Tulum: A Home Base for Side-Trips and Tulum Bus Information
Tulum has been an intersection of transport and commerce for countless centuries dating back to the ancient Chontal Maya with their huge sea-going trade canoes that frequented these pristine waters.
Just thirty years ago Tulum was an isolated Mayan jungle village accessible from the sea or via a dirt trail through tropical forest devoid of utilities.
Today, Tulum, the jewel of the Riviera Maya, has become more than just
another Caribbean Sea coastal town; it is a one of a kind heaven for
life loving people seeking a slice of paradise. It is an excellent home base for area side-trips.
Nowadays Tulum is more than ever a crossroads intersection town. Four distinctly different end destinations are easily reached from the main street.
North is the Riviera Mayan in the direction of Akumal, Playa del Carmen and Cancun with an exquisite selection of five star all-inclusive resorts.
East to the spectacularly famous ancient Mayan temple town of Tulum overlooking the Caribbean Sea where you can follow the shore south into the Sian Ka’An Biosphere Reserve all the way to Punta Allen at the end of the road. If you make this trip by bicycle you have the option of continuing across the Ascension Bay in an open fishing boat and then through the pristine jungle 95 kilometers to Felipe Carrillo Puerto.
South from Tulum will take you to the Muyil temple, the lost city of the Maya which is an actual dredged seaport that linked trading vessels as far away as Veracruz, Florida, Cuba and Central America. Continuing south will take you to Felipe Carrillo Puerto that was formerly known as Chan Santa Cruz, the capitol of Mayan resistance fighters until 1974. Further south is quiet little Bacalar, the lake of seven colors steeped in Mayan and Spanish history…a bird watcher’s paradise.
The present state capitol of Quintana Roo is Chetumal, the newest and smallest, on the Belize border and as far south as you can go in Mexico. It is easy to spend several days here taking the in sights and sampling the wide range or trade-route culinary delights.
West from Tulum takes you through more jungle in the direction of Cobá, with its tall tropical forest and expansive Mayan ruins. From Cobá the options are a very quiet jungle back road or the direct route to Valladolid.
If you chose to stay at the Sacbe Hotel the owners will give you the best local advice.
For more on Tulum, click here.
Getting to and from Tulum: Buses and Colectivo Taxis
There are numerous options for getting to and from Tulum other than renting a car. Tulum is located about two hours by ADO first class bus from Cancún, and four hours from Chetumal or Mérida.
The ADO bus terminal in downtown Tulum is located on Avenida Tulum in the heart of town.
ADO operates the first class and luxury buses. OCC, Mayab, and Oriente bus lines also operate from the ADO bus terminal. Mayab and Oriente are second class buses that pickup and discharge passengers along their routes to the numerous towns and villages that they serve. Tickets for all bus lines are sold at the ADO terminal.
First class and luxury buses will definitely get you to your destination fast and efficiently, but for fun, excitement, and adventure, second class will take you to the places that tourists miss most. They travel to the out of the way villages where you will meet the people that live there. Second class buses stop on demand, take longer than first class buses, and they are perfect for eccentric peso pinchers.
Destinations from the Tulum ADO terminal: Cancún, Cancún Airport, Playa del Carmen, Tulum Archeological Ruins, Chichen Itza, Cobá, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Valladolid, Mérida, Bacalar, Chetumal, Belize, and most points in between.
There are also first class buses from Tulum to Mexico City, Palenque, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Tuxtla and Tuxtepec.
Visit the ADO web site: www.ado.com.mx it contains information on only first class and luxury buses.
Telephone Tulum ADO Terminal: 984-871-2122
Close by the ADO Terminal are various colectivo taxis parked both sides of the street that travel south as far as Felipe Carrillo Puerto, north to Playa del Carmen and Cancún.
Colectivo taxis here in the Yucatán Peninsula are vans that seat many passengers, move fast and will pick up customers anywhere along their route.
Tulum taxis to local destinations are numerous. They will take you anywhere for a price.
By far the best and most popular way to get around Tulum is by bicycle. Most hotels have bicycles available and rental places are numerous.
©2012 John M. Grimsrud
As my wife says; “Tulum is a hard place to leave.”
The book for traveling adventurers who want to see more than just trinket shops and crowded tourist traps has arrived: Our book—built one stone at a time like the Mayan pyramids.
Yucatán’s Magic–Mérida Side Trips: Treasures of Mayab
Over a quarter of a century of inspired exploration and recording of our travels has led my wife and me to compile an impressive collection of outings that are the foundation for this book, built one story at a time. This isn’t a guide book but an idea book. It is something of another element not made to compete with guidebooks—it is made to complement them.