How to Get from Tulum to Cozumel: Your Weekend Getaway Guide

Planning a trip from Tulum to Cozumel? You’ve come to the right place! As someone who has lived in Tulum as a digital nomad, I can tell you that a weekend trip to Cozumel is a fantastic idea.

Cozumel is a destination spot for many reasons. Maybe it’s the crystal-clear turquoise waters, the mouth-watering tacos, the magical sunsets, the snorkeling adventures, or the vibrant and colorful city that’s calling your name – whatever it may be, Cozumel is a great place to experience firsthand.

No matter your reason, getting from Tulum to Cozumel is easy. The best way to get to Cozumel is by taking the ADO bus from Tulum to Playa del Carmen and then hopping on the ferry to Cozumel.

In this guide, I’ll share with you step-by-step to make your journey smooth and enjoyable.

How to get from Tulum to Cozumel

There are four ways to travel from Tulum to Cozumel, but they all have one thing in common: you need to get to Playa del Carmen first to catch the ferry. 

Unfortunately, there’s no direct ferry from Tulum. But don’t worry, I’ll walk you through your options so you can choose the best one for your trip.

Step 1: Getting to Playa del Carmen

Option 1. TAKE THE ADO BUS – CHEAPEST & EASIEST WAY

Travel Time: 1 Hour | Estimated Ticket Price: $70-114 MXN | $4-7 USD

The most budget-friendly and straightforward way to travel from Tulum to Playa del Carmen is by ADO bus. These buses offer a comfortable ride with air conditioning, free WiFi, and onboard bathrooms. 

They operate frequently throughout the day from two main stations in Tulum: Tulum Centro and near the Tulum Ruins. Depending on your location in Tulum, choose the station that best fits your needs. 

The bus journey ends in downtown Playa del Carmen, just a short walk from the ferry terminal.

Pro Tip: For the ADO bus, consider purchasing your tickets in advance through platforms like Busbud to secure a seat and possibly save on costs.

Option 2. TAKE A TAXI – QUICKEST WAY

Travel Time: 45 Minutes | Estimated Price: $900+ MXN

If you’re in a hurry or just prefer convenience, taking a taxi is your best bet. It’s straightforward but not the most budget-friendly. 

Just hop in a taxi in Tulum and ask the driver to take you straight to the ferry terminal in Playa del Carmen. It’s faster than the bus and leaves you with a bit more time to explore Playa before catching the ferry.

Option 3. HIRE A PRIVATE SHUTTLE – IDEAL FOR GROUPS

Travel Time: 45 Minutes | Estimated Price: $1200+ MXN | Check Rates & Availability

Traveling with friends or family? A private shuttle can be a great option. It’s comfortable and convenient, especially for larger groups. 

You can book a shuttle to pick you up from your hotel, Airbnb, or hostel in Tulum and drop you off at the ferry terminal in Playa del Carmen. Splitting the cost among several people makes this option more affordable.

Option 4. RENT A CAR – MOST FLEXIBLE

Travel Time: 45 minutes | Check Rates & Availability

If you prefer driving and flexibility, renting a car is a great choice. It’s easy to drive from Tulum to Playa del Carmen, and there’s parking available near the ferry terminal.

If you’re looking for a reliable rental service, I recommend Discover Cars – they have great rates and a variety of options.

Playa del Carmen
The Playa del Carmen sign

The Ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel

Travel Time: 30 minutes | Estimated Ticket Price: $260+ MXN | $16+ USD

Finding the ferry station is straightforward, once you arrive to Playa del Carmen. 

If you took the ADO bus, head towards the beach and walk for about five minutes. The ferry station is right next to Señor Frogs

There are two ferry companies: Ultramar and Winjet. Both offer similar services with ferries departing almost every two hours.

