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Taking the bus from Cancun to Merida

This article is in response to a forum post stating that the poster is unsure about taking the ADO bus from Cancun to Merida since his Spanish skills are minimal. I have sent these instructions to many of our vacation rental guests and everyone has managed without problem and most without knowing a word of Spanish, so I am copying them here.

The ADO (in Spanish it is pronounced "ah-day-oh") bus has routes between Cancun and Merida. They are all first class buses, all with plush seats and air conditioning. There are three levels of service. ADO, ADO-GL and ADO Platino. ADO is first class, ADO-GL is luxury and ADO Platino is super luxury. Platino has the most leg room and has fully reclining seats, blankets, sleep masks and ear plugs. Prices are about 260 pesos per person on ADO, with ADO-GL at 350 pesos and 480 pesos on Platino. There is also a direct from Cancun airport to Merida bus, priced the same as Platino. The buses are all very well air conditioned, please bring a sweater or jacket and long pants for the bus ride.

There is a bus about every hour or more from Cancun to Merida. They will either go to CAME (pronounced "camay") which is the downtown bus station or to Fiesta Americana and Alta Brisa.

If arriving in Terminal 2 (domestic flights, flights from Canada, Central America, Europe), proceed outdoors from arrivals, turn right at the bottom of the ramp and walk all the way to near the very end of the terminal. You will see the last row of buses and the ADO buses are in the two slots closest to the terminal. There is a podium with an ADO employee selling tickets. Buy your shuttle tickets to the downtown Cancun bus station and your Cancun-Merida tickets there. Alternately there is now a booth at the right, attached to the outer wall of the airport, you can buy your tickets there. (There are some renovations going on, so this may change.)

If arriving in Terminal 3 (primarily flights from the USA), the ADO booth is INSIDE the terminal - you will see it just after you exit Customs, on the left side. Buy your ticket there. If it is closed, proceed outdoors past the tiki bar and purchase your tickets at the podium beside the bus parking.

The driver/attendant will take your bags and put them under the bus, he will take your shuttle ticket and you may board the bus.

When you arrive at the downtown Cancun bus station, get off the bus, get your luggage, walk along the walkway to the right of the bus. (Exit signs say "Salida".) Go through the turnstiles and enter the main bus station. You will see the front doors with taxis waiting directly in front of you. Stay in the station and turn left. Walk to the end and you will be in the waiting room for ADO. If you have tickets on ADO-GL or Platino you may enter the VIP waiting room through the doors which have a security guard. This “luxury service” room has a baggage check area. You hand your bags to the young men working behind the counter, show them your bus tickets, they will tag your bags and have them loaded on the correct bus and will give you a claim check for each bag. (There is also a free restroom in this VIP waiting area.)

Watch the time and about 10 minutes before your bus is due to leave they will announce that they are boarding. This announcement is in Spanish only, so if you do not understand it, just walk to the boarding door with your ticket and they will tell you which bus to get on, or will tell you if it is not boarding yet. If the tickets are printed with a 24-hour time on it be aware that a 2:15 pm departure is written as 14:15 (for example). Again, take your luggage to the bus (or check it at the GL and Platino counter if you are on a GL or Platino bus) and the assistant will load them in the cargo hold. He will tag them with a numbered tag and give you the corresponding tag which you must show in order to claim your bags at the end. You may have to show your passport to get on the bus, give the driver your ticket and find your seat. Seats are assigned when you buy your ticket, so look for the correct seat number.

There are two buses per day (most days) that leave from the Cancun airport and travel directly to Merida without needing to take a shuttle to downtown Cancun. They leave Cancun airport at 1pm and 5pm, so if this timing works for you it is the easiest option. It is about 480 pesos each. You may select a Fiesta Americana or Alta Brisa drop off on this bus.

It is about a 4 hour bus ride from Cancun to Merida.

You may find that some people working at the airport will tell you that there is no shuttle to downtown or that they are all sold out or some similar story. They are lying to you in order to get you in their taxi at a much much higher price (more than 10 times as much). Ignore them, don't even talk to them, just walk away. The shuttle bus runs from about 5 am to 11 pm and there is a bus at least every 30 minutes. The trip from the airport to downtown Cancun takes 30 minutes whether by taxi or by shuttle, there is no difference.

A few notes:
Either take the direct from airport to Merida bus OR take the shuttle from the airport to downtown Cancun and then take the bus to Merida.

