Cancun is a popular holiday destination situated on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. It’s a bustling coastal city with a large number of all-inclusive resorts, nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Cancun also boasts of stunning turquoise-water beaches and a diverse range of things to do, no wonder why it is among the most-visited tourist hubs in the region.
For those looking to venture away from their luxury resorts, you’ll find ancient Mayan archaeological sites not far from the city, perfect for a great day trip.
On top of all that, the city is home to Cancun Airport, the second busiest airport in the whole of Mexico. That makes Cancun the doorway to other iconic sites in Quintana Roo, such as Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Tulum.
New to Cancun? Our compact Cancun guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Cancun!
You can choose from 2 ways to travel the 306km (190 miles) from Merida to Cancun: a 4-hour-50-minute bus and a 3.5-hour private transfer. Fares range from 538 MXN ($26) and 5,930 MXN ($290).
The bus is the only public transportation available and is also the cheapest. You can get a ticket from 538 MXN ($26). ADO Bus is the main operator for this route so you can expect a very comfortable journey. Also, a good tip to know is that the earlier you book, the cheaper bus prices tend to be.
Are you heading straight to Cancun Airport? If yes, a private transfer is a very convenient option to travel directly. You won’t have to make a stop at Cancun city centre. Rates for a 4-seater car from Merida to Cancun Airport start from 5,930 MXN ($290).
Bus transportation from Merida to Cancun is a very straightforward option. Once you’re on board, all you have to do is sit back for around 5 hours and watch the world go by.
ADO Bus is Mexico’s largest bus operator and the main option for this route. But also available (though less frequent) are its sub-branches: ADO GL, ADO Platino, and OCC. So what’s the difference?
ADO buses and OCC buses have reclining seats, air conditioning and a toilet.
ADO GL and ADO Platino buses, on the other hand, have even more comfortable seats, extra space, refreshments, charging ports, separate men/women toilets and individual sound systems. In summary, they’re the more luxurious option.
Travel time varies but the fastest bus usually takes around 4 hours 50 minutes to complete the journey. Note that some ADO buses take a bit longer because of an additional stop at Valladolid or Playa del Carmen.
Ticket prices start from 538 MXN ($26). The first bus departs at 04:07 and the last trip is at 23:57.
Bus schedules change daily, so it’s best to check them online beforehand. We also highly recommend booking online at least a day prior to avail of lower rates. Many trips usually go on sale when you book through ClickBus. You won’t get the same discount when you purchase your tickets onsite at the bus station.
Bus departure and arrival points
There are two bus terminals in Merida. The main one is conveniently located in the city centre and is known as Terminal CAME. This is where most buses to Cancun depart from. But there is also a daily departure from Terminal Altabrisa, located near the city’s northeast border.
In Cancun, the last stop is at ADO Station along Calle Cinco in the city centre. Many hotels and hostels are located around it or just a few blocks away so you can choose to walk.
However, if you are staying a little further out or at one of the beach areas, you may have to take a taxi or bus to get to your final destination. Taxis are available from outside the bus terminal and are metered. An average ride to the hotel zone is around 200 MXN ($9.50).
Another option is to use public transport. Buses pass in front of the bus terminal on Avenida Tulum and lines R-1, R-3 and R-38 connect the bus terminal with the beach and hotel area. The rate for the buses is 15 MXN ($0.70), to be paid directly to the bus driver.
Merida to Cancun by Private Transfer
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 5,930 MXN ($290)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 5,930 MXN ($290)
Are you heading to Cancun International Airport after visiting Merida? A private transfer might be a more convenient option. A bit expensive, but a good choice if you’re travelling with a group, with kids, or just with a lot of luggage.
With a private transfer, you will have a fast and direct 3.5-hour ride from Merida to Cancun Airport.
Rates for a 4-seater car start from 5,930 MXN ($290). We recommend booking your ride through BookAway for spacious cars and trusted drivers.
Car rentals are plenty and very cheap in Mexico. This option gives you the freedom to visit archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza along the way.
You can get a rental car from 570 MXN ($27.50) for 24 hours. If you’re looking to rent for a week, then rates start from 2,375 MXN ($115). 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.
Resorts in Cancun can cost you a bomb! Sina Suites gives you that resort-style feel without the high prices. Ever wanted your own private marina in a hotel? Now you probably do, and Sina Suites has one. It also has a large swimming pool set amongst gardens that overlook the lagoon.
You can enjoy a continental breakfast and delicious Mexican food in their poolside restaurant and bar that sits underneath a traditional thatched hut!
You’ll also get more than just a room, most suites also offer a kitchenette and balcony.
Viento Suites is somewhat of an escape from the busy and hectic cancun. Once you’re inside the walls of the hotel, chilling in the garden beside the swimming pool, you’ll forget about the outside world.
The location couldn’t be more perfect. It’s situated within Downtown Cancun but also very close to the Hotel Zone and beaches. The rooms look like those from a high-class hotel, but without the extortionate prices.
Looking for a unique sleeping experience? The Yellow Capsule Hotel will definitely give you that. Instead of traditional rooms, you’ll get to sleep in a pod. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the future when you clamber into your bright and spacious pod.
The capsules are clean and include everything you need for a comfy stay, a mirror, outlets, a safe and storage space. When you’re done hangin around in your pod, you can chill at the hotel's terrace and enjoy their free breakfast.
If you prefer a homely feel compared to hotels then definitely stay at Estancia. The owners will instantly make you feel welcome and are always there to offer advice.
The homestay offers a very convenient location, close to the local markets and not too far from the ADO bus station. The rooms are clean and spacious, plus a steal for their price. If you fancy doing some cooking whilst in Cancun, you can make use of the communal kitchen.