Valladolid to Chichen Itza: 9 Must-know Tips

After a rushed 30-minute stop in Valladolid with a tour bus, Valladolid remained a priority on my bucket list until I returned for a 2-week stay. That’s when I learned many travelers are confused about how to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza.

I’m here to clear the air.

You can travel to Chichen Itza from Valladolid via the following six ways:

  • Colectivo (shared van)
  • ADO bus
  • Tour
  • Taxi
  • Scooter rental
  • Car rental

The “best” option varies according to your budget, time constraints, and the number of travelers in your group.

So, read on to determine the best transportation method for your Chichen Itza visit and other crucial items to know before you depart Valladolid.

How To Get From Valladolid to Chichen Itza

Valladolid is about 28 miles from Chichen Itza. It takes around 40 minutes to get there by private vehicle and about one hour if you’re in a shared transfer.

Many tours also make stops along the way, adding to the time (and fun) of traveling between Valladolid and Chichen Itza.

Below is an overview of the six ways you can travel from Valladolid to Chichen Itza.

Transportation MethodApproximate Travel TimeCost
Colectivo (shared van)60 minutes40 pesos
ADO bus50 minutes142 pesos
Tour40+ minutes (depends on stops)$100+ (many variables)
Taxi40 minutes600 - 800 pesos
Scooter rental50 minutes500 pesos for 24 hours
Car rental40 minutes$40+ per day (usually many fees)

Keep in mind that prices for the colectivo, ADO bus, and taxi are for a one-way journey, not round-trip.

9 Valladolid to Chichen Itza Tips

Now that you have a feel for the different ways to travel from Valladolid to Chichen Itza, below are my top tips to help the journey go smoothly.

Tip #1: The Cheapest Way to Go is by Colectivo

Colectivos are the most common way to get around Valladolid. These public vans range in size from minivans to short sprinters.

You won’t encounter long-distance colectivos in the Yucatan. But the good news is even though it takes 40 minutes to travel to Chichen Itza from Valladolid without stops, the ruins aren’t considered a long-distance route.

So, you can hop on a colectivo from Valladolid to Chichen Itza. The colectivo stop in Valladolid is on Calle 39 (39th Street) between Calle 46 and Calle 48.

Travel Tip: You might see Google Maps and signs shortening these streets to C.39, C.46, and C.48.

The colectivo from Valladolid to Chichen Itza only costs about $2 each way. It runs from around 7:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

But here’s the kicker: There’s no way to know exactly when the colectivo will depart. Instead, these vans leave for Chichen Itza once enough passengers fill the 12 to 14 seats.

If you’ll be returning to Valladolid after visiting Chichen Itza, be at the colectivo stop in Chichen Itza before 5:30 pm. That’s the approximate time of the last departure.

Tip #2: ADO Buses Have Sparse Schedules

A red ADO bus.

ADO buses are my preferred mode of travel in the Yucatan. They’re clean, comfy, have set departure times, and don’t make a million stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers (unlike the colectivos).

Unfortunately, ADO’s buses don’t run as frequently to Chichen Itza as the colectivos.

I encourage you to check ADO’s website for availability and departure times for your specific travel date. You can also book your bus tickets on the spot there, boarding the bus with a digital QR code.

To give you a feel for what to expect, ADO is currently only running one bus from Valladolid to Chichen Itza. It departs Valladolid at 10:27 am and arrives in Chichen Itza at 11:27 am.

In other words, right when tons of tourists get there from destinations like Cancun and Tulum.

Interestingly, ADO currently runs four buses from Chichen Itza to Valladolid. The departure times from Chichen Itza are as follows:

  • 9:10 am
  • 11:25 am
  • 1:55 pm
  • 4:00 pm

If you like the thought of having more legroom and reliable air conditioning but want to beat the crowds, I recommend taking a colectivo to Chichen Itza and returning to Valladolid by an ADO bus.

Tip #3: Tour Options Are Limited From Valladolid

There’s no shortage of Chichen Itza tours departing from tourist hot spots like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. But it’s a different story in Valladolid.

That’s because Valladolid is part of most tours to Chichen Itza. Valladolid isn’t a starting point for Chichen Itza; it’s a mid-way stop.

It’s a place for tourists to use the restroom, buy some snacks in the plaza, and snap some photos of Valladolid’s doors that were constructed high enough for horses and riders to pass through.

Traveling from Valladolid to Chichen Itza is easy thanks to quiet roads in Valladolid's historical center.

That said, finding a Chichen Itza tour from Valladolid isn’t impossible.

But don’t expect to save tons of pesos.

In fact, tours starting in Valladolid often cost more because it’s harder to track down a group tour option.

Furthermore, should you book a tour to Chichen Itza from Valladolid, be sure to ask if entrance fees are included.

It’s also wise to have an understanding of the tour agency’s cancellation policies. If you’re spending a few days in Valladolid, you might want to adjust the date of your tour around the weather in case rain strikes the morning of your tour.

Tip #4: Taxis Can Cost More Than a Tour

Taxi drivers have an excellent reputation in Valladolid (read my guide on Is Valladolid Safe? for more details).

But the downside to taking a taxi to Chichen Itza is that it’s super expensive.

The good news is that should you decide a taxi is the best-fit mode of transportation, it won’t be difficult to find a driver if you’re willing to pay. Just don’t accept the first price they give you; they expect a bit of bartering.

You’ll also need to speak with your taxi driver to agree on the circumstances of your taxi ride.

Do you only need them to drop you off in Chichen Itza?

Or are you willing to pay for their time so the same driver can take you back to Valladolid?

Remember, there’s always the option to hop on an ADO bus or a colectivo after you visit Chichen Itza if you only want to take a taxi one way.

