Chichén Itzá, one of the Seven Wonders of the New World, is among the top-visited tourist destinations in all of Mexico. Given its relatively close proximity from tourist hotspot Tulum, it should come as no surprise that Tulum is a popular base from which to visit the ancient Mayan city. There are so many different ways to get from Tulum to Chichén Itzá, we’ve decided to break them all down for you to make planning your trip just a tiny bit easier.
Tulum is one of the most magical places on earth, for those looking for a peaceful place to relax, an epic beach party, or to visit one of the best yoga destinations in the world. A day trip from Tulum to Chichen Itza is the perfect cherry on top for your Tulum vacation.
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What is Chichén Itzá?
Chichén Itzá is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. The ancient Maya city was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Chichén Itzá was built by the Maya people between the 9th and 12th centuries and was once the capital of the Mayan Empire.
Today, visitors can explore the ancient ruins, climb the famous El Castillo pyramid, and learn about the Maya culture. There are also many other activities to enjoy in the area, such as swimming in cenotes (natural freshwater pools), exploring underground caves, and hiking through the jungle.
Is a Day Trip from Tulum to Chichén Itzá Worth it?
A lot of people ask us if a day trip from Tulum to Chichén Itzá is worth it. The answer really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in seeing some amazing ruins and getting a taste of ancient Maya culture, then absolutely! A day trip from Tulum to Chichén Itzá is a great way to do that. Plus, it’s better to see Chichén Itzá for just a day than not see it at all!
However, if you’re looking for a more in-depth experience, we recommend staying in Chichén Itzá for at least one night. This way, you can explore the ruins at your own pace and really take in all that Chichén Itzá has to offer. Plus, there are some great hotels and restaurants in the area, so you can make a real vacation out of it.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you. A day trip from Tulum to Chichén Itzá is a great option if you’re short on time or just want to see the highlights. But if you’re looking for a more immersive experience, we recommend staying in Chichén Itzá for at least one night. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have a great time!
How Far is Chichén Itzá from Tulum?
Chichén Itzá is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, it is about a two-hour drive from Tulum. While there are many tour operators that offer day trips from Tulum to Chichén Itzá, it is also possible to visit on your own. Here is a look at how far Chichén Itzá is from Tulum and some tips on making the most of your trip.
How to Get from Tulum to Chichén Itzá
…by Rental Car
There are a few different ways that you can get from Tulum to Chichén Itzá, but the easiest and most convenient way is by rental car. If you have your own car rental, you can explore at your own pace and make any stops along the way that you find interesting.
Another huge benefit of heading from Tulum to Chichén Itzá is that you can get an early start and avoid the throngs of tourists that will disembark off of the daily tour buses!
Rental cars in Tulum typically start at around $25 USD per day. I found some for $8 a day on Expedia. To get to Chichen Itza from Tulum, you will need to take the Tulum-Coba road for about an hour and then turn onto the Chichén Itzá road. The drive should take a total of around 2 hours.
There are a few interesting stops that you can make along the way, such as the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba. This site is about halfway between Tulum and Chichén Itzá, so it makes for a perfect pit stop. If you have time, you can also explore some of the many cenotes (natural freshwater swimming holes) that dot the landscape.
There are a few different ways to get from Tulum to Chichén Itzá, but one of the most popular and budget-friendly options is to take the bus. Prices for a one-way ticket on the bus typically range from around $10-$15 USD, and the trip takes approximately 2.5 hours.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when taking the bus from Tulum to Chichén Itzá:
- Be sure to arrive at the bus station at least 30 minutes before your desired departure time, as buses can fill up quickly and you may not be able to get a seat if you wait until the last minute.
- When purchasing your ticket, be sure to ask the attendant if there are any stops along the way, as some buses make a few brief stops to pick up additional passengers.
- If you are prone to motion sickness, it may be a good idea to bring along some medication or ginger candy, as the ride can be bumpy at times. I personally love to use the patches.
- There is typically a small food and drink service on board the bus, but it is always a good idea to bring along your own snacks and drinks in case you get hungry or thirsty during the journey.
Following these tips will help ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable trip from Tulum to Chichén Itzá by bus.
If you’re looking to explore the ancient ruins of Chichén Itzá, taking a taxi from Tulum is a great option. Taxis are readily available in Tulum and the journey takes around 2 hours. Prices vary depending on your negotiation skills, but expect to pay around $50-$60 USD for the trip. Keep in mind that there is a toll road that you will need to pay for, so factor that into your price negotiations.
