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Cancun Tourists Express Concerns As Maya Train Operational Setbacks Continue

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After nearly three months since its inauguration, the Maya Train’s operational challenges continue to negatively impact the tourist experience.

The gargantuan project, costing $29 billion USD, has been eagerly awaited since its conception a few years back, as the need for a reliable and affordable travel option in the Yucatan Peninsula is very real.

Confused tourist

Up until its arrival, tourists pretty much relied on pricey private transfers or taxi rides to move around Cancun and the rest of the region.

At first glance, the initial results look quite promising. After all, by February-end, the train had transported over 65,000 passengers, boasting a noteworthy 84% occupancy rate- so demand is clearly not an issue.

However, ever since its debut in December, Cancun tourists taking the Maya Train have expressed frustration due to a series of problems, from lack of information regarding ticket availability and schedules to high transportation costs.

Tourist at train station

So, what exactly is going on with the Maya Train, and what can travelers expect in the near future?

Let’s find out.

Cancun – Playa Del Carmen Route Still Not Functional

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador inaugurated the Cancun-Playa Del Carmen section – one of the most anticipated sections of the complete 1,550 km route – on February 29th.

But since then, no information regarding tickets or departures has been published in the official Maya Train website or at the stations yet, leaving travelers confused.

The good news is that, according to Maya Train ticket agents, the route is set to begin operations as soon as next week. 

Maya Train station and railway under construction

Yet, given the project’s history of changing prices and schedules seemingly overnight – after all, the complete route was supposed to be ready by February 29th – you probably shouldn’t hold your breath on this one.

Moreover, the Cancun-Palenque route has halted one of the two morning departures, with the afternoon departure only reaching Campeche. 

Operational Setbacks Continue To Impact Travelers

Reviews from Maya Train passengers are something of a mixed bag. Some describe the experience as ‘amazing’, while others voice complaints regarding late departures, frequent stops, and malfunctioning air conditioning and WiFi.

But perhaps the most common complaint revolves around the overall lack of information, as many Cancun tourists have struggled to find updated information about departures at their hotel or the train portal.

Tourists looking at map with confusion

Moreover, many travelers assume that the Maya Train station at the Cancun International Airport is at the airport, as the name implies.

But in reality, the actual Maya Train station is about a 15-20 minute ride from any of the airport terminals, so it’s practically unreachable by foot.

There is, fortunately, a free shuttle that can take you to the Maya Train station, leaving every 20 minutes, so getting there from the airport is actually quite easy.

Still, if you happened to miss the shuttle for any of the two departures, at 7am and 5pm – you can do the math on how long you’d need to wait.

maya train station sign

Some travelers in this situation have also noticed the lack of transportation from the Cancun Airport train station to downtown Cancun, which is exacerbated by the poor internet connection, which makes it difficult to find more options.

If you’re coming from downtown Cancun, you can expect to pay around $25-30 USD for a taxi ride only to get to the station, which can be expensive for some travelers already on a budget.

What To Expect From The Maya Train In The Near Future

There’s no doubt that the Maya Train has the potential to become the ambitious project it’s meant to be, revolutionizing travel in the Yucatan Peninsula and promoting economic growth in one of the poorest regions in the country. 

Workers building the Maya Train near Cancun

But it seems like those in charge must take action to solve at least some of the aforementioned issues, or the project’s reputation could be greatly tarnished. 

We can only hope these challenges are addressed in a timely fashion, but only time will tell. 

Right now, the inauguration of the complete route has been pushed back to the summer season, potentially until August.

Aerial View of Part of the Maya Train Route in Mexico

For the time being, your best bet is to stay updated on the latest developments to ensure a hassle-free Maya Train experience during your next Cancun getaway.

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Tom Cook

Sunday 10th of March 2024

I’m sure a project this large will take time to work properly. I’m kind of glad that it’s taking time so that all the bugs will get worked out but I’m like everybody else. I can’t wait to use it. Good job, Mexican government.