If you’ve had enough of the beach and have decided to head inland, then Merida is a great place to start. Merida is the largest city on the Yucatan Peninsula and is known as the region’s cultural capital. It’s very clear why. The city has the oldest cathedral in the Americas, lots of interesting historic buildings, and a number of museums, including the Mayan World Museum.
Merida is also the perfect place to just wander around and get lost in the narrow streets filled with beautiful colonial architecture. Take time to hop between restaurants and really get a taste of the delicious Yucateca cuisine. On top of that, Merida will keep you busy for days as you explore the surrounding Mayan archeological sites such as Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Dzibilchaltun and Kabah.
There are 3 ways you can travel the 305km (190 miles) from Cancun to Merida: a 4.5-hour bus, a 3.5-hour private transfer, and a 15-hour day trip. Rates range between 538 MXN ($25.50) and 6,690 MXN ($320).
The bus is the only public transportation available from Cancun to Merida. It is also the cheapest choice with ticket prices from 538 MXN ($25.50). ADO Bus is the main operator for this route and you can choose between standard and first class trips. The bus ride takes around 4.5 hours.
PRO-TIP: If you book the bus some time in advance, you’ll be able to find even cheaper rates for this journey from Cancun to Merida.
If you prefer a door-to-door ride, you can get a private transfer from Cancun to Merida with rates from charset="utf-8">5,930 MXN ($nan). This spacious vehicle can fit up to 4 persons and is especially convenient if you’re coming from Cancun Airport. Travel time is also a bit faster at 3.5 hours.
Visiting Merida on a day trip? Organised day tour packages are also available, but they’re a bit pricey. With GetYourGuide, day trip rates start from 6,690 MXN ($320) per person for a private tour that includes at least 2 persons. It’s worth noting though that the cost per person gets lower if there are more people in your group.
Although both cities have their own airports, there is no direct flight between Cancun and Merida.
Bus transportation is the cheapest option you can find when travelling from Cancun to Merida. ADO Bus, Mexico’s leading bus company, is the main operator for this route. Also available are its following sub-branches:
The basic ADO buses, as well as OCC, have reclining seats, AC and a toilet; whereas ADO GL and ADO Platino take luxury to another level. Their buses are first class so they’re even more comfortable, with extra space, refreshments, charging ports, separate men/women toilets and individual sound systems.
Travel time is more or less 4.5 hours, depending on the schedule of your trip. Some ADO buses can complete the journey faster at around 3.5 hours, but those are late night trips that depart from Cancun and arrive in Merida in the middle of the night.
Bus prices start from 538 MXN ($25.50). You can see below the Cancun-Merida bus schedule, but they may vary daily so it’s best to check online for the departure times on you exact travel date.
We highly recommend booking your bus tickets online via ClickBus to ensure a seat on your preferred date and time. Night buses, in particular, tend to sell out quickly, especially on weekends. Also, there’s a chance you can score lower fares when you purchase your tickets ahead of your travel dates.
When booking, it’s good to be aware that some ADO bus schedules have a longer travel time. This is because the bus has an additional stop at Valladolid or Playa del Carmen. If you want to get to your destination faster, we recommend avoiding the buses with extra stop.
Bus departure and arrival points
Buses to Merida depart from the ADO Bus Station along Calle Cinco in the city centre. The is the central bus station and is within walking distance from many hostels and hotels in downtown Cancun. If you’re coming from the Hotel Zone, the main ADO bus terminal is also easily accessible by taxi and by bus (lines R-1, R-3 and R-38).
In Merida, there are three different bus stations, but the main one is conveniently located in the city centre, better known as Terminal CAME. From this bus terminal, the main square is located just 15 minutes away by foot and around it is a whole host of hotel options. You can also take a taxi with rates from 50 MXN ($2.35), if your final destination is within the city centre.
Cancun to Merida by Private Transfer
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 5,930 MXN ($280)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 5,930 MXN ($280)
Are you hoping to get to Merida from Cancun International Airport? A more convenient yet expensive option would be to take a private transfer. This way, you won’t have to take make a stop at Cancun city centre to get a bus bound for Merida.
Rates for a 4-seater private ride from Cancun Airport to Merida start at 5,930 MXN ($280). Travel time is faster than the bus at around 3.5 hours.
We recommend booking your ride online through BookAway, which offers spacious cars with trusted drivers.
If you’re pressed for time and only have one day to visit Merida, it’s also possible to just take a day trip. While it’s possible to do it on your own, a more hassle-free option would be to join an organised day trip from Cancun to Merida.
GetYourGuide offers private tours from 6,690 MXN ($320) per person. Quite steep, but the rate gets lower the more people are in your group. For example, if you’re travelling with a group of 5, then the cost goes down to 5,060 MXN ($240) per person.
This private day trip takes around 15 hours – including the 8-hour roundtrip transfers. Apart from visiting Merida, it will also make a stop at the nearby town of Uxmal and its Mayan ruins. Also included in the package are all entrance fees, lunch, and hotel pick-up and drop-off.
Car rentals are plenty and very cheap in Cancun. This option gives you the freedom to visit archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza along the way, leave whenever you like, and belt out some of your favourite tunes.
You can get a rental car from 570 MXN ($27) for 24 hours. If you’re looking to rent for a week, then rates start from 2,375 MXN ($110). For the cheapest rentals and most extensive selection, book your rental car through Kayak or Skyscanner. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license! We also recommend that you check out our Top 10 Tips on car rentals to help you save money.
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