How to Visit Chichen Itza the Best Possible Way in 2024

Chichen Itza 2024

Visiting Chichen Itza in 2024

If you have been wanting to visit Chichen Itza ruins, 2024 is going to be an exciting year to visit! There are new parts of the ruins open and new transportation options for visiting Chichen Itza. The ruins of Chichen Itza are always one of the most visited attractions in the area and are the most visited Maya ruins in Mexico. In this guide we will talk about all the options to get to Chichen Itza, bus tours, private tours, things to see locally, self-driving plans and how to best be prepared for a day at Chichen Itza. After visiting these ruins about 30 times, we have put all our best tips in this guide so you can have the best possible day visiting Chichen Itza. 

Our Video Guide for Chichen Itza in 2024

This is actually the third video we have done about visiting Chichen Itza. In this video we give you updates for 2024 and our latest tips. We hope you find this video helpful. 


What things are new for 2024?

Here are 3 things that are new for this year for visiting Chichen Itza. 

Viejo Chichen Itza

In English it would be called “old Chichen Itza”. This area of the ruins has never been open to the public before, the newly opened area has about 14 structures that are temples and possible places where the elite lived in Chichen Itza. 

Tren Maya Station at Chichen Itza

The Tren Maya Station at Chichen Itza is open. The stop is along the Cancun Airport and Merida stops on the Tren Maya. The station is large and looks like brutalist architecture. It is an open-air station with a lot of concrete and passageways for the throngs of tourists that could be arriving on the train. From the Chichen Itza train station you connect to the ruins with a bus. In the station you pay the 50 pesos for the bus, and it takes about 12 minutes to get to the entrance of Chichen Itza. 

Tren Maya Chichen Itza
This is where you lineup to get your bus tickets to the ruins. It takes about 30 minutes to get off the train, line up, get tickets and get to the bus.

Currently there are only two trains in each direction, so there are not enough trains to really give you time to see the ruins and get back on a train, unless you want to spend all day there and wait for the second train. You can check the current train schedules here on the Tren Maya website

Currently we only recommend arriving on train and taking a bus from Chichen Itza to Valladolid or Merida since the train times do not allow for a good visit. This might be too much work for some, so the other options are tours, self-driving  or taking buses to visit. 

Aerus Airlines

Aerus is a new airline that will be making flights between certain Mexican destinations. Most people don’t know that there is an International Airport near Chichen Itza. There have been charter and private flights to the Chichen Itza Airport (CZA) in the past, but this time is a little different. Aerus will fly between certain Mexican cities including Cozumel to Chichen Itza route. There are three types of tickets, but the most basic is only about $100 USD one way from Cozumel to Chichen Itza and takes one hour. 

This can be a good way to connect from Cozumel to the interior of the Peninsula or just visit Chichen Itza for the day and return to a cruise ship. 

What is the best way to get to Chichen Itza?

How you want to visit Chichen Itza ruins is up to you. Do you want a tour and have everything planned, or do you want to travel more independently? Are you looking for the cheapest option or something that will be culturally enriching? Are you more active or are you looking for a more laid-back day visiting the ruins?

Here are just a few pros and cons of each option:

  • Taking and ADO bus or the shuttle from Valladolid will be the cheapest options. This however only affords you to see Chichen Itza and no side trip. 
  • Driving with your family or group will make it cost effective to drive. Plus, you have more freedom to choose your lunch and other sightseeing. 
  • Currently the Tren Maya is not very efficient to see the ruins. the train can be more comfortable than the bus, but more improvements to schedules and speed are needed first. 
  • Most people do go with tours to Chichen Itza. Tours make it convenient, and you don’t have to plan every detail out since that is what the tours do. 

Chichen Itza Pyramid Kukulkan

Taking a tour to Chichen Itza

What makes for a good tour?

  • Tour size. Most prefer a small group over a big bus tour. However, bigger busses can be more comfortable and cost efficient. Some large bus tours have two guides per bus, so it can still feel like a smaller group. 
  • Lunch quality is really related to tour price. The cheap tours get buffets that have lots of starch and fruit or gelatin for dessert. Better tours have reginal buffet with very real tasting dishes that you would get at a local restaurant. 
  • There is usually always a second stop on your tour. It usually is a cenote, but it can be Valladolid or somewhere else. Check to see what cenote you go to if you are looking for some special photos to take. 
  • Good tours will include drinks on the bus, umbrellas, breakfast on the bus, sometimes headphones for listening to the guide on tour. 
  • We do NOT recommend tours that include two ruins in one day. It is a lot to see and very similar things. A good tour is not going to rush you and focus on the things people want to see. 