TIPS FOR THE FERRY RIDE

  • Buy One-Way Tickets on Arrival: Tickets can be bought in advance, but it’s usually best to buy them at the terminal to avoid missing a ferry and having to wait for the next one.
  • ​​Seating: Choose between indoor seating with air conditioning (bring a sweater!) or outdoor seating to enjoy the views and fresh air. If you get seasick, I recommend sitting outside.
  • Pets: If traveling with a dog over 20 pounds, choose Ultramar as Winjet has stricter pet policies.
  • Security Check: Be prepared to go through a security check similar to airport screening. Your bags will go through a scanner, and you might encounter a guard with a dog to sniff your belongings. Be mindful of what you bring, as some items may be confiscated.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH SEASICKNESS

My own ferry ride to Cozumel came on a day with especially rough seas, forcing everyone to stay inside—an environment that, despite being air-conditioned, made me quite seasick. 

To combat the nausea, the crew provided alcohol-soaked cotton pads, which helped somewhat. Having had a couple of beers before boarding didn’t make things easier for me. If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider taking Dramamine before your trip to ease the discomfort. 

By keeping these tips in mind, your ferry ride from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel should be smooth and enjoyable. Safe travels!

Cozumel
A view of Cozumel

Getting Around Cozumel

Navigating Cozumel is pretty straightforward. You have a few options: walking, taking a taxi, booking a private driver, or joining a tour. 

One piece of advice: avoid renting a scooter. They might look like fun, but they’re quite risky here with numerous accidents reported weekly.

WALKING

The downtown area of Cozumel, known as Centro, is incredibly walkable. I highly recommend exploring on foot to really take in all that the city has to offer. 

Right across the street from the ferry station, you’ll find an array of fantastic restaurants and shops

There are also a couple of beach clubs within walking distance, like Jeanie’s to the south or La Morina to the north.

TAXIS

Taxis in Cozumel are cheaper than those in Tulum. Actually, everything in Cozumel tends to be more affordable. Always agree on the fare before getting into the taxi to avoid any surprises.

 If you’re heading somewhere remote, I suggest getting your taxi driver’s WhatsApp number so you can arrange a return pickup.

Using these tips, you’ll have no trouble getting around Cozumel and enjoying everything this beautiful island has to offer!

What to Do in Cozumel

Cozumel is famous for its stunning beaches and vibrant underwater life. Here are some must-do activities:

SNORKELING AND DIVING

Cozumel is a diver’s paradise, known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant reefs. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a snorkeling newbie, there are plenty of spots to explore. (recommended tour are below). 

BEACH CLUBS

Spend the day at one of Cozumel’s beach clubs. Enjoy the sun, sand, and a cold drink. Some popular choices include Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club and Paradise Beach.

EXPLORING THE ISLAND

Rent a car or join a tour to explore the less touristy east side of the island. Visit Punta Sur Eco Beach Park for beautiful beaches, a lighthouse, and opportunities to see wildlife.

VISITING MAYAN RUINS

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio. It’s a fascinating site and a great way to learn more about the island’s history.

Food Recommendations

Exploring new places means trying new foods! Here are some spots I loved:

GUISADOS – BEST TACOS EVER

Google Maps Location: Guisados

If you’re a taco lover, Guisados is a must-visit. The chicken mole, pork steak in green sauce, and smoked pork chop tacos are simply amazing. This spot will make your taste buds dance!

Guisados in Cozumel

MUCUY JUGOS & BREAKFAST – BEST BREAKFAST AND SMOOTHIES

Google Maps Location: Mucuy Jugos & Breakfast  

Start your day right with a hearty and healthy breakfast at Mucuy Jugos & Breakfast. From smoothies to French toast to huevos rancheros, this place has everything you need to fuel your Cozumel adventure.

Mucuy Jugos & Breakfast in Cozumel

Many tours offer convenient pickup directly from the ferry station. If you’re planning to join a tour, be sure to check if this option is available. It makes the whole process much smoother and saves you the hassle of arranging additional transportation.

