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Public transportation options to get to area attractions instead of taxis or tours:
A colectivo or collectivo is a shared van, usually white, that drops off and picks up passengers along Highway 307. Hotel staff and guards at the entrance to larger hotels will usually tell guests prices and where to board the vans. The driver will stop if there are seats available in the van. Tell the driver the destination and the price depends on the distance traveled, usually around 20-30 pesos per trip. Keep an eye out for your stop as the driver may not remember. Great option for daytrips to Akumal, Tulum, Cancun, Xel-Ha, Xcaret and any attraction along the highway.
The colectivo stop in Playa del Carmen is on Calle 2 Norte between 15th and 20th Avenues. Vans run until 10pm everyday except Sunday, rides end at 7pm. If returning to town after colectivos stop running, Mayab second class buses run all night and will make stops at resorts along the highway or taxis are an option.
For return trips, stand on the side of the highway for the direction needed to travel, north or south, and pump your arm like the article below describes.
ADO and Mayab Buses
The main bus station is located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Benito Juarez, near the ferry terminal to Cozumel. ADO buses are first class and usually non-stop to the destination. Mayab buses are second class and will stop along the highway. Buses to Cancun downtown bus station, the Cancun airport, Tulum, Coba and other locations start from here. Tickets may be purchased 24 hours in advance and is advisable for return trips to the airport.
The other bus station is located on 20th Avenue at Calle 14. Buses from here generally go to other parts of Mexico. Fares are as low as 38 pesos ($3.80) to central Cancun.
Buses are large, modern and air conditioned, with TVs (the movies they show are in Spanish) and very comfortable seats, much better than Canadian and U.S. buses. Look for the ADO signs.
Playa del Carmen is small enough that you can walk everywhere fairly easily. However, should you need a taxi, cabs are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Taxi fares are determined by different zones. Traveling within one zone costs twenty pesos, and rates rise as you travel between zones. To travel to an adjacent zone generally costs twenty five pesos (except to or within Zone 5/Playacar, which is 70 pesos), and then the rate increases incrementally as you travel into additional zones. To go from zone 3 to zone 4, for example, costs 45 pesos. Zone 1 is the area between Calle 3sur and Calle 34, and east of the highway. Zone 2 is north of Calle 34, with zone 3 is north of calle 96. Zone 5 is the area known as Playacar.
Private Transport & Limos
If you are planning on taking a day trip to visit the Tulum ruins, Coba or Chichen-Itza, you may want to just get a private van. It can hold up to 8 people with a private driver, and you can stop on other points of interst and restaurants on the way. Also if you are visiting Xplor, Xcaret, Tulum Beach, Tulum City, Puerto Aventuras or any other destination from Playa del Carmen, this is your best option. Specially for larger groups, it iwll be very convinient and less expensive. If you are traveling alone, this will not be the best option, but certainly the safest, quickest and most convinient. If you are 4 or less people, you can also get a luxury SUV with a private driver.