Wondering how to get from Cancun to Merida? I’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide. Read on to learn everything you need to know about getting from Cancun to the beautiful capital city of the Yucatan state, Merida.
I live in Cancun and I have also lived in Merida for a few months, and I did this route multiple times both by bus and by car. In this post, I will share my thoughts on the different ways to go from Cancun to Merida and vice-versa and at the end of this article you will be able to choose the best one for you.
If you want to travel comfortably and budgeting is not your concern, I believe the best option is booking a private shuttle — but there are a few other ways you can get to wherever you’re staying. Let’s figure out what the best one for you is.
In a rush? here is a quick easy Cancun to Merida guide
Where is Merida located?
Merida, Mexico, is a vibrant and beautiful city located in the Yucatan Peninsula of southeastern Mexico. It’s known for its rich culture and Mayan solid heritage, making it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.
Merida has something to offer travelers of all ages, from energetic nightlife to historic architecture.
It is the capital city of Yucatan state in Mexico. You’ll find it nestled 40 km south of the northern Gulf coast, surrounded by lush tropical greenery.
This landlocked city is a quick 30-minute drive from Puerto Progreso — a cruise ship hub. With a population of almost 1 million, it’s the largest city in the state.
How far is Cancun from Merida?
The distance between Cancun and Merida is roughly 290 km (depending on where in each city you’re driving to and from). It will take you roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes of travel time to drive between the two cities.
Along this route are a few amazing places you can stop at. You can enjoy breathtaking views of lush jungles and quaint towns as you traverse highways passing through towns such as Tekax, Oxcutzcab, Valladolid, and Piste.
And that is one of the reasons why my favorite way to get to Merida From Cancun is by Car rental. But we´ll get there in a minute.
The Best Ways Of Getting From Cancun To Merida
1. Getting from Cancun to Merida by private transfer (recommended)
If you’re looking for a convenient way to travel from Cancun to Merida, the best way is to book a private shuttle to take you directly from the Cancun airport or your hotel to Merida, without any stops or other annoying inconveniences. This will make your travel plans considerably easier, though the total cost will be a bit more.
While it may be a bit more expensive than public transportation or renting a car, the added comfort and privacy of private transportation make it a good option truly worth every penny.
I always recommend Cancun Airport Transportation´s private transfer service, because they are reliable and safe.
Your personal driver will be waiting for you at the airport with your name on their sign or at your hotel lobby ready to take you directly to where you need to go in air-conditioned comfort.
(They also offer hotel-to-hotel service, in case you will change property)
The best thing is that you won’t have to worry about long waits for connecting buses or train rides that can take up valuable vacation time on your holiday journey.
You can get in the spacious vehicle, and just sit back and relax as your English-speaking driver navigates the route from Cancun to Merida taking all of the stress out of traveling.
Pros of booking your private shuttle with Cancun Airport Transportation
- Private space
- Comfortable spacious vehicles
- Fast (shortest time besides hiring an entire private plane)
- Includes insurance
- English Speaking driver
2. Getting from Cancun to Merida by ADO bus
Traveling from Cancun to Merida doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. ADO Bus transportation offers an affordable and comfortable transportation option for those wanting to make the journey between the two cities.
This bus company offers executive class buses (ADO Platino), which makes for a very comfortable bus ride while still being affordable. They include amenities like air conditioning, ample legroom for passengers, WiFi, personal TV screens, and sockets for charging devices. This bus class also offers a small snack included in the ticket price.
Besides the ADO Platino class of buses, they have three others to choose from:
- ADO Primera (Clase Primera or First Class): Their basic class with basic amenities and cheap bus tickets
- ADO GL (Gran Lujo or Deluxe Class): Step up from their basic buses that feature slightly nicer amenities
- ADO Platino (Clase Lujo or Executive Class): described above, also usually considered the fastest bus
- ADO Concetta (ADO OCC): Small shuttle that moves between the Cancun and Merida airports
For those wanting an enjoyable ride while keeping costs low, ADO Bus is definitely the best choice when it comes to the cheapest way to travel from Cancun to Merida. In fact getting the ticket there AND the return trip will probably be the cheapest option overall.
- Inexpensive, even if you choose the executive class
- Comfortable — the higher class buses feature large seats and legroom
- Will take the most time
- Not Private
- Specific schedule
3. Driving from Cancun to Merida
Renting a car to get from Cancun to Merida is a great way to move at your own pace. You can drive straight through, or you can stop at different places along your way. With a rental car, you have the freedom to discover all that this route has to offer.
The trip from Cancun to Merida is 3 hours and 45 minutes by car without traffic. You’ll want to make sure you study the route before you leave.
You should know that there are two kinds of roads from Cancun to Merida, the Libre (regular road) and cuota (toll road).
As you may have guessed, the toll road tends to remain better maintained and easier to navigate and therefore will take you to your destination faster.
