Merida to Uxmal is a popular day trip if you are spending any amount of time in the Yucatan capital. The Uxmal ruins are among the most impressive in all of Mexico and they are an important place to visit if you want to obtain more history and context to the rise and fall of the Ancient Maya civilization.
Merida to Uxmal: 2023 Transport Guide
There is an 83.4km distance from Merida to Uxmal. The journey should take approximately an hour and ten minutes but this can fluctuate substantially depending on what transport method you use to get to Uxmal.
You have a couple of options available to you to get from Merida to Uxmal. Arguably the most convenient choice is to drive.
However, that all depends on how comfortable you feel with renting a car in Mexico. You can also opt to take the bus, take a cab, or visit Uxmal on an organized tour.
The various options are discussed below so that you can choose the most convenient choice for you.
Take a day tour from Merida to Uxmal
There are plenty of day tours from Merida to Uxmal that are organized by reputable local companies. They take a lot of the stress and hassle out of planning a trip and navigating the confusing Yucatecan public transport network.
Most tours include skip-the-line admission to the site, an English-speaking guide, lunch, return transport to your hotel, and a visit to nearby attractions. For instance, the Kabah ruins are worthwhile and very different from other Mayan sites.
They would be difficult to otherwise access without your own transport. A selection of reputable Uxmal tours from Merida options is detailed below for your consideration.
- From Mérida: Uxmal and Kabah guided tour with lunch
- Uxmal light and sound night experience tour from Merida
- From Merida: Uxmal, Hacienda Yaxcopoil and Cenote with lunch
- Uxmal with private guide and transportation from Merida
- Uxmal: vintage land rover expedition to Uxmal cenotes
Take a Cab from Merida
A cab from Merida to Uxmal should cost around 700-900 pesos in each direction. However, you may be able to negotiate a price with a local driver.
A lot of cab drivers in Mexico, even those on apps like Uber, Didi, and InDrive, are happy to take you on a tour at an agreed rate. You should avoid hailing cabs on the street or taking them from taxi ranks.
Doing so comes with more probability of being ripped off or being charged an exorbitant rate by a cab driver who assumes you have no idea of what the going rate of things is here. If you want to use a registered local taxi company rather than Uber, ask your hotel concierge/Airbnb host to organize this for you.
Using taxi apps to call a cab
You will likely find more competitive rates through Uber and Didi. Didi is a similar app to Uber that Mexican people tend to prefer.
Fares are often lower cost here and the app is still safe and secure. To download it, you need to change your phone (and Apple ID, if applicable) location to Mexico.
It is important to note that although the journey to Uxmal is only an hour each way, a lot of Uber and Didi drivers may be reluctant to do it. Generally speaking, Uber/Didi drivers in Mexico prefer to accept fares where the customer is paying in cash.
If you have your Uber/Didi account set to pay by card by default, you may experience some frustrations with drivers constantly accepting your fares, making you wait, and then canceling. If you can, carry enough cash with you to pay your taxi fare and Uxmal admission by cash.
Apparently, when Uber drivers are paid by card, it can take a matter of weeks for the payments to clear. A lot of people don’t make a lot of money here and they need their earnings as soon as possible.
Take the bus
Arguably the most popular option for getting from Merida to Uxmal is to take the bus. There is limited information about this online, however, the process of taking the bus is relatively straightforward.
The departure times on the Rome to Rio transport site always seem to be up to date and are correct as of the time of writing (March 2022). There are currently four buses per day departing from Merida to Uxmal.
The route is serviced by the company Autobuses Sur. Buses leave from the ADO bus station in Merida at 06.00 am, 09.00 am, 12.00 pm, and 15,30 pm respectively.
Purchasing your bus ticket in Merida
The Merida ADO bus station is clean, air-conditioned, and modern. There are no separate kiosks for the different bus operators so just get in line at the ADO ticket queue.
You will see ADO displayed in huge letters. You cannot miss it.
A single ticket from Merida to Uxmal costs 85 pesos. Keep in mind when purchasing your ticket that the correct pronunciation for Uxmal is actually Uss-mal.
