Our ADO Fun Bus Trip has become a popular way to visit Mahahual, and a detailed description of that trip might be in order about now with all the latest bus info. If you have never ridden buses in Mexico, no worry, they are the most common way to get around for nationals, as well as many of the tourist who visit. There are three classes of buses, 1st, 2nd and local commuter buses. ADO is a first class bus service and comfortable enough for most tourists from any country.
The majority of international flights into Cancun arrive in terminal 3, which is where the ADO departs from. When you arrive and clear immigration and customs, you’ll exit some glass doors and can only go one way, to your right. On your left as you exit, will be car rental booths, transports and such, and the last booth is the ADO ticket booth. Next to that booth is an ATM too, if you want to grab some pesos.
This ADO booth is the one where you will find someone who might speak English. It is pretty much a sure thing that at all other stops, PDC, Tulum or Mahahual, the ticket people will only speak Spanish, so if you have questions about anything, this is the place to do it. You can also purchase your ticket for your Mahahual trip in the morning here if the booth is open. I think you can use you credit cards there as well. Sometimes the booth is not staffed, and if that is the case, you can buy your ticket to PDC at a small valet stand in the parking area outside. It is cash only there and the exchange rate there is usually low, 10 to 1, so if you pay pesos, it is $120 pesos, if you pay dollars, it is $12.
Inside terminal 3, there is only one exit and as you exit to the outside, there will be a wall of private shuttle service drivers and valets with clients names on signs, many asking if you need a transport. It will seem a bit chaotic at first but only because it is different than you see in the US. To the right is a small drink bar and just past that is where the buses and transport vans arrive and depart from. The ADO buses use the first two stalls there, and that little ticket valet is right there.
The buses that arrive there only go to Playa Del Carmen or Cancun and are marked. You of course will board the one to PDC. That bus will make a pick up at terminal 2 and then direct to PDC, which takes about 45 minutes. Occasionally, that bus makes a fast 2 minute pick up in Puerto Morelos, a town along the highway about half way.
You will arrive in PDC at the 5th Ave and Juarez Ave terminal, which is the center of the PDC tourist district. A quick geography lesson will help you get around this area. “Aviendas”, or Avenues, are main streets that run parallel with the oceanfront and are numbered in increments of 5. The closest to the ocean is 5th, the next one over is 10th, the next is 15th and so on. The streets that cross and connect the aviendas are called “Calles”, and they are numbered in increments of 2. The first block to the north, the direction that has all the hotels, restaurants, shopping etc, is Calle 2, the next is Calle 4 and so on. Enjoy both 5th and 10th Avenues, as both are very safe and tourist/ pedestrian friendly. 5th is completely pedestrian only and most of 10th now has a new pedestrian bicycle lane that has made it an extension of the 5th Avenue area, with more taco places and locals sea food type restaurants. Enjoy your evening in one of Mexico’s most international and cosmopolitan areas!
Your AM bus to Mahahual, leaves at 8:00. The price is $320 pesos, or about $25 US. Right now, ADO is using a smaller shuttle bus for this run, so keep an eye out because often at that hour, it can’t get a parking spot and will pull up behind the large buses and is difficult to see and the speaker on the intercom system sounds like Charlie Brown’s teachers voice. No worry, the driver checks in with the ticket people to get the passenger count, so he won’t leave you if you are there.
FYI, the Mahahual bus stops in Tulum, so any who might want to see that area for a day, can easily do that and it works best for the trip down. Instead of taking the 8:00 AM bus, which you can if you want since it stops in Tulum, or you can take one of many later buses to Tulum that day. Tulum’s terminal is a stop on almost all southbound buses, so catching another bus later, is easy. When you are ready to go onto Mahahual, you can catch that same bus that left PDC at 8:00, when it leaves Tulum around 9:00 each day. If you add Tulum to the return portion of your trip, be aware, getting to the airport will require a bus to PDC and then to the airport, as there is no direct airport buses to Tulum.
You will arrive in Mahahual in the center of the downtown beach area, one block back. There will be taxis available right there and a trip to a local hotel should be $20 or $30 pesos, or $2 or $3, depending on where in town your hotel is located. Hotels out of town of course are a few dollars more, depending on how far from town they are located.
Your return bus leaves from that same location. Buses leave at 7:00 AM, 10:15 AM and 5:00 PM each day. You can buy retrun tickets at Fernando’s store, right by the bus drop point and you can buy them a few days prior. You can get dropped at the airport direct but check with Fernando on how to have driver do that.
Also private shuttles are available and often, depending on the number of people, can be faster direct service from the airport direct to Mahahual. Check with your concierge for prices for that service.
There you have it. The bus to Mahahual is very easy and any one, including you Americans who have never ridden bus before, can do it. It is safe, cheap and a fun way to see a bit more of Quintana Roo, Mexico’s #1 tourism state. Saludos!