Yucatan Maya Train Travel (Tips + Itinerary)

The Maya Train is a new train service that makes getting around the Yucatan Peninsula easier than ever.

This long-talked-about project is finally coming to fruition in 2023. Starting operations on December 1, 2023, the Maya Train will allow travelers to explore Yucatan Peninsula in a new way.

The train will not only facilitate travel to already popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Tulum and Chichen Itza, but will also stop at many less-visited destinations that are now easier to reach, including pristine beaches and cultural cities. .

The high-speed train will easily cut your travel time in half, ensuring you get the most out of your days in Mexico.

Here are some tips for traveling by train in Maya, along with a suggested itinerary of some of the best places to visit on your trip. Let’s go!

Plan your trip to the Yucatan

It the route

The train route is 1554 kilometers long and passes through 34 stops, 20 stations, 7 nearby airports and 26 archaeological zones.

If you’re wondering if you’ll be in a time crunch at your destination, just like on cruises, don’t worry. It has 42 trains on the tracks and passes through five different Mexican states: Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo. All allow you to hop in and out whenever you want.

Cathedral in Campeche, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Named after the Mayan civilization, the railroad connects Caribbean tourist hotspots with lesser-known Mayan historical sites. Although not without controversy, now that the railroad is here, it promises to be the most convenient transportation option in the Yucatan Peninsula.

It starts in Palenque, a city in Chiapas, and heads northeast to Cancun in Quintana Roo, using three routes that circle the peninsula.

You can start from anywhere to create a full loop around the Yucatan. Fly into Cancun, fly out of Chiapas, vice versa, or fly the entire route (ie, once all construction phases are complete).

Map showing all Maya train routes and scheduled stops in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

It Caribbean route Will provide transportation from Cancun to the southernmost part of Quintana Roo, with stops in Puerto Morelos, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and finally Bacalar. This is sure to become the most popular route as it takes you along the coast and is a great way to relax and enjoy the Caribbean sun.

It gulf road Travel from Cancun to Mérida, including a visit to the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, before continuing south to Campeche. This route is an excellent choice for those who like to explore the history of the area and want to discover the hidden ways of the Mayans.

It jungle route built to connect the southern part of Quintana Roo with the state of Southern Campeche, stopping at the site of the famous Calamul Mayan ruins. This route is more about adventure than sightseeing as it takes you through some of the most remote and breathtakingly beautiful places on the peninsula.

As with anything, some stations will be more popular than others. Currently, the most popular destinations are Cancun, Tulum, Merida, Chichen Itza, Palenque and Chiapas.

Shopping Tickets

Getting tickets is easy, breezy and beautiful.

You have two options for purchasing train tickets. You can buy them at any train station along the route, or you can use their app and website.

Although ticket prices have not yet been announced, they will vary depending on the type of passenger. Like many places abroad, the price varies between national tourists, international tourists, local travelers and senior citizens, among others.

10-day itinerary For Yucatan by Maya train

Yucatan map by Maya train with key stops

You can use this 10-day itinerary as your template for a great introduction to the Yucatan. All major stops are accessible by Maya train.

It’s easy to plan your own Mexico vacation without the need to purchase an expensive package tour with a travel agency. Maya Train can take care of all your transportation, while special day tours can be booked online to add some fun activities to your trip (we’ll link to a few recommended ones here).

Day 1: Fly to Cancun and take the ferry to Isla Mujeres

Cancun has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico and Latin America. This also makes it the easiest entry point to the Yucatan, with many international flights landing in Cancun.

After landing, I will go straight to Puerto Juarez where you can take the ferry to Isla Mujeres. Cancun can be fun, but it’s extreme tourism at its best, and Isla Mujeres will be a nice change of pace. You can experience this Catamaran Cruise from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.

Isla Mujeres is a small, lush island surrounded by beautiful beaches, vibrant coral reefs and colorful marine life. Spend the day snorkeling off the coast and exploring what this beautiful paradise has to offer.

Day 2: Take the Maya train to Tulum

Ruins of Tulum, Mexico on a sunny day
Ruins of Tulum

Today you will take the Maya train from Cancun station south to Tulum. It usually takes 2 1/2 hours by bus, but you’ll be there much faster with the high-speed train.

Be sure to take in the stunning Caribbean views along the way. Once you arrive, explore downtown Tulum, rent a bike and tour the city, and be sure to visit Tulum’s famous ruins.