But assured, plenty of tourists take this bus every day so the ticket office staff will know what you are talking about even if you butcher the pronunciation! You can also buy tickets directly from the driver when you are boarding the bus.
However, sometimes the bus is packed, particularly during the peak season and particularly at weekends. So it is better to be safe than sorry, arrive at the bus station a little early and purchase your ticket from the kiosk.
The Merida to Uxmal Journey
Although the actual driving time from Merida to Uxmal is only around 45 minutes, the bus journey takes much longer. The bus makes several stops on the outskirts of Merida and at the various villages en route to Uxmal.
In all, you should allow between an hour and a half to two hours for this journey. That being said, the route is pleasant and the time flies by.
You will trundle along quiet roads surrounded by lush greenery and woodlands. The little village of Muna, one of the closest settlements to the Uxmal ruins, whizzes past the window.
It is a charming collection of colorful houses, stores, and taquerias. The bus driver will automatically stop at the roadside bus stop for Uxmal.
From here, you have just a short walk to the ruins. The signposts make it clear to see where you need to go.
Your best option is to take the 9.00 am bus to Uxmal and return at 3.00 pm. This allows you plenty of time to explore the ruins at a laid-back pace, as well as to have lunch at one of the nearby restaurants or check out the Mayan chocolate museum, as you like.
Download an offline map on your phone like Maps Me. That way, you can follow your location on the map and you will know when you have to get off the bus.
Returning from Uxmal to Merida
There is only one bus that returns from Uxmal to Merida in the afternoon. It is operated via autobus SUR – the same company that services the Merida to Uxmal route.
Rome to Rio has the bus time listed as 15.15 pm. However, you will likely hear an assortment of different times from everyone you ask.
You can ask the ticket office salesperson in Merida, the bus driver, and a Uxmal employee and they will each tell you a different time. One will tell you 15.00 pm, another will tell you 15.15 pm and another will tell you 15.30pm.
Your best bet? Wait at the bus station from 14.45.
The fluctuations seem to be due to the amount of time it takes for the bus to get to Uxmal from its earlier stopping points along the journey. So, the bus can arrive at any time from before 15.00pm, right up to around 16.00 pm.
The bus departs from the opposite side of the road to the Uxmal ruins, right outside the Choco-story chocolate museum. If you wait on the Uxmal side though, you can sit beneath the shelter from the sun.
There is a small orange snack cart outside Choco-story where you can buy drinks and snacks while you wait.
What if I miss the Uxmal to Merida bus?
There is only one afternoon bus from Uxmal to Merida and frankly speaking, it is a small bus. On a busy day during the peak season, there can be more tourists than seats and a lot of people wind up standing in the aisles.
Should you be so unfortunate as to not be able to get a seat onboard or to miss the bus completely, you have a few options. First of all, you could take the bus or a taxi to Muna.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to get from Uxmal to Muna. If you have missed all of the connections for the day, you can get a taxi.
This should cost you no more than around $130 pesos and an employee at the Uxmal site, one of the nearby hotels, or ChocoStory will help you to get one. This is a very rural area and there is no phone service in and around the Uxmal bus stop.
Uber and Didi do not operate here so you need to take a local cab. It is worth also downloading an offline translator app on your phone so that you can ask for help if you cannot speak Spanish.
Once you get to Muna, you can take a bus to Merida. Buses depart hourly from Muna to Merida.
If you prefer, you can also opt to stay overnight at one of the gorgeous hotels close to Uxmal. However, many of them are on the higher end of things price-wise.
The Uxmal ruins are fantastic and when you arrive at the ruins, you will feel assured that the experience is well worth the journey. The site dates back to 700 AD and was once home to 25,000 people.
It was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996. It is absolutely one of the must-see sites in the Yucatan.
Do you have any additional questions about getting from Merida to Uxmal? Have you made the trip recently?
The ruins make a great addition to any Merida itinerary. Feel free to reach out via the comments below.
Safe travels! Hasta Luego! Melissa xo