Curious about how to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza? Look no further.
This guide covers every possible way to travel, the subsequent costs, and the time involved. There are essentially five different ways to make the journey.
You can get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza by bus, by shared taxi (colectivo), by taxi/Uber, by renting a car, or by participating in an organized tour. Arguably the best way to travel depends on you and your personal preferences.
There is a distance of approximately 45km (28 miles) between Valladolid and Chichen Itza. This journey should take around 50 minutes. However, it obviously may take longer if you are traveling via public transport due to the stops involved.
The cheapest way to travel is to take the Colectivo bus. The fastest and most comfortable option is to drive to the ruin yourself via a rental car.
Visiting Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza needs no introduction. Even if you know very little about Mayan history, you are probably familiar with this Ancient city.
However, no matter how many times you have seen Chichen Itza featured in documentaries or photographed on social media, nothing compares to being here in person and seeing it for yourself. The city has been UNESCO protected since 1988 and in 2007, it was designated as one of the “new” seven wonders of the world.
You usually only see the main temple ( Temple of Kukulcán) in photographs of Chichen Itza. But the site is far more expansive than you may realize and you need to dedicate at least 2-3 hours to explore it in its entirety.
Besides the infamous temple, there are a few things to look out for. There is an obscure rectangular stone platform near the main temple with skulls and skeletons carved into the side of it. This is where the Ancient Maya would stack the bodies of their enemies to scare off other tribes!
A 10-minute walk from the Temple of Kukulcán brings you to a sacred cenote. Human sacrifices would be made here, in the hope that in return, the Gods would grant the locals with good fortune.
You should aim to be in line at Chichen Itza as soon as it opens at 8 am. Avoid visiting on Sundays if you can as admission is free for Mexicans on this day and the site becomes busier than ever.
If you enter at 8, you will have the ruins almost to yourself for a good 30-40 minutes or so before all the tour buses arrive. It’s an early start but it’s worth it!
How to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza
Take the Colectivo
The Colectivo from Valladolid to Chichen Itza is the cheapest travel option. These are shared minivans that carry up to 15 passengers and depart when full.
A ticket to Chichen Itza costs just 40 pesos each way (circa $2). The first colectivo departs from Calle. 39 2-215 in central Valladolid at 7.00am.
You want to make sure that you are waiting at the stop at least ten minutes before the bus is guaranteed to depart to secure a seat. If you are unsure where to find the bus stop, your hotel reception/Airbnb host can put you in the right direction,
The colectivo departs at frequent intervals throughout the day. The last return bus from Chichen Itza to Valladolid departs from the ruins at 5.00 pm.
Officially, the journey ought to take 40 minutes, meaning that leaving at 7.00 am ought to get you there at 7.40 am. Realistically though, it may take around an hour as there are a couple of stops en route to the ruins.
Regardless, if you get the 7.00 am bus, you will be at the ruins before the crowds start piling in. Do note that these buses are usually old, not air-conditioned, and very crowded.
Rent a car and drive yourself
Renting a car in Mexico and driving to Chichen Itza is the fastest and most convenient option. Driving in Mexico is not as daunting as it sounds, particularly in the touristic Yucatan.
The roads here are in very good condition and drivers in Mexico have to adhere to road rules just like anywhere else in the world. This means that you can leave your hotel early and get to Chichen Itza before the crowds, without having to deal with all the stops that colectivos and buses make.
It also means that you can make the most of your day’s exploration. From Chichen Itza, you can drive to Pisté and have a late breakfast, before traveling on to Izamal, the Homun Cenotes or go to stay in the Yucatan capital of Merida.
You can expect to pay around $25 a day for a car rental in Mexico, including full coverage insurance. Several reputable global brands operate across the Yucatan. Use a platform such as Discover Cars to compare and contrast quotes from different rental companies and secure the best deal.
There is a large car park located outside of Chichen Itza. The parking fee is 200 pesos ($9.80).
Take the ADO Bus
There is one bus per day that runs from Valladolid to Chichen Itza. However, it departs at 11.27 am and does not arrive at the archeological site until 12.17 pm.
This means that you arrive right in the middle of the day when the sun is at its most ferocious and the site is teeming with crowds. If you don’t really mind visiting Chichen Itza while it’s crowded, this may be fine for you.
