How to beat the crowds at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of Mexico’s most famous tourist attractions. As one of the modern seven wonders of the world it’s no shock to hear it can get a little busy at times. What’s the best way to get great photos, beat the crowds and the heat? Simple. Get there before anyone else does! Where to stay near Chichen Itza is key and I’m going to tell you just that.

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Where to stay near Chichen Itza

Most tourists make the 2 hour journey on a day trip from Cancun, Playa del Carmen or wherever their cruise ship is docked. But few think about where to stay near Chichen Itza to get the best experience. Valladolid is a beautiful colonial town with lot’s of pretty buildings and great food to offer an adventurous backpacker. The best part? It’s only a one hour drive in a collectivo (shared taxi) from Chichen Itza! At just $2 a ride (35 pesos) it’s hard to complain! There are a variety of great options for where to stay in Valladolid on and Air BnB from around $30 a night for a double room or $15 a night for a good bed in a dorm room. Make sure to stay close to the main square to be within walking distance of the collecivo stop (see my map of Mexico backpacker stops at the end of the post).

Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to $45 off your first trip in Valladolid. 

Read my guide on how to book the best hotel room anywhere here.

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

When To Go?

Collectivos start running at 7am and Chitchen Itza opens at 8am. It couldn’t be any easier! Get there early to get your “I’m the only one here” shots. But if you like a lay in (like us!) arrive any time before 9/10am and there aren’t too many big tour groups around and the heat is still bearable. They pick you up exactly where they drop you off, very handy.

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Once Inside

Entrance (as of Jan 2020) costs 486 pesos, you can pay by card but there is a weird system where you have to pay the tax separately at a different kiosk. Make sure you grab a map as the ones in the park are fairly worn out. You will beat the queues as you have wisely chosen where to stay near Chichen Itza.

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Don’t miss the two cenote ossuarys where the Mayans would toss their sacrificed bodies. There’s loads to see, a guide wouldn’t be the worst idea but there are signs everywhere in English and audio-guides if you feel like going it alone. It took us around 3 hours to see everything but it depends on your pace (we weren’t rushing at all!).

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Chichen Itza Top Tips

Where to stay near Chichen Itza? Stay in Valladolid. It has all of the amenities and it’s very close to Chichen Itza so you can get there before everyone else!

Number one is take water and stay hydrated. It is hot in Chichen Itza and there’s not much shade at the main ruins. Water, snacks and drinks are available at the entrance and once inside but at a premium price of course.

There are also a ton of sellers with souvenir stalls. It’s another reason to get there early as they are only just setting up (and less likely to jump out at you with a jaguar roar).

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Chitchen Itza Wonder Of The World Mexico Yucatan

Mexico Map Lost Wanders
Check out all of the best stops in Mexico here on Google Maps.

How to travel better for less

These are the companies I use to travel the world for less. The reason long term travel is cheaper than you think is often down to shopping around for a great deal, here I’ve done the hard work for you!

Skyscanner – For flights at the best prices this is my go to site. I have also started using them for car hire and they can’t be beat! – I always book with this site if looking for cheap accommodation as the filters are so easy to use. Become a genius member after five bookings and get great discounts too!

Air BnB – Sometimes you can find great local places to stay on Air BnB. In some countries, like Cuba, it’s the only way to book!

Transferwise – A debit card you can use all over the world and get great exchange rates with no hidden fees. This bank has saved me £100’s in bank fees!

Monzo – A similar travel card to the above with additional features like joint accounts and bill splitting.

World NomadsTravel insurance is one of the most important things you can have while travelling. Don’t leave home without it! World Nomads provide the very best cover.

What to pack – Here is my ultimate list of what to pack for every trip, available on Amazon. Plus eco friendly alternatives to your toiletries.

Omio – The place to go for all of your public transport needs in Europe. Save a bundle!

G Adventures – A sustainable, fun, responsible travel company. I’ve travelled with them many times and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of their amazing trips of a lifetime.

Some links in this post are to affiliate sites. If you purchase something through them, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. I am very grateful when you use my links to make a purchase!

Jo Williams

A Brit that got fed up of the 9 to 5 corporate life, I sold everything to become a full time wanderer. Having travelled to over 70 countries so far, I share my money-saving tips and secrets from inside the travel industry. Hoping to inspire you to work less and travel more.

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