They are called "Collectivos" and they are white vans with a stripe. You are correct the fare from PDC to Tulum is 20 pesos (when I was there last year). They will take U.S. $ - as long as you do not expect change. so it is better to use pesos. They are defintely the cheapest way to get from PDC to Tulum. You tell the driver where you want to get off - Tulum - las ruinas (as opposed to Tulum city which is further down the road) and you pay him when you get off. At Tulum, the collectivo will drop you off on the highway . Cross the highway and proceed straight down the crossing road where you were let off. Immediately on your right you will see an area with lots of small vendors set up in a building (there are washrooms there - NONE at the ruins - so use them if you need to). Just beyond the vendor area is a small open area where the trolley to the ruins pulls in - look for the ticket booth and buy a trolley ticket (about 15 pesos if memory serves me correctly) and hop on the next trolley (your ticket is a RETURN ticket so keep it). The ruins are about a 5 minute trolley ride or a 15 minute walk down the road. Believe me on a hot day you will appreciate the trolley ride. Note - it is good to have pesos because at the ruins they will only accept the EXACT entrance fare in U.S. $ (once again the no change issue). Sorry but I cannot remember what the entrance fee to the ruins was - we were there last on a Sunday when it was free.
BTW: the collectivos are air conditioned and generally clean. your fellow passengers will be other tourists and mainly Mexican workers from the various resorts. Generally speaking leaving PDC - the collectivos leave when they are full (usually you do not have to wait long). Returning - 10 minutes is about the longest I have had to wait.
Coming back to PDC; Return to the highway - stay on the side you are on and wave at the first Collectivo you see that is coming along onyour side of the highway - if they have room they will stop - if they flash their lights they are expecting you to indicate (wave) that you want them to stop.
Re: Re: Re: White Vans to Tulum from Playa del Carmen
A bit more info. The collectivos lineup in PDC on Calle 2 (2nd St.) between Avenidas
15 and 20 (15th and 20th Aves.). Just go to the first one in the line. Basically they just run up and down the highway between PDC and Tulum City and stop where people tell them to or where people flag them down. On your return if you want to go to Xel Ha - ask the driver to stop there. NOTE: (except for PDC where they go right into town) they ONLY stop on the highway - so for Xel Ha they will drop you at the Xel Ha sign on the highway - you will have to walk about a kilometre (half mile approx) to the actual entrance from the highway. On your way back from Xel Ha, you have 2 choices - walk out to the highway and flag down a collectivo OR get a taxi from Xel Ha back to PDC (there are usually plenty of taxis at Xel Ha). I guess it will depend on how tired you are or how much time you have to get back to PDC. Sorry but I do not know the taxi fare from Xel Ha to PDC.