VISITING CHICHEN ITZA FROM MERIDA, MEXICO
WHAT IS CHICHEN ITZA?
What is Chichen Itza? Chichen Itza is an extremely popular and world famous archaeological site in Mexico. The site of Chichen Itza is one of the largest known Mayan Cities in the world and it can be found in the Yucatan area of Mexico. What is Chichen Itza made up of? Well, the site itself is a large open area made up like any city of avenues and large structures you can explore. The main attraction and most photographed structure at Chichen Itza is the large El Castillo pyramid structure. The site first rose to popularity in the mid 1800’s and has been a key Mexican tourist site ever since.
GETTING TO CHICHEN ITZA FROM MERIDA BY BUS
Many people choose to take a Chichen Itza Tour and there are many tours available. It is definitely not necessary to take a Chichen Itza tour when the site is easily accessed by public transport. Here’s how to get there.
We visited Chichen Itza from Merida. We arrived in Merida by 5 hour first class bus from Cancun. Cancun was still buzzing around our brains and we had a adventure-filled four days remaining in the South East of Mexico to enjoy before our flight North to Mexico City. The number one item on our bucket list for the Yucatan was Chichen Itza and not even the food poisoning I had gotten would stop me from getting to see Chichen Itza.
From Merida you can take the public bus to Piste, it’s a little further than you’d expect and on the lead up to Chichen Itza you start to wonder whether you even got on the right bus. Small villages and pristine catholic churches pass you every few minutes. Locals get on and locals get off and there’s only a small number of people with the actual intent of going the whole way to the ruins. The town of Chichen Itza is rarely mentioned in Chichen Itza literature but the public transport from Merida will be heading to Piste and not the site itself. Although it does stop at the site.
|Chichen Itza – No tour required|
HOW TO GET TO CHICHEN ITZA USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT
We chose to take public transport to the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza from Merida for a number of reasons. First of all, we hadn’t quite figured out the right balance of budgeting and we were still depriving ourselves. Second of all, because it was the third week of a trip and we were backpacking we were far too stubborn to join the other tourists on an organised bus. There are a number of reasons most tourists take the organised tours to Chichen Itza but the biggest is most definitely the painstaking experience of a long-ish distance public transport but in 30 degree heat on Mexican roads (with the side effects of food poisoning).
The bus costs around $4 and there are 3 that leave throughout the day all week. We jumped on the earliest hoping to arrive before the crowds but our journey to Piste took us significantly longer than advertised. There was a long moment when I thought we were never going to make it to the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza, but we did.
|Exploring Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins|
|Pretty standard Chichen Itza snap feat me posing of course|
Unfortunately the explorers were joined by many other explorers. In fact, we were joined by several hundred other explorers each seeking their own cultural enlightenment from the Mayan civilisation history.
ENTRANCE FEES TO CHICHEN ITZA – CHICHEN ITZA PRICE
|El Castillo The Kukulkan Pyramid – The main attraction|
We were able to explore Chichen Itza on foot, the site is reasonably small and everything is within walking distance. We used the maps provided in the Central America on a shoestring Lonely Planet and found them useful enough to get around and plan a little route within the Mayan site.
|Windswept but happy to be exploring Chichen Itza|
TOP TIPS FOR VISITING CHICHEN ITZA WITHOUT A TOUR
|Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins|
A trip to Chichen Itza is highly recommended. Whether you’re enjoying a getaway to Cancun or Playa del Carmen or you’re exploring The Yucatan for several weeks make sure Chichen Itza is at the top of your to do list. Arrive early and trust that you can successfully and cheaply get here on public transport and still have the same experience as those on a prearranged overpriced tour.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Merida before your trip to Chichen Itza try the popular Nomads Hostel – dorms and privates are available at a reasonable price and there’s also a great big pool. The vibe and location of Nomads Hostel is just right, highly recommend for budget backpackers just beware of the mosquitos located in the bushes beside that great pool.
|Nomadas Hostel, Merida, Mexico|
A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.