June 17, 2024

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Ever since its debut last December, the Maya Train has revolutionized travel across the Mexican Caribbean, making it easier to get around the region, dealing a blow to the taxi monopoly, and bringing it in line with far-more developed tourist destinations.

Young Woman Holding A Straw Hat As She Admires A View Of The Tulum Ruins In The Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

Contrary to initial expectations, however, the the train did not launch fully, and the entire southern section, the most awaited route, yet to be opened: you can already reach Valladolid, Merida and San Francisco de Campeche, but gorgoeus beach hotspot Tulum remains off-limits.

That is, until August at least:

Trains From Cancun To Tulum Officially Launch In Late Summer

Maya Train Tracks In Mexico, Latin AmericaMaya Train Tracks In Mexico, Latin America

It looks like the long-anticipated Cancun-Tulum train is finally off the drawing board, as after multiple setbacks resulting from environmentalist protests and construction delays, Federal Government spokesperson themselves have reaffirmed it will be up and running from August.

Not only will Tulum be connected to the Maya Train route, but the nether half of Quintana Roo, including the up-and-coming lake region of Bacalar and Chetumal, the capital of the state, which all compromise the ‘last section’ yet to be inaugurated.

Workers install rails for the Mayan Train in Section 4, which runs from Cancun to Mérida parallel to the toll highway.Workers install rails for the Mayan Train in Section 4, which runs from Cancun to Mérida parallel to the toll highway.

Back to Tulum, though, it is the most sought-after destination on the southbound route, as it is home to the world-famous Tulum Archaeological Zone, dotted with well-preserved Mayan pyramids and historical ruins dating back centuries, and a stunning resort-lined beachfront.

It is also where the most iconic postcard picture representative of the Mexican Caribbean is taken.

If you’ve ever wondered where exactly the scenic temple resting on the edge of a small cliff, towering above a sandy beach and the turquoise Caribbean is located, you needn’t look much further.

Tulum is where you’ll find it.

View Of The Tulum Ruins In The Mexican Caribbean, Mexico, Latin AmericaView Of The Tulum Ruins In The Mexican Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America

Besides the cultural aspect, which—for some at least—make it far more interesting than the ahistorical Cancun, it’s got its own development zone, filled with landmark luxury hotels and guesthouses that cater to an international clientele, and plenty of beachclubs.

The fact that the Maya Train did not immediately launch towards Tulum, while tickets to far less popular—and incredible, nonetheless—destinations like Izamal and San Francisco de Campeche were immediately available, has raised some complaints from beachgoers.

Why Is This Train Launch Important To Travelers?

A woman waiting on a train stationA woman waiting on a train station

As long as the train route isn’t open, Tulum-bound travelers who have landed in Cancun are required to take a coach, not exactly the most comfortable way of travel, costing $14, or book private transfers from $135, if they’re lucky and avoid getting scammed by their transportation provider.

The Maya Train will help diversify the modes of transport on this ever-busier route and improve traffic congestion.

Additionally, it is a lot safer and more reliable than taxis, as ticket fares are fixed.

Trains are far safer and more timely than ADO buses.

Mayan Ruins In Tulum, Mexico, Latin AmericaMayan Ruins In Tulum, Mexico, Latin America

The trains are equipped with cushioned seats, AC to withstand the overpowering humidity outside, charging sockets, and spacious, clean toilets:

European standards of quality in every way, and if the Cancun-Merida or Cancun-Campeche travel experiences are any indication, the 2h30-hour journey to Tulum will feel like a breeze.

How Successful Has The Maya Train Been?

View of Tren Maya sign in MexicoView of Tren Maya sign in Mexico

Controversies aside, the Maya Train has served 50,876 people from its start date, the equivalent of 927 passengers per day.

These are far lower numbers compared to similar passenger routes in other major tourist destinations, but usage has been steadily increasing as more routes are made available.

Currently, the most popular routes are Merida Teya to Cancun Airport, with 4,872 tickets sold, Merida Teya to San Francisco (Campeche), coming in second with 4,734 passengers, and the reverse Cancun Airport to Merida Teya, 4,521 individual sales.

Aerial view of beach in MexicoAerial view of beach in Mexico

As Tulum is the second most visited spot in the Mayan Riviera after Cancun, attracting millions of American and European visitors every month, we expect the upcoming route to quickly overtake demand for Merida, currently a leading destination.

Ticket prices for Tulum have not yet been announced, but based on the journey length, and other train fares for other destinations that are between 2h00-2h30 from Cancun, such as Valladolid and Izamal, a seat in the budget-friendly ‘Tourist Class’ could between $27-48 to book.

Don’t worry. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop once we find out more.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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