How Do You Get to Riviera Maya (and How Do You Get Around)?

Most travelers visiting the Riviera Maya fly into Cancun Airport. From the airport, you can take a private transfer to your hotel in the Riviera Maya. To get around the Mayan Riviera, you may rent a car, or use taxis, buses and shared minivans.
How Do You Get to Riviera Maya
Table of Contents

Another option for getting to the Riviera May is to fly into the island of Cozumel and then take the ferry ride across to Playa del Carmen. Most parts of the Riviera Maya are connected by a highway that runs along the coast, linking Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Read on for the ultimate guide to getting to and around the Riviera Maya.

Which Airport Do You Fly Into for Riviera Maya?

The best airport to fly into for the Riviera Maya is Cancun Airport.

There are 2 airports that you can fly into for the Riviera Maya: Cancun International Airport (CUN) and Cozumel International Airport (CZM). Cancun Airport serves 39 airlines with flights to 88 airports around the world, while Cozumel Airport services 7 airlines that offer international flights to 9 cities worldwide.

Because Cancun Airport serves more airlines and destinations, flights are more frequent and better priced than those to Cozumel Airport. Moreover, it is a straight drive from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen, with simpler options for getting to your hotel.

On the other hand, the cost of flights to Cozumel Airport are typically a bit more expensive than flights to Cancun. Although Cozumel Airport is geographically closer (18.6 kilometers), getting from the airport to Playa Del Carmen is not as convenient as from Cancun Airport.

Getting from Cozumel Airport to Playa Del Carmen requires taking a taxi from the airport to the ferry pier, then taking the ferry to the mainland and finally taking another taxi to your hotel. All in all, this trip takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes, in comparison with Cancun Airport’s 50 minutes transfer.

Which Airport is Closest to Riviera Maya?

Cancun International Airport (CUN) is the closest airport to the Riviera Maya.

What Airlines Fly to Riviera Maya Mexico?

Here is a list of airlines that fly to the Riviera Maya:

Air Canada Rouge Toronto–Pearson, Montréal–Trudeau
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Chicago–O’Hare
American Eagle Miami
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Frontier Airlines Denver
Interjet Mexico City
Magni Monterrey, Mexico City
MAYAir Cancun, Merida
Southwest Airlines Houston-Hobby
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas/Fort Worth
United Airlines Los Angeles, Houston–Intercontinental, Denver, Chicago–O’Hare, Newark
Viva Aerobus Monterrey
Volaris Mexico City
WestJet Toronto–Pearson

How Much Does It Cost to Go to Riviera Maya?

The cost to go to the Riviera Maya will depend on your point of origin, the day and season you travel, as well as when you book. Average costs for global flights to Cancun International Airport range between US $544 – 837 per person for economy and US $1,707 – 2,627 for first class.

Do You Need a Passport to Go to Riviera Maya Mexico?

Yes, all tourists entering Mexico by air need a valid passport. However, travelers entering Mexico by land or sea can use either a passport, a passport card or enhanced driver’s license. Mexican entry/ exit requirements provide that passports need to be valid for at least 90 days beyond your departure date. That said, it is recommended to have 6 months validity on your passport at all times.

How Do I Get From Cancun Airport to Riviera Maya?

Here is an overview of transportation options for getting from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya:

  • Hotel Shared Shuttle: Hotel shared shuttles are the most popular means of transportation from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya. Official hotel shared shuttles are available from Cancun Airport all day to most major hotels in the Mayan Riviera. Hotel shared shuttles must be booked in advance. Price is per person, which makes the shuttles suitable for couples and solo travelers who are ok with sharing and stopping along the way.
  • Airport Taxi: It is not possible to get a regular taxi from Cancun Airport. However, the airport has a taxi-type service available for travelers going to any location in the Riviera Maya. Airport taxi services are available throughout the day, and fares are calculated according to the distance to your destination. As such, airport taxis offer the most economical private means of transport from Cancun Airport.
  • Private Transfer: Private transfers provide the most convenient way of getting to the Riviera Maya from Cancun Airport. Private transfer services are available throughout the day for tourists who need to get from Cancun Airport to any destination in the Mayan Riviera. Once you exit the terminal, the driver will be waiting for you, which means that you will get to avoid delays, luggage restrictions or waiting time fees.
  • Public Bus: ADO Bus operates at Cancun Airport, providing bus services every day from the airport to the Riviera Maya. Buses stop at all airport terminals and then travel directly to ADO bus stations in various towns along the Mayan Riviera. Although the buses do not go to hotels or make any stops along the way, they offer a convenient way of getting from the airport to destinations other than hotels.
  • Rental Car: Cancun Airport is the largest car rental center on the Yucatan Peninsula. In addition to local agencies, most international franchises operate from Cancun Airport. Rentals are available throughout the day with a confirmed booking. Rates vary from one rental agency to the next, although you can find good discounts, promotions and extra incentives online.

How Much Does it Cost to Get from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya?

Here is an overview of transportation prices from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya:





Bus 12 15
Shuttle 24 40
Shared Ride 34 52
Taxis 43 57
Private Service 52 62
Large Van 61 68
Extra Large Van 70 73
SUV 73 108
Luxury Vehicle 99 120

How Far is Riviera Maya from Cancun Airport?

