Cancun, Playa Del Carmen,Tulum on your own in 72 hours or less.
The Riviera Maya up to Cancun has some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the world. Nonetheless the Riviera Maya and Cancun area is a tourist trap for North Americans and Europeans. If you already booked your “all inclusive trip”, or have been on an all inclusive trip and prefer this way of visiting the Riviera Maya and Cancun area, have fun. However, if your purpose for visiting the Cancun area is not enjoying resort decors than here are some alternatives. You can avoid the Taxi’s, vendors and all the additional al a cart main excursions not included with your all inclusive stay at hefty prices.
You can do this by getting a rental car or using the local buses. Use Mexican Pesos only. $2000 Mexican Pesos which is about $80 dollars should be enough with money left to purchase souvenirs. Stay at boutique hotels in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. Avoid staying at a resorts unless the price is too much of a bargain. Which mean priced similar to the boutique hotels, it happens. When you arrive at Cancun airport go to ADO bus departure area located where the taxi and resort shuttles leave. Take a bus to the ADO bus terminal in downtown Cancun. Miser Travel uses local hotels approximately $48 dollars a night which are walking distance to the ADO bus station located near the “Monumento A la Historia de Mexico. This is where the ADO bus from Cancun airport drops you off.
There are also collectivos AKA private buses that work the same routes as the ADO bus nearby. Your first destination should be Tulum. Tulum opens at 8 AM and it takes the ADO bus or Collectivo two hours to get there. The bus or collectivo stops in Playa Del Carmen where you have to change for another bus or collectivo to Tulum. You don’t need to hire a guide in Tulum and the entrance free is about 70MXN or $4 U.S. dollars. Your bus fares are about $4 dollars each way as well.
Miser Travel would get to Tulum around 10AM, and leave by 2PM for a one hour ADO bus trip to Playa Del Carmen. Misertravel uses local hotels that are walking distance to Playa Del Carmen public sandy beaches. One day/night in Playa Del Carmen and you can return the next day or same night for the remainder of your trip in Cancun.
No need to purchase your tickets in advance, however you can research the ADO bus schedules online for planning purposes. Miser travel downloads offline google maps to track directions on GPS without using data for the entire Yucatan Peninsula. Misertravel walks from bus terminal to hotel, Tulum, Playa Del Carmen. In Cancun Miser tavel takes a taxi and pays what the locals pay. If you going to the main public beach zone near Intercontinental resort Cancun, the fare is cheap and should not be anything like prices charged by Taxis from Cancun airport to any other resorts. The fairs locally are only a couple of U.S. dollars.
And if you are comfortable renting and driving in a foreign country, the roads are easy to navigate from Cancun to and all the way down the Riviera Maya. Google offline maps works well. Don’t forget to research parking and insurance options for your rental car when booking.
If you don’t know basic travel Spanish phrases just write some down or save them on your smartphone for the bus terminal. A lot of the employees in Cancun/Riviera Maya area speak English and have lived in the United States previously. Customer service is sporadic. Remember it’s usually hot and you going to be walking and heading to the beach. Some of the Taxi drivers will profile you to charge you more for fares even outside the resort so ask how much before departure. Bring your own supplies. Swimwear, sunblock, snorkeling gear. Wear normal street clothing and leave your valuables locked away in the hotel.