EL CIELO, PALANCAR SNORKEL & BEACH PARTY EXPERIENCE

TOUR LENGTH: 5 Hours | Check Rates & Availability

We opted for a snorkeling tour that featured snorkeling, sailing, and a beach party aboard a 65-foot sailing catamaran. With limited time on the island, this excursion was perfect for us. It included snorkeling with lunch, beach volleyball, and unlimited beer and margaritas.

The best part? All the logistics were taken care of, so we could simply enjoy the experience without the hassle of booking each activity separately.

If you’re looking for a fun-filled half-day on the water, this snorkeling adventure is ideal. It’s a fantastic way to explore marine life, enjoy some local delicacies, and soak up the sunshine.

The Nightlife in Cozumel

AQUI + AHORA

  • Highlights: Coffee Shop, Margaritas, Great Food, Great View, DJ at Night, CoWorking Space
  • Social Media: Instagram

If you’re into electronic music, you’ll love Aqui + Ahora! This spot has three levels – a coffee shop on the first floor, outdoor seating on the second, and a nightclub on the top floor. 

Their margaritas are the best, and they offer 2-for-1 drinks all day. It’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the night.

Where to Stay in Cozumel

ILLA BOUTIQUE HOTEL

For a chic and comfortable stay, I recommend ILLA Boutique Hotel. This small hotel features a nice pool, lounging area, and well-appointed rooms.

 It’s centrally located, so you can walk to almost everything in just about five minutes. Book the Deluxe Double Room with a king bed for extra space and comfort.

➡️ BOOK HERE: ILLA COZUMEL

ILLA Boutique Hotel
ILLA Boutique Hotel

FAQs Getting To Cozumel From Tulum

IS COZUMEL WORTH VISITING?

Absolutely! Cozumel offers a lot of activities, from snorkeling and swimming in clear blue waters to enjoying delicious local food and shopping. It’s a great destination for all types of travelers, and it’s budget-friendly too.

WHAT’S THE CHEAPEST WAY TO GET TO COZUMEL FROM TULUM?

The most economical route is taking the ADO bus from Tulum to Playa del Carmen and then hopping on the ferry to Cozumel.

WHAT’S THE FASTEST WAY TO GET TO COZUMEL FROM TULUM?

The quickest way is to take a taxi or hire a private transfer to Playa del Carmen, and then catch the ferry to Cozumel.

IS TAKING A DAY TRIP TO COZUMEL FROM TULUM WORTH IT?

Definitely! There’s plenty to do and see in Cozumel, making it a great option for a day trip.

HOW FAR IS TULUM FROM COZUMEL?

The distance is about 58 miles, and the journey typically takes around 2-3 hours each way.

IS COZUMEL SAFE?

Yes, Cozumel is generally very safe. There’s minimal violent crime and only a small amount of petty crime.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL?

Cozumel is great to visit year-round, but the most popular time is between December and May.

IS COZUMEL OR TULUM BETTER?

It really depends on what you’re looking for. Cozumel is more laid-back and relaxed, while Tulum has a trendier, bohemian vibe. Both are unique and offer different experiences.

Why Visit Cozumel?

Cozumel is a gem of the Riviera Maya, offering pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, delicious food, and a charming city atmosphere. 

Whether you’re snorkeling, diving, enjoying local cuisine, or just relaxing by the beach, Cozumel provides an unforgettable experience. The island is also known for its affordability, making it a great destination for budget travelers.

Wrap-Up: getting from Tulum to Cozumel

Getting from Tulum to Cozumel is quite straightforward and absolutely worth the effort. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, Cozumel has something to offer everyone.

No matter which travel option you choose, a trip to Cozumel is always a good idea. It’s a beautiful destination that perfectly complements the stunning surroundings of the Riviera Maya. 

So pack your bags, plan your route, and get ready to experience all the wonderful things Cozumel has to offer!

➡️ READ NEXT: BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN TULUM

Stay tuned for more Aqua Apple travel guides and adventures! 

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