Tulum Private Tours

Planning Your Trip to Chichen Itza? Here’s How Far Apart They Are

Chichen itza

Planning Your Trip to Chichen Itza? Here’s How Far Apart They Are

So you’ve decided to visit the Yucatan Peninsula and explore some of Mexico’s most famous Mayan ruins. Excellent choice!

Chichen Itza is a destination not to be missed on your list, but you’re wondering how far it is from Tulum to Chichen Itza?

The good news is that Chichen Itza and Tulum are only about 2 hours apart, making it easy to visit in one day. Keep reading for all the details on how to navigate between Chichen Itza and Tulum and experience the best of the Yucatan.

How far is it from Tulum to Chichen Itza?

Introducing the Ancient Maya Site of Chichen Itza

Located on the stunning Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Chichen Itza is an absolutely captivating archeological site that has earned its place among the New Seven Wonders of the World.

This remarkable ancient Mayan city is a true testament to the incredible achievements of its civilization. It beautifully showcases the perfect harmony between astronomy, mathematics, and artistic craftsmanship.

At the heart of Chichen Itza stands the awe-inspiring Kukulkan Pyramid, also known as El Castillo. This iconic structure served as a central ceremonial and religious hub during its heyday, leaving behind a legacy of immense historical significance that continues to mesmerize visitors from every corner of the globe.

With its intricate architecture and profound historical context, Chichen Itza is an absolute must-visit destination for anyone yearning to explore the marvels of the ancient world.

tulum to chichen itza
Chichen Itza El Castillo

Getting From Tulum to Chichen Itza: Distance and Travel Times

So you’re staying in Tulum and want to visit the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza? Great idea! The good news is it’s a little over 2 hour drive. The bad news is there’s a 1 hour time difference between Tulum and Chichen Itza, so keep that in mind.

Getting There

To travel between Tulum and Chichen Itza, you have a couple options:

  • Rent a car – This will give you the most flexibility. The drive is around 150 kilometers (93 miles) and takes 2 to 2.5 hours depending on traffic.
  • Take a guided tour – Many tours depart from Tulum and Playa del Carmen. This is convenient but less flexible. Tours typically last 8-12 hours including stops, so it makes for a long day. But at least you can sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery!
  • Public bus – ADO and Mayab bus lines offer bus service between Tulum and Chichen Itza a few times per day. While cheap, the bus can take 3-4 hours including stops and transfers. Not ideal if you’re in a time crunch!

Whichever option you choose, be sure to arrive at Chichen Itza early, ideally when the gates open at 8 am. This will allow you to explore the ancient city before the biggest crowds arrive and the hot sun is beating down. Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and bug spray – you’ll need them! Have a great trip and enjoy discovering the wonders of Chichen Itza. The memories will last you a lifetime!

chichen itza temple
Chichen Itza El Castillo

Driving From Tulum to Chichen Itza: Route Options and Tips

Driving from Tulum to Chichen Itza will take you a little over 2 hours, so plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to explore the ruins. The recommended route is to take Highway 109 towards Coba, then connect to Highway 180. This route is pretty straightforward, with only a couple turns. Still, I’d advise using a maps app on your phone as backup.

Tips for the Drive

  • Fill up your gas tank before leaving Tulum. There are very few gas stations directly on the route.
  • Bring snacks, water and anything else you might need. Convenience stores and restaurants are scarce.
  • Watch out for speed bumps, especially near small towns. Some are hard to spot! Go slowly until you pass through the town.
  • The roads are well-maintained, but be cautious of farm equipment, animals, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Don’t drive at night if possible. Roads are dimly lit and curvy, with few reflectors.


Once you arrive in Chichen Itza, there is a large parking lot right next to the ruins ($5 USD parking for the day). The entrance fee is around $30 USD per person.

I’d recommend spending at least 2 hours exploring the ancient city, with its many structures like the iconic El Castillo pyramid, the ball court, observatory and more. Walking around in the midday heat can be tiring, so starting early is best.

On your drive back to Tulum, stop by one of the cenotes (natural swimming holes) along the highway to cool off. Cenote Suytun is only a 40 minutes drive from Chichen Itza. Taking a dip in the crisp, clear waters of a cenote is the perfect way to wrap up your trip to Chichen Itza. The memories of this magnificent ancient wonder will stay with you long after you return home.

chichen itza ballcourt
Chichen Itza Ballcourt
temple of the warriors chichen itza
Chichen Itza Temple of the Warriors

Taking a Tour From Tulum to Chichen Itza: The Easy Way

Taking a tour is one of the easiest ways to visit Chichen Itza from Tulum. Rather than figuring out busses, tickets, and navigating on your own, a guided tour will handle all the logistics for you. You can sit back, learn from an experienced guide, and enjoy the ride.

