Wondering about the best way to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza? There are quite a few options, so make sure to check them out and choose the one that suits you best.
Chichen Itza is definitely among the top attractions in all of Mexico, and one of the wonders of the world, so you should not miss it. The site is home to the most magnificent Mayan ruins that, during the pre-Columbian times, were the most populated city in the Yucatan Peninsula.
While the closest airport to Chichen Itza is Merida in the state of Yucatan, unless you’re only flying to the area for the ruins you’ll likely be arriving at Cancun, in Quintana Roo. Although Chichen Itza is not suuuuper close to Cancun, it’s still one of the best Mayan ruins near Cancun.
And worry not! There are plenty of transportation options to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza. Check them all out to decide which is the best way to get there for you.
The distance from Cancun to Chichen Itza is 120 miles (193 kilometers) and it takes around 2.5 hours if you’re driving, so it’s the perfect destination for a day trip. Let’s see how to get there!
COMING FROM A DIFFERENT CITY?
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JOIN A CHICHEN ITZA TOUR FROM CANCUN
Chichen Itza tours are extremely popular, and they’re one of the best ways to visit the Archaeological site. Below I have selected the most comprehensive and top-rated Chichen Itza tours from Cancun for you to check out.
➤ The Chichén Itzá, Valladolid & Cenote Tour is a full-day tour (12 hours) that takes you to explore the ancient ruins and pyramid temples with a certified guide, so you’ll fully immerse in the site’s history and its importance for the Mayan people back in the day.
After your visit to Chichen Itzá, you’ll be taken to a beautiful cenote to swim and snorkel, and finish with a buffet meal and a stroll around the colonial city of Valladolid. Pickup and drop-off from your Cancun hotel is included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ With the Chichen Itza Early Access, Tequila Tasting & Buffet Lunch tour you’ll get to visit the ruins before they open to the public, escaping the crowds that can sometimes be overwhelming.
You’ll benefit from the knowledge of your private archaeologist guide and also enjoy a buffet lunch and tequila tasting before heading back to Cancun. The tour lasts around 12 hours. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ This Private Tour to Chichen Itza with Sacred Cenote takes you around the archaeological site with a guide, so besides marveling at the impressive El Castillo, you get to know their history and the role they played in the Mayan city.
After the visit, you’ll get to cool off in a sacred cenote and enjoy lunch in a local establishment. A tour around Valladolid, a colonial city near the ruins, is included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Tour to Chichen Itza and Coba takes you to these two magnificent archaeological sites, a fantastic excursion for those wanting to see as many Mayan ruins as possible. It’s a full-day trip with guided tours in both ruins, the chance to climb a pyramid at Coba, and a visit to a local cenote. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ A great alternative for visiting Chichen Itza from Cancun is using the GO Cancun Pass. The Pass is especially useful if you’re staying in Cancun for a few days, or want to visit more than a couple of attractions, as it allows you to save up to 45% in over 40 attractions.
But getting back on track, I brought this up because the GO Cancun Pass includes access to Chichen Itza and you can even get transportation from and to Cancun, as well as entrance to the Mayaland pool and its facilities, which are perfect for relaxing after your visit to the ruins. ➥ GET YOUR GO CANCUN PASS HERE
If you’re interested, you can learn more about the GO Cancun Pass in this post that includes calculations so you can see for yourself how much money you could save.
BOOK A PRIVATE TRANSFER TO CHICHEN ITZA
If joining a tour is not your thing but you don’t feel comfortable taking a public bus, you can book a private transfer for your Chichen Itza day trip from Cancun.
Your personal driver will pick you up at your hotel at the time you decide – consider that the drive takes about 2.5 hours, so the best pickup time is 7 AM to arrive at the site before the big crowds – and you’ll learn facts about Chichen Itza and the Mayan people on your way to the ruins, sipping on complimentary water or beer.
Once you arrive at Chichen Itza, you can explore the area at your own pace or hire a guide on-site. Since the driver is at your disposal for the day, after your visit to the ruins you can go to the nearby cenote for a dip and lunch, or head to Valladolid before returning to Cancun.
If there’s anywhere else you’d like to visit in the area, just ask them to take you there. You’re the boss! ➥ CHECK IT OUT HERE
TAKE THE ADO BUS CANCUN TO CHICHEN ITZA
▶️ If you wonder how to get to Chichen Itza from Cancun without spending much money, the most affordable alternative is taking the ADO bus.
