As of January 2012: Here’s how to get from the Cancun (CUN) airport to Playa Del Carmen on a bus.
After you’ve gone through customs and pushed a button giving you the green light (good) or red light (bad) exit through the sliding doors. You’ll still be inside the terminal with people trying to ask you where you’re going and offer you services. Just ignore them or say ‘No gracias’. If you want to get pesos out of an ATM, you can do it here. Otherwise you’ll most likely be able to use USA dollars for the bus.
I will warn you though, most guys try to screw you with the exchange rate. Right now it’s around 12 pesos to a dollar. They’ll charge you 10 pesos to a dollar. But if the ATM line is long and you just want to get here, use USA dollars. It’ll be a difference of max $1.
Exit the terminal into the beautifully warm, perfect air.
Now there will be a ton of solicitors. Continue to ignore their questions.
Head to your right. Go past the margarita bar. You should see big, fairly nice buses to your right.
As you approach them there will be a red stand that says ‘Playa Del Carmen.’ The company that operates the direct bus is called ‘Riviera’ although I don’t think that their name is visible anywhere. Look for that red stand.
Tell the guy you’re going to Playa and he’ll get you a ticket for 114 pesos.
Buses run once an hour until 10:45pm.
The bus will drop you main terminal on 5th Avenue and Juarez in Playa. 5th Avenue is the big, touristy, main walking street.
Just outside the terminal are taxis. Depending on where you’re going, it’ll probably run you about 50 pesos to take one. The streets are fairly logical and easy to navigate.