Some helpful tips for taking a taxi to Chichén Itzá:
- Make sure to agree on a price with the driver before getting in the car.
- Have your hotel or hostel call a reputable taxi company ahead of time to avoid being overcharged.
- Ask the driver to take you directly to the main entrance of the archaeological site, as there are often multiple entrances.
Taxis can be a great option if you are traveling with a group, as you can easily split the cost and travel in more comfort than you would in a bus.
Getting from Tulum to Chichén Itzá by collectivo is a cheap and easy way to travel between the two popular tourist destinations in Mexico. The trip takes approximately 2 hours and costs around 70 pesos ($3.50 USD). Here are some tips for taking the collectivo from Tulum to Chichén Itzá:
- The collectivo leaves from the ADO bus station in Tulum, which is located just off the main highway.
- There are typically two departure times per day, at 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
- Be sure to arrive at the bus station at least 30 minutes before your desired departure time.
- When you arrive at Chichén Itzá, the collectivo will drop you off at the main entrance to the archaeological site.
Collectivos may be cheaper, but it is a trade off for comfort and convenience. It all depends on your personal travel style and budget to figure out what will work best for you in terms of traveling from Tulum to Chichén Itzá.
…by Private Transfer
There are a few different ways to get from Tulum to Chichén Itzá, but the easiest and most comfortable way is to book a private transfer. Prices for a private transfer start at around $60 USD per person, and the trip takes about 2.5 hours. Here are a few tips to make sure your trip goes smoothly:
- Book your transfer in advance to ensure availability.
- Bring along snacks and water for the ride, if you’re prone to hanger, like me.
- Make sure to confirm your pickup time and location with your driver.
- Have your hotel or accommodation information ready for the driver.
- Sit back and enjoy the ride!
…by Guided Tour
While there are plenty of ways to get from Tulum to Chichén Itzá from Cancun (and other parts of Mexico), taking a guided tour is one of the best ways to see the ancient city. Not only will you have expert tour guides to show you around, but you’ll also learn a lot about the history and culture of the Mayan people.
There are plenty of tour companies that offer trips to Chichén Itzá from Cancun and other parts of Mexico. Prices vary depending on the length of the tour and what’s included, but you can expect to pay around $50-$100 per person for a full-day tour. Expect to pay much more for a private tour. We’ve included some popular tours below.
If you’re interested in taking a guided tour of Chichén Itzá, be sure to book in advance. Tours fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist season (December-April).
Chichén Itzá Highlights & Other Things to Do
Chichén Itzá Highlights
A day visit from Tulum to Chichén Itzá is a must-do for any traveler to the Yucatan Peninsula. The ancient city is full of incredible architecture, from the massive Pyramid of Kukulkan to the Temple of the Warriors.
El Castillo is the iconic pyramid you’ve likely seen in photos, and there are a number of other temples and buildings to explore as well.
The ancient city is also home to a number of parks and gardens, so if you need a break from the heat, there are plenty of places to relax.
There are several food and drink options available at Chichén Itzá, so you won’t go hungry. And if you get thirsty, there are plenty of places to buy drinks. Just be aware that some of the vendors can be aggressive, so it’s best to have small bills handy.
What to Bring to Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá can be quite hot, so make sure to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. Since you will probably want to jump into a nearby cenote after a day of exploring the ancient Mayan city, make sure your sunscreen is biodegradable and eco-friendly.
Of course, comfortable walking shoes are a must. If you’re prone to blisters, bring some band-aids as well!
You’ll want to have some pesos on you, as I mentioned above, some of the food vendors at Chichén Itzá will not have change (or at least, they will say they don’t).
Other Things to do Near Chichén Itzá
There are actually quite a few things you can do on a day trip from Tulum to Chichén Itzá!
For starters, you can check out some of the other ancient ruins in the area. The nearby city of Coba is home to several interesting archaeological sites, including the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, which is the tallest Maya structure in the region.
One option is to visit one of the many nearby cenotes. These natural swimming holes are found throughout the Yucatan peninsula and offer a refreshing way to cool off. Many of them also have stunning rock formations and crystal clear water that makes for some great photos.
