The Segmental Info System

Traveling by Bus in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean

In the Mexican Caribbean, luxury buses and laid back "collectivos" offer vacationers a choice in travel

Because there is so much to see across such a vast area, visitors need a good way to travel around the Yucatan. Inexpensive and reliable buses, the preferred mode of transportation for locals, are also perfect for travelers.

Traveling by bus is a good option in Mexico, where there are many different companies to chose from. Luxury lines often resemble airline accommodations, complete with air conditioning, televisions, extra leg room, toilets, and direct routes. Additionally, the price difference between "budget" lines and their luxury counterparts is often negligible.

As this is a very popular form of transportation, travelers are advised to book their tickets in advance. Spontaneity and buses don't mix. If you show up at the bus station the same day you want to depart, you may wait for hours for an available bus or route. Making reservations even a day before departure generally provides enough notice to prevent hours of waiting.

"Camiones," or long distance buses, offer first class service throughout the Mexican Caribbean on the ADO, Omnibuses de Mexico, and Primera Plus lines. Most do not take reservations over the phone; a trip to the nearby bus station will enable you to buy tickets and get answers to your questions. Rates will vary depending on how far you're traveling, but $20(USD) is a good estimate for some of the longer trips.

A "collectivo" is a bus that runs shorter routes. These are ideal for traveling between the tourist areas of Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Collectivos run along the major highway, and can be picked up at many hotels and resorts or at any point along the way.

Collectivos come by about every 15 minutes. When waiting for a collectivo on the highway, stand a safe distance from the road. The driver will flash his headlights as he approaches to indicate that he has room for you onboard. Once stopped, the driver will exit the bus and open the door. Fares, which are paid upon arrival, are steady for collectivos, regardless of where you catch the bus. The price to Playa del Carmen is about $4(USD); traveling on to Tulum will cost another $1.75(USD).

Buses and collectivos are great options for getting around the Mexican Caribbean. Low rates, comfortable accommodations, and convenient routes make them an ideal way to see the countryside.


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