Merida to Campeche is a popular journey to take if you are spending any amount of time exploring the Mexican Yucatan. Fortunately, it is a relatively easy one to make too.
There is a distance of 175km between Merida and Campeche city. The journey can be made in as little as 2.5 hours depending on which transport method you use.
Campeche city sits in an entirely different Mexican state to Merida – it awaits within the namesake Campeche state. The gorgeous port city is perched on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
From here, you can enjoy some of the very best sunset views in the country. Campeche city is characterized by its exquisite and well-preserved baroque colonial architecture, its UNESCO-protected old town, and its historic hilltop fortresses.
There is a lot to see here. So much so that Campeche is well deserved for a couple of days of exploration or a long weekend in itself.
That being said, Campeche is often overlooked and is actually one of the least visited cities in the region. That comes with its benefits though – accommodation, tour, and restaurant prices in Campeche are far more competitive than in say, Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, or even Merida center.
Campeche is a place that sees a fraction of the crowds of a lot of other Mexican travel destinations and that has not seen any major changes or gentrification due to tourism. Traveling here means enjoying a real unique, authentic coastal Mexican experience.
- Take the bus to Edzna, House of Itzas – one of the most impressive, yet forgotten Mayan ruins
- Hike up to the hilltop fortresses of San José and San Miguel and explore the museums within them
- Check out the fascinating exhibits at the Museo de Arqueología Subacuática (Underwater Archeology Museum) – including the oldest human remains in America
- Take a trip to the Calakmul archaeological site – a UNESCO-protected site and part of the largest tropical rainforest in Mexico
- Dine at wonderful Campeche restaurants along Calle 59
- Stroll along the Malecon and sip pina coladas as you watch the sunset
- Indulge in beloved Campechan cuisines such as shrimp with coconut, or garlic octopus
- Meander through the walled UNESCO-protected old town, designed as such to defend from pirate attacks
- Hire a local photographer and take incredible photos in front of the brightly colored colonial buildings
- Learn more about Campeche’s history at the Museo De La Ciudad
How to Get from Merida to Campeche
You have a couple of options available to get from Merida to Campeche. Arguably the most comfortable choice is to drive.
However, that depends on how comfortable you are with renting a car and navigating the roads in a foreign country. The various options available and their pros and cons are detailed below for your consideration.
Drive from Merida to Campeche
Driving in Mexico is not as daunting as it may sound. It also gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes to managing your schedule.
After you have arrived in Campeche, you can then make use of your car to visit some of the nearby archaeological sites which are not easily reached by bus. For instance, Edzna, Chicanna, Becan and Calakmul. If you are doing the journey as a round trip, you could also take a detour on the way back to stop by Celestun and see the wild flamingos.
Renting a car in Merida
Many reputable rental companies operate in Merida, including Europcar, Avis, Enterprise rent-a-car and Alamo rent-a-car. The drive time from Merida to Campeche is about two hours and ten minutes.
It is generally better to go ahead and rent from an established firm as unfortunately, scams do exist in Mexico. You can use aggregator booking sites in advance of traveling to Mexico to compare different companies and rates.
If something seems too good to be true, it generally is. As a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay $30-$40 a day for a rental.
Insurance is imperative, and it is better to get full coverage for your own peace of mind. If you will be picking up your rental car elsewhere in Mexico and not in Merida, rest assured, there are plenty of reliable rental companies in Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen too.
The route from Merida to Campeche
The roads that connect Merida to Campeche are very well-built and maintained. Keep in mind that some of the roads are toll roads (autopistas/carreteras de cuota), so make sure that you always have some pesos and small notes with you.
There are plenty of gas stations and places to stop for food or coffee along the way. You don’t have to worry about driving over any dirt or gravel roads.
The Yucatan region is very safe and you will always see plenty of locals and tourists driving around. You will pass through several police checkpoints, and another checkpoint at the Yucatan-Campeche state border but this is nothing to be intimidated about.
Generally speaking, it is better to avoid traveling at night. Some of the roads are not very well lit when it gets dark, making it hard to spot hazards, wild animals, stray cats and dogs, and people walking at the sides of the road.
Take the ADO Bus
Mexican ADO buses are an excellent way to get around if you are going to be depending on public transport during your time in the country. They are extremely modern and comfortable and seriously overshadow British National Express and American Greyhound buses.
All ADO buses have air conditioning and reclining seats. There is usually complimentary wifi too but the connection can be a bit iffy.
ADO bus times
Buses depart daily at the below times. This is subject to change, though you can easily check the ADO bus website to check the latest schedules and route information.
