Wondering how to get from Riviera Maya or Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza? There are several transportation options you can choose from, so check them out!
Chichen Itza is considered one of the New 7 Wonders of the world, and it’s rich in history, culture and traditions, so it’s not a surprise that so many tourists visit the site every day! If you’re vacationing in the Riviera Maya, you should include a trip to the magnificent pyramids of Chichen Itza on your itinerary.
The distance from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza is 180 kilometers (111 miles) and the drive takes around 2.5 hours.
Here are the best transportation options to get from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza.
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Join a Chichen Itza Tour from Playa del Carmen or Riviera Maya
There are quite a few Chichen Itza tours from Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya, and joining one of them is a great idea if you’re traveling on your own or want to explore the nearby cenotes and highlights of the area besides the ruins.
Below are the best tours from Riviera Maya to Chichen Itza; check them out!
➤The Chichén Itzá, Valladolid & Cenote Tour is a full-day tour that takes you to the Mayan ruins with a certified guide that will explain the history of what used to be the most populated city in the Yucatan Peninsula. You’ll also get to visit a cenote nearby, and finish your day with a buffet meal and a stroll around Valladolid, a beautiful colonial city in the area. Pickup and drop-off from your hotel is included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Choose the Chichen Itza Early Access, Tequila Tasting & Buffet Lunch tour to visit the ruins before anyone else, enjoying a tranquil exploration around the site and benefitting from the insights of your private archaeologist guide. You’ll also get a buffet lunch and tequila tasting before returning to Playa del Carmen. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ An alternative is taking this Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza Private Tour with Sacred Cenote. You’ll visit the archaeological site with an expert guide, and afterward you’ll enjoy a dip in an ancient, sacred cenote before having lunch in a local establishment. You’ll also get to tour around the colonial city of Valladolid, which is a fantastic plus. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Book a Private Transfer to Chichen Itza
If you’re not driving from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza but would like the freedom and comfort that come with having your own vehicle, you can book a private transfer.
You’ll be appointed a personal driver to pick you up at your hotel and drive you to the ruins, answering your questions about the site’s history along the way. While you can choose your pickup time, consider that the journey takes over 2 hours, so it’s advisable to leave as soon as possible to avoid the crowds.
At Chichen Itza feel free to roam around at your own pace, or hire one of the site’s guides to learn more facts about the ancient pyramids, and find your driver waiting for you when you’re ready to go.
You can then choose to visit some of the nearby cenotes or the city of Valladolid, as the driver will be at your disposal for the day. ➥ CHECK IT OUT HERE
Take the ADO Bus to Chichen Itza
A cheaper option is traveling from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza by bus.
There’s only one ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza a day; it departs at 8 AM from the ADO station on 5th Avenue, and the ticket costs 402 pesos (around 20 dollars) at the time of writing. The bus ride takes a little over 3.5 hours, and to get back from Chichen Itza to Playa del Carmen you also only got one bus, leaving Chichen Itza at 4.30 PM; don’t forget to check your time regularly!
➤ If being on a time rush stresses you out (and you don’t want to be stressed on your holidays, rather the other way around!) you can take the ADO bus to Valladolid instead, and stay in this beautiful colonial city for the night.
There are colectivos (shared vans) leaving from right next to the ADO station to Chichen Itza and the ride takes about one hour; after your visit to the ruins, you’ll also get to stroll around the city or visit some of the incredible cenotes near Chichen Itza.
⚠️ If you’re visiting Chichen Itza on your own, remember to get your tickets in advance to skip the lines and access the site faster. ➥ GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
Rent a Car in Playa del Carmen and Drive to Chichen Itza
🚗 To get to Chichen Itza by car, take the 305 Highway that connects Playa del Carmen with the 180 Highway; this is the one that takes you to the ruins. Both are toll roads, so the trip will cost you 344 pesos each way (17 dollars at the time of writing).
The toll fees can only be paid in Mexican Pesos, so make sure you take enough cash with you. Credit cards or US dollars will not be accepted.
If you’d rather not pay the toll fees you can take the slow road to Chichen Itza, which is free but it will take you around 30 minutes more. If you choose this road, you’ll have to take the 307 Highway to Tulum, head to Valladolid and then take the 180 Highway from there to Chichen Itza. The drive will take you 2 hours and 50 minutes.
➤ It’s perfectly possible to drive to Chichen Itza, although if you’re renting a car I highly suggest you book it online to avoid scams. I use and recommend Rentalcars to compare prices, and to ensure a safer experience ▶ COMPARE PRICES HERE
⚠️If you end up renting your car once you’re in Mexico, be on the lookout for tourist scams; sadly, they abound.
Common scams include asking you to pay for insurance and insisting that it’s mandatory; it is not. As long as you have travel insurance or credit card travel insurance, you do not need to get any other, so don’t pay them for something you don’t need.
They may also try to charge you for car damages or scratches that were already there when you rented it, so make sure you take pictures of the vehicle before using it to have proof and avoid unnecessary (and unfair) extra fees.
If you rent your car at the Cancun Airport, arrive with plenty of time to return it, as most scams occur when they know the tourists are rushing for their flights and don’t have time to argue, ending up paying extra (could be hundreds of!) dollars.
Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza FAQ
Chichen Itza is absolutely worth the hype. If its being one of the New 7 Wonders of the world and a UNESCO Heritage Site doesn’t say much to you, consider that it was built around the 6th century AD, it was the most populated (and one of the most important) cities in the pre-Columbian times and its main pyramid, Kukulcan, inspired great legends. If you’re visiting Yucatan or Quintana Roo state, you should definitely spare a day to visit Chichen Itza.
Driving around the Riviera Maya is generally safe, especially since it’s a highly touristic area in Mexico. The roads to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen are well maintained, and is will take you little over 2 hours to get there.
The fastest way to get from the Mayan Riviera to Chichen Itza is by taking two toll roads, which currently cost 344 pesos each way (around 17 dollars).
There are amazing places near the ruins that you can visit on your day trip to Chichen Itza; however, I suggest heading first to the archaeological site so you can enjoy it before the big crowds arrive, and after your visit is done, you can then head to Cenote Ik Kil for a swim, or go to the colonial city of Valladolid and take a dip in Cenote Zaci.
The closest airport to Chichen Itza is Merida International Airport.
Playa del Carmen is 180 kilometers (111 miles) from Chichen Itza. The drive takes around 2.5 hours.
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