Read This Before Booking A Chichen Itzá Tour in Yucatán, Mexico

If you are planning a visit to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or anywhere in the Quintana Roo State in Mexico, no way you can miss a tour to Chichen Itzá, one of the seven wonders of the world.

When we arrived at the Mayan Ruins site in the Yucatán Peninsula we were instantly mesmerised by the energy of the place, and the magnitude of these Mayan Ruins. It’s something indescribable that you’ll have to experience IRL to understand.

But before visiting, there’s some things you should know. The below information will ensure that your visit is the best it can be, and will help you avoid a bad experience during your trip to Chichen Itzá.

Regardless of where you are staying in Quintana Roo, you will see hundreds of tours advertised to visit the famous Chichen Itza site. But before booking anything, here’s…

10 things they don’t tell you about the Chichen Itza Tour:

  1. You don’t have to take a tour. To visit Chichen itzá, you have 2 options – Either renting a car on a self-guided trip, or booking an organized tour with an agency and a guide. Keep in mind that it takes 3 hours to drive from Cancun to Chichen Itza, so be prepared to drive long distances if you decide to adventure by yourself.
  2. Taking a tour is cost effective. The price of Chichen Itza alone is aboout $26 USD. To that, you need to add the car rental, gas, highway fees and food throughout the day. On the other hand, you can book an all-inclusive tour from $40 USD per person.
  3. Different price points often mean different quality of service. You can find a tour for as little as $40 USD, but it might not be the nicest of tours. It may include additional fees, transport may be in a van crammed with other people, and so on… We paid $60 USD per person, which ensured we went on an air-conditioned bus, included lunch and all fees for the tour. Keep reading to understand why that is quite important.
  4. You can negotiate the price. Initially, they tried to sell us the tour at $73 USD per person, but we negotiated it down to $60 USD. Other people in our same tour paid a bit more than we had, so always make sure to negotiate with the agent!
  5. The tours include additional experiences. Usually these tours are a full-day experience and include additional stops. This makes it even more worth the price, but if you are not interested in visiting other locations then maybe you want to avoid this option. Our tour visited the known town of Valladolid and included a Cenote Experience. We went to cenote Xcajum and really enjoyed the experience!
Alba from NALBA TRAVELS in front of Chichen Itza in Mexico
Chichen Itzá
Alba from NALBA TRAVELS at Cenote Xcajum in Mexico
Cenote Xcajum

6. The Tour is LONG. The tour is about 12 hours, because of how far away Chichen Itza is. This is why it’s important to go on a comfortable bus and the reason we paid a little extra for our tour.

7. Cenote Xcajum is beautiful. It is an open Cenote, so it get s a lot of natural light. The water is bright blue and it’s not the most famous of cenotes so it doesn’t get too busy. Before going down to the water, you have to take a quick shower and then descend 91 stairs to reach the swimming area. This Cenote is 40 meters deep, so you don’t see much underneath the water – It’s a very unique experience! For this experience you’ll need to rent a life vest as it’s compulsory. This cost us $3 USD per person. You can also rent a locker to leave your things while you swim for another $3 USD.

8. Getting a tour guide in Chichen Itza is worth it. Touring the ruins with a local guide is worth it as the history of the place is mesmerising. If you go by yourself you’ll just be walking around looking at rocks! Our tour guide showed us some pretty cool sound effects that you will otherwise not experience. Check out our video below to see it. In an organized tour, this is usually included so it’s also something you don’t need to worry about or pay extra for. Although giving a tip to your tour guide is usually recommended to support the local community.

9. Using a good camera has a price. At the Chichen Itza entrance they carry our bag checks and they will charge you an additional fee to use professional cameras, including Go Pros. The price for is only just over $2 USD.

10. Be prepared to say no. In the organized tours, they try to continuously sell you things. So if you go in one of these tours be prepared to say no (or buy a lot of souvenirs!).

All in all, visiting Chichen Itza was a once in a lifetime experience and we highly recommend it.

We hope that this post helps you make an informed decision on how you want to organise your visit to this world wonder. 

If you have any further questions please drop us a comment in the post and we’ll be more than happy to answer!

Don’t forget to check out our post about visiting Isla Mujeres, also an incredible location to tour during your visit to Quinta Roo.

Thanks for reading and safe travels!