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Chichen Itza: Day Trips and Tours from Playa del Carmen

Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world. It’s probably the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, with a whopping 26 buildings to discover.

Dating to 600 A. D., this ancient pre-Hispanic settlement is enshrouded in mystery, with pyramid temples protruding majestically from the surrounding rainforest.

To see it for yourself, take a day trip to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen and walk in the footsteps of the Mayans.

How to get to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen?

The Chichen Itza archaeological site is located on the Yucatán Peninsula, near the town of Valladolid. You can easily visit the ruins from Playa del Carmen.

From Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza by car

If you have a rental car you can journey to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen on major highways.

Just head northwest on the 305D and then take the 180D all the way to the site. The trip takes 2.5 hours one way.

From Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza by bus

The cheapest way to travel to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen is by bus but be prepared for a longer time on the road.

It takes 3 hours 45 minutes, which still gives you several hours at the site before the return journey.

Guided tour to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen

A quicker way of reaching Chichen Itza is on an organized tour. Most operators will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you directly to the ruins, making for a smooth day out.

These excursions last a full day.

How much does the entrance ticket to Chichen Itza cost?

Prices for entry to the Chichen Itza archaeological site are as follows:

  • Adults (12 years and above): 533 MXN ($26)
  • Children (3 – 12 years): 80 MXN ($4)
  • Residents: 237 MXN ($12)

Entrance is free on Sundays for residents and ex-pats living in Mexico on the production of valid ID.

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen?

Every day trip to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen is different, but all start with a hotel pick-up or collection from a central meeting point. You’ll then travel in an air-conditioned minivan or coach into the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula. The ride usually takes 2.5 hours.

Once at Chichen Itza you will enjoy free time to explore at leisure or take a guided tour. Some excursions include other stops like Valladolid, Ek Balam, Coba, and a swim in a cenote.

At the end of the day, you will be driven back to Playa del Carmen.

What kind of tours are available to go to Chichen Itza?

There are lots of different Chichen Itza tours to choose from – these are some of the best:

Guided tour to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen

This is one of the most popular Chichen Itza excursions, with direct transfers making for an easy day out. You will be traveling with like-minded participants to keep costs down, with plenty of free time to explore.

Some tours include a swimming stop at a nearby cenote.

Private tour to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen

Up the luxury with a private day trip from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza. You will have an exclusive vehicle, so itinerary timings can be tailored to your requirements.

A few operators also stop at a tequila distillery and a local cenote.

Day trip to Chichen Itza plus Valladolid and a cenote from Playa del Carmen

Combine some of the best Yucatán sights with this fun day tour to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen.

After exploring the archaeological site, you’ll swim in a cenote and have a short stop in the colonial city of Valladolid. This small-group tour offers hotel pick-ups for your convenience.

Day trip to Chichen Itza plus Ek Balam and a cenote from Playa del Carmen

If you want to include a visit to the Ek Balam archaeological site on your Chichen Itza jaunt, then this is the tour for you. Your guide will show you around and point out the best photo spots as you learn about the history of these ancient marvels.

Round-trip transport keeps travel logistics simple on this full-day adventure.

Day tour to Chichen Itza with Coba Ruins and a cenote from Playa del Carmen

This group tour throws in a stop at the famous Coba ruins, as a contrast to the site at Chichen Itza. All your travel is taken care of, with time for independent exploration at the different destinations.

How much does a tour to Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen cost?

A shared Chichen Itza day trip from Playa del Carmen starts at $27 per person, with pick-ups included. For $49 you can enjoy early access to the site, a tour with an expert archaeological guide, and lunch. Private tours with lunch and an exclusive vehicle are $170.

If you want to include Valladolid on your day tour to Chichen Itza, expect to pay $44 including hotel transfers and lunch.

Swap Valladolid for Ek Balam or the ruins at Coba and it costs $115 per person for a full day out. Entrance fees, pick-ups, lunch, and a guide are provided.

What will you see and do in Chichen Itza?

There’s a lot to see on your Chichen Itza day trip, with enough pyramids to keep you amused for hours. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:

Chichen Itza Pyramid

Also known as El Castillo, this towering pyramid is the most dramatic structure you’ll see at the archaeological site. Built at the heart of the city, the 100-foot temple was dedicated to the serpent god, Kukulcan.

It has been restored to its original splendor and is the most iconic sight at Chichen Itza.

The Great Ball Court

Mayan ball games were grisly and sacred, and their importance is signified by the large number of arenas found here at Chichen Itza.

The Great Ball Court is one of the biggest in Mexico and is home to several sacrificial inscriptions that tell a gruesome but poignant story. Keep an eye out for the hoops which have remained intact over the centuries.

Platform of Skulls

The Mayans used to display the severed heads of sacrificial victims and enemies on wooden spikes. These unfortunate individuals were then memorialized on a stone platform, which served as a warning to the people of the city as well as outsiders.

You can see the outlines of skulls, eagles, and snakes carved into this eerie monument.

Temple of the Warriors

Constructed as a place of worship dedicated to the brave warriors of the Mayan kingdom, this splendid temple is one of the largest at Chichen Itza.

Hundreds of stone columns adorn the periphery of the building, setting it apart from the other temples.

What are the opening times for Chichen Itza?

The Chichen Itza archaeological site is open 365 days a year, seven days a week. Visiting times are between 8 AM and 5 PM, with the last entry at 4 PM.

When is the best time to visit Chichen Itza?

You can enjoy a Chichen Itza day tour from Playa del Carmen at any time of year.

Most people prefer to visit during the dry season between November and April. December and January are the peak months so avoid traveling at this time if you want to miss the crowds.

Aim to arrive early in the morning to swerve the midday heat – it’s hot here all year round.

Are there any tours to Chichen Itza from other cities in Mexico?

Yes, there are other tours departing from several other cities in Mexico:

Travel tips

  • You can’t climb the pyramids at Chichen Itza, but if you do want to bag a temple, opt for the tour that includes a visit to the Coba ruins.
  • Book your Chichen Itza day trip online ahead of your visit to compare prices and find the cheapest deals.
  • Wear comfortable footwear for wandering around the archaeological site trails – Chichen Itza is three square miles!
  • Take some water and a sunhat as there isn’t much shade and it does get hot.
  • Camera tripods of any size are prohibited at Chichen Itza so leave those at your hotel.