Daily 01:35, 02:55, 06:00, 07:15, 08:30, 09:05, 09:45, 10:01, 10:30, 11:00, 12:00, 12:10, 12:30, 13:00, 13:45, 14:15, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 15:45, 16:15, 17:00, 17:30, 18:00, 18:20, 18:30, 19:16, 19:30, 20:00, 20:50, 21:00, 21:15, 21:30, 22:00, 22:15, 22:45, 23:45, 23:50
Buying ADO Tickets
You can purchase your ADO bus tickets online in advance or via the ADO app. You can also purchase them from the ticket office at the station or directly from the bus driver.
To save stress and waiting at the bus station, buy your tickets online in advance if you can. Sometimes particular services do sell out, especially at weekends, on public holidays, or during peak periods.
Your ticket will be sent to you as a QR mobile ticket. You can then simply show this to your driver on your phone when you board the bus.
The ADO website is only available in Spanish but it is pretty self-explanatory, even if you cannot speak Spanish. Complimentary luggage storage is available at the bottom of the bus.
Sometimes, the website is glitchy and crashes. Welcome to Mexico!
In this case, you can buy an advance ticket via Busbud but do keep in mind that they charge a small admin fee. (This is usually around $1.50-$2).
The ADO bus station in Merida
There are several bus stations in Merida. Some are operated by ADO, others are operated by other bus companies.
ADO Centro Historico TAME is the main Merida bus station and the one that you need to go to for your journey from Merida to Campeche. Its street address is Calle 70, #555, Merida, 97000, Yucatan.
If you are staying in the historic center during your time in Merida, the station is likely to be no more than a 10-15 minute walk away from you. Otherwise, you can take an Uber there from most parts of the city for just a few dollars.
It is a good idea to arrive at the station up to 30 minutes before your departure time as it does get quite busy. This is particularly true if you need to buy a ticket.
Riding the ADO bus
The travel time from Merida to Campeche by bus is displayed as 2.5 hours. However, in reality, the journey can take longer as the bus usually makes a number of stops en route, particularly on the outskirts of Merida.
Traffic is something that you need to factor in too. It is best to try and avoid Merida roads between 4-6 pm if you can.
Organize a Cab or a Private Transfer
Ride apps like Uber and Didi operate in Mexico. However, it may be difficult to find a driver that is willing to take you to Campeche, just because of the distance between the two cities.
Similarly, it is worth noting that Uber is not used in Campeche. So, even if you are able to take an Uber here from Merida, you will have to organize alternative transportation for your return journey.
Uber lists their price for the journey from Merida to Campeche as being between MX$1,843 and MX$2,484. This rate may be higher at peak times.
If you ask the receptionist or concierge at your Merida hotel, they may be able to organize a private transfer for you from Merida to Campeche. If there are other guests interested in making the journey, they may organize a shuttle.
Take an Organized Tour
Since Campeche is still relatively off the beaten path, you likely won’t find any tours of the city listed on large global tour booking sites like Viator or Get Your Guide. However, there are several smaller, local companies that do offer small-group excursions and private tours.
Accommodation Options in Campeche
There are ample accommodation and hotel options in Campeche to suit every budget and travel style. You will find everything here from cheap and cheerful hostels, quaint independent guesthouses, and grand renovated haciendas. A few suggestions are detailed below for your consideration.
Hacienda Puerta Campeche, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Where: Calle 59. 71 Por 16 & 18, 24000 Campeche
Staying in an old Hacienda is an absolute must at some point during your time in Mexico. The Hacienda Puerta Campeche in Campeche is a gorgeous 16th-century hacienda in the historic district of downtown Campeche.
It has been lovingly restored to its former glory and is now one of several hacienda hotels managed by Marriott in Mexico. The property features a luxury spa where you can indulge in a relaxing massage or facial treatment.
Several of the city’s main highlights and attractions are located within a short walking distance of the property. Take a stroll through the nearby X’much Haltún Botanical Garden before visiting the Museum of Mayan Architecture to see impressive ancient Mayan art.
After a long day of sightseeing, unwind with a swim in one of the hotel’s indoor or outdoor pools. Click here to see the latest room rates and availability at Hacienda Puerta Campeche.
Hotel Maya Ah Kim Pech
Where: Calle 55, #4 Colonia Centro, 24000 Campeche, Mexico
Hotel Maya Ah Kim Pech is an excellent budget choice, right in the heart of downtown Campeche. Rooms are available here for as little as $25 a night, without compromising on comfort or quality in any way.
The property, housed in a quaint historic building, boasts an indoor pool and a charming courtyard area. Rooms feature flat-screen cable TVs, minibars, and iron, along with private bathrooms complete with toiletries and fluffy towels.
Click here to see the latest room rates and availability at Hotel Maya Ah Kim Pech.
Have you made the journey from Merida to Campeche? Which mode of transport did you find the easiest?
Safe travels and enjoy Mexico! Buen Viaje! xo