Tren Maya Updates for March 2024 and NEW Video!

Tren Maya

Tren Maya Updates for March 2024 and NEW Video!

Our latest Tren Maya journey took us between two colonial towns in the center of the line. We selected two newly open stations to visit and see how everything is working on the Tren Maya. This train trip sure took a turn that we were not expecting! We talk more about it in the end of our video below. This recent trip exemplifies some of the problems with the Tren Maya and challenges it has. 

News from the Tren Maya

You might have seen there was a lot of news around February 29th when the inauguration happened of the Cancun to Playa Del Carmen route of the Tren Maya and the stations of Puerto Morelos and Playa Del Carmen. This mislead a lot of people into thinking it is actually opened. The term used ” inauguration” literally means “the act of something officially starting to be used“. This however is not the case with the section of Tren Maya between Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. See the official communication from the Tren Maya here

We went to the station (like many others) thinking we could get tickets at the station and visit it. We could not even get past the dusty construction gates. The workers there said it was not open and it would be possibly up three more months before it was done. That is not official word from the Tren Maya, but at any rate, the stations and route are NOT open yet. Update: As of March 15th, there are train tickets for sale from Playa to Cancun and trains are starting. 

Chichen Itza Station is Open

Even though a train line opens, it does not mean that all the stations are open on that line. Chichen Itza is one of the biggest stations on the route because of the popularity of the stop. This station is now open to passengers. Not only is the station impressive looking, but it was also designed to be more efficient and closer to the ruins. The station is east of the town of Piste, so there is a quicker transfer of customers to the ruins and back. 

We feel that many tourists will not strike out on a multiple stop trip around the Tren Maya route, however many will take the train to Chichen Itza for the day since it will be more comfortable than the bus. Many people don’t realize that it is a minimum of 6 hours in transportation from the Riviera Maya to Chichen Itza. ditching a bus for the train is a great way to explore and get to see Chichen Itza more comfortably. 

Our latest trip on the Tren Maya

We started in the morning by getting on at the Tren Maya Station in Valladolid. We headed west, passing the newly opened Chichen Itza Station and getting off in Izamal. Izamal is a colonial town that is known for the yellow color used on most of the buildings in the center of town. When we arrived in Izamal we were part of only a few people that got off at the station.

The Izamal station is yellow of course and open air with a walled in garden. Upon exiting the station, we were greeted by an empty parking lot. Fortunately, the staff of the Tren Maya came out and offered to call us a cab to go into town. The Tren Maya Station in Izamal is about 6-minute taxi ride from the center of town. The taxi ride cost 100 pesos. We spent the day exploring Izamal and then we returned to the station in the afternoon for our return train only to find out that it was not coming. The details are below. 

Tren Maya Station Izamal
This is the Tren Maya Station in Izamal , Yucatan.

Our video of the Tren Maya Trip Between Valladolid and Izamal


How the Tren Maya turned into the “Bus Maya”

When we arrived back to the Izamal Tren Maya Station we were told that the schedule had changed a half hour later than our printed tickets. So, we waited an extra 30 minutes for the new time. Normally the station staff gets everyone ready for the arrival of the train. Lining up people, taking tickets and getting people to the platform. As our time came close, nothing was happening. It was a little later that the Station Master told us the train had stopped working in Merida and there would be no service of the Tren Maya that day. It was presented in a manner of nonchalant, like this happens all the time and you just need to take a bus. This was not the first time nor second or third time the Tren Maya has failed customers. 

Taking alternative transportation on a Saturday evening from a small town in the Yucatan is not exactly easy. There are no direct buses, and this also meant trying to connect back to the Tren Maya station in Valladolid. The staff gave us a refund on our return tickets and offered a ride into town to get a bus. We were shocked that this was the only plan and the Tren Maya does not really have contingency plans in place when the trains are not working. 

We knew that the buses from Izamal to Valladolid take about 3 hours because they stop all along the way. The Station Master agreed to drop us in Kantunil where we could get a more direct local bus to Valladolid. We arrived in Kantunil where there were people waiting for the bus (which is always a good sign that it is coming). Since there are not fixed scheduled, we waited. The Station Master got news that they might have the train working. While we were waiting for confirmation, a bus came along. At this point we were nearly two hours late and we decided to take the bus since it was guaranteed and there. It was a slow trip on a crowded local bus to Valladolid. When we arrived in Valladolid, we had to take a taxi back to the Tren Maya Station outside of town. In total it took us about 4 hours longer for our train journey than expected and cost us more as well. 

Where we were dropped off to catch a bus to complete our ” train” trip. Good thing the “bus Maya” was running. 

How did the Tren Maya respond?

We have to say that the Tren Maya staff at the stations are very helpful. We don’t know what the official policies of the Tren Maya are, but we feel the staff did whatever they could do to try to accommodate us. We can only imagine if this happened to tourists that do not speak Spanish and how confusing it would be if you did not know alternative transportation routes in case you need it. 

We did get an email from the Tren Maya stating our return tickets had been canceled and we had gotten a refund. That was all the email had. No mention of an apology for not having service, for extending our day by four hours, or having to pay for the bus and a taxi to get back to the Tren Maya station. We will update you if we receive anything else from them. 

Things The Tren Maya Can Do to Be Better Now

It is easy to complain, but hard to have solutions. Here are some things we feel the Tren Maya could do now to improve service and ridership. 

  1. Actually have online customer service. Have a chat, 1-800 number and working email address so clients can contact the Tren Maya. People are looking to contact the Tren Maya all over social media. People ask a lot and have issues that are not resolved. Create a good customer service for riders. 
  2. Use all the questions people have and put this information online. There is a lot of information that is not online like services at the stations and connections to other transportation. 
  3. Sell all types of tickets online. Right now, locals of the 5 states have to present id at the station to buy tickets. Many people do not live next to a Tren Maya station, and it is complicated, hard and/or costly to go back and forth to buy tickets. 
  4. Have more dates in the future available for ticket sales. Not being able to buy tickets more than a week in advance or so is hard for people planning larger trips to the area. 
  5. Have your official website in other languages. It is only in Spanish now. We do live in an age where it is easy to translate pages, but also even easier for the Tren Maya to have a website that is useful to both national and international tourists. (Update: As of , 2024, the website for the Tren Maya is in English and Spanish but it still is not working 100%. 

We know the Tren Maya is just getting started and there will be a learning curve for this new service that is in the area. There are a lot of moving parts to running a train system, but at the same time, it needs to provide a good service for riders since it is open. We look forward to taking more trips with the Tren Maya and seeing how service improves. 

More Tren Maya Information

We have another video below where we talk about the Tren Maya and how it is to ride the train. We also talk about if it will work, and we talk about some of the factors that goes into this. Here is a link to our previous article about the Tren Maya. 



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