And if you don’t want to pay a driver to wait around for you, finding another available taxi shouldn’t be hard after you exit the ruins.

Tip #5: Renting a Scooter Is Better Than a Car

A scooter parked in front of a scooter rental shop.

Car rentals are hard to come by in Valladolid (and they’re super expensive with many fees that they tack onto the base price), but there are a fair amount of scooter companies available.

Driving from Valladolid to Chichen Itza by scooter isn’t too scary for first-timers to scooter driving or riding.

Valladolid is a town, so you won’t have to deal with copious amounts of traffic. Furthermore, the road between Valladolid to Chichen Itza is through the jungle.

Yes, potholes abound.

But you can take your time, knowing that the few vehicles on the road will have plenty of opportunities to pass you.

Most scooter rental companies in Valladolid allow you to keep your scooter for 24 hours if you book it for a day. That means you’ll get to take your time at Chichen Itza.

Plus, you can stop to explore the many centoes (sinkholes filled with water) that you’ll pass to and from the ruins.

Tip #6: Don’t Be Fooled By the Airport

If you’ve peeked at Google Maps, you’ll know there’s an international airport in Chichen Itza, complete with the code “CZA.”

But don’t try booking a flight into Chichen Itza; the airport closed shortly after its inauguration in April 2000.

It was an expensive failure for the Mexican government after four major airlines, including American Airlines, realized tourists didn’t have enough interest in flying to Chichen Itza.

Nowadays, the closest working commercial airport to Chichen Itza is the Merida International Airport.

But most people fly into Cancun, making their way to Valladolid and Chichen Itza from there.

Again, if you’re on a budget and are okay with seeing Valladolid instead of staying there, taking a Chichen Itza day tour from Cancun is cheaper than paying for a tour that starts in Valladolid. You can even book a tour that starts from the Cancun airport.

Tip #7: You Can Hire a Guide on the Spot

The famous pyramid in Mexico, making the trip from Valladolid to Chichen Itza worth it.

If you’re worried that taking a colectivo or ADO bus will make you miss out on learning about Chichen Itza from a guide, rest easy. You can hire a Chichen Itza tour guide upon arriving at the ruins.

These guides are sometimes even better than those from a tour agency in Cancun or Valladolid, given that they live and breathe giving tours of Chichen Itza.

It’s also cheaper to take public transportation and hire a guide at Chichen Itza than to book through a tour agency.

And you’ll get a private guide, at that.

Note that tipping is customary in tourist areas in Mexico. So, if you decide to hire a guide, be sure to tip them; 10% is a good base if you’re happy with their service.

Tip #8: Bring Snacks If You’re on a Budget

Mangos for sale at a fruit stand.

If you’re counting your pesos, it’s as simple as this: Valladolid is cheap, and Chichen Itza is expensive.

So, pack your backpack full of enough snacks and water bottles to get you through the day for your trip from Valladolid to Chichen Itza.

Of course, if you forgot something or underestimated how much food and drinks you needed, you’ll have several snack and restaurant options at Chichen Itza and many of the surrounding touristy cenotes.

The situation looks different if you rented a scooter or car, though.

On the drive from Valladolid to Chichen Itza, you’ll encounter some locally-owned restaurants geared towards locals. So, you can always stop for a budget-friendly and filling home-cooked Mexican meal.

Tip #9: Carry Cash (Lots of It)

Unlike in the past, the Chichen Itza ticket office now accepts credit cards. But to avoid getting turned away from this Seven Wonders of the World site, carry enough pesos to pay for your tickets.

Chichen Itza’s credit card machines are unreliable, even if you carry more than one card.

The ticket office at Chichen Itza knows that visitors have struggled with paying their entrance fees in the past. So, they offer an ATM on site.

You can also exchange dollars for pesos there, although they take a high commission.

Visit Chichen Itza’s ticket page for details on entrance fee costs.

FAQs About Valladolid to Chichen Itza

By now, I hope you have a better idea of the options (and lack thereof) for traveling from Valladolid to Chichen Itza. Below are answers to other burning questions you might have.

What are the benefits of traveling to Chichen Itza from Valladolid?

The biggest benefit of traveling to Chichen Itza from Valladolid is that you’ll arrive before the crowds. Valladolid is only a 40 – 60 minute drive from Chichen Itza. In contrast, Cancun is a nearly 3-hour drive.

What time does Chichen Itza open?

Chichen Itza opens at 8:00 am Monday – Sunday. It closes at 5:00 pm year-round.

Can you go to Chichen Itza in the rain?

You can go to Chichen Itza in the rain. But Chichen Itza will close if a tropical storm or hurricane is in the forecast.

How much time do you need in Chichen Itza?

You need about 1.5 to 2 hours if you walk fast through Chichen Itza. But most people spend closer to three hours, especially if they take a guided tour.

What should I wear to Chichen Itza?

There’s very little shade at Chichen Itza, so bring plenty of sun gear. You don’t have to do a lot of climbing, so flip-flops or sneakers are fine. I also recommend bringing an umbrella since the weather can change quickly.

Is there a lot of walking at Chichen Itza?

Depending on how thoroughly you explore, you can walk less than a mile and as much as a few miles at Chichen Itza. The famous pyramid at Chichen Itza is a short walk from the ticket office. If you have limited mobility, read our article on accessibility at Chichen Itza for more details.

Pack Your Bags!

Smaller ruins at Chichen Itza.

Traveling from Valladolid to Chichen Itza is rewarding since you can be among the first visitors to Chichen Itza without getting up at the crack of dawn.

If you have questions about traveling to Chichen Itza from Valladolid, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help.

I’d also love to hear about your experience and any updates you might like to share since I published this article.

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