How to get from Bacalar to Palenque?

If you’re looking to continue exploring the ancient Mayan world, you can head west towards Palenque. Unlike a lot of Mexico’s towns, Palenque doesn’t offer a charm that’s worth shouting about.

However, the real attraction lies in the archaeological ruins hidden within the rainforest, just 20 minutes outside of town. Palenque was one of the most powerful cities in ancient Mayan civilisation, alongside the likes of Chichen Itza, Tikal and Calakmul.

The ruins are some of the largest and well-preserved in Mexico, making them the second most visited ruins in the country.

Feel like you can’t miss out on missing these famous ruins either? The most popular way to travel the 486 km (301 miles) from Bacalar to Palenque is a 9-hour bus ride costing around  668 MXN ($31).

Recommended transport option

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus9 hours From 668 MXN ($31)Check bus tickets
Minivan7.5 hours1750 MXN ($83)Check minivan tickets

Another option, albeit a far more expensive one is to book a seat in a shared minivan. The minivans run by Maya Shuttle run once a day for 1750 MXN ($83) per person.

Travelling by minivan will cut almost 2 hours off of your journey time, but this does come at the price of an extra $50. We’ll let you decide whether this is worth it.

We recommend sticking with the bus, as they offer a comfortable ride, plus there’s a night bus option, allowing you to save money on accommodation.


Itinerary from Bacalar to Palenque


Bus icon

Bacalar to Palenque by Bus

Duration: 9 hours
Cost: From 668 MXN ($31)

Buses to Palenque depart from the Bacalar’s main bus terminal, ADO Bacalar. This terminal is located on the town’s main road, around 5-10 minutes from the town centre and beaches by taxi.

If you need to take a taxi to get to the bus station, it’s good to know that taxis in Bacalar are not metered. Therefore it’s best to agree on a rate with the driver before getting in.

A reasonable rate to go within the limits of Bacalar is between 60 – 130 MEX ($2.80 – $6).

Step 1: Bacalar to Palenque

Duration: 8 hours 55 minutes
Cost: 668 – 695 MXN ($31 – $33)

The bus company currently covering this route is AU, who offer good quality, first class buses that include AC, a toilet and reclining seats.

You can book your tickets online on BusBud or directly at the bus terminal, but since there’s only one departure a day, it is better to book ahead.

Bus OperatorSchedulesDurationCostsSchedule
AU23:55-02:309 hoursFrom 668 MXN ($31)Check bus tickets on BusBud

Check Bus Tickets on BusBud

This particular route makes short stops at Chetumal, Escarcega and Emiliano Zapata towns to pick up and drop off passengers before arriving to Palenque. Besides these stops, the bus won’t make any other unauthorised stops on the road.

Step 2: Palenque Bus Terminal to City Centre

Duration: 5 – 10 minutes
Cost: 0 – 60 MXN ($2.80)

Buses will drop you at the Palenque’s central bus terminal, where you’ll find the main square just a 10-minute walk away.

If you’re staying outside of town or just prefer not to walk around with all your luggage, the best option is to take a taxi with rates starting from around 60 MXN ($ 2.80).


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COVID-19 Limitations: Transportation services have limited availability and schedules might be less frequent. Please check our recommended booking websites for the most recent schedules.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to recent travel restrictions, most of the transportation services are currently unavailable or subject to change.