We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

Essex, England
Level Contributor
56 posts
12 reviews
Save Topic
Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

We're going to Cancun, staying at the Gran Costa Real in Dec. We're thinking of travelling to Chichen Itza by bus... would anyone who's done this kindly share their experience? Would we need to catch the bus from downtown? What bus number? How frequent are the buses & cost?

thanks

Mentioned in this post
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
46,498 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

ADO offers excellent first class bus service from both Playa del Carmen and Cancun. A few of these serve Chichen--I know ADO has one from Playa at about 8AM. The cost is about 130 pesos. A good alternative is to take one of the much more frequent first class buses to Valladolid and then a collectivo for the short ride to Chichen (these leave on the street right beside the Valladolid bus station)

The buses are excellent and provide a high standard of service with reserved seats , a/c, good bathrooms and movies.

Mentioned in this post
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Ado
Ado
593 Reviews
Cancun, Mexico
Valladolid
Valladolid
Yucatan, Mexico
North Vancouver
Level Contributor
41 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

We just returned from the Gran Costa Real yesterday. We had signed up for the Chichen Itza tour at the best day travel booth in the lobby of the hotel for 61$ US, it included our travel, entrance, a buffet lunch and guide in the ruins.

The bus was comfortable and played a movie during the trip (about 3 hours). Our guide was really friendly, and we stopped twice on the ride up there (once at a village community market - aka store) and then in a small village to see a sinkhole - this extended our travel time by about an hour, which slightly frustrated me as I just wanted to get there.....

We got there and were taken around a small part of the ruins, which was dragged into an hour and a half by him giving us random information over and over again.... and nothing specifically really about each of the buildings/areas and why they were built. We finally had about an hour of free time to wander around, before me met back at the bunch to head to the buffet lunch.

The buffet was in a resturant that catereted to bus loads of people arriving. The food wasn't too great, and they had a few dancers on stage who looked like they really didn't want to be their.

In all, I wouldn't take a guided tour - stick to just a straight bus ride (which I can't be too helpful about, as I didn't do it) and buy a book about the ruins, as you'll probably learn alot more than we did. Also, the best bartering I found was in Chichen itza, alot of people will approach you with merchandise for 1$ which isn't great, just say no thanks, and they'll go away - but there are rows of tarps with things lining some of the pathways (which I wasn't aware of and wish I had known to bring more cash).

Mentioned in this post
Chichen Itza Tour
Chichen Itza Tour
461 Reviews
Cancun, Mexico
Essex, England
Level Contributor
56 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

Thanks for the info - much appreciated. We did think about going on an organised tour, but now I think making our own way is better.

What did you think of Gran Costa Real? We're booked into a pool view room - 3rd floor upwards.

cheers

North Vancouver
Level Contributor
41 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

I really liked the Gran Costa Real (my boyfriend and I are planning on doing a comprehensive review with pictures probably tonight so I'll give the coles notes version). The staff were great, the food was good, although my boyfriend is the pickiest eater ever known to man-kind and he could only find 1 or 2 things per menu at the restaurants that he would try, but he really liked those and stuck to them. I liked the lobby bar better than the beach bar as far as drink quality goes... but I heard it the other way around from people in the resort - both had fabulous staff though.

The beach is indeed small, but we didn't find that a problem - there was always loungers to be had, and usually shade as well. The sand is clean and white... although we didn't like the swimming area as it was small, and the water isn't the azure colour you'd find on the long strip of hotels. However - we solved this by every time we wanted to swim, we'd take out kayaks to the sand bar about 300 m's out and swim there. We had a 3rd floor room that faced the theatre/parking lot without a balcony. We didn't really mind though, as the room was updated and clean and we didn't spend many daytime hours in there. Plus, I think a lot of the noise from around the pool area/people returning was filtered out for us. We were never woken up by noise, except for one night at 4am when the Russians next door to us were yelling at each other.

In all, I really liked the resort, we got a great deal that was inexpensive, and so we were both really impressed. The only things we didn't really like was that the pool seemed a bit murky sometimes (not that they didn't clean in... just from a lot of people with lotion and drinks being in it all day.. and we're pretty picky people) and… I think there was something else too, but now I can’t remember, so obviously it wasn’t too big. You can imagine that if this is the coles notes version, how much we have to write about in the review! Have a great trip!

Embarrass, Minnesota
Level Contributor
5,783 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

Yes, you catch the bus downtown in Cancun. You'll have a great time with the logistics. It is no worse than the Tube from Heatherow.

I have pictures on my website (www.thatec.com) of the times I have been at the Gran Porto Real in Playa del Carmen. Good luck getting that 3rd floor room...that is the only way to go as it is above the palms.

Now we always take the local transportation. The only bad experience was the 7 am bus ride to Cancun with a horror movie blaring loudly. It was full of locals going to work up in Cancun and had a definitely festive atmosphere...

Mentioned in this post
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Panama Jack Resorts Playa del Carmen
Panama Jack Resorts...
10,672 Reviews
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
46,498 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

They always show the movies on the ADO buses to Cancun--even early in the morning. But, I have never seen a festive atmosphere on an early morning bus -- only most of the locals (along with myself) sleeping.

Mentioned in this post
Ado
Ado
593 Reviews
Cancun, Mexico
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Essex, England
Level Contributor
56 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

Thanks for all the replies. Can't wait to get out there!

wix
Vancouver Island...
Level Contributor
831 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

As an alternative. . .

We were in Playa del Carmen in March and took the regular bus to Chichen Itza, which was fine - comfortable, movies, direct and dropped us right there.

But if I was doing it again I'd rent a car for the day, which wouldn't cost much more and would give you a lot more flexibility in stopping along the way at interesting places and save you some time.

The highways are excellent and there are good deals on cars.

Mentioned in this post
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Essex, England
Level Contributor
56 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

Hi Wix, so how long was the bus to Chichen Itza..I suppose it will take a good deal longer from Cancun.

How regular are the buses in general & how much did it cost?

thanks

Mentioned in this post
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
46,498 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Independent travel to Chichen Itza? Any tips

I will give you an answer regarding the buses from Cancun--actually quite a bit faster than from Playa. The Playa buses for Chichen will usually stop in Tulum, Coba and Valladolid while the Cancun buses only Valladolid.

Another good option is to take one of the many ADO first class buses to Valladolid and then either a second class bus or a collectivo for the short ride to Chichen. You will have many more options doing it this way.

Do avoid the tours--much better on our own!

Mentioned in this post
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Tulum
Tulum
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Valladolid
Valladolid
Yucatan, Mexico
Ado
Ado
593 Reviews
Cancun, Mexico