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How to Get From Merida to Chichen Itza – Prices & Info + Top Rated Tours [2022]

If you are in Merida and want to visit Chichen Itza, you are in the right place! In this post, I’ll talk about all the different ways to get from Merida to Chichen Itza and the top-rated tours that you can join to get the most for your bucks.

Also, if you are not sure whether to visit or not, I will give you many reasons why you should visit this UNESCO world heritage site.

Chichen Itza is one of the most popular archaeological sites so much so that in 2007 it was voted one of the new 7 wonders of the world.

The ancient Mayan archeological site is one of the gems of the Yucatan peninsula, maybe not the most important historically but definitely, one of the few with so many temples and buildings brought to light and restored.

Chichen Itza El Castillo - Merida to Chichen Itza

The Mayan denizens of Chichen Itza were brilliant astronomers and mathematicians. They invented the concept of “zero”, had a complex writing system, and accurate calendars, and offered human sacrifices to their gods. Learning about them is an adventure for the body and the brain!

Chichen Itza is still an active archaeological site. New discoveries are still being made about this incredible Old-World city.

But before talking about Chichen-Itza’s main attractions let’s cut to the chase and see all the different ways to get from Merida to Chichen Itza.

A visit to Chichen Itza makes a great day trip from Merida whether you visit by car, bus, or by an organized tour.

In this post, I will share all of the options so that you will be able to decide what’s the best one for you.

Chichen Itza Gran Cenote
Chichen Itza Grand Cenote

Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens I am covered. I have been using  Safety Wing and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.

How to get from Merida to Chichen Itza

There are several different ways to get from Merida to Chichen Itza. Choose the one that best suits your travel style, budget, and needs.

Leaving from a different city? No problem!
Check out my recent posts on how to get to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen, Cancún to Chichen, Tulum to Chichen-Itza, Valladolid to Chichen Itza.
You’ll learn all ways to travel from each city, plus the best Chichen Itza tours from each place.

🚗 Merida to Chichen Itza by car rental

Going to Chichen Itza from Merida by rental car is my favorite way.

I would rent a car for two days or more and spend the first day checking out the nearby cenotes, swimming, and eating delicious food from Mexico.

Then the next day you can be at Chichen Itza right when it opens. That way you’ll beat the heat and some of the crowds. You can spend your time enjoying the different sites instead of rushing to see everything.

If you decide to spend a couple of days in the area, you could sleep at a hotel in Pisté, the nearest town, or at one of the hotels near the Chichén Itzá ticket booth.

Chichen Itza temples

Merida Car Rental’s average costs

💵 It costs 60 to 70 USD to rent a car from Merida

⛽ Fuel costs 25 to 40 USD for a full tank (depending on the class of car)

🛣️ You will use the Yucatan toll road 180D which costs approximately 23 Mexican pesos, or 46 for a round trip.

Renting a vehicle is an especially nice option if you are traveling as a large group since you can rent a van or SUV that has more seating.

► Check out my posts on driving in Mexico and renting a car in Mexico for more details.

As I mentioned in both posts I recommend DiscoverCars which is a great way to compare prices among different car rentals and save time.

You can also prebook your car so that you can make sure you get the car class you want to according to your budget.

Also, DiscoverCars offers full insurance. Make sure you check the condition before booking it.


Car rental

Discover Cars Mexico Review

Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.


🚙 Merida to Chichen Itza by tour

Another very popular way to get from Merida to Chichen Itza is to go on a tour. If you are visiting Mexico and don’t want a lot of hassle, don’t speak Spanish, or like having a tour guide to learn about the culture and the history of the places you are visiting, this is a splendid choice.

Keep in mind that you’ll be traveling with a group and have to follow a set schedule unless you choose one of the private tours to the site.

These tours include a certified guide knowledgeable about Chichen Itza, Mayan culture, and Valladolid, a lovely Spanish colonial town 45 minutes away.

Note: Some tours DO NOT INCLUDE the entrance fee, so be sure to check to see what is included before you purchase.

Chichen Itza Mil Columnas

Top-Rated Tours to Chichen Itza from Merida

Chichen Itza, the Pink Lagoon, and Pink Flamingos Tour

The Chichen Itza, Pink Lagoon & Pink Flamingos tour is a perfect one-day trip. You’ll get an early start, leaving Mérida at 6 am from the meeting point, get to Chichen Itza by opening time, and explore with your certified guide.

Next, you’ll take a refreshing swim in Ik Kil, a beautiful cenote. Then, you’ll end the day at Los Colorados Pink Lagoon, where you’ll see pink water and flamingoes. It’s a full day, but every minute will be wonderful.

Book this tour well in advance because is likely to sell out.


► Chichen Itza, Izamal, Cenote, Traditional Food Tour

Chichen Itza, Izamal, Cenote, and Traditional Food Tour is a great tour that will take you to visit Chichen Itza and the lovely town of Izamal. You’ll also swim in a sinkhole and eat a yummy Mexican meal. This is sure to be an adventure!

