Riviera Maya Transportation Options

There are many transportation options to consider in the Riviera Maya

Photo credit: © Sarunas Burdulis

A collection of beachfront towns that run along the Caribbean coast of Mexico, the Riviera Maya begins in Puerto Morelos and ends in Tulum, with such popular destinations as Akumal, Puerto Aventuras, and Playa Del Carmen filling the middle. Playa Del Carmen is the largest and most visited spot in the group, and serves as a point of reference for many vacationers. As you plan a vacation within the region, there is plenty to consider. Transportation is one aspect that takes a lot of research since there are so many options available.

Getting There

International travelers have three main options to consider as they make their way to the Riviera Maya. Flying has always been and will likely always be the most popular way to travel, but intrepid explorers may choose to sail, and those looking for something extra special might just book a luxury cruise with stops in the region.

Getting Around

When you find yourself in a more permanent setting within the Riviera Maya, local ground transportation becomes the thing to consider. Walking is a desirable option for many locations, and buses are a very popular option as well. Outside of these choices, you can rent a car, take a taxi, and in some cases, even utilize local ferry services.

Air Travel

The Cancun International Airport, though located north of the Riviera Maya, is the main point of entry for tourism in the region. The airport is one of the busiest and largest in Mexico, serving over 14 million passengers each year, and every major airline offers regular flights even during the off-season of tourism. After arriving you'll be able to use any of the methods of transportation you'll read about below to travel to your final destination. Meanwhile, find out more about flying to Cancun by clicking here.


The Riviera Maya is a great destination for sailors thanks to warm temperatures and calm waters – plus the possibility of traveling up and down the coast to visit several different destinations during the course of one visit.  Check out our guide to Sailing the Riviera Maya to learn not only what is required to gain clearance here, but also about participating in sailing excursions and chartering a boat for those who want to sail without having to travel through international waters. 


Playa Del Carmen is the official cruise port location for the Riviera Maya, and in fact is not even a full port. Most ships are too large to dock here, and instead will tender off shore and boat cruisers ashore. From there, cruise lines tend to plan several excursion options at major attractions throughout the region such as swimming with dolphins, jungle tours, and stops at Mayan ruins. Cruise ships typically only stay in port for less than eight hours, so your time on land will be short, but it is still a possibility for those who'd like to stop for a quick few hours.

Rental Cars

Renting a car for your stay in the Riviera Maya is recommended simply because there is so much ground to cover and if you'll be out exploring on a daily basis it might just save you money in the long run. You'll find rental agencies up and down the coast in nearly every town you visit, but Playa Del Carmen is known for having the least expensive rentals and the friendliest service. Everything you need to know about renting a car, what you'll spend, and what it takes to drive in the area can be learned by clicking here.


Taxis are a great source of transportation for people staying in the Riviera Maya where many people choose to forgo renting a car because they are visiting places they believe they can get around on foot for most of their stay. Exceptions to this rule are Xpu Ha and Xcalak, where it can be hard to find a taxi on the street. In this area, taxi rates are set in advance so you always know how much you'll pay at the end of the ride, and drivers are even equipped to offer tours. Learn more here.


Taking the bus is one of the most popular and affordable ways to get around the Riviera Maya. The main bus station in the region is located in Playa Del Carmen, but many people also utilize the station in Cancun as well. From these two spots, you can get to anywhere in the region, usually for under $10(USD). Those who want to save a little extra money, you can take a collectivo. Some cities also offer more localized services. Find out more about each public transportation option by clicking here.


There is one important ferry service to be aware in the Riviera Maya: the Cozumel Ferry Terminal. This service allows tourists to travel between Playa Del Carmen and the small island of Cozumel, whether for a quick day trip or so they can stay on the island for most of their visit. It costs $15(USD) each way, takes about 50 minutes to cross, and trips are available every hour from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

There is much to recommend a getaway in the Riviera Maya, but a bit of planning is important in ensuring your vacation is as good as it can be. This includes learning about and organizing all of your transportation needs. Once you have all of that in order, you'll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment without having to worry about how you'll get to your next destination at any given point of your trip.


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