The closest airport to Playa is the Cancún International Airport. You can also fly into Cozumel International Airport and take a ferry across to Playa del Carmen
The main bus station is at 5a Av & Av Benito Juarez near the shore, in the centre of town. The other is an “alternate” and newer bus station further away from the centre along Av 20a Norte y Calle 12a Norte. The bus to airport leaves from the main terminal in the centre of town and they also have a stop at the newer alternate terminal while bus to Chetumal and Chiapas stop into the alternate terminal. As of April 2015, the buses run every 30 minutes.
At the airport the stop is in the parking lot next to the domestic arrivals (llegadas nacionales) doors at Terminal 2. Come out go out 200m to the right, to the furthest row from the building in the parking lot. From international arrivals at Terminal 2 turn right and go to the other side, past the building to the bus parking lot. At Terminal 3 the bus stop is in the parking lot, past the ‘Air Margaritaville’ bar (in a hut) to the right when coming out of the doors. In both locations there’s an attendant at an ‘ADO’ podium in front of the stall to buy the tickets from.
The buses from the airport to Playa del Carmen do not stop along the highway between the airport and Playa. So the next best thing is to take the bus down to Playa and transfer to a Mayab bus going back up towards Cancun and get off where you need to get off or a bus up from the airport to Cancun and a Mayab bus going back down towards Playa or point further south of Playa.
Grupo ADO (Autobuses de Oriente), ☎ +52 55 5133-5133 (toll free: 800-009-9090), they operate the ADO, ADO GL, Platino, OCC (Omnibus Cristóbal Colón), Riviera, and the Mayab brands.
There are taxis and ‘colectivo’ vans lined up along Av Juarez next to the bus station for onward travel other parts of town and surrounding areas. It will be much cheaper to take bus down here from the airport and take a taxi from here than a direct taxi (or private shuttle) from the airport.
Highway 307 is the only highway that passes by Playa. As you approach Playa from Cancún, the highway divides: to turn left to Playa, keep to the inside lanes heading south. The first east-west artery to Playa is Avenida Constituyentes, which works well for destinations in northern Playa; the second is Avenida Juárez, which leads to the town’s main square. If you stay in the outside lanes, you will need to continue past Playa until you get to the turnaround, then double back, staying to your right.
The Federal government has recently built an elevated portion of Highway 307 through Playa Del Carmen. It provides an express highway for those going south past Playa del Carmen. It certainly helps alleviate the congestion through this main thoroughfare.