How to Get From Valladolid to Chichen Itza in 2024: Local’s Guide

Wondering how to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza? I’ve got you covered here. 

I am a British Travel Writer who has been living in the Mexican Yucatan for the last few years and has made this journey numerous times. In this post, we will look at the best ways to make the journey, their costs, and transit time so that you can figure out which option is the best for you. 

If at the end you still have questions, you are more than welcome to reach out to me.

Get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza
Get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza

How to Get From Valladolid to Chichen Itza in 2024

Valladolid and Chichen Itza are pretty close to each other. There is only a distance of 45km (28 miles) between the two places and the journey takes about 50 minutes by road. 

For this reason, many travelers choose to spend a night in a hotel or hacienda in Valladolid to break up the longer journey from Cancun or the Riviera Maya. 

From Valladolid, you then have a couple of options available for getting to Chichen Itza: You can opt to take a bus or colectivo, you can try and get a local cab driver or moto-taxi to take you or you can rent a car and drive yourself. 

As of 2024, The Tren Maya train is finally up and running and allows you to get from Cancun and the Riviera Maya to Merida, Campeche, and Palenque in Chiapas in record time. Chichen Itza is only one stop away from Valladolid, but unfortunately, the Chichen Itza stop isn’t currently functioning so for now, that is not a viable option. 

If you are heading to Chichen Itza as part of a wider trip around the Yucatan, renting a car can really give you a lot more freedom and flexibility in your schedule. Even though public transport in the Yucatan is improving year after year, there are still many off-the-beaten-path Mayan ruins in the Yucatan, secluded beaches, and forgotten pueblos that are only really accessible if you have a vehicle. 

If you are not comfortable driving overseas though, the next best option is the colectivo. 

Get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza
Get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza

Take the ADO bus 

ADO buses depart twice a day from Valladolid to Chichen Itza. An ADO Connecta minivan departs each morning at 10:00 am, arriving at Chichen Itza at 10:40 am and a standard ADO bus departs at 10:37, arriving at 11:27. 

The Connecta bus costs 139 pesos each way and the standard ADO bus is 158 pesos. 

Return buses run from Chichen Itza to Valladolid at 09:20 am, 11:35 am, 13:25 am, and 16:00pm respectively. Truthfully, arriving at the site at 10:40 or 11:27 and leaving at 16:00 gives you plenty of time to explore, even if you love history and want to be super thorough in exploring with a local guide. 

The only problem is perhaps that the site is at its most crowded at this time and you might have to wait a while to purchase your entrance ticket. Since Chichen Itza opens at 08:00 am, the only way to experience it while it is “quiet” is to be waiting outside before it opens and be one of the first people inside at 08:00 am. 

The crowds don’t really distract from the magic of the site, but it is something worth keeping in mind.  If getting great photos without crowds is important to you, consider staying in one of the hotels near Chichen Itza that have their own private entrance to the site.

The ADO bus station in Valladolid is located in the city’s historic center, at the intersection of Calle 39 and Calle 46. ADO buses are clean, modern, and comfortable and come with air conditioning and reclining seats. 

Temple of the Warriors

Buying your ADO bus tickets 

You can buy your ADO bus tickets via the official ADO website and app, in person at the ticket office, or via BusBud. It is a good idea to purchase them online in advance a couple of days before you plan to visit Chichen Itza as it is not unheard of for buses to sell out, especially if you travel during the high season. 

The ADO website and app are available only in Spanish, though they are pretty self-explanatory and simple to use. The only problem is that the site sometimes glitches and will not allow you to use a foreign bank card so you might have difficulty completing your purchase. (Annoyingly this has been a problem for years now!) 

You can also purchase tickets via Busbud, though they do charge a small administrative fee. (It is literally only like $1). Tickets will be sent to your email address with a QR code that you can present for the driver to scan when you board the bus. 

The Tzompantli skull platform

Take the colectivo to Chichen Itza

The cheapest way to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza is to take a colectivo, which can also be a fun local experience! Colectivos are shared minivans that carry up to 15 passengers and depart when full.

