🛵 Get our complete guide to getting from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá – Below we show you all the options, to help you choose the best mode of transport, for your visit to Chichén Itzá!
Okay, okay… are you ready to get up close and personal, with Wonder of the World – Chichén Itzá! Well you’d be in the right place then, as below we explain everything you need to know about getting from Valladolid (and also beyond), to Chichén Itzá. From one end of the transport spectrum to the other: scooter to guided tour & everything in between!
So, you’re in Valladolid, Mexico and thinking of visiting the impressive Mayan Ruins of Chichén Itzá. But you want to know a little more first right. Questions like – how to get from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá, the price of the tickets, the best time to visit and all those little questions. The kind that could make all the difference, to your day trip to Chichén Itzá.
WELL! We answer all these!
✨ We also tell you why you should include Valladolid on your list of places to visit on your Yucatan Peninsula itinerary.
Then… we help you find the best mode of transport for your visit to Chichén Itzá. Because we have enquired about all and TRIED ALL options of transport, in and around Valladolid during our multiple visits. These have included, taxis, a rental car, scooter rental, bike rental, collective mini-vans and buses. So read on for our essential guide on getting from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá.
Psst! If you’ve found this post helpful, don’t miss all our other juicy posts from in and around Valladolid. We cover the best cenotes to visit, how to explore Ek Balam ruins and the best things to do for your stay in Valladolid. Enjoy amigos!!
Where is Chichén Itzá
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Chichén Itzá is centrally located in the northern end of the Yucatan peninsula. And the closest town to Chichén Itzá is Valladolid, 45 minutes to the east.
Other nearby places include, Merida which is 1 hour and 40 minutes to the west, and Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun are over 2 hours further to the east.
This means that Chichén Itzá is often visited as a day trip, from the popular eastern beach towns, listed above. However, there is also a growing interest in the town of Valladolid. As a result, it’s fast becoming an appealing destination to stay, from which to visit Chichén Itzá. Travellers love the experience of exploring Valladolid, as it provides a real window into the culture of a traditional town Mexico.
Zoom in and out on the interactive map above to see the distances between each location.
✨ Looking for a cool place to stay in Valladolid close to the bus AND colectivo to Chichén Itzá? Check out our review of Oryx Hostel in the heart of Valladolid.
How to Get to Chichén Itzá From Beyond Valladolid
Given that Chichén Itzá is kind of a big deal on a global scale… there are a multitude of ways to get there, from Valladolid and beyond. Obviously your options will be determined by your travel plans and location. So we explain all that we can possibly think of here!
As mentioned above, Chichén Itzá is located only a couple of hours away from the three major cities and beach towns, on the Riviera Maya. Therefore, if you’re staying in any of these major tourist destinations, a day trip to Chichén Itzá is definitely possible.
Guided Group Tours From Cancun & the Riviera Maya
There are oodles and oodles of guided day trips and tours available from Cancun and the Riviera Maya. We have selected the most well reviewed AND most booked guided tours from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. These tours are group tours and so value for money is the key factor here.
Tours offer extras that may include a buffet lunch, a visit to a cenote, and a stop in Valladolid. Obviously, it’s up to you, to choose which might best suit your preferred experience, budget and time.
Browse the itineraries and fine print listed in each individual tour. Most require passengers to meet at a common pick up location, and also that they pay their own entrance to Chichén Itzá. We recommend that before you book, compare the various add-ons and tour program.
Private Tours From Cancun & the Riviera Maya
For those looking for a little more exclusivity and who are willing to pay a little more for the experience, then a private tour may better suit your needs. They go over and above the group tours, and of course you have your own car, driver and guide. Naturally this provides more flexibility around time and a more personal experience.
In our opinion, private is always the best way to go… fewer people means a far more memorable experience. It gives you the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered in an unhurried and authentic manner.
The best private guided tours seemed to be shared on Viator, and above I’ve selected the three best options. The guide offers a pickup service in any hotel from Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. And if you read through what the experience includes, you’ll see options for inclusive lunches, cenotes, and a visit to Valladolid.
Rent a Car
Renting a car from Cancun and the Riviera Maya is another great option when visiting Chichén Itzá. A one day car rental in Mexico is reasonably cheap if you pick up and drop off at the same destination.
The roads are also relatively good to drive and the navigation apps work well. Also this way, you have the option of avoiding the crowds by arriving earlier.
We find the rental car booking platform with Qeeq, to be one of the best in terms of deals and discounts. Check below if you’re looking for a bargain.
