Located near the small residential town of Piste, Chichen Itza is a popular attraction in the Yucatan Peninsula often visited by tourists who are staying in popular tourist hot spots along the Caribbean coast, and those who visit the region as part of a Caribbean cruise. Known as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World," many people plan their entire vacation around getting to this unique and mysterious landmark.
There are a number of different ways that you can travel to Chichen Itza, though not one of them will get you directly to the site. You can fly to the international airport in Cancun, sail to one of the marinas along the Caribbean coast then travel by land to the attraction, or visit as part of an excursion hosted by a Caribbean cruise.
The most popular way to get to Chichen Itza is as part of a tour which usually costs around 450 pesos or about $350(USD). Other options include renting a car and driving yourself, or taking a first or second class bus from Cancun. Taxis are available from Piste, but not the most recommended way to get to the ruins.
Chichen Itza is located about two hours away from Cancun in the town of Piste. The best way to get here for those planning to fly is to land at the (CUN), then either take the bus or drive. Flying to this airport is easy to do, thanks to the abundance of available flights from around the world, plus the modern facilities, both of which you can learn more about here.
Completely surrounded by land, you can't sail up to Chichen Itza, but you can certainly plan to sail to the Mexican Caribbean then make other arrangements to visit the ruins. You'll find marinas and anchorages all along the coast, but your first stop will be at one of the official ports of entry in Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, or Majahaul. There you will meet with officials from the Port Captain's Office, the Immigration Office, and the Customs Office. Part of the process of gaining entry to the country will be to fill out an Import Form to prove you understand local sailing laws, plus present all of the appropriate paperwork including your boat's state or Coast Gaurd registration, a crew list, filled out tourist cards, and passports for everyone aboard.
Catalina, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Playa Del Carmen are the four main cruise ports in the Mexican Caribbean, and cruise lines often promote crew-guided excursions to Chichen Itza. For an extra $75 to $100(USD), you'll be provided with transportation (a two hour bus ride, typically), an extensive tour of the ruins, and lunch on the bus as you return back to the boat. While excursions are not always recommended, this is one you don't want to miss if you're planning on stopping in Mexico on a cruise.
Renting a car to Chichen Itza is a great idea for those with an adventurous nature who want to see as many of the important sites of the Mexican Caribbean as possible. Rentals range in price from $20 to $150(USD) a day, and the optional personal liability insurance is highly recommended. This can't be said for all of the regions roadways, but those leading to Chichen Itza are in general paved, smooth, and flat, another check in the "Pro" Chichen Itza column. Decide for yourself whether the pros outweigh the cons by reading all about renting a car here.
Taxis are not a recommended form of travel to Chichen Itza because the distance is so great from most of the most popular destinations in the Mexican Caribbean that the price is enormous. This is mostly because you are charged the fare to get there, plus the amount it will cost the driver to get back to the town he or she came from. The nearest town with taxis is Piste, from which you can get a ride to the ruins for as low as $3(USD) plus a tip for your driver.
Buses remain one of the most popular ways to get to Chichen Itza among tourists who do not have the desire to drive themselves. First class buses travel from Cancun once a day early in the morning, while the second class lines travel to nearby Piste hourly during daylight hours. Find out more about costs and schedules here.
It has been said before, but Chichen Itza stands as one of the most important landmarks in the region, and one you don't want to miss. Whether you drive yourself, take a bus, or pay the exorbitant taxi fees, find some way to visit this historical structure that will leave you feeling nothing but awe.
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