The distance to the Riviera Maya from Cancun Airport is 67.9 Kilometers. It takes about one hour to drive to the Riviera Maya from Cancun Airport using the Cancun – Chetumal/ Carr. Tulum – Cancun/ Mexico 307 road.

How Long is the Transfer from Cancun Airport to Riviera Maya?

It takes about one hour to get from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya via transfer. However, the transfer may take longer if you make stops along the way or have to drop other passengers off at different hotels.

How Much is a Taxi from Cancun Airport to Riviera Maya?

The cost of a taxi from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya will depend on where you are dropped off along the Mayan Riviera. Taxi fare from Cancun Airport costs US $43 to Playa Del Carmen and US $57 to Tulum.

Is It Safe to Travel From Cancun Airport to Riviera Maya?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to travel from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya.

How Do You Get Around Riviera Maya?

Here is an overview of different ways for getting around the Riviera Maya:

  • Bus: Taking the bus is an affordable and reliable means of getting around the Riviera Maya. The region has a well-established bus system, with buses running all day, every day up and down Highway 307. This is where many of the top Mayan Riviera attractions are located, including the Gran Cenote, as well as the ruins at Tulum and Coba.
  • Colectivo: These are 14 passenger mini-vans that run up and down Highway 307 connecting Tulum with Playa del Carmen and Playa del Carmen with Cancun. Colectivos offer the most economical means of getting around the Mayan Riviera. They also run well into the evening hours so you are certain to find one at most times of the day.
  • Taxi: You can get a taxi almost anywhere along the Riviera Maya. Taxi fares are often posted in the lobbies of hotels and resorts, as well as at major tourist spots, such as the ruins at Tulum. It is common to find at least one taxi waiting outside any hotel or attraction along the Mayan Riviera. Just be sure to agree on the fare with your taxi driver before starting your trip.
  • Rental Car: It is also possible to rent a car and drive yourself around the Mayan Riviera – just be sure to book in advance for the best deals. There are many car rental agencies in the Riviera Maya and the surrounding Yucatan Peninsula. Rental companies have offices at Cancun Airport, as well as in most tourist zones including Playa del Carmen.
  • Ferry: If you plan on visiting Cozumel during your vacation in the Riviera Maya, you will need to take the ferry across from Playa del Carmen. The ferry ride from the pier in Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel takes just under an hour. Alternatively, you may choose to fly in when Cozumel Airport is servicing international flights (outside the low season).

Is It Safe to Travel in Riviera Maya?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to travel in the Riviera Maya, as long as you stick to the well-traveled tourist areas. That said, this is a major tourist area, which means that opportunistic crimes against tourists do occur. It is therefore important to have your wits about you at all times when traveling in the Mayan Riviera.

Is There Uber in Riviera Maya?

Yes, Uber services are available in the Riviera Maya.

Is It Safe to Drive in Riviera Maya?

Yes. It is generally safe to drive in the Riviera Maya during the day. However, visitors should avoid driving in the Mayan Riviera at night. Moreover, drivers in the Riviera Maya should always adhere to the Mexican traffic rules and regulations, and fully cooperate with police at official checkpoints.

Here are some safety tips for driving in the Riviera Maya:

  • Driving at Night: Whenever possible, avoid driving at night because some roads in the Riviera Maya are poorly lit making it difficult to see pedestrians crossing the road. Moreover, you’re likely to encounter speeding drivers after dark.
  • Parking: Never park on streets that are poorly lit. Instead, use designated parking lots near hotels, business and other public areas to avoid getting blocked in. Moreover, never leave any valuables visible inside your parked car.
  • Seat Belts: The driver and the front seat passenger are both required by law to wear seatbelts when driving. It is mandatory for children under the age of 12 to sit in the back seat.
  • Speed Limit: Never exceed the speed limit in the Riviera Maya. In Mexico, speed limits are indicated in kilometers per hour, so make sure that you do not follow the miles per hour on your speedometer while driving. Speed limits may also often change along the highway, so you should always be alert and ready to adjust accordingly.
  • Speed Bumps: Always be on the lookout for Mexico’s infamous speed bumps. It is important to drive cautiously, especially at night, as the speed bumps are often unmarked.
  • Drinking and Driving: It is illegal to drink and drive in the Riviera Maya. This will also invalidate your insurance if you have an accident. The legal blood alcohol limit in Mexico is 0.40.
  • Cell Phones: It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving in the Mayan Riviera.
  • Documentation: Always have your vehicle insurance, rental car agreement and personal identification ready to present at a police checkpoint or if you have an accident.
  • Toll Roads: Whenever possible, use the toll roads which are in far better shape than the free roads, and include extra insurance coverage in case you get into an accident.
  • Defensive Driving: Always maintain a safe speed and distance that will enable you to respond to unexpected actions by other drivers who don’t follow traffic rules and regulations.
  • Potholes: Always be alert when driving in the rainy season or off the main roads to avoid landing in some of the large potholes around the Riviera Maya.