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How To Get from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza [2024]

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, Mayan 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.

I absolutely get it if all you want to do when vacationing is relax by the pool with a cocktail in hand. But even if it’s the only thing you do outside of your resort, please plan a day trip to Chichen Itza. That’s what I did on my first trip to Mexico – spent the week at the resort but booked an excursion to Chicken Itza and Valladolid.

Woman standing in front of El Castillo Pyramid, inserted in a post about going from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza.

There are a few transportation options to get from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza. 

PRIVATE TRANSFER$455 (for up to 8 people)BOOK IT HERE

Wondering how far is Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen? The distance between them is 180 kilometers (111 miles) and the drive takes around 2.5 hours. 


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 beside the ruins. 

Length:7-12 hours
💲 Price:40-400 USD
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

👉 I’ve written a whole post about the best tours from Riviera Maya to Chichen Itza. If you want the short version, though, check these out!

▶️ The Chichén Itzá, Valladolid & Cenote Tour is a full-day tour that takes you to the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins with a certified guide who will explain the history of what used to be the most populated city in the Yucatan Peninsula. You’ll also get to visit a beautiful cenote nearby and finish your day with a buffet meal and a stroll around Valladolid. Pickup and drop-off from your hotel are 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

Pros and Cons of the Tours

✅ Everything is organized for you, from roundtrip transfers to entrance tickets, a knowledgeable tour guide, and visits to nearby attractions.

❌ It’s a more expensive option than visiting on your own using public transportation.

❌ You don’t have a say on the itinerary, or on how long you stay in the ruins. Everything is planned, and you have to follow the tour company’s script.


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

The company I recommend is the one I use every time I travel to Mexico, and I’ve had nothing but exceptional rides with them.

⌛ Length: 10 hours
💲 Price:455 USD
👉 Where to book it: BOOK IT HERE

The drivers are incredibly friendly, the service is always on time, and the vehicles are comfortable and spotless. More importantly, they drive carefully and safely, something I value immensely!

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. 

Chichen Itza private transfer from Playa del Carmen.

You’ll have plenty of time to visit Chichen Itza, so feel free to roam around at your own pace, or hire a tour guide at the site to learn more facts about the ancient pyramids. You’ll find your driver waiting for you when you’re ready to go.

You can then choose to visit some of the cenotes or the nearby city of Valladolid, as the driver will be at your disposal for the day. ➥ CHECK IT OUT HERE

Pros and Cons of the Private Transfer

✅ It’s the fastest and most comfortable transportation option, as you’ll travel in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle reserved for you and your party.

✅ You’ll be picked up and dropped off at your hotel, and enjoy plenty of time at the ruins to explore at your leisure.

✅ Your driver is guaranteed to be bilingual, so there won’t be any language barriers and you can benefit from learning interesting facts about the area or the ruins from them.

❌ The only downside is the price, which is considerably more expensive than taking the ADO Bus to the ruins. In my opinion, if you’re three people the cost is worth the service provided, but if you’re a solo traveler or on a tight budget you might want to check out other options.

Read what the reviews say:

”Armando was a really excellent driver and took very good care of us! All of the staff was excellent.”

Danielle Dillon – Check out other reviews


Length:3.5 hours
💲 Price:33 USD
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

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 8.10 AM from the ADO station on 5th Avenue.

💲The ticket costs $33 at the time of writing, and the journey takes a little over 3.5 hours. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

👉 To get back from Chichen Itza to Playa del Carmen you also only got one bus, leaving Chichen Itza at 4 PM; don’t forget to check your time regularly!

▶️ If being in a time rush stresses you out (and you don’t want to be stressed on your holidays, more like the other way around!) you can take the ADO bus to Valladolid, and stay in this beautiful colonial city for the night. 

The next day you could visit the pink lakes of Las Coloradas before returning to Playa del Carmen!

There are colectivos (shared vans) leaving from right next to the ADO station in Valladolid to Chichen Itza and the ride takes about one hour. After visiting the ruins, you’ll also get to stroll around the city or visit some of the incredible cenotes in Valladolid. 

⚠️ 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

Pros and Cons of the ADO Bus

✅ It’s the cheapest transportation method, ideal for solo travelers and those on a budget.

❌ You have to plan your day trip around the bus schedule, so you won’t have the chance to be very flexible.

❌ The trip is way longer than the private transfer or driving yourself. If you go on a day trip, you’ll spend 7 hours of it sitting on the bus.


Length:2.5 hours
💲 Price:25-45 USD per day
👉 Where to book it:BOOK IT HERE

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 USD 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 route is pretty straightforward, especially if you follow the Chichen Itza directions from your GPS. 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 Discover Cars to compare prices, and to ensure a safer experience COMPARE PRICES HERE

Discover Cars is a car rental booking platform that offers a great selection of rental options from several car rental agencies in Mexico, and makes it easier to find a car that matches your needs and budget.

I particularly recommend them for their cancellation policy. With Discover Cars, you can usually cancel your booking for free up to 48 hours before the pickup time. This is a much more generous cancellation policy than other platforms. However, make sure to read the specific terms of your rental agreement for exact details, as policies can differ based on the rate and rental company you choose.

Pros and Cons of Car Rental

✅ Gives you ultimate flexibility and freedom, as you get to choose when to go, and what other places to visit in the region before returning to Playa del Carmen.

❌ You’ll have to pay the toll fees on the road to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen.

❌ You could potentially park for free on the side of the road, but since it’s rather narrow it’s completely unadvisable. This means you have to pay the parking fees at the entrance of Chichen Itza.

Tips for Renting a Car in Playa del Carmen (and Mexico)

⚠️If you end up renting your car once you’re in Mexico, be on the lookout for tourist scams; sadly, they abound. 

▶️ One of the most frequent scams involves 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. 


Is it worth going to Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza is absolutely worth the hype. If it being one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO Heritage Site doesn’t say much to you, consider this.

It was built around the 6th century AD, it was the most populated (and one of the most important) cities in 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.

Is it safe to drive from Playa del Carmen to 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 it will take you a little over 2 hours to get there. 

If you want to enjoy the flexibility of having your own vehicle but avoid driving, I highly recommend pre-booking a private transfer.

How much is the toll road from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza?

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).

Where do you stop on the way to Chichen Itza?

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. After your visit is done, you can then head to Cenote Ik Kil for a swim, or go to the nearby colonial city of Valladolid and take a dip in the cenotes there.

What’s the closest airport to Chichen Itza?

The closest airport to Chichen Itza is Merida International Airport.

How far is Playa del Carmen from Chichen Itza?

Playa del Carmen is 180 kilometers (111 miles) from Chichen Itza. The drive takes around 2.5 hours. 

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.