GETTING TO AND AWAY FROM CANCUN:
Getting to and away from Tulum and Playa Del Carmen
Buses headed south from Cancun are not that hard to come by. A number leave from the main first-class terminal on the Avenida Uxmal just off the Avenida Tulum. Others across the street on the Avenida Uxmal from one of the smaller bus companies specializing in trips to the surrounding small towns. Expect to pay around $ 40 pesos one way to Tulum and make sure to leave early and return by early evening if you're just making a day trip.
To Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen costs around $ 15 or $ 20 pesos one way and takes barely an hour to reach. Frequently you can cop a deal for a slightly better price if you'll shop around a little (your Spanish permitting!) The Playa Del Carmen terminal is an over-crowded, open-walled eye-sore of a building a block or so from the beach and is absolutely packed during the summer months making it a hot, steamy, sticky experience you will not enjoy.
Be VERY careful with your belongings. The arrival terminal and the departure terminal are in different locations a few short blocks apart. Do not forget to ask around for it before you're ready for the return trip. Go early for more comfort and to beat the heat plus crowds combination. Buses either way depart as frequently as every 15 minutes or half hour. Plan to stay overnight in Playa del Carmen or return by early afternoon on day trips, otherwise … Madre Mia!
Getting to and away from Merida and Chichen-Itza:
Headed for Merida or want to be dazzled by the awe-inspiring ruins at Chichen Itza? No problem. Same terminals but the buses are headed in a different direction. Both Chichen-Itza and Merida are West of Cancun. For a fare in the vicinity of $ 70 pesos you can make the four to six hour jaunt to sizzling Merida. From here, the Mayan astronomical complex at Dtzibilchaltun (a definite must-see), the beach-fronted Progresso and other north coastal towns are only a short hop away. Roughly half-way to Merida, along the same route, lie the magnificent ruins of Chichen-Itza, one of the most visited archaeological sites in the western world. They're so commonly known that they're recognizable by most people in the northern hemisphere. Fares run around $ 50 pesos to reach the site. Cheaper routes take up to three and a half hours to reach the ruins while the more expensive express buses (up to $ 70 pesos one way) make the trip in as little as two hours.