This arrangement gives you the most freedom to plan your schedule, and it can be very cost effective if you’re traveling with friends or family, that way you can split the cost.
The journey by car from Cancun to Chichen Itza (or vice versa) takes about 2.5 hours of driving, and the roads are in great condition. The distance is about 200 kilometers (125 miles).
You’ll be driving on the 180D highway, which is a toll road. At the time of writing, the toll is about 400 pesos (~$21 USD) each way, and it can only be paid in Mexican pesos (no credit cards or US dollars), so make sure you bring enough cash.
Along the way, you can also stop at other sites like the 16th century city of Valladolid, and the many beautiful cenotes near Chichen Itza.
Remember to book your rental car through a reputable company and take photos of the whole vehicle body to avoid any possible rental damage scams.
For Chichen Itza, keep in mind you will still need entrance tickets to visit, even if you drive yourself. It’s a good idea to book your Chichen Itza entrance tickets online in advance, that way you can skip the line when you get there and spend more time touring the ruins.