If arriving in Terminal 2, you have to walk to the far end of the Terminal to catch the bus. A lot of guys tend to hassle you to get in their taxi and you can get caught up by someone who is aggressive so it’s best to get a porter (available after you exit Customs) to take your bags and get you right to the ADO spot. (remember, in Spanish it is pronounced ah - day - oh) . All the other people will leave you alone when they see you with a porter. Remember to tip him about 5-10 pesos per bag. This is my number one tip for making things easier – get a porter – he will get you to the correct spot without hassle and deliver your bags and you directly where you need to be.
There are 3 stops in Merida - CAME (pronounced camay), Fiesta Americana and Alta Brisa. We always take the next available bus but keep in mind that there are rarely taxis at Alta Brisa so it’s best to avoid that stop. (The buses that go to Alta Brisa also go to Fiesta Americana.)


1. Exit Customs. Grab a porter - you will see them waiting at the sign that says you can't take your luggage cart any further.
2. Tell the porter you are going to ADO (ah-day-oh). Now you just follow along behind him and no one will bother you.
3. Buy your ticket. The ticket sellers speak English. Once you have the ticket have the porter leave your bags by the bus. (One ticket on the direct to Merida bus or a shuttle ticket and a Merida ticket.)
4. Get on the bus. If you are on the shuttle to Cancun, grab your bags and go through the station to the waiting room and catch the bus to Merida.


For ADO´s tracking and modest insurance coverage, it is better to turn your bags into the baggage area one-half hour prior to the scheduled departure time. If you try to turn the bags in much earlier, you are likely to be told to wait until one-half hour before. If you try to turn the bags in much later than 30 minutes before, you may be rebuffed and told to take the bags to the bus yourself. (However, a tip can occasionally soften that rebuff.) By doing so, you get a ticket receipt for each bag.

My experience, watching others, is that you are not likely to receive a receipt if you turn you bag in directly at curbside. I have had the same experience in the USA.

The foregoing aside, your baggage is probably safe on the direct Merida to Cancun trips, as there are no long layovers or change of buses. Going, say, Merida to the DF, is a different kettle of fish.
Dec 11 2011 04:28 PM
Once we take the bus from Cancun to Merida, where can we catch the bus from Merida to Progreso?
For the Autoprogreso buses, see http://www.autoprogr...sportation.html YucatanCare has posted the same question in a forum, where folks have responded in detail.
If you catch one of the few buses that go from Cancun to a lot across (west of) the Fiesta Americana, Autoprogreso buses pass by going north on Calle 60.
I'm finally doing this, and I'm taking these instructions with me.

Do you know if ADO takes credit cards?
ADO takes credit cards on their website, but I don't know of anyone being successful with a non-Mexican issued credit card. When buying tickets at an ADO kiosk (like the one in the mall in Progreso) it is cash only. Not sure about other locations.
I've used my U.S. issued credit card at the Fiesta Americana, Alta Brisa, and Playa del Carmen ADO locations with no problems.
We arrive in Cancun on July 3rd to visit relatives who live in Telchac Puerto (they are suggesting we take the van instead because of limited spanish?!) But, I am trying to convince them it is ok that our lack of spanish can get us from the airport terminal to the downtown bus station & then on the right bus with these instructions in hand (because we really do not want to be on a van for 3+ hours!)...Just checking that since this was posted, nothing has changed/updated that we need to be aware of? Wondering, also if the shuttle to the downtown terminal is included in the price of the ticket from Cancun to Merida and if not, how much is the shuttle? Lastly, if we take Platino, is it non-stop to Merida (ultimately we need to go to Alta Brisa where our family will be waiting). Sorry for so many questions - we want to be prepared :-) - but thank you in advance for any information!
Responding to JenB, at least in part,...

Yes, I believe Joanne's report remains valid in its principal details.

Yes, you are most likely not going to have any problems owing ot your lack of Spanish. Many tourists from many different lands make it just fine.

Comment: the Sprinter van or the once daily bus is quite comfortable,and the total time elapsing between your van trip start and arrival, including to Altabrisa, is at least 1 hr less than the other routings.

The shuttle price from airport to downtown Cancun CAME is something on the order of 35 pesos. Whatever the exact price, it is cheap. It is separate from the Cancun CAME to Merida ticket price, unless something has changed.

The regular, GL, and Platino line ADO buses from Cancun CAME to Merida are all nonstop. The difference is in the level of luxury. All are comfortable. GL and Platino both provide more leg room than the regular, which, however, is ample for this 6' tall rider. Note that there are few buses from Cancun CAME to Merida Altabrisa station. You can use the ADO website to check and print out schedules, though it is a bit tricky. The real question is, what time is your flight likely to arrive, and how does that arrival plus an hour or so for immigration clearance etc, correspond to the airport to Merida direct service (which includes a bus as well as the Sprinter)?

For that matter, if you do come into the Merida CAME (and the van does NOT go there), you can take a cab to the Altabrisa ADO station (if your family is determined to meet you there) or other point. The ADO-run cab service from Merida CAME is reliable, has fixed prices, and its cabbies are pros -- this is not the who knows what you will get scene you can find at many US airports.

Anyhow, however you do it, all will work out okay.

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