Keep in mind that you will probably have to queue and wait a while to buy your admission tickets. You will still have plenty of time to explore the ruins before the return ADO bus to Valladolid at 16.00 pm.
Alternatively, you can take the ADO bus from Valladolid to Chichen Itza and then opt to stay overnight in one of the hotels nearby. Wake up early the next day and head into the ruins. Some of the luxury hotels in the area are adjacent to the site and have their own private, priority entrance. Hotel Villas Arqueologicas and Hacienda Chichen Resort & Spa are two such examples.
The ADO bus station in Valladolid is located in the city’s historic center, on the intersection of Calle 39 and Calle 46. ADO buses are clean, modern, and comfortable and come with air conditioning and reclining seats.
Some services even have wifi. A ticket to Chichen Itza is 142 pesos ($7) each way.
Purchasing your ADO bus tickets
It is usually fine to purchase your ticket to Chichen Itza on the day of travel. However, you ought to arrive at the bus station at least 30 minutes before departure.
You can also purchase them online in advance via the ADO website or app, although it can sometimes be glitchy and sometimes the platform will not accept foreign cards. The app and website are only available in Spanish but it is pretty self-explanatory, even if you cannot speak a single word of Spanish!
Another alternative is the site Busbud which you can use for purchasing bus tickets across Mexico. However, do keep in mind that the site adds a small commission to the final price.
Taking the return bus to Valladolid
The return bus from Chichen Itza to Valladolid departs at the times listed below. ADO buses are bright red with “ADO” painted on the side of them in bright white letters. You won’t miss them.
- 9.10 am
- 11.25 am
- 13.55 pm
- 16.00 pm
Call a cab
Opting to take a cab from Valladolid to Chichen Itza can be a convenient option if you want to arrive early and not contest with crowded buses. It is a good idea to have your hotel/hostel organize a taxi for you and call a driver that they trust.
You will need to agree on a price with the driver before getting in the car. This should cost no more than around 500 pesos ($25).
It is better to go with a taxi driver that someone has organized for you rather than get into a random car on the street. Yucatecans are friendly but cab drivers are often a law unto themselves.
It is not unheard of for a cabbie to quote an outlandish price to a tourist because they assume that you do not know what the going rate is. Yucatan cabs do not have meters so if you do find yourself having to take a cab from a rank, it is imperative that you confirm it before they set off. Otherwise, you will be at their mercy when you arrive at Chichen Itza and tell you what amount you have to pay.
It may be possible to negotiate with a taxi driver and have them wait for you while you are exploring the ruins and then drive you back to Valladolid. However, keep in mind that you will probably be wandering around the site for at least a few hours. It may work out easier to just take the bus back.
Uber, and other Mexican ridesharing apps such as Didi and Indrive function in the Yucatan. However, unfortunately not in Valladolid.
Participate in an organized tour
Opting to participate in an organized Chichen Itza tour takes a lot of the stress out of managing the logistics of how to get from A to B during your Yucatan itinerary. Most tours offer hotel pick-up and drop-off.
Many include a trip to Chichen Itza in accompaniment with a visit to other notable ruins, towns, and cenotes in the area. For instance, you may stop by the ruins at Ek Balam, cenote Ik Kil or the golden town of Izamal.
Participating in a tour isn’t for everyone as it does not always allow you the time to explore the site independently. However, with that being said, exploring with a guide helps you gain a lot more information and context to the various structures that you see.
Recommended Chichen Itza tours
A number of reputable Valladolid to Chichen Itza tours are detailed below for your consideration. It is a good idea to reserve your space online in advance to avoid disappointment as they do sell out. This is particularly the case in the peak season (e.g. December or January!)
- Guided tour of Chichen Itza, Cenote Yokdzonot, and Izamal with lunch (via Viator)
- Private tour of Chichen Itza, Cenote Ik Kil and Ek Balam
Do you have any additional questions or concerns about how to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza? Have you made this journey in the past?
Which transport method did you choose? If you are visiting the Yucatan region for the first time, you might also enjoy this post on the best time to visit the Yucatan or this article on safety in the Yucatan.
Have a wonderful time in Mexico! Buen Viaje! xo