The bus service from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is very reliable and comfortable. You will have to take the ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen and then get the bus from there. You can buy your bus tickets ahead of time in Cozumel. The bus ticket office is at the corner of Av. 10 and Calle 2 norte. You can buy your tickets with reserved seating to be assured a spot on the bus that you want. You can coordinate the ferry crossing with the bus time so you can get off the ferry and go right to the bus station for your trip to Tulum.
The bus is quite reliable, and you can also just walk up to the bus station in Playa and get tickets there, this is very inexpensive.
You can also hire a taxi in Playa, right across the street from the bus station, the going rate is 60 dollars for 1-4 people, they take you to Tulum, wait for you there, and bring you back to Playa, you pay at the end.
Really renting a car is a good option, this way you can spend the rest of the day exploring on the way back, snorkel some cenotes, have lunch at Puerto Aventuras, etc.
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