Colectivos are essentially a local bus service that spans the Riviera Maya, although they look nothing like buses. They are small, white people carriers with a thin, red or aqua green stripe down each side; some also have a badge or Colectivo written on them. They are more of a van than a bus, really.
This service begins at about 6AM and run through until around midnight. They can carry up to 15 people and flow continual up and down Route 307, between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen (one will drive past roughly every five minutes). You’ll find that almost everywhere you want to go in The Riviera Maya is on, or just off, this stretch of road. As you climb in tell the driver where you are going and take a seat; you pay at the end and, depending on where you board the bus and where you disembark, this can cost up to $36 pesos (around 1,90 USD April 2017) per person.
Colectivos will not drop you inside your hotel complex, at your condo or in the town you’re going to; they will drop you on the side of the highway and you may have to cross it to get to your destination (this, however, is not as bad as it sounds as Route 307 does not have a heavy flow of traffic). When waiting on the side of the highway flag them down like you would a taxi; a driver may also flash his lights at you if he has space. Sometimes drivers stopped on either side of the highway may beep at you to see if you want a lift in the direction they’re going.
The drivers are familiar with all the towns, resorts and parks that are along Route 307, but they are also human so keep an eye out for your place just in case; shouting stop, or aquí ( meaning here and pronounced: Ah-ki), will work.
Things to note about this service:
- Colectivos are used by many of the local hotel workers and their shift change is usually around 5pm so expect to wait longer for a lift around this time.
- Colectivos will usually leave Playa Del Carmen full making it quite hard to get one straight away if you are close to the exit of the town. Although do not fret one will be along shortly.
- Colectivos are small but they do take luggage. However, if it is placed on another seat you will be charged for that space. If the Colectivo is almost full you may be told to wait for the next one.
- Although this may sound like quite an odd service it is a safe, fun and inexpensive way of travelling about The Riviera Maya. Don’t be surprised if you are one of many tourists in the colectivo at one time. They are the most popular method of transportation!