Cenote Yokdzonot

► Chichen Itza, Yokdzonot Cenote, & Cooking Class

The Chichen Itza, Yokdzonot Cenote, & Cooking Class Excursion is another fun tour, ideal for those who want to swim in a less touristy cenote. It is also easier to get into than some others, so that can be an advantage as well!

During the cooking class, you’ll prepare a delicious lunch, learning traditional methods from the women at a co-op.


► Merida to Chichen Itza to Valladolid to Cancun

If you’d like to end up in another city after your tour, the Merida to Chichen Itza to Valladolid to Cancún tour is the perfect option for you. You’ll leave Mérida around 8:30 in the morning, and spend time exploring Chichen Itza (both with a tour guide and on your own).

You’ll then travel to the Spanish colonial town of Valladolid, located about 45 minutes from Chichén Itzá.

After exploring, you’ll continue on to Cancún and get dropped off at your new hotel. If you prefer, you can also opt to travel to Playa del Carmen instead of Cancun.


Chichen Itza Observatorio
► Private Full-Day Tour to Chichén Itzá

Most of the tours I’ve already mentioned only spend a couple of hours exploring the sites at one of the new wonders of the world.

That means you won’t get to see everything. So if you’d like to really go deep and see everything Chichen Itza has to offer, the Chichén Itzá Elite Private tour is a perfect choice.

You’ll spend time on a guided tour learning the history of the place, but also get to explore these Mayan ruins on your own.

The tour leaves from Mérida and includes transportation is an air-conditioned vehicle stocked with cold beverages. You can eat lunch at the Chichen Itza.

When you’re finished exploring, your guide will take you to the nearby Ik Kil Cenote for a refreshing swim. The cost is steeper, but it will be a grand adventure.


Chichen Itza Tour Tips

If you’re going on a tour from Merida, keep these tips in mind:

👉 Not every tour includes hotel pickup, water, entrance fees, and lunch. Check ahead to make sure you know what you’re getting.

👉 Check the cancellation allowances ahead. Many tours allow a free cancellation if it’s over 24 hours before the tour starting time.

🚌 Getting from Merida to Chichen Itza by bus

Take the ADO Bus

If you prefer to go to Chichen Itza on public transportation, I recommend you take an ADO bus. These popular Mexican bus company leaves Merida for Chichen Itza three times a day, but it is best to take the earliest bus.

That way you can spend the most time possible at Chichen Itza. You’ll also arrive well before the first buses from Playa del Carmen, allowing you to beat some of the crowds.

Check the ADO website ahead of time for the current hours, ticket availability, and bus terminal locations.

ADO bus ticket fare

An ADO bus ticket from Merida to Chichen Itza costs approximately 160 Mexican pesos.

Note: Once you pay the round-trip bus fare, the entry fee, and an on-site guide, it may come out cheaper to go on one of the guided tours.

The advantage to going on the bus is that you have the freedom to stay in the area exploring as long as you want.

Instead of only spending 2 hours at the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza, you can spend a whole day.

Then you could sleep at a nearby Yucatán hotel, and swim in many of the sinkholes.

Bus Schedule Merida to Chichen Itza
  • 07:15 AM – arrives at 9:00 am
  • 09:30 AM – arrives at 11:15 am
  • 12:00 AM – arrives at 01:50 pm

You can find the bus station in the Historic Center of Mérida at Calle 70 #555, Centro, Mérida, Yucatan, 97000.

Merida Plaza Mexico
Merida

🚗 Merida to Chichen Itza by Uber or Didi

If you want to enjoy the comfort of private transportation, you may be happy to hear that in Merida there are two transportation APPs, the world wide known UBER and the lesser known, but very efficient, DIDI.

They both work very well and although it may be costly to get to Chichen Itza by Uber or Didi, it can spare you time and stress.

Keep in mind though, that you can’t use the App from Chichen Itza. So make sure you agree with the driver that they will either wait for you or come back.

Frequently asked questions, Merida, to Chichen Itza

Distance from Merida to Chichen

Merida is only 120 kilometers (or 75 miles) from Chichen Itza. Start your journey early in the morning, check out all the ruins, swim in some nearby sinkholes, and eat spicy local food before returning to Mérida in the evening.

Merida to Chichen Itza Travel Time

It takes about 1.5 hrs in your own car or in a private transfer, making it the nicest jumping-off-point for a Chichén Itzá day trip.

How long is the bus ride?

A bus ride to Chichen Itza from Merida takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Is it safe to travel from Merida to Chichen Itza by Bus?

Yes, the ADO buses are considered safe for travel, and Chichen Itza itself is such a popular destination you shouldn’t have to worry about safety there. Just use your best judgment and keep good track of your belongings.

How much is a taxi from Merida to Chichen Itza?

A taxi or Uber from Merida to Chichen Itza could cost up to $90 one way.

Is there a bus from Chichen Itza to Merida?

Ask at the bus station about buying return tickets. If you have trouble getting a ticket directly from Chichen Itza to Merida, you can travel on a local colectivo bus to Valladolid, then get a ticket from the ADO bus line from there.

Valladolid is located 45 minutes from Chichen Itza (42 kilometers/26 miles), and is a tourist attraction as well.

