Launched late last year, the Maya Train is touted as one of Mexico's greatest infrastructure projects this century, and it's not hard to see why: it has revolutionized travel in the Caribbean states, linking the bustling resort city of Cancun to key spots in Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and beyond.
If you're an American tourist landing in Cancun, you can now easily board the train and visit other beautiful destinations in the Mayan Riviera or the Yucatanese hinterland in a safe manner and without paying exorbitant private transfer fees, nor resort to overpriced tour operators.
While the Cancun to Palenque route has been up and running since December, the long-awaited Southeast-bound route, which will call at the beach town of Tulum, was not finalized for the inaugural journey on December 1.
When Will The Cancun-Tulum Train Launch?
Fast forward a month, and tourists are yet to be able to get to Tulum with the popular train.
This has been a cause of disappointment for some, especially vacationers who headed to Tulum this winter, who are still not protected from abusive transfer fares or are required to trust local buses.
In response to the criticism, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has finally confirmed the launch not only of the Cancun-Chetumal line (calling at Tulum), but the completion date of the whole of the Maya Train, and all stations that have been promised.
According to AMLO, the Maya Train will open fully by summer, after June 2, at the earliest, once the election passes.
This means tourists flying to Tulum over summer will no longer be ‘isolated', in terms of rail connectivity, from the rest of Quintana Roo and the wider Yucatan peninsula.
Right now, the easiest way to reach Tulum landing in Cancun is booking a private or shared transfer, though they can easily cost a whopping $180 one-way, and that's no guarantee it will be stress-free or particularly smooth.
Other than being expensive, the journey takes around 1.5 and 2 hours to complete, and that's without considering the region's crazy traffic and already-expected congestion, as the route 307 linking Cancun to Tulum is one of the busiest in Mexico.
The budget option is the ADO buses – $25 – but if you're coming to the Caribbean on a luxurious holiday, cramming yourself into local public transport is probably not something you're keen on experiencing.
How Long Will The Cancun-Tulum Train Take?
While we don't know yet how long trains departing from Cancun will take to arrive at Tulum, it's safe to say they will be a lot quicker and a much more affordable alternative.
Economy tickets on available routes sell for around $43 one-way, and the train is generally on time.
We can, however, offer you an estimate. The distance between Cancun and Tulum is 81 miles: taking into account the train's speed time, set at 160 km/h for now, it would take around 48 minutes and 53 seconds to reach Tulum, traveling nonstop.
Of course, that won't be the case, as there are two further planned stops at Puerto Morelos and Playa Del Carmen.
Either way, the journey is expected to last just under or an hour, without delays. This means it will be incredibly easy for tourists based in Cancun to get to Tulum for the day and back, and vice-versa.
Cancun and Tulum are two of the trendiest beach areas in the Mayan Riviera. The latter is a bustling resort city and tropical getaway home to luxurious all-inclusives and a long stretch of white-sandy beach. As for Tulum, it is all that, plus a cultural center.
Tulum is where you'll find the iconic postcard view of Mayan ruins sitting atop a tall cliff facing the bright-blue Caribbean, as well as an extensive archaeological zone best known for the intricate details that still survive on temple walls, and the fortress-like, 15th-century Castillo.
Once launched next summer, the Cancun-Tulum train will significantly improve connectivity for tourists commuting between these two trendy spots.
On top of a passenger train, Tulum is also home to its very own international airport now, with flights from key U.S. cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York-JFK and Orlando.
As far as we're concerned, with a fast-speed train available and a new aviation hub serving the Southern end of the state of Quintana Roo, the era of long, stressful landside transfers from Cancun to Tulum is officially over.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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