Everything Confirmed So Far About The Maya Train Stations Opening Up To Ancient Sites


  • The construction of the Maya Train aims to make travel around the Yucatán Peninsula easier and more accessible, benefiting both tourists and locals.
  • The cost of the Maya Train project has increased to a staggering $28 billion, sparking both outrage and excitement among the public.
  • Once fully functioning, the Maya Train will offer three different experiences for passengers, ranging from a simple passenger ride to sleeper car service.

It used to be that the only way to get around the Yucatán Peninsula was via taxi, shuttle, or bus. The options for visitors were either not appealing or incredibly expensive. Because of transportation issues, people who may have wanted to explore different areas of the Yucatán Peninsula never did. This led to a loss of income for the region, a region where tourism and tourism dollars are greatly appreciated.

To make travel easier to the Yucatán Peninsula, construction on the Maya Train began in 2020. The goal was to get the tourists at resorts to the archeological sites and the surrounding communities. By doing this, tourism dollars would be further spread across Mexico and jobs would be brought to the region as well.


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Since the launch of a partial section in December 2023, there have been issues with the Maya Train. But, officials believe that the kinks have been worked out. As more of the sections continue to open through February 2024, the public will learn more about the train service and potential problems.

Here is what has been confirmed so far about the Maya Train stations opening up to ancient sites.

The Maya Train Project Was Designed To Make Travel Easier Around The Yucatán Peninsula

The Yucatán Peninsula has long been closed off from tourism in remote locations

Yucatan pyramid
Photo by Luis Aceves on Unsplash

Ancient site in Yucatan MX

The Yucatán Peninsula has long had problems with getting tourists from resorts to more remote locations. For those who wanted to visit archeological sites or see the newly opened Maya ruins, either expensive tours or charters had to be booked, a taxi had to be hired, or an attempt had to be made to navigate the bus system.

The Mexican government saw an opportunity to get more tourists to the southern end of the peninsula by constructing infrastructure that would get both residents and tourists alike around the Yucatán Peninsula more easily. This was how the Maya Train came to be.

Construction started on the train in 2020. There was excitement at the prospect of transportation via rail, not only making the Yucatán Peninsula more accessible but also bringing jobs to the locals.


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Trains would be made in Mexico and workers would be hired to clear land and lay rail lines that stretch 290 miles, with 600 miles more planned for the future. It would be an economic boom for the Yucatán Peninsula from start to finish.

The first sections of the line were opened in December 2023, according to Alstom, with travel from Cancún and Campeche. Next in line are Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatán and Quintana Roo. The remainder of the line will continue to be worked on until completed in February 2024.

The Cost Of The Maya Train Project

The cost of the Maya Train has soared to $28 billion

Maya Train construction 

The original cost of the Maya Train was an estimated $7.5 billion, a figure that some balked at given that it was believed that the money being put towards the train could go towards other and more pressing issues in Mexico. But, with the economic boom that was projected, the project moved forward.

As the project moved forward, the cost of the Maya Train increased. No longer was the estimate $7.5 billion, but $8.6 billion. However, that figure would not stick either as it was announced in 2019 that the actual figure would be closer to $25.3 billion.

It was not until 2023 that the final figures for the Maya Train were revealed and that it cost a staggering $28 billion.


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Whether it was known from the start that the Maya Train would be as expensive as it was and the numbers were low-balled to appease the public is unknown. However, when the tens of billions were exposed as being the final cost, some were outraged at the figure.

“I just think the money could have been spent on more important things, like housing and conservation,” critics have said. “Mexico has much bigger problems to focus on right now – a train that destroys our jungles and Indigenous communities isn’t a priority.”

But for those who were against the cost, others are thrilled that the train is up and running and cannot wait to see the economic benefits to both the Yucatán Peninsula and Mexico as a whole.

The Three Different Experiences Passengers Can Enjoy On The Maya Train

The Maya Train offers a passenger car, a dining car, and a sleeping car

Once the Maya Train is fully functioning come February 2024, there will be three different experiences for travelers to enjoy that range from a simple passenger ride to sleeper car service.

  • Xiinbal: This is the service that allows travelers to sit on the train to get from Point A to Point B. While the seats are said to be comfortable and have panoramic windows for great views, this is the no-frills service for the Maya Train.
  • Janal: This is the service that provides dining cars complete with indigenous dishes that travelers can enjoy while on their train trip. The dining cars are said to have comfortable seating for riders to relax and eat as they watch the scenery go by to and from their excursion.
  • P’atal: This service is for those who require a sleeper car for their trip. It is said to have “comfortable cabins” to relax and stretch out on longer train trips.

Of course, the more luxurious the accommodations, the more expensive the tickets for the Maya Train trip will be.

The Maya Train Has Had Its Controversies

The Maya Train project has faced controversies like deforestation, pollution, and displacing Maya people

Suytun Cenote, Valladolid, Mexico

Suytun Cenote, Valladolid, Mexico, one of the best Yucatan Peninsula cenotes

Since breaking ground, the Maya Train has faced its fair share of controversies. While the cost was one of them, there have also been environmental issues and the displacement of Maya people that have caused concern for the region.

In order to get to the southernmost part of the Yucatán Peninsula, there has been mass deforestation of the region. Species like spider monkeys, jaguars, and even macaws that were once seen on tropical wildlife encounters in the area have seen their habitats decimated.

The cenotes that are on many people’s bucket lists, or underground caves that the Maya culture revered as a “portal to the gods of the underworld,” are being slowly destroyed. With the cement and concrete dust clogging up the natural unspoiled freshwater ecosystems of the region, it is feared that life will cease to exist in them when pollution increases.

To make the Maya Train go through the region, many Maya people were displaced from their land. While some were paid by the government taking the land, others were simply forced off because they could not provide documentation that they were the rightful owners of the property in question.

Despite these controversies, most in the region are excited about the economic boom that has been promised with the rail system connecting the Yucatán Peninsula to the rest of Mexico and believe their future will be better for it.

How To Get Tickets For The New Sections Of The Maya Train

Maya Train tickets can be purchased online or at train stations

While sections of the Maya Train have been opened for travel for a few weeks, the new stations are on the verge of opening soon. Those stations that will be opening soon include:

  • Palenque
  • Boca del Cerro
  • Tenosique
  • El Triunfo
  • Candelaria
  • Escárcega
  • Carrillo Puerto
  • Edzná

This is exciting to both residents of smaller towns and travelers alike. For residents, these stations make travel easier throughout Mexico and allow for more employment opportunities. For visitors, it gives easy access to UNESCO sites as well as other archeological regions in the Yucatán Peninsula.

To reserve tickets for the operating train stations, of which there will ultimately be 34, passengers can use eTicket or go directly to the station. Prices for the tickets range from $68 to $108. But given the prices of tickets has been fluctuating, these prices are subject to change.

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