Day 3: Explore the seaside town of Tulum and the nearby cenotes

Tulum is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Spend your mornings relaxing on the shore with a cup of coffee. In the afternoon, take a day trip to visit the nearby cenotes, the crystal-clear swimming holes that are a must-see in this area of ​​Mexico.

Day 4: Travel to Merida

A grilled pork dish served on banana leaves with spices
Cochinita Pibil

Now it’s time to take the Maya train north from Tulum to Mérida. Be sure to take advantage of all the sights and sounds along the way and get ready for some amazing experiences in Mérida.

Mérida is full of colonial architecture, museums and outdoor markets. Spend the day exploring the city and eating the best food Mexico has to offer. Try the traditional Yucatan dish, coquinita pibil.

Day 5: Explore Chichen Itza

Today you will take the Mayan Train to one of the most famous Mayan ruins in all of Mexico, Chichen Itza. This wonder of the world is a must-see while in the Yucatan Peninsula, and this day will be yours to explore.

Take your time walking the grounds, soaking up all the history and marveling at what this civilization was able to create so many years ago. Don’t forget to visit El Castillo Cathedral for one of the best views of the area. Enjoy easy access to Chichen Itza for the best experience.

Day 6: Travel to Campeche and visit Edzna

Take the Maya train from Chichen Itza south to Campeche, where you’ll find the Edzna archaeological site. This site is much less visited than Chichen Itza and is a great opportunity to explore Mayan history without all the crowds.

Day 7: Boat ride in Palenque

Mayan temple in Palenque, Mexico

On day seven, you will take the Mayan train from Campeche all the way north to Palenque.

Palenque is a small town with breathtaking views and some of the most impressive Mayan ruins in the region. Once you arrive, take a boat trip on the Usamacinta River to explore some of the ruins and explore the jungle.

Day 8: Explore Palenque and nearby waterfalls

Spend the eighth day exploring the ruins of Palenque. Be sure to take a guided tour to learn more about this fascinating civilization; having a guide bring the ruins to life really adds to the experience.

For something different, take an excursion to visit the nearby waterfalls, where you can swim in the crystal clear waters and explore the Mexican jungle.

Day 9: Travel to Chiapas and explore its colonial cities

On day nine, head to your final stop in Chiapas. You won’t be able to do this part by train, and the bus from Planque to San Cristobal de Las Casas takes about eight hours, but you may still find it worth adding this extension to your itinerary. Chiapas is one of the most beautiful states in Mexico with its lush green forests and heritage cities.

Spend your time exploring cities such as San Cristobal de las Casas and Tuxtla Gutierrez and visit the nearby Sumidero Canyon.

If you prefer not to add this section as it is further away, you can spend an extra day in Palenque instead.

Day 10: Say goodbye

On day 10, it’s time to say goodbye to this beautiful place. Take a flight from Chiapas or, thanks to the Mayan high-speed train, you can make it back to Cancun in time if necessary.

Hidden gems

Clear seawater in Bacalar, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Cancun, Tulum and Chichen Itza are among the most popular destinations in the world due to their accessibility and tourist infrastructure. But one of the best things about the Maya Train is discovering the hidden gems of the Yucatan.

From the beauty of Holbox Island to the colorful colonial city of Mérida, you’ll find so many great off-the-beaten-track places worth exploring, and the train will help you get there with ease and comfort.

Here are some of my favorite lesser known destinations.


Bacalar is one of Mexico’s hidden gems and well worth the trip if you have the time. This stunning lake town is home to some of the clearest waters in all of Mexico, with a rainbow of colors reflecting off its surface. It’s a great place for kayaking, swimming, or just taking it all in.

Bacalar is located on the border between Quintana Roo and Yucatan and can be reached by the Maya train.

Nuevo Xcan

This small town is a great place to experience the local culture. At Nuevo Xcan, you’ll find traditional food, music and art that can’t be found anywhere else.

It’s off the beaten path, but you can get to Maya by train from Palenque. It’s worth the trip to get here and explore this unique city.


Izamal is often called the Yellow City or Pueblo de Amarillo. This beautiful city is filled with colorful buildings and cobblestone streets. It is a great place to visit for its culture, history, food and architecture.

Izamal is right next to Mérida, which can be reached by train to Maya. Lots of people go here on day trips from Merida and elsewhere, but it’s a really nice town that’s also worth an overnight stay if you have the time.

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Installed May 25, 2023

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