What are some good tours to book for Chichen Itza?

Bus tours to Chichen Itza:

Two options that we recommend are the Xichen Clasico and Xichen Deluxe Tours to Chichen Itza by Xcaret. These are big bus tours but they are done with quality. We have been on both tours, the Clasico is a little less expensive and 

Xichen Deluxe tour 

This has been one of best tours to Chichen Itza in recent memory. The guides are very well informed, bilingual, and organized. Often there are two guides that help everyone get around during the day.

What makes this tour deluxe is the nice bus, very good reginal buffet at their own restaurant, drinks included during the day including beer, large sun umbrellas to use and some more extras. This tour is worth the price since going to Chichen Itza is a highlight of many people’s vacations. You do visit a cenote but do not have an opportunity to swim in it. If you want a cenote swim the next bus tour has that.

 You can book and get more information in this link: Tour Xichen Deluxe with Transportation

For more about the Xichen Deluxe tour see our article here.

Xichen Clasico Tour

This tour is by the same company above and is a little less expensive. People like this Chichen Itza tour because you get to stop at a cenote and swim. Lunch is at the cenote as well but not the company’s restaurant, so it is more basic.

The guides are very good for this tour, and you will be in good hands for your day of exploration.

 You can book and get all the information here in this link: Tour Xichen Clasico with Transportation

For more about the Xichen Clasico tour see our article here.

Private tours to Chichen Itza

Private tours to Chichen Itza fall into two categories. First there are private tours with a guide and driver that have everything included. These tours are more expensive, but much of the planning is already done and they take you to quality places. the second is more private transportation and you can plan on what you want to see. 

If you have a group of people and want to have a private tour of Chichen Itza, here is a good local company that will provide and bilingual driver, airconditioned vans, and 10 hours to do whatever you want to see. This tour is for up to 8 people. Overall, this tour is similar priced to other tours, but the fact you can make decision on where to go and how long to spend at each destination makes it much more valuable.

Make sure you read about what is included and what is not. Also, if you do a little research on what you want to see, you can make this an enjoyable tour.  

How to self-drive to see the ruins

From the Riviera Maya it is about a 3 hours’ drive to Chichen Itza. This allows you to stop along the way and make a fun filled day. Be sure to check out our guides about driving from the Riviera Maya to Chichen Itza and some of the side trips you can do along the way. When you drive you can stop anywhere you want and explore smaller cenotes that bus tours do not go to. You can also drive on the non-toll 180 road and see roadside Mexico. You will find small local restaurants, workshops of crafts people and people selling corn bread or fruits to you at speedbumps. 

Just remember that driving to Chichen Itza is not that much of a money saver as you might think. Here are some expenses for the day:

  • Rental car for the day $50 USD.
  • Gas $40 USD.
  • Tolls, almost $50 USD.
  • Entrance to Chichen Itza, currently about $37 USD per person. 
  • Parking $6 USD
  • Waters, snacks, lunch, hiring a guide, cenote entrance or second stop. 

Chichen Itza

How to take the bus to Chichen Itza

You have two options for taking the bus to Chichen Itza. 

  1. Taking the ADO bus direct from Playa Del Carmen, Tulum or Cancun. There is usually one bus a day going to the ruins from these destinations. Check the return times, it might be 3.5 hours before you return. This is plenty of time to see the ruins and more. Check the ADO Bus website for schedules and prices. The prices for the bus are very affordable, often about $20 USD one way. 
  2. We like to use Valladolid as a base to explore the area. The closest town to Chichen Itza is Piste but it is a lost opportunity for tourism. It is mainly the workshop for all the souvenirs that are sold in the Chichen Itza. Valladolid is a charming colonial town that has a good tourist infrastructure. There are dozens of good hotel options and restaurants in Valladolid to choose from. From Valladolid it is possible to get a bus or (more popular option to get to the ruins) minivan shuttles. The shuttles leave just one block west of the ADO Bus Station in Valladolid. This is one option that can get you to the ruins as early as possible. The vans leave when full and take about 40 minutes. When you return to Valladolid, you can have lunch and pick up your bags from your hotel and you are on your way! (Unless you are on your way to Merida, then you would leave from Chichen Itza for Merida direct)
buses at Chichen Itza
So, you don’t think there are a lot of buses arriving daily?

