We Took the Tren Maya from Mérida to Cancún, and Here is What We Learned

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The Tren Maya rolls into Teya Station on the outskirts of Mérida. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The Tren Maya rolled into Mérida’s Teya station Tuesday at exactly 9:36 a.m., right on time. 

The Teya Tren Maya Station is on the outskirts of Merida. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Tickets for non-nationals currently cost MX$1,318  (about US$77) for tourist class and MX$2,091 (about US$120) for premiere class. Special fares for domestic travelers and residents of Mexico’s southeast are also available at a hefty discount.

Tickets for the Tren Maya are now being sold directly at Mérida’s Teya station. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

For more information on how to get to Mérida’s Teya station check out our article on the Ie-Tram here

Pets are not allowed on the train, though service animals with the proper documentation are.

The main difference between tourist and premiere classes is that premiere offers considerably more legroom and a box lunch upon boarding. The seats in both sections are fairly comfortable, however, they do not recline. 

Sleeper cars and restaurants are yet to be added and will likely not be until sometime next year. 

The food served on the train thus far is far from stellar, but will do in a pinch. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Although the trip was completely sold out, most seats remained empty as only a handful were sold to the public.

Both tourist and premiere classes were mostly empty, despite being officially sold out. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

This is apparently because the train is still in a test phase in which operators will be slowly increasing its load. 

The ride was, for the most part, very smooth and reached a maximum cruising speed of up to 76.5 mph. 

But these spurts of speed were interrupted by several points when the train slowed down to practically a crawl on areas of the track still under construction.

Although the route made its way through several other stations, boarding and disembarking were not possible — as the stations were still not entirely complete. 

Some of the stations, including the one in Izamal and Valladolid, currently look almost complete, at least from the train. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Whenever the train approached a station, it would slow down and make a complete stop to conduct inspections. Sometimes this would only take a few minutes, but in the case of the station at Piste (Chichén Itzá), it took close to half an hour. 

The length of this prolonged stop allowed a train running in the opposite direction to get by. This is because a single track services the entire route.

Once complete, the second track of the Tren Maya will presumably eliminate the need for prolonged stops. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Once the train had reached the Cancún airport station, the trip had lasted almost 6 hours and was 1.5 hours late. 

Passengers arriving at the Cancún airport station on the Tren Maya. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Of all the stations along the Tren Maya’s Route 1, the station at the Cancún airport is by far the least complete and is still under construction.

The Tren Maya station in Cancún still lacks much of the needed infrastructure, including parking and bathroom facilities. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The station at Cancún also had a very heavy military presence, which was rather unnerving and seemed a little excessive. 

Menacing-looking members of Mexico’s armed forces could be seen all over the place in the Cancún Tren Maya Terminal, brandishing tactical gear and large weapons. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The verdict

The Tren Maya shows a lot of potential, but despite claims that it is fully operational, this is not the case. 

The Tren Maya is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects to ever be developed in southeastern México but is not ready for primetime. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The ride was pleasant, as was the staff and the seats, while not the most comfortable in the world, were certainly not bad. 

Each seat on the Tren Maya comes equipped with USB chargers but lacks electricity plugs. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The experience of traveling through Yucatán by train, especially such a modern-looking one, is quite an experience, even with all of the delays.

Each passenger on the Tren Maya is entitled to a 25kg suitcase and a couple of carry-on items. Sections for larger pieces of luggage are available at the front and back of each wagon.

Remember that whether your final destination is the Cancún airport or Cancún itself, you will need to take a shuttle from the Tren Maya station. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

But at the end of the day, the Tren Maya connection to the Cancún airport is not viable for those in a hurry or connecting flights, as delays are likely to continue to be a reality for several months at the very least. 

When completed, the Tren Maya will traverse Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. Photo: Courtesy
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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