How to Get to Chichén Itzá From Valladolid
Valladolid is a picturesque colonial town in the heart of the Yucatan. It’s the perfect two day stopover to find a little bit of culture, and to get off the beaten track.
From the quintessential central square including the church. The 16th Century Convent of San Bernardino of Siena. The colourful colonial buildings with many converted into some amazing restaurants, cafes, boutique hotels, hostels and stores.
Valladolid is also surrounded by some of the most beautiful cenotes Mexico has to offer. And just 40km from Chichén Itzá, this makes Valladolid a fab place to stay AND visit!
What’s more, there are several transport options available to get from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá. From the do it yourself kind of option, all the way through to a fully guided tour. Below we explain each of the options in detail, to ensure you get a smooth journey from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá.
ADO Bus – Valladolid to Chichén Itzá
I’m including this option right at the beginning, but I don’t recommend it. And here’s why – the bus departs from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá once a day and returns four times a day. The logic seems strange, but there we go.
If you do decide to go with ADO, the bus departs from Valladolid at 10:27 am and arrives at Chichén Itzá at 11:17 am. (Yep, right as the tour buses arrive.) The best timings of the return buses are at 1.55 pm or 4:00 pm. And tickets range between 95 to 150 MXN pesos.
Collective Transport – Colectivo
The collective is known locally in Mexico as a colectivo and it’s a super efficient way of getting around. It’s best described as a shared mini-van or transport system, used primarily by locals and also travellers getting around on the cheap.
The colectivo runs between Valladolid and Chichén Itzá multiple times throughout the day. It tends to leave every half hour, with the first trip starting at 7:00 am. Though, the drivers will only leave once the vehicle is full, with around 12 passengers, so don’t expect it to leave on the minute.
You’ll find the colectivo depot marked above on our map. Basically, head to the main road Calle 39 on which the ADO bus station is located. Then, between streets 46 and 48 look for the large sign out the front, announcing transport to Chichén Itzá, and also to cenote Ik-Kil. Tickets are purchased on arrival. The cost is 40 MXN pesos from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá, or 80 MXN pesos return. If you include a visit to cenote Ik-Kil you’ll pay an extra 20 MXN pesos.
Valladolid to Chichén Itzá Collectivo Tips –
- When you arrive at Chichén Itzá, be sure the driver shows you the pick up location. As it can be a little confusing with all the tourist buses when it comes to leave.
- It gets a little cramped in the colectivo, but nothing stressful
- When leaving Chichén Itzá at the end of the day the colectivo pickup area can get quite busy, so don’t leave your exit until too late.
Private Taxi from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá
If you don’t want the hassle of shared transport from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá, you can always grab a taxi. It’s the easiest and quickest way to get there. You can expect to pay around 600 MXN one way. As always, we highly recommend that you agree to a price before you begin the taxi journey.
Group or Private Tours from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá
We’ve listed the best private guided tours for getting from Cancun and the Riviera Maya, and here are three of the best from Valladolid. The first of the private tours, includes a visit to the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam, which are are my personal favourite ruins near Valladolid.
The first two tours are slightly more expensive as they are smaller groups and they also include all entrance fees and taxes. Whereas the third tour allows for up to 10 people and doesn’t include fees and taxes.
Browse the itineraries and options of each, to help you identify which is the better tour for your visit.
Rent a Scooter to Get to Chichén Itzá
Another awesome way to get to Chichén Itzá, or any other place close to Valladolid, is by scooter. In fact this was our preferred method of travel in and around Valladolid.
The first big benefit, is that you can fit two people on one scooter! And the second is that you can stop off wherever you please on the way, to and from Chichén Itzá.
Scooters are available for rent for a half day, full day or overnight. And at 500-550 MXN for a 12 hour rental, they are a pretty economical way of getting around. This way you can hit Chichén Itzá in the morning, then check out one or two of the cenotes in the afternoon.
🛵 Browse the options… then reserve your scooter rental for Valladolid right here with Viator.
Tickets & Prices for Chichén Itzá Entrance
If you’re visiting Chichén Itzá via the do it yourself method like we did, then you’ll need to purchase tickets. You’ll find the ticket stands at the main entrance. There are kiosks on either side of the entrance with lines connected to both. So, chose which one is shorter and wait it out.
Chichén Itzá opens at 8:00 am, but the lines begin growing before this time. In our case, we arrived at 7:45 am and the queues were already around 50 metres long. But once the doors opened and the booths started serving tickets, we didn’t have long to wait.
To enter you’ll need to purchase two tickets. One is for the Institute of History and Anthropology who are the custodians of the site. The other is for the Ministry of Culture for the Yucatan which is a local government tax.
