Throughout the Yucatan Peninsula exists a system of buses that allow locals and visitors to travel from one town to another comfortably and at low cost. They are especially popular in Cancun and traveling down the Caribbean coast, but inter-city bus lines do have direct routes to some of the most popular attractions along the Gulf coast and everywhere in between. On top of that, many of the most popularly visited cities have local bus routes that will allow you to get around town without having to rent a car of your own or hail a cab.
Visitors headed toward the Yucatan tend to have an image in their head of rickety, open air buses on which locals are crammed together holding bundles of produce and chickens on their laps. This is far from the reality of what buss in the Yucatan are like. Instead, they are large, coach-style buses with comfortable, spacious seating and bathrooms. Most have air conditioning that blows so cold you need a sweater, and some have WiFi and play movies. You can get to nearly every town along the Caribbean coast and most major cities elsewhere in the region aboard these buses which are operated in large part by ADO, but lines like Omnibus de Mexico and Primera Plus have a presence as well.
If you're planning to use these buses to travel from site to site in the Yucatan, make sure to review maps and plan your route in advance, bring a map with you to the bus so you can point out where you want to go if you don't speak Spanish, purchase your tickets in advance when possible, always bring correct change, and keep your ticket handy because you make be asked to show your ticket again at major stops. It is also a good idea to arrive at the bus stop 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.
There are also a collection of collectivos that make the rounds between Cancun and Tulum throughout the day. Collectivos are vans and smaller buses that pack in as many passengers as possible, and are able to zip along the roads at a slightly faster speed because of their smaller size. You'll spend anywhere from $1 to $8(USD) to ride a collectivo. The best thing about this option is that it is more regularly utilized by locals, so you have a chance to meet interesting people and enjoy good conversation. Collectivos pass by each stop at a rate of about every 15 to 30 minutes, so you'll rarely have to wait long for a ride.
Some of the major tourist hot spots in the region also offer local bus services. These include Campeche, Cancun, Chetumal, and Merida among a few others. Here, you'll find a few bus stops throughout town that you can wait at for service. These buses will typically have the destination scrawled across the front or rear windshield, but you can always ask someone if you are unsure if you're getting on the right bus. The experience of riding these buses is slightly different than the inter-city bus. They are not as luxurious, air conditioning is hit or miss, and drivers are allowed to pack on as many passengers as possible. This is a great way to experience local culture, and it can be quite an adventure to use the local bus system.
With such a great bus system throughout the Yucatan, tourists are able to get around the region with ease and not miss out on any of the important sites and attractions without breaking their budget. This is definitely an option to be considered as you begin planning an adventure in the Yucatan Peninsula.
|Route||Beginning||Stops Along the Route||End|
|Intercity Northbound to Santa Elena||Belize City Terminal||Orange Walk Bus Terminal, Corozal Bus Terminal||Santa Elena Bus Terminal|
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