If you prefer, you can get an ADO bus from Chichén Itzá to a different city where you started from. For example, you could go from Mérida to Chichén Itzá to Cancún.

chichen Itza Tree

How much does Chichen Itza cost?

The cost of entrance tickets for Chichen Itza:

  • Adults: $533 MXN
  • Children (3-12): $80 MXN
  • Mexican Citizens: $237 MXN
  • Locals (Yucatan ID): $80 MXN

TIP: If you are a Mexican citizen or a foreigner with e a permanent residence card in Mexico, you can get in for FREE on Sundays. Save your pesos for tacos!

If you aren’t going on a tour and would like to hire a guide, that will cost about $40.

Kukulcan Night Experiences require a separate ticket, which you can buy starting at 3 pm every day. This experience costs $600 MXN.

Prefer a self-guided tour?

Alternatively, you can purchase a self-guided tour packet, such as the Chichen Itza walking tour available through Action Tour Guide. It includes audio stories about different sites and has gotten several 5-star reviews on Tripadvisor.

What days and times is Chichen Itza open?

Chichen Itza is open every day of the week from 8 am to 5 pm. It is best to get there early so you can get a ticket! They have limited tickets right now due to the pandemic (3000 per day, which seems a lot but they go like candies.

Besides, you don’t want to be there with all the crowds, which start to get unbearable around 12.00.

There is also a night experience at Chichén Itzá. Kukulcan Nights is a light show that starts at 7:00 pm every night. Colorful Mayan images are projected onto the Kukulcan pyramid.

CHICHEN ITZA KUKULCAN HEAD

Are there any special dates to visit Chichén Itzá?

Yes! One of the most special times to visit Chichen is during the fall and spring equinox. But during these two days of the year, light shines on the stair balustrades, forming the outline of a serpent. I haven’t been but it must be an amazing sight!

Pro Tip: Go swimming in one of the surrounding cenotes after your visit to the ruins. If you have your own car you can get to the lesser known cenotes near Chichen-Itza and skip the crowd.

What should I take to Chichen Itza?

Light wicking clothing

Comfortable walking shoes

Sunscreen

Hat, sunglasses, or even an umbrella

Refillable water bottle

Bathing Suit

Camera/Phone (but no tripods)

Insect repellant (remember to shower it off when you go visit a cenote, before getting in the water)

✔ Mexican Pesos to pay all entrance fees

✔ Passport with immigration card – nowadays immigration officers are doing random checks and stopping busses along the road checking if you are here with a valid permit whether it’s a tourist or resident. So make sure you don’t lose your immigration card.

CHICHEN ITZA ENGRAVED WALL

What not to take to Chichen Itza

It’s also important to note what NOT to take to Chichen Itza.

🔴 Professional camera equipment ( you can take your professional camera but tripods are not allowed), 🔴 Snacks
🔴 Drinks besides water
🔴 Drones unless you have a special permit – you can apply for a permit through the INAH office.

What Other Attractions are Near Chichén Itzá?

If you want to see other nearby attractions, you won’t have to search far! Take full advantage of your journey by visiting the Cenotes located in the surrounding area.

Many beautiful and famous sinkholes are within 1 hour of Chichen.

Some of my favorite cenotes near Chichen Itza include Ik Kil, Lol-Ha, Tsukán Santuario de Vida, and the iconic Suytun with its circular platform.

You can also spend time visiting the colonial city of Valladolid, the yellow city of Izamal, or have a Mayan dinner or cooking class.

Many tours include these additional side trips, but you can also travel to them on your own before returning to Merida (or a different city).

Valladolid sign
VALLADOLID

Conclusion Merida to Chichen Itza

Are you ready to visit one of the new 7 wonders of the world? You know all the different ways to get from Merida to Chichen Itza, whether that is in a rental car, private transfer, or shared or private tours. Now you have all the pieces of information to plan your journey into the Yucatan Peninsula.

Read More About Yucatan

✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨

👉 Do I need travel insurance to travel to Mexico?

I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and know that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out SafetyWing which I have used and find it affordable and comprehensive and also Travel Insurance Master which is great because you can insert all your information and what kind of insurance you need and their system will pull out the best insurance for your need.

🚰 Can I drink tap water in Mexico?

No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.

🚗 Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I usually use Discover Cars because the site offers the options to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.

Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.

📱 Will my phone work in Mexico?

It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!

🤕 Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?

The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around.

Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunting expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keeping a low profile.

Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:

💉 Do I need any vaccine to travel to Mexico?

No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico

🇲🇽 Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico?

If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form that you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine.

Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards.

It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa

💸 Where do I find the best travel deals for Mexico? 💸

A trip to Mexico can be expensive if you love to travel with all the comforts (like I do). There are a few tricks that will help you find the best deals. Here are my tips:

👉 DON’T travel in the high season, which is Holy week, Christmas and winter in general, and August.
👉 Book months in advance to find early booking discounts
👉 Use aggregators such as Discover Cars to find price comparisons and VRBO for vacation rentals!
👉 Look for packages flights+hotels on Expedia or Skyscanner as usually, that’s where the best deals are.
👉 Check on Booking.com or Hotels.com for hotel deals

Happy travels!!