Riviera Maya Buses

Many tourists choose to get around the Riviera Maya by bus

Riviera Maya is said to have such an exemplary bus system that not only does it rival those in the United States and Canada, but it is better than them. Because so much area is covered, it is important to look at the different offerings available – of which there are several – including first, second, and third class intercity buses, local buses, and collectivos.

Inter-City Buses

The buses in Riviera Maya are highly rated, comfortable, and easy to use – even those considered to be third class. For many people, buses are the preferred way to travel not only within individual cities, but up and down the coast as they travel from town to town exploring the entire region for a low price. You can get to just about every location in the area aboard a first class bus from the main station a the junction of Juárez and Quinta Avenida in Playa Del Carmen, but many people will first get on the bus when they arrive at the airport in Cancun. Buses from both locations travel up and down Federal Highway 307 every day of the week from before sun up to after sun down. These long-distance buses are privately owned by companies such as Primera Plus, Omnibus de Mexico, and the most popular option, ADO.

  • Keep these tips in mind as you utilize the buses in the region:
  • Plan your ride in advance by reviewing maps of designated bus routes and checking them against the times they are scheduled to leave.
  • Bring your map with you to show your driver where you want to go. If you don't speak Spanish, this is a good way to help ensure you aren't getting on the wrong bus.
  • Purchase your tickets as far in advance as possible for inter-city buses. These buses fill up fast and you don't want to end up waiting around for the next departure.
  • Always bring correct change. Some bus drivers are happy to provide change for small bills, but many will not.
  • Keep your ticket on hand at all times. You may be asked to show it at major stops.
  • When possible, arrive at the bus station 15 minutes in advance of departure.

The experience of traveling on an inter-city bus is generally a good one. They are massive vehicles that are kept clean and feature comfortable seating, air conditioning, bathrooms, and sometimes have free WiFi or will show a movie for some of the longer rides. As previously mentioned there are first, second, and third class buses that travel through the region. The major difference between these lines is not the quality, but the amount of time it takes to get from one destination to the next. If you don't mind spending a little extra time on the bus and making more stops, you can save a bit of money.


Another service that travels from Cancun to Tulum and thus Riviera Maya is the collectivo. These are vans mini-buses that provide rides for between just 15 and 100 pesos or between around $1 and $8(USD). It is without a doubt the cheapest way to get around the region. To find a collectivo, simply walk out to the highway, wait until you see a van speeding your way, and wave your hand to signal that you're in need of a ride. The driver will pull over, get out of his seat, open the door for you, and close it behind you as you get in. Locals tend to use collectivos rather than the luxury buses, so you'll get a chance to meet some interesting characters as you ride. In general, you'll find that a new collectivo drives by every 15 to 30 minutes.

Local Buses

Not every town in the Riviera Maya has a local bus system. Those that do include Chetumal. Your experience on these buses will be slightly different than the inter-city buses. For starters, there are no limits to how many passengers can pack on the bus, so they are often overcrowded. It is a great opportunity to meet and mingle with locals. There are marked bus stops throughout the town, so it isn't hard to figure out how to get around.

Bus travel is certainly an option to keep in mind as you determine how you'll get around Riviera Maya. Not only are they clean and comfortable, but they are generally reliable, and certainly affordable. Used in combination with taxis and collectivos, tourists can avoid having to get behind the wheel themselves throughout the entirety of their stay.


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