However, if you have time you can just make a road trip of it and stop in all the many amazing places you can find along the way. You could seriously take a week or even longer to get from Cancun to Merida.
The main highlights along the way are the colorful city of Valladolid, many nice small towns cenotes, and archeological sites.
It´s really up to you. Please keep in mind though, that if you take the toll road you will need to pay cash and they only accept Mexican Pesos. You can read more about driving in Mexico in my detailed guide for information on where to rent a car and useful tips.
Discover Cars is a great Car rental search platform to compare different car rental companies and choose the one that fits your needs. With more than 70000 Reviews and an average of 4.5/5 Score, Discover Cars help you find the best Car Rental company in Cancun.
Tips for renting a car in Cancun in a nutshell.
► Compare prices between agencies. I recommend using the Discover Cars platform.
► Get full insurance with 0 deductible and make sure you ask the car rental what is included.
► Book your car rental in advance – it’ll be cheaper.
Cancun to Merida driving tips
► Plan your route ahead of time, this will make the trip easy and provide you with additional confidence
► Add extra time onto your trip, not all roads are well-maintained and you can come across unexpected circumstances that will slow or stop you
► Only drive at night if absolutely necessary, otherwise, make sure you only drive in the daylight. Not all of the roads in Mexico are maintained deliberately, and there can be hazards that you might not be able to identify in the dark.
Is it a safe drive from Cancun to Merida?
Yes, it’s considered safe to drive from Cancun to Merida and the drive itself is fairly straightforward. Be sure to follow all Mexican driving laws, and stay off your phone while you’re operating a vehicle.
Avoid giving the police a reason to stop you and if they do and ask for a bribe never give in. Ask for a fine, instead, if you are in the wrong or not.
4. Getting from Cancun to Merida by plane
Flying from Cancun to Merida is one of the fastest ways to get from one city to the other – the flight time is 52 minutes. However, it comes with a hefty price tag.
For those looking for an expedited journey, private planes are available for hire. With luxurious amenities and a direct flight, passengers can arrive at their destination quickly and comfortably.
On the other hand, those looking for more economical airline tickets have the option of flying via commercial airlines.
The issue is that commercial airlines that provide Merida flights rarely fly straight between the two cities, and often require a layover (or 2) in another Mexican city before arriving at your final destination.
While this truly is the most convenient way to get to Merida from Cancun, it’s by far one of the most expensive options. There really aren’t any cheap flights between the two cities.
- If you book a private plane you can make the journey in less than 90 minutes
- Some (though not all) find air travel more comfortable than other options on our list
- Luxurious, private planes can cost you $US2,000+ for a one-way flight
- If you opt to fly commercial, layovers will cost you time
5. Getting from Cancun to Merida by Uber
It’s not possible to get an Uber from Cancun to Merida — and if it was, it’d probably be pretty expensive. While technically legal, Uber doesn’t operate in Cancun Airport.
It does operate in the city but it´s kind of tricky and a little annoying because the uber driver will ask you to make sure there are no taxis around, which is impossible because taxis are everywhere. And if he makes it there you will have to sit in front and pretend you are friends.
There have been unpleasant episodes in the past and uber drivers are afraid of taxi drivers now.
I am not sure about you, but I would spare the thrill and get a private shuttle instead.
However, you can use Uber or Didi in Merida and it’s often one of the cheapest transportation options.
6. Getting from Cancun to Merida by taxi (not recommended)
While you could take a taxi from Cancun to Merida, it’d be a pretty expensive option. Not to mention, taxis don’t necessarily have the proper paperwork to take commercial passengers across the Mexican state borders. We do not recommend that you take a taxi from Cancun to Merida.
Visiting Merida from Cancun: a quick guide
Merida is a beautiful tourist destination with an abundance of rich culture and history. Whether you’re looking for exquisite cuisine, historic architecture, or lively nightlife – Merida has something for everyone! Here’s a quick guide to visiting this amazing Mexican destination.
Start your trip by exploring Merida’s historical center which is home to plenty of colonial-era churches and monuments like La Casa de Montejo, Cathedral de San Ildefonso, and Plaza Grande.
From here you can take a stroll down Paseo de Montejo. This wide avenue, modeled after Paris’ Champs Elysees, is lined with eye-catching mansions built by the city’s former aristocracy.
Where to stay in Merida Mexico
👉🏽 Best cheap sleep – Che Nomadas Merida is one of the most popular hostels in the city. Its central location provides an easy walk to museums, historic spots, and delicious restaurants. It features a swimming pool, free wifi, air conditioning (essential in the hot Merida summers), self-catering facilities, and quiet time rules after 12 am. You can also find private bedrooms with bathrooms.
👉🏽 Quaint luxury – Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel and Spa offers a unique experience in quaintly decorated surroundings. They have a bistro on-site that serves fine cuisine, an open-air terrace at the moon lounge, a chocolate boutique, and a tequila bar.