Bus Tours from Tulum

The most common type of tour is a bus tour, departing from Tulum. These full-day excursions pick you up at your hotel in Tulum, drive you the 2 to 3 hours to Chichen Itza, give you a guided tour of the archeological site, then transport you back to Tulum. Prices for bus tours start around $50 to $100 USD per person.

Private Tours from Tulum

For a more customized experience, consider booking a private tour from Tulum to Chichen Itza. These tours offer more flexibility in the itinerary and schedule. You’ll have an English-speaking driver and guide to yourself for questions and recommendations. Private tours typically cost between $150 to $300 USD depending on your group size.

What’s Included on the Tours?

Each Tulum to Chichen Itza tour package comes with hotel pickup and drop-off, an English-speaking guide, and admission to the Chichen Itza archeological site. But that’s not all! There are plenty of tour options to consider.
Some tours offer the exciting opportunity to explore a cenote (ask about the cenotes available). You can also choose tours that include a delicious meal, with details about buffet or a la carte options and what’s included. Some tours even make a stop in Valladolid along the way. Don’t forget to check the minor details too. Are snacks and beverages provided during the journey? Is there any free time for shopping throughout the day?

Here’s a travel tip for you: Make sure to book your tour at the same time as your flight and accommodation. This way, you’ll secure availability, especially for small group or private tours that tend to fill up fast. Plus, some tours offer early bird discounts and allow free cancelations a few days before the scheduled date. So plan ahead and confirm your visit in advance to make the most of your trip!

Taking a guided tour from Tulum to Chichen Itza is the stress-free way to experience one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. You can learn all about the history and culture of the Mayans from an experienced guide, without worrying about how to get there or navigate the site on your own.

Book a spot on a bus tour or private tour, sit back and enjoy the ride!

Cenote Samula
chichen itza el castillo
Chichen Itza El Castillo

Key Tips for Planning Your Visit to Chichen Itza

Planning a trip to see both Chichen Itza and Tulum in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula? Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

Check the opening hours

Chichen Itza is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, with last entrance at 4 pm. Make sure to arrive early, ideally before the tour busses, to avoid the biggest crowds.

It’s hot, hot, hot!

With average highs of 95°F/35°C, staying hydrated and avoiding the midday sun is key. Bring plenty of bottled water, sunscreen, a hat, and an umbrella or parasol for shade. The humidity will make it feel even hotter, so dress for the heat in breathable fabrics.

Consider staying overnight nearby

Rather than getting up very early, spend the night before in Valladolid or Piste. You’ll arrive at the sites early and rested, with more time to explore at your leisure before the big tour groups arrive. An overnight will allow you to experience the sites with smaller crowds.

Book a private tour for early access

For the ultimate experience at Chichen Itza, book a private sunrise-early morning tour. You’ll enter the site early when it opens. Private tours also provide a guide to explain the history and culture. Group tours won’t arrive until later, so you’ll avoid the biggest crowds.

There’s more nearby too

While you’re in the area, also check out Valladolid or Coba on the way back. Each site offers a glimpse into the region’s rich Mayan history with fewer visitors. Cenotes, or sinkholes, provide a refreshing swim in crystal-clear waters. Don’t miss out on the delicious Yucatecan food like cochinita pibil, sopa de lima, and tres leches cake. 

valladolid yucatan
Valladolid Yucatan

So there you have it, everything you need to know about the distances between Chichen Itza and Tulum. Now get out there and explore, you intrepid traveler you! Take lots of pictures and share your adventures – your friends will be super jealous they didn’t join you on this epic Mexican getaway. 


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Meet Mateo: Your Tulum Insider Mateo, a passionate travel blogger, is your go-to source for all things Tulum. He uncovers the town's hidden gems and shares invaluable travel tips to make your Tulum experience extraordinary. Beyond his blog, Mateo collaborates with local experts to bring Tulum's culture and history to life. His passion for sustainable travel is evident, as he champions responsible tourism practices that protect the environment and support the local community. With Mateo as your guide, you'll unlock the secrets of Tulum and embark on a journey that transcends the ordinary and leaves you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.
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