The bus departs daily at 8.45 AM and takes around 3 hours to get to the archaeological site.
At the time of writing, tickets cost $36. To get back to Cancun you’ll need to take the same bus, and the last departure is at 4.30 PM, so you should be mindful of your time. BOOK IT HERE
▶️ A good alternative to enjoy more time in the Chichen Itza ruins and also get to explore the beautiful city of Valladolid is taking the ADO bus to Valladolid from Cancun, and then visit Chichen Itza from there.
You can make that trip in a colectivo, a shared van that leaves from right next to the ADO bus station. The first one departs as early as 7 AM and the ride takes about an hour.
I highly recommend spending at least one night in Valladolid, so you can get a sense of how life was back in colonial times, visit some of the landmarks in the city and also get to swim in the beautiful cenotes near Valladolid. You could even stay an extra day and go check out the pink lakes in Las Coloradas!
⚠️ If you’re planning your own Cancun day trip to Chichen Itza, it’s advisable that you get your tickets in advance, so all you need to do once you’re there is head to the entrance and get in, skipping the lines (that can be really long, depending on the time you get there!) ➥ GET YOUR SKIP-THE-LINE TICKETS HERE
RENT A CAR IN CANCUN AND DRIVE TO CHICHEN ITZA
Of course, if you like to have your independence you can always rent a car and drive to the ruins. Driving from Cancun to Chichen Itza takes around 2.5 hours, and the roads are in really good condition, so it’s a fantastic choice if you’re up for the drive.
It’s also convenient if you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends that can split the gas and toll fees, and you’ll manage your own times and itinerary.
🚗 The 180D Highway that connects Chichen Itza to Cancun is a toll road, and it costs 380 pesos (almost 19 dollars at the time of writing) each way.
Keep in mind that they only accept cash in Mexican Pesos, so make sure you have enough pesos to cover the fee. There are no ATMs between Cancun and the highway, and they won’t take any US dollars or credit cards.
➤ While having your own car gives you a lot of freedom, remember to be on the lookout for potential scams when you rent your car in Mexico. Sadly, it’s quite frequent for visitors to fall on tourist traps designed to take money from you. That’s why I highly recommend booking your car rental beforehand.
I personally use Rentalcars to compare prices and have a wider range to choose from; the average rental cost per day is between 10 to 25 dollars for a medium car. ➥ COMPARE PRICES HERE
⚠️If you’d rather rent your car once you’re in Mexico, know that tourist scams exist and be ready to avoid them. One of the most prevalent ones from car rentals is that they ask you to purchase insurance, affirming that is compulsory. However, it is not.
If you have travel insurance or credit card travel insurance, you DO NOT NEED to buy the one they offer. If they get insistent on the subject, you’re better off looking for another rental company to avoid further inconveniences with them.
Another frequent scam, especially in the car rentals at Cancun Airport, is that they charge excessive fees for damages, even if they’re little scratches, that may have been already on the car when you rented it! That’s why it’s important that you take pictures of the vehicle before using it, so you can’t be asked to pay for damages you didn’t cause.
Frequent scams of that sort occur at the airport when you’re rushing to catch your flight and you don’t have the time to argue and end up paying hundreds of dollars for damages you didn’t cause, so if you rented your vehicle at the airport, arrive with plenty of time to avoid being robbed like that.
CANCUN TO CHICHEN ITZA FAQ
The Cancun to Chichen Itza distance is 120 miles, around 193 kilometers. If you’re driving directly from the airport to Chichen Itza, the distance is around 111 miles (180 kilometers).
The most comprehensive tour is the full-day trip from Cancun to Chichen Itza which includes a swim in the cenote and a visit to the colonial city of Valladolid. You can check it out here.
Depending on whether you do the trip Cancun-Chichen Itza by bus, private transfer or car, the trip will cost you more or less. Renting a car for the day costs around 30 dollars, while the ADO bus from Cancun to Chichen Itza costs 36 dollars approximately.
The Cancun to Chichen Itza bus costs $36 at the time of writing.
The Cancun to Chichen Itza drive is really safe, and the roads are in perfect condition, so you shouldn’t encounter any inconveniences. The drive will take you around 2 hours and a half.
Chichen Itza is in the state of Yucatan, close to the colonial city of Valladolid.
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