Where to eat in Merida
✔️ Manjar Blanco: You might recognize this restaurant from Netflix’s Taco Chronicles. This is home to real regional cuisine, made by Abuela chefs who prepare food using ancient methods. Address: Calle 47 #496, Zona Paseo Montejo, Centro
✔️ Las Vigas: Budget-friendly meal ideas. Amazing food for crazy affordable prices. Address: Calle 63 501 x 62 y 64, C. 63 No. 501, Centro
✔️ Cienfuegos: Delicious fancy food, exceptionally delicious, you won’t regret the great time you’ll have here. Address: Calle 11 No 356 Santa Gertrudis Copo Mangus Fashion Hall
Best neighborhoods in Merida Mexico
Merida is known for its colonial architecture and vibrant culture. It’s an ideal destination for those looking for good eats, a gorgeous setting, and a heavy dose of history. But there are plenty of neighborhoods to checkout, so which should you pick?
The Centro Historico and Plaza Grande district is the city’s oldest neighborhood and one of its most popular attractions.
With magnificent colonial buildings and narrow cobblestone streets, this area will give you a glimpse into what life was like centuries ago. You can also find delicious local restaurants here, as well as museums and galleries exhibiting works by renowned Mexican artists.
Santa Ana is a charming residential neighborhood, perfect for those looking to stay for a little longer. It puts you in the middle of 2 trendy areas — Zocalo and Paseo Montejo. It retains the city’s gorgeous architectural look and keeps you close to the hustle-and-bustle, without dropping you right in it.
If you enjoy a bit of a walk, Santiago is the neighborhood for you. You’ve got plenty of food and park choices nearby, and it’s a short 15-minute walk from the city’s center where you’ll find great visuals, museums, and a ton of other sightseeing goodies.
Is Merida safe?
Merida is largely considered to be the safest city in Mexico. In fact, in 2019, it was named the second safest city in all of North America — the leading city. Canada’s Quebec City. With that in mind, it’s safe to say, it’s a great city to visit.
How many days do I need in Merida?
The right amount of days to explore Merida depends on what activities you’re looking to do. If you want to see the major tourist spots and catch some gorgeous architecture, then 3 days should be more than enough to explore.
However, if you plan on staying in Merida as a base and visiting the surrounding attractions you can plan a whole week.
Is Merida worth visiting?
Merida is a vibrant city full of colonial-era architecture, traditional markets, and plenty of delicious local eats. The historical center of Merida features cobblestone streets and beautiful colonial buildings that have been around since the 1500s.
If you’re looking for an exciting cultural experience and some fun outdoor activities, then it’s well worth the visit.
How To Get from Cancun to Merida – Frequently Asked Questions
How far is Merida from Cancun?
The driving distance between Merida and Cancun is roughly 300 km. It takes at least 3 hours and 45 minutes to drive it, pending you’re going straight-through with no stops.
What’s the distance from Cancun Airport to Merida?
If you’re flying into Cancun International Airport and plan to head over to Merida, it’s important to know the distance between the two locations.
The exact mileage from Cancun Airport (CUN) to Merida is roughly 300 km. Depending on traffic and construction, the route you take, and the stops you plan, it can take anywhere from 3 hours and 45 minutes to upwards of 5 hours.
What airport do you fly into for Merida Mexico?
For travelers looking to visit the vibrant city of Merida, Mexico, there is only one airport they can fly into. Aeropuerto Internacional Manuel Crescencio Rejón (MID) is located in the state of Yucatan and serves as a major hub for airline companies throughout North America and Europe.
This modern airport offers travelers from all over the world direct flights to Mexico City, Guatemala City, Cancun, and Belize City.
Due to the limited incoming flights to the Merida airport, others fly into Cancun first. While this does require you to get from Cancun to Merida, it can be a great way to see 2 amazing Mexican cities on the same trip.
Where’s the ADO bus station in Merida?
There are 5 bus terminals utilized by ADO buses in Merida, including:
- ADO Terminal Alterna Paseo 60
- ADO Altabrisa
- ADO Centro Historico Tame
- ADO Fiesta Americana
- Terminal del Centro
Final Thoughts: Cancun to Merida Transportation
If you’re headed to Merida, Mexico, but you’re flying into Cancun International Airport, you’re probably looking for the best way to get there.
Cancun is one of the busiest airports in the country. Since Merida has a lack of international destinations that fly there it’s not surprising that many planning to visit the bustling city fly through here.
The good news is there are plenty of options to get from the airport in Cancun to wherever you’re staying or visiting in Merida. It’s really NOT a day trip kind of activity — but you can easily spend a few days getting to know this historic city.
My favorite way to travel between the two cities is via private transport. Not only is it comfortable, but it’s also pretty affordable too.
But regardless of what method you choose, make sure you have pesos to tip. And do yourself a BIG favor and book your trip in advance. That’s the best way for you to get the most affordable prices.