If you’re visiting Chichén Itzá, you’ll definitely want to check out the nearby cenotes! These natural swimming holes are a refreshing break from the heat and a great way to cool off. There are several cenotes in the area, each with its own unique features. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular cenotes near Chichén Itzá:
- Cenote Ik Kil: This cenote is located just a short distance from Chichén Itzá and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. The cenote is surrounded by lush vegetation and has a deep pool of water that’s perfect for swimming. There’s also a restaurant and bar on-site, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views.
- Cenote Suytun: Another popular cenote near Chichén Itzá, Cenote Suytun is known for its beautiful turquoise waters. The cenote is also surrounded by lush vegetation, making it a great spot to take a dip and cool off. There’s a small restaurant on-site, so you can grab a bite to eat after your swim.
- Cenote Xkeken: This cenote is located in the town of Dzitnup and is one of the most unique cenotes in the area. The cenote has a natural cave system that you can explore, and the water is a beautiful turquoise color. You can also find a restaurant and bar on-site, making it the perfect spot to relax after a day of exploring.
24 Best Cenotes around Quintana Roo
If you’re looking for a more active adventure, you can go hiking or biking in the nearby jungle. There are plenty of trails to choose from, so you can find one that’s suitable for your fitness level. And, of course, you’ll get to see some amazing wildlife and plants along the way.
Best Places to Eat Near Chichén Itzá
Simple & Rico Pisté
This is by far the best restaurant in the area. The family who runs it is beyond nice, they have reasonable prices and a cozy atmosphere. Try the sopa lima and tacos salbutes! Very vegetarian-friendly establishment.
C. 12, 97751 Pisté, Yuc., Mexico
Polleria los Pájaros
This chicken restaurant was a nice treat in Piste! For around 220 MXN you get a lunch of soup, a whole chicken (!?), and two beers! The pollo asado was really good too, but not part of the lunch deal. Still, the prices were super reasonable and the food was delicious. Plus, the guy working the grill honks a rubber chicken at you to make you laugh.
C. 15, Merida – Valladolid 48, 97751 Pisté, Yuc., Mexico
Chichén Itzá Entry Information
Chichén Itzá Hours
8:00 AM to 4:30 PM daily
Chichén Itzá Entrance Fee
85 MXN ($4 USD) and $31 USD Archaeological Site Tax
Tulum to Chichén Itzá Tours
Description: This tour has the option for pick-up in Tulum, heading on to the ruins at Coba and Chichén Itzá. A Mexican buffet lunch is included in the price of the tour, as well as the entry tickets to both archaeological sites. You’ll also get the opportunity to swim in a cenote after a full day of working up a sweat! Absolutely amazing!
Duration: 12 Hours
Price: Starting at $55 USD per person
Things to Bring: Cash for gratuities, sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, comfortable shoes, camera, passport or ID card.
Helpful Tips: Mandatory life jacket is not included in the price and can be rented for 40 MXN. Also not included in the price of the tour is the Archaeological Site tax ($31 USD).
Description: You’ll start the day trekking through the jungle of the Yucatan as you head to Hubiku Sacred Cenote for a quick dip in the cool, clear water. After you’ve dried off after your cenote visit, you’ll head to a nearby restaurant for a Mexican buffet lunch. The next stop on your day trip is Chichén Itzá, where your expert guide will show you the many highlights of the ancient city. Finally, you’ll finish the day off in the vibrant city of Valladolid before heading back to Tulum.
Duration: 12 Hours
Price: Starting at $64 USD
Things to Bring: Cash for gratuities, water or snacks, sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, swimwear, change of clothes, ID card or passport (copy is ok), comfortable shoes.
Helpful Tips: The Archaeological Site Tax ($31 USD) is not included in the tour price.
Description: This tour from Tulum hits all the major spots. First, you’ll head to Chichén Itzá to explore the Mayan ruins and breathtaking pyramids before making your way to Valladolid, a colorful Colonial city. Finally, you’ll stop at a community-run sacred cenote to cool off after a long day of exploring. This tour is similar to another listed above, but the stops are in different orders and not as many people are permitted on this tour, giving a more intimate experience.
Duration: 11 Hours
Price: Starting at $165
Things to Bring: Cash for gratuities, towel, swimwear, change of clothes, sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, comfortable shoes, ID or passport.
Helpful Tips: All fees are included in the cost of this tour. You’ll only need to tip (strongly recommended).
No matter which route you choose, make sure to plan ahead and leave early so you can enjoy your day trip to Chichen Itza and learn a lot about Mayan history! Have you been to this ancient Mayan city? If so, what was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments below.