Take a Bus or Drive from Cancun to Chichen Itza

The ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are one of the most impressive attractions in Mexico, and there are many easy ways to get to Chichen Itza on a day trip from Cancun. This place was once one of the largest and most important cities of the Mayan civilization.

You can get from Cancun to Chichen Itza by booking an excursion, renting a car yourself or using a public Bus. In this guide, I will explain how to use each of these transport options, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

In general, it is not very difficult to visit this wonder of the world on a day trip from one of the tourist cities of the Yucatan Peninsula, and it is also quite inexpensive, so you definitely need to add it to your enjoyment list in Mexico!

Where is Chichen Itza located?

First of all, where is Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza is located in the center of the Mexican state of Yucatan and the distance from Cancun to Chichen Itza is about 200 kilometers (125 mi), so it can be reached in 2-3 hours by car.

The ruins of Chichen Itza are located near the sixteenth-century city of Valladolid, as well as many magnificent cenotes (natural chasms) where you can swim, so there is something to see near the ruins.

How to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza

Take part in a group tour

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza is to join a group trip with other travelers that you can book online or arrange with your hotel in Cancun when you arrive in Mexico.

Tours to Chichen Itza are very popular, many companies offer them every day of the week. In the morning, you will be picked up at the hotel, brought to Chichen Itza by Minibus or Bus, then enjoy a guided tour of the ruins.

We used one of these tours ourselves and had a great experience. There are even early morning excursions where you can bypass the crowds and be one of the first to enter the ruins of Chichen Itza at the beginning of the day.

Often these group trips from Cancun to Chichen Itza also include other sights of the Yucatan Peninsula, such as the ruins of Koba, Tulum, Valladolid, as well as swimming in one or two of the many picturesque cenotes in the area. These tours usually include a buffet lunch and a transfer from the hotel.

The only drawback of a group tour is that you have a fixed itinerary, so you will usually only spend an hour or less at each place you visit during the tour. Personally, we wanted to stay a little longer, but for many people it can be a very long time.

In this scenario, you will also share the tour with a group of other travelers, although we didn’t mind, because it will still be crowded in Chichen Itza and a bus ride is a Chance to meet other travelers.

Book a private tour

If you want to visit Chichen Itza with a guided tour but don’t like the idea of joining a large group, there are also private tours and small group tours from Cancun to Chichen Itza that depart every day of the week.

This Option is more expensive than a group tour, but if you are on a budget, it can be a great way to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza! Thus, you will have a personal driver and a multilingual guide who will take you to each place and tell you in detail the history of the archaeological excavations.

Some of these private tours also include visits to the neighboring Mayan ruins of Kobe and Tulum with a buffet lunch and a transfer from the hotel in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or other places on the Riviera Maya.

Rent a car and drive it yourself

Renting a car and driving yourself is another common way to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza, and it’s quite easy when it comes to Mexico.

This location gives you maximum freedom when planning your schedule and can be very beneficial when traveling with friends or family so that you can share the costs.

The journey from Cancun to Chichen Itza (or vice versa) takes about 2.5 hours and the roads are in very good condition.

You are driving on Highway 180D, a toll road. At the time of writing this article, the fare is about 400 Pesos each way and can only be paid in Mexican Pesos. So make sure you bring enough money.

Along the way, you can also stop at other places, such as the sixteenth-century city of Valladolid and the many magnificent cenotes near Chichen Itza.

Do not forget to book a rental car from a reputable company and take a photo of the entire car body in order to avoid possible fraudulent actions with damage during the rental.

With Chichen Itza, remember that you will always need tickets for a visit, even if you are traveling alone. It is recommended to book entrance tickets to Chichen Itza online in advance in order to avoid the queue on arrival and spend more time visiting the ruins.

Take a public bus

One of the cheapest ways to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza is to take the ADO Bus, which departs from downtown Cancun every day at 8:45 am and returns to Cancun at 4:30 am.

This can be a good Option if you are traveling alone on a limited Budget and don’t mind organizing your own transport rather than taking a trip. You can get to Cancun Bus station by Fast Taxi or Uber.

The bus ride from Cancun to Chichen Itza (or vice versa) takes about 3 hours and costs about 250 Pesos. You can buy these tickets online on the ADO Bus website or in person at the Mexico City bus station.

The ADO buses are clean, with air conditioning and bathrooms. Just be careful and keep a close eye on your bags and valuables, as thefts are frequent on buses and at the bus station. You will also want to arrive early at the bus station, as the registration process can be long and complicated on a busy day.

The main disadvantage of a bus trip to Chichen Itza is that you have 5 hours to explore the archaeological site, which can take longer than most people need. The workaround is to take a bus from Cancun to Valladolid, where there are other departures, then take a Colectivo (collective bus) to Chichen Itza.

If you still have time, you can also rent a local Taxi to take you to one of the cenotes near Valladolid while you’re there! This way you can see more places at once.

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