This article was first posted on Yolisto by Joanne on October 11, 2011
(Prices and departure times vary over time)
(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
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 at terminal 2 GET A PORTER to take you to the ADO location. It's way on the
opposite end of the terminal and this will get you there with minimal fuss and
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.
Getting from Merida to Cancun by Bus