How to Get to Chichen Itza: Renting a Car and Driving There on Your Own
Rent a Car: Don’t Take a Bus Tour
Want to know how to get to Chichen Itza? You don’t need to go on a big bus tour or hire a personal guide to see the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. You can be a (f)ree (i)ndepednent (t)raveler and do it all on your own. I’ll show you how!
How to Get to Chichen Itza: The Best Car Rental Company
The easiest way to get to Chichen Itza is by car, and if you’re flying into Cancun airport, the best place to rent a car is from Easy Way Rent A Car. Many companies will play games with their rates and be deceptive about insurance, but that’s not the case with Easy Way. They guarantee their quotes and don’t charge an airport rental fee. They’ll also honor your credit card’s collision damage waiver insurance. Finally, they’ll pick you up at Cancun airport and even bring you back to the airport at the end of your trip! My partner and I did the research, and we used Easy Way.
Yes, Easy Way will pick you up at Cancun Airport. The directions will be on your confirmation email. Follow the directions carefully, and you’ll find that a representative will be waiting for you and holding a sign with your last name on it. They’ll take you in an air-conditioned van to their rental car center. It looks a little strange because it’s behind a gas station, but the company and its employees are incredibly professional and helpful. You’ll also return the car at this location, and they’ll take you back to the airport in their van. So convenient!
Car Rental in Mexico
Despite what you read online, renting a car in Mexico is absolutely nothing to worry about. Here are some things that you’ll need to know:
- Before you leave, check with your credit company to make sure they cover Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) in Mexico. Most good credit companies do, so you shouldn’t have to pay for that. Print out a copy of the policy, bring it with you, and leave it in the rental car. The credit card company can email it to you or explain to you where it’s located on their website.
- Mexico requires you to buy liability insurance. They do not accept liability insurance from credit card companies. You can purchase it online when you reserve a car.
- In countries outside the U.S., most cars are standard, so be sure to rent an automatic if you don’t know how to drive standard. You’ll pay more but having the freedom to explore Chichen Itza on your own before the crowds get there is well worth it!
Driving to Chichen Itza
Getting to Chichen Itza by car is simple. If you’re leaving from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, you’ll take highway 180D. Check out the map. However, it’s not like any highway that I’ve seen. There are no exits and absolutely nothing on it. Be sure that you have a full tank of gas before you get on the highway. There’s no place to get gasoline until you get to Chichen Itza. There’s only one rest stop with bathrooms but no gas. So fill up before you leave. It’s also a toll road, so bring cash to pay the toll. Click on the map for directions.
Driving in Mexico is Easy
No matter what you read online, driving in Mexico is almost exactly like driving in the U.S. or Europe. Here are some things you should know:
- Obey the speed limit. You’ll see countless Mexican cars fly by you, but don’t be tempted to speed. If you do, you run the risk of getting pulled over.
- If you do get pulled over, which is very unlikely, be polite and ask for the ticket. Do not give any money to the police officer. Just ask for the ticket.
- You might read online that Mexican gas stations will try to scam you. That’s also extremely unlikely. All gas stations, called Pemex, are run by the national government, and they have cracked down on and monitor stations. Here are some common sense things to be mindful of:
- Make sure the pump starts at zero.
- Watch the attendant pump your gas. You may want to get out of the car and watch. Confirm the cost.
- Pay in cash because most gas stations won’t accept a credit card.
- Be sure you receive the correct change.
- Be polite.
- Speaking of cash, when you’re in another country, always take money out of an ATM. Never use a cash exchange place because they’ll charge you a commission. Take out enough money for two or three days because your bank will likely charge you an ATM fee each time that you withdraw money. Hint: some credit unions and small banks (like mine) don’t charge for international ATMs. Ask your bank before you leave.
- Mexican roads have speed bumps called topes. Signs will warn you that you’re approaching speed bumps. Just slow down and go over them like you would any speed bump.
- If you’re entering or exiting a Mexican city or town, you’ll usually see a police checkpoint booth with officers inside. They’re just monitoring for safety.
How to Get to Chichen Itza: Directions
For detailed directions on how to get to Chichen Itza, how to see it, and what to do there, see my post on What to Do in Chichen Itza.