How Far is Tulum from the Airport?

The Tulum Airport is about 24 miles (40 km) from Tulum Centro and around a 45-minute drive to the nearby areas.

Final Thoughts

The opening of Tulum Airport marks a monumental leap in enhancing the region’s accessibility and boosting tourism. Its strategic location and state-of-the-art facilities promise not only a convenient travel experience but also set the stage for an unforgettable visit to Tulum. 

As you plan your journey to this vibrant destination, I urge you to travel with mindfulness and respect. Appreciate the stunning natural beauty of Tulum, be thoughtful towards its community, and interact with the local culture in ways that contribute positively. Each of us has a role to play in preserving the magic of the places we explore, ensuring they remain wonderful for future visitors.

Have more questions about the Tulum Airport? Leave them in the comments below or directly message me on my social media accounts. I’d love to hear from you!

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The new Tulum Airport

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