The first colectivo departs from Calle. 39 2-215 in central Valladolid at 7.00am. This is a great time to aim for as it means that you will arrive at the ruins at 7:40 am ready for them to open at 08:00 am.

The Chichen Itza colectivos depart at frequent intervals throughout the day, although their schedule is not published online anywhere and is often subject to changes so it is worth checking the times with someone at your hotel in Valladolid.

A ticket to Chichen Itza costs just 40 pesos each way (circa $2). You want to make sure that you are waiting at the stop at least ten minutes before the bus.

The last return bus from Chichen Itza to Valladolid departs from the ruins at 5:00 p.m. and will leave from the same place you are dropped off. Do note that these buses are usually old, not air-conditioned, and very crowded which can be a bit uncomfortable during the summer months.

Rent a car and drive yourself 

Renting a car in Mexico and driving to Chichen Itza is the fastest and most convenient way to get to the ruins. Driving in Mexico is not as daunting as it sounds, particularly in the touristic Yucatan where the roads are in very good condition and are honestly not that different from roads in the US and Canada.

Driving independently 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. Depending on your itinerary, it might be convenient for you to pick up your rental car in Merida, Valladolid, or Cancun.

Several reputable global brands operate across the Yucatan including the likes of Avis, Hertz, and Budget. It is a good idea to use a platform such as Discover Cars to compare and contrast quotes from different rental companies and make sure that you secure the best deal. 

When you arrive at the archeological site, you can park in the large dedicated parking lot in front of it. The parking fee is 200 pesos ($9.80) and this is in addition to the site entrance fee.

Get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza
La Iglesia at Chichen Itza and its ornate carved facade

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 so you don’t need to worry about waiting around at bus stations, etc.

Many also visit other notable ruins, towns, and cenotes in the area after heading to Chichen Itza – e.g. you can book a tour that combines Chichen with the ruins at Ek Balam, cenote Ik Kil, or the golden town of Izamal

Both private and small-group tours are available and they often don’t work out that much more expensive than public transport.

Recommended Chichen Itza tours from Valladolid  

A number of reputable Valladolid to Chichen Itza tours are detailed below for your consideration. Book your spot online in advance to avoid disappointment as they do sell out. (Especially during the peak season!)

  • Guided tour of Chichen Itza, Cenote Yokdzonot, and Izamal with lunch

  • Private tour of Chichen Itza, Cenote Ik Kil and Ek Balam

Call a cab 

Ridesharing apps like Didi, Uber, and Indrive are available in major Yucatan cities like Merida and Cancun but unfortunately, they don’t exist in Valladolid. There are also fewer licensed taxi firms in this area as it is far less touristy than the Riviera Maya.

Still, taking a cab or a moto taxi can be a convenient option if you want to arrive early and not compete 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). Yucatecans are friendly but cab drivers are often a law unto themselves.

If you hop into a random street taxi, it really 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 either 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 but since you will probably want to spend a fair few hours here, it may work out easier to just take the bus back

Get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza
Get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza

Visiting Chichen Itza in 2024 and beyond

Chichen Itza needs no introduction. Even if you know very little about Mayan history, you are probably familiar with this Ancient city.

No matter how many times you have seen Chichen Itza featured in documentaries or photographed on social media, nothing compares to visiting Chichen Itza in person and seeing it for yourselfThe 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.

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 known as the Tzompantli .

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. The Mayans would sacrifice children and young men to Xibalba (the Mayan underworld) 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 a.m. 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!

Final thoughts

Hopefully, this post has helped you to figure out the easiest and most preferable way to get to the Chichen Itza archeological site in 2024. However, if you still have any concerns or general questions about planning a trip to the Mexican Yucatan, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

As I mentioned, I have been living here in the Yucatan capital of Merida for the last couple of years. I am always happy to chat so feel free to ping me an email or drop me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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! Melissa xo

Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Mexico and the Editor-in-Chief of Mexico Travel Secrets. She has over seven years worth of experience in working in travel media and has travelled to 57 countries, mostly solo. Throughout her career, Melissa has produced written content for several high-profile publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, the Huffington Post, Rough Guides, and Matador Network.

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