We show you how to go from Merida to Chichen Itza on your own using the bus. Easy and at a low price!
Do you want to visit Chichén Itzá but have a sudden urge to know how can I get there?, what are my options?, I’d like to visit it with few people around, could it be possible?, is it worth arriving early? In this post we want to answer all those questions, based on our own experience visiting this World Wonder from the city of Mérida, Yucatán.
Choosing our transportation
To get to the World Wonder that is Chichén Itzá, we had two options: grab a tour or take the bus.
The pros and cons that I saw in the two options were that on the tour we wouldn’t have to think much about how to go, since they would pick us up at the hotel, but it seemed like a waste to leave Mérida at 9 AM to arrive at the site at almost noon and be in the middle of the huge crowd (not to mention the souvenir sellers). We also took into account that we wanted to see the site at our own pace, and when going on a tour you always have to be following a guide. It is true that the explanations they give are very valuable and we would miss them, although once on site we could hire one, even though in the end we didn’t the option is there. On top of all this was the price: from 500 to 600 pesos per person (which does not include the entrance ticket to the site, but the food yes though that would imply not being able to chose where to eat).
In the case of going by ourselves, it would allow us to leave Mérida at the time we wanted (of course, depending on the bus schedules) and to arrive early on site. To arrive early enough to enjoy the place, before those who took the tours that left at 9 AM in Mérida arrived – and they were many! – and also for going back. The cons is that you had to be aware of the schedules for the return. To eat we would have to look for a place until we return in Mérida, although on the return bus there were several food sellers that helped to calm the hunger. The price: approximately 250 per person (without the entrances to the site or the food).
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Note: we didn’t want to rent a car during our stay in Yucatán so I do not count it in the options, but the option certainly exists 🙂
When and where to buy bus tickets?
We preferred to go the day before to the Mérida Bus Terminal (better known as TAME – Terminal de Autobuses de Mérida) on 69th Street to buy the tickets, although the next day we saw that the bus was not full but that way we no longer had that pending. For the first leg we took a 1st class bus which is direct and arrives in 1 hour 45. It leaves the ADO terminal at 6:30 AM (difficult to get up early, but then we saw that it was worth it).
1st class ticket price (one way): 1st class 208 pesos per person
The ADO 1st class bus is taken at the exclusive terminal of this company that is one block away at 70th Street. There is not much distance between the two.
Taking the bus to Chichén Itzá
We got up very early and managed to arrive on time at the ADO station, also called CAME. Being very early we had missed the hotel breakfast, luckily in the terminal there are shops where you can buy food to kill the morning hunger. Without mishaps the passengers were called to board the unit, it was one that went to Tulum. The seats are numbered and are already marked on the ticket 🙂 I say this in case it happens to you as it did to us, as there was already someone sitting in our places, do not be ashamed to ask for your seat. What happened was that when we got on there were already two (I presume French) in our seats to which we kindly asked them to give us our places, such it seemed that they were also removed their assigned seats but well, that’s life, it was their turn to do the same as we did, that is, ask that they please let them sit there.
The bus went out of the city of Mérida and we could see how we left the big city and entered a road surrounded by the color green.
I have something to say that I can’t keep anymore: we were not the only ones going to Chichén Itzá, there were many other people and I was disturbed seeing how the woman who was on the front side of the bus shamelessly threw her feet on air… nice view, no? it seems that some people forget to pack respect in their luggage :/ once freed from this relief I continue 🙂
Before arriving, we passed Pisté, the closest village to Chichén Itzá.
How to go back to Merida?
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To come back we had bought the round trip from the beginning. The only thing was that it would be 2nd class since the only 1st class ticket was at 5:35PM and we thought it’d be too much time for the visit so we chose an open 2nd class ticket. This gave us many flexibility since there are buses every hour or so on site. Please note, they stop in eeeeeeeeeevery places and for that reason they need more than two hours to get back to Mérida.
Ticket price: I don’t remember exactly if it was
85 pesos per person (Update on 8/02/2018 Oriente 2da (back trip) $91) or a bit more. You need to buy those tickets with cash and you travel with another company named Lineas de Oriente. If anyone happens to have an updated price, please leve us a comment 😉
If for any reason you couldn’t buy your way back before going the archaeological site you can buy it there. When you’ve finished your visit, there’s a books and souvenirs store in which you’ll find an ADO booth and it comes with a screen displaying the buses schedule. You need to be aware when the bus comes, since if it gets full you’ll have to wait for the next one 😮 luckily we did not have this problem. You get on the bus on the same parking place where you arrived. And yes, there will be much more vehicles around.
I hope that our experience can help you to take your decision on how to get to Chichén Itzá, by tour or on your own. You choose.