Home NewsPeninsulaCampeche How can I book tickets for the Maya Train on my next trip to México?

How can I book tickets for the Maya Train on my next trip to México?

by Yucatan Times
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On Dec. 16, Mexico’s Maya Train took its inaugural trip from Cancún to the Gulf Coast city of Campeche. If all goes as intended, the highly ambitious and controversial project will provide travelers with an alternative to driving long distances between major attractions on the Yucatán Peninsula. However, with one phase partially ready and two still incomplete, the train remains shrouded in uncertainty and unknowns.

“There could be a good way to use a train to cover the area, but to cut to the chase, the whole process has really lacked a lot of transparency,” said Zachary Rabinor, founder and chief executive of Journey Mexico, a luxury travel company that has been running trips south of the border since 2003. “I don’t have a lot of answers to the specifics about the cost of tickets or when the track will be ready, largely because that information has been very difficult to ascertain.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador inaugurated the train, which is estimated to cost as much as $28 billion, on Dec. 15. The following day, the first two trains — running in opposite directions — departed hours behind schedule, according to The Associated Press.

When complete, the railway will feature 34 stations or stops in five southeastern states: Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, and Tabasco. The train will transport visitors along both coasts and inland, which has been less accessible than the more developed beach resort and urban areas. With more than 947 miles of track, the Maya Train surpasses the distance of Great Britain from top to bottom, the Mexican Embassy in Washington said.

“There is a large section of the interior of the peninsula that doesn’t have highways or roads,” said Marilyn Masson, professor of anthropology at the University at Albany SUNY, who has been working in Mexico for nearly two dozen years. “In the more remote sections, the train could potentially help these communities be better connected to the outside world.”

Here is what we know about the railway so far.

Tourists visit the archeological site of Tulum on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Where does the Maya Train go?

In its first phase, the train between Cancún and Campeche will run twice a day each way, with morning departures. There are 14 stops along this route, including the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá. However, Expansion, a Mexican online news outlet, reported that the stops at tourist sites were not ready. For the interim, passengers can only disembark at Teya, near Mérida.

In official statements and on the Tren Maya website, the government said it had plans to open the second stretch of the train route, from the archaeological site Edzná to Palenque, by Dec. 31. It is aiming to launch the final phase — which will travel down the Caribbean coast, linking Cancún to beach resorts Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tulum before looping back to Escárcega in Campeche state — by the end of February.

Eventually, the three routes will link a vast array of attractions on the Yucatán Peninsula, such as UNESCO World Heritage sites, biosphere reserves, beach resorts, gastronomic and cultural destinations, and some of the country’s top archaeological sites. It will also connect travelers with airports in Cancún and Tulum, the latter of which opened on Dec. 1, and expects to start receiving international flights in late March.

Tourists walk at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

How much does the Maya Train cost?

The government said it will offer a variety of prices, including lower fares for locals. However, only two fares — tourist and premium — were available on e-Ticket. The regular fare from Cancún to Campeche costs about $68; a first-class ticket goes for about $109. A nominal service and delivery fee is extra .

The cost of the total route has not been published yet.

Where can I buy train tickets?

Tickets are sold through e-Ticket, which can be accessed through Tren Maya’s website. In a test, we were able to book passage on a 7 a.m. train from Cancún to Campeche, but we didn’t purchase a spot. The Mexican embassy said passengers can also buy them at ticket booths.

Will I need a shuttle from the Cancún airport to the train depot?

According to local reports, the Minister of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation said passengers arriving at the Cancún airport can catch an electric minibus to the station on the airport’s outskirts. The Mexican Embassy said the government will provide a free shuttle until it establishes a permanent trolley bus.

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