Taking the Tren Maya to Chichen Itza

The Tren Maya Station is open now at Chichen Itza. From the station there is a bus that costs 50 pesos. It takes 12 minutes to drive the ruins. When exiting the train, all passengers will go to the upper level of the station and line up to buy tickets for the bus. The entire process is about 30 minutes, then the bus departs for the ruins. 

Currently there are only two trains a day coming from both directions to Chichen Itza. This means that if you want to take the train to and from Chichen Itza, you have very limited options. Most people are taking the train to Chichen Itza and then taking a bus from the parking lot. Buses leave for Merida, Valladolid, and on to Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum. On the ADO website you can book a return ticket in advance. This is recommended since there are limited options for transportation. At Chichen Itza you can buy tickets in the entrance of the ruins in a gift shop. They sell local buses to destinations like Valladolid. These buses make stops along the way, but it might be one of the only options to get to where you want to go. The other option at Chichen Itza are mini vans that take people to near the center of Valladolid. These vans only cost 40 pesos. 

Colectivo vans Valladolid to Chichen Itza
These are the vans that go between Valladolid and Chichen Itza.

Tips for Visiting Chichen Itza Ruins

  • Chichen Itza is open daily from 8:00am- 4:00pm daily. 
  • The cost of entrance is 643 pesos (currently about $37 USD). You can check official prices here on Inah’s website. There are two parts of the entrance fee, one part is federal, and the other is the state. 
  • Big bags are not allowed into the ruins. Some camera equipment you can pay 50 pesos permit to use. Dones are not permitted in any ruin site. Some more professional camera equipment is not allowed. There are lockers in the entrance of Chichen Itza to use for pay.
  • Most people like to arrive early to beat the heat and crowds. In the winter months, Quintana Roo is one hour ahead of Yucatan State. The rest of the year the hour is the same. This is because Quintana Roo does not observe daylight savings time. 
  • Even if your tour is all included, bring some cash for tips, snacks, and souvenirs. 
  • Take a map (print or digital) with you so you can make sure you see all the side trails. Chichen Itza does not have good signs within the ruins, so it is possible to get turned around. One of the most famous buildings, the Observatory, is on one of these trails.  
  • Since most people are on a tour and will visit a cenote afterward, use biodegradable sunscreen. All cenotes either ask for biodegradable or no sunscreen on your skin before getting into a cenote. The reason is the cenote water is the underground water for everyone and the contaminants in sunscreens damage the ecosystem. 
  • Restaurants. There is a restaurant and a cafe in the Chichen Itza lobby. Most people do not find these places appetizing nor a good value. The town just outside of the ruins is called Piste. It has bus group buffets, some roast chicken stands, and few basic restaurants. For us, we like driving the 180 non toll road to Valladolid. There are some nice roadside restaurants with local food. You really have to get away from Chichen Itza to get better quality restaurants. 

Chichen Itza


Thank you for reading our guide. We hope you found the tips to be helpful and you can plan your trip a little better to see the ruins. We know there are a lot of different circumstances that people have when visiting, so if you have a question about visiting, let us know in the comments below and we will be sure to get back to you. 


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  1. Excellent information about visiting Chichen Itza. Surprisingly, during my numerous visits to the park the vendors that line the various paths actually offer excellent prices for their local souvenirs. As one example I like the resin skulls and I did cross-comparisons with prices available in Cancun and Playa del Carmen and they were actually much cheaper at the Chichen Itza site. One possible reason is that they’re made in this region and then transported to the touristic coast.

    • A lot of the souvenirs are made in Piste. We find about 90% of the things being sold, kind of on the crappy side. There are a few true artisans in the ruins. For example, there is one table that we always pass, and it has the best wood carvings. This last time we stopped to talk to him. It was the son following in his father’s footsteps. We got his card so we can visit the workshop in Piste.

    • There are some 3d maps that if you google Chichen Itza Map and these help you visualize the ruins and where things are. We cannot paste anything here, but those maps are easy to save to your photos. Google maps also is perfect for exact distances and is very easy to see.

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