Both booths are right next to each other and you have to pass by both, so you won’t miss them.
The Cost to Enter Chichén Itzá
The cost for entrance to Chichén Itzá, when we went in 2023 was 533 MXN pesos. This covered 453 pesos for the state tax, which you have the option to pay by card. And 80 pesos per person for the custodian fee, which you’ll need to pay cash. Kids between the ages of 3 – 13 only pay the 80 pesos for the custodian fee. While under 3’s are free.
Mexican residents pay 157 MXN state tax, plus 80 MXN. However on Sunday residents are free.
Should You Pre-Book Tickets to Chichén Itzá
🤔 Should you pre-book your tickets for Chichén Itzá – now this is a good question!
We tried booking online through what appeared to be the official Chichén Itzá website. However, it was a little confusing to be honest. First of all, only expensive tours are sold on this website and secondly, payment is in USD.
Next we looked at skip the queue options on Get Your Guide. But after reading the reviews, it seemed that the tickets were sold by a kiosk owner, who inflated prices and visitors still had to queue to enter.
And so our final thought on the matter, is that there is no offical method of pre-purchasing your tickets for Chichén Itzá. You are better off, turning up and waiting in the queue or booking a guided tour.
Self-Guided Tours of Chichén Itzá
We have a full dedicate post for a self-guided tour of Chichén Itzá. But we also thoroughly recommend downloading one of these handy audio tours for your visit. (Full post coming soon.)
Opening Hours & Best Time to Visit
Chichén Itzá is open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The latest access to the site is at 4:00 pm.
The best time to visit is either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. This way you avoid the large tour operators who start to arrive from around 10:30 am, and generally leave by 3:00 pm. And let me tell you, they arrive by the hoards!
We would suggest that you would need around three hours to see all that Chichén Itzá has to offer at a leisurely pace. So, getting to the site at 8am in the morning for the opening, or by 2:00 pm in the afternoon, would be our recommended visiting times to experience a quieter Chichén Itzá.
Night Tours of Chichén Itzá
If you’re looking for something a little different then you might want to check out the magical Kukulkan Nights. It’s an evening light and sound show at Chichén Itzá, with the main event starting at 8:00 pm in the summer and 7:00 pm in the winter.
You are allowed to enter the site an hour before. Whereby you can visit all the sites, or take a group tour. Then just before 8:00 pm visitors are advised to take their allocated seats at El Castillo. The main show is a sound and light experience, with rolling images projected on the great pyramid. At the same time, narrators provide the sites history, stories, myths and legends associated with the area. This is one of the more unique ways to experience Chichén Itzá.
Open everyday except Monday, tickets cost 630 MXN and can be brought at Chichén Itzá. Or if you are traveling on a budget, then note that the cost is only 300 MXN on Sundays.
Handy Tip – don’t forget to pack the mosquito repellant.
Tips to Visiting Chichén Itzá
So now we have guided you through the process of getting from Valladolid to Chichén Itzá, lets look at some of the key tips for your visit.
- If you’re coming from the state of Quintana Roo, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum – be aware that during winter, November to March there is a 1 hour time difference to consider.
- Make sure to take plenty of cash – the main ticket booth accepts cards, but a portion of the entrance fee must be paid in cash. There is an ATM onsite but it’s not always working.
- Free Sundays – on Sunday Mexican residents get free entrance to the Chichén Itzá, so expect that it will be busier.
- No food and drink – it’s prohibited to bring food and drink from outside and bags are checked when entering.
- Tripods, drones and other professional equipment are not permitted – unless pre-arranged permits are obtained. Cameras are allowed, even larger DSLR’s, just not all the extra gear which photographers often travel with.
- Many sites, including El Castillo have restricted access – this means, ropes hung two or three meters in front of each site, keep visitors from climbing on the ruins. So no climbing the iconic El Castillo.
- Check the weather and dress accordingly – a lot of the site is out in the open, so on sunny days a hat and sunscreen is advisable. Also, if rain is expected a coat and cover for your backpack is a good idea.
More on Chichén Itzá and Valladolid
We have prepared more posts to help you on your visit to Chichén Itzá ruins, Ek Balam ruins and to the best cenotes in Valladolid.
👆 Click through to read our in-depth guides below –
- Self-guided tour to Chichén Itzá – Get our awesome little map and self-guided tour!
- How to visit Ek Balam ruins from Valladolid and beyond
- A complete guide to the best cenotes near Valladolid
- Where to stay – a review of the Oryx Hostel in Valladolid
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