Chichen Itza is accessible as a day trip (there and back in a day) from Merida, Valladolid, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, or Tulum (and a variety of other small towns along the way) — check out www.ticketbus.com.mx for timetables and pricing information. Second-class buses leave the ADO Cancun station for Chichen Itza every hour starting at 6 am. The trip is about 4 hours and it costs $10usd/$128 pesos. The Tulum – Chichen Itza ride takes about 2-3 hours and runs $7usd/$90 pesos.
Remember when riding the second class buses they are often crowded and seats come at a premium. Just something to keep in mind when queuing for the bus.
The entry to Chichen Itza comes to a total of around $15usd/$182 pesos. You pay the entry and state taxes, $125 pesos, at the first ticket counter and just before the turnstile to the park there is a ticket window to pay the $57 peso federal tax.
Also know that if you are staying at Weary Traveler hostel in Tulum there is a tour for $50usd that will take you to Chichen Itza, provide a picnic lunch, stop in Valladolid to visit the nice colonial town, go for a swim in Cenote Ikil and bring you back to the hostel. So it’s an additional $20usd but you are getting more convenience, being fed and checking out one of the awesome cenotes along the way.
Valladolid is the perfect starting point for visiting Chichen Itza. A 30-40 minute bus or colectivo ride, you can wake up and arrive early, thus beating the hordes of visitors that will be arriving from farther-away locations around noon. If people watching is your thing, you can wait around. But if you prefer your photos of the ruins without hundreds of strangers in them, get there early.
The cost to enter Chichen Itza is P$188 ($14.50 USD), making it the most expensive site we’ve visited thus far. But when you’re so close, it feels wrong to pass it up.
Also at Chichen Itza, besides hordes of tourists, there are hordes of vendors as well. Every path that you walk down will be lined with them, and “Almost Free” is the going price. Truthfully, some of the wordwork here is great, and you can watch the men working on new pieces in the mornings when tourists aren’t as numerous. Also, probably because of the number of vendors, you can find some great deals as well.
To get there:
The first bus for Chichen Itza leaves from Valladolid at 8:15am from the ADO station, and the cost is P$26. But the colectivos leave beginning at 7am, which would make you first in line for the park when it opens at 8am. Because colectivos leave when the fill up, showing up at the right time isn’t an exact science, and you may have to wait for a van to return, or for a van to fill up, but the wait shouldn’t be more than a half hour. We were told the colectivos leave frequently before 8am, and about every half hour after that. If you can travel with a group from your hostel, it’s sometimes easier with more people.
Colectivos leave from Calle 39, and Calle 46, both just down the street from the ADO station. From the main Zocolo, walk down Calle 39 and you’ll see an open gate with a Colectivo sign, on the right side of the street. Also, at the next corner, head to your right on Calle 46, and past ADO will be another station.