From within Mexico, visitors to Playa del Carmen usually just take a bus. Travelers going to the city from Cancun have other transportation options, including a 10-person or so colectivo vans, ferries, and car rentals. From Cancun, it usually takes from 45 minutes to an hour to get to Playa del Carmen.
Highway 307 is the only major road that passes by Playa del Carmen. It divides as you approach the city from Cancun; vehicles that veer left to the city keep to the inside lanes that head south. Avenida Constituyentes is the first east-west artery to the city. It works well for destinations in the northern part of Playa del Carmen.
Leading to Playa del Carmen’s main square is Avenida Juarez. If your vehicle stays in the outside lanes, you must continue past the city until you get to the U-turn, double back, and then stay to your right.
There are many car rental companies that service the Yucatan Peninsula. You can rent a car in the city or anywhere within the Riviera Maya. If you require the car to be delivered anywhere within the Riviera Maya, just inform the car rental company about this and their representatives will deliver the vehicle exactly where you need it.
Colectivo vans are good alternatives to the buses. These vans depart and return at Playa del Carmen from a location on Calle 2 between Av 10 and Av 15. These vans are cheap government regulated air-conditioned vehicles that transport people on Highway 307. They run north and south along the coast between Cancun and Tulum.
Pick-up times for collective vans vary, roughly every 10 minutes. Pick-up and drop-off is along the freeway. But you can get a ride near to many destinations between Cancun and Tulum for as low as $1.50.
If you are coming from Cozumel, you will need to take a taxi at the airport and instruct the cab driver to take you at the dock where you can get a ferry ride. Ferries leave for Playa del Carmen every hour. Travel time is about 30 minutes. Once you reach the dock in the city, there will be buses, tricycles, and taxi cabs that you can ride to get to your accommodation.