How to Buy ADO Bus Tickets Online With an American Credit Card

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my multiple trips to Mexico, it’s that not all buses are created equal.  I’ve been in everything from crowded minibuses that are stuck in first gear to luxury buses that put the USA to shame.  Of these, ADO Bus Mexico is the operator you want if at all possible — no other company is as reliable, in my experience.  The only problem is that you can’t buy ADO bus tickets on their website if you have an American credit card, which means you’ll end up trekking to the nearest station to buy a ticket in person (and losing out on the advance purchase discount).

First Things First: Check the ADO Bus Schedule (and Verify if they Travel Your Route)

ADO has a pretty big route network in Mexico, but they aren’t everywhere.  For the most part, you’ll find them traveling between major cities (most recently, I took them from Oaxaca to Puebla) and between major tourist hotspots, like the  bus from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen.

The ADO website doesn’t have an English website, but checking the schedule is simple enough in Spanish.  Just use their drop down menus to select your start and finish destinations.

search box for ado bus schedules
Check ADO Bus Schedules Online

Be aware that some major cities (Mexico City in particular) have multiple bus stations so you’ll need to know specifically which one you’re headed to.

The website then clearly outlines the bus departures for your date, with the departure time shown in the left column, followed by the type of bus (“OCC”, “ADO”, etc.), the price, and the expected travel time in small type (in this case 4 hours and 40 minutes).

ADO Bus Schedule Results
Looking through ADO Bus Schedule options

Bus travel is pretty popular in Mexico, so chances are you’ll have several departure times to choose from.

Why ADO Bus Mexico is the Best

Air conditioning that works but doesn’t make you feel like you’re in the north pole.

Comfortable seating with overhead reading lights and curtains on the windows.

Secure, under-the-bus storage for your suitcase (hold onto your claim check!).

Reliable vehicles and a track record of punctuality (anytime road travel is involved, there are cases of traffic delays but for the most part, their schedules are accurate).

Clean onboard bathrooms!

On higher end buses:

  • Quiet waiting rooms with wi-fi in the bus stations.
  • Plush armchair seating with deep recline, spacious legroom, and foot rests.
  • Electrical outlets between seats.
  • Seatback entertainment screens with headphones.
  • Goody bags with your choice of drink, snack, and magazine.

Comparing ADO Bus Types

Honestly, ADO does a terrible job of describing their different types of buses.  On short trips, any of them are fine and I’d choose the departure that lines up best with your schedule.  Obviously as the bus ride gets longer, the upgraded seats and amenities might be something you look at more closely.

AU: These are decent buses, despite being the “low end” of ADO.  You’ll get the same great service, air conditioning, and a reserved seat.  The main downside is that there are no bathrooms on board, so you’ll probably want to keep this to shorter routes.

ADO and OCC: Two different names for basically the same experience.  The buses include a few TVs to entertain you as well as bathrooms for your comfort.  If you’ve been on a Megabus in the USA, this is a pretty comparable experience.

ADO gl: “GL” stands for gran lujo, meaning a bit of a luxurious experience.  The seats are plusher, you get more legroom, electrical outlets, and a bottle of water.  I know it doesn’t look like it, but there’s a lot of legroom and recline, too.  Whenever possible, this is my preferred bus option in Mexico.

Inside the ADO GL Bus from Oaxaca to Puebla
Inside the ADO GL Bus from Oaxaca to Puebla

ADO Platino: There are only three seats per row (unlike 4, as shown above on ADO GL) so you’ve got even more personal space and have the option of a single seat if you want a little privacy.  They also have individual seatback entertainment and tray tables.  That said, the recline and legroom is pretty similar to GL.

ADO Platino vs GL

ADO Platino is the best of the best, but it’s often double the price of GL.  In my opinion, there are only two scenarios where Platino is worth the upcharge:

  1. Overnight bus rides, where you want to do everything you can to get some rest.  I personally avoid overnight buses like the plague, regardless of how nice my seat is.
  2. If you need to get work done.  Pulling down the tray table for your laptop and having some elbow room might be worth some extra cash.  But you’re on vacation, aren’t you?

How to Buy ADO Bus Tickets Online

Except over holidays, most buses don’t sell out in advance and you could just show up at the terminal to buy your ticket an hour before departure.  But the advance purchase discount (or compra anticipada) can often be a pretty significant savings — in this case, purchasing two weeks in advance saves 325 pesos or $17.

ado bus mexico advance purchase discount
ADO Bus Prices (shown from top to bottom): Advance Purchase, Standard Adult Fares, Child, Registered Senior Citizen

I wish the ADO website told you — before you went through the entire checkout process — that they don’t accept American-issued credit cards.  You’ll simply have your card declined in the final step.  Most travelers would give up at this point and end up paying the full adult fare at the terminal, but you don’t have to.

The Clickbus travel agency will gladly take your American credit card in exchange for an advance purchase ADO bus ticket.  Like the ADO website, it’s pretty intuitive to use.  The only possible confusion is if you need to buy multiple tickets: you’ll choose how many seats you need by clicking on the seat map, not by entering the number of passengers in a form anywhere.

Make sure that for each passenger, you’re choosing the “Anticipada” fare.

Clickbus Seat Map
Clickbus Seat Map for ADO Bus Tickets

Because nothing’s perfect, you’ll notice at check-out that Clickbus adds a line item for “Taxes and Fees”.  That’s how Clickbus is making money — these aren’t government taxes (which are built into the ADO bus prices), they are agency fees.  I actually don’t have a problem with this concept since you’ll still save money overall but it does add to your bottom line.

Save on Clickbus Ticketing Fees!  At check-out, enter code cb-Reb6jlx to Aplicar Cupon and save 10%.  That takes the sting out of those extra charges.

Note: The Clickbus form is buggy and it will not allow you to apply the discount until you’ve filled out your name, phone number, and email address.

After you pay, you’ll receive an email from Clickbus and your ticket is attached as a PDF document.  You have to print this PDF — without a paper copy of it, you will not be allowed to board.

If you don’t have access to a printer, you can reserve buses/seats (and pay at the terminal) by using the ADO mobile app and choosing the option to pay at the terminal.  You’ll lose out on the advance booking discount, but you’ll guarantee your preferred departure.

Clickbus is the best way to get cheap bus tickets in Mexico and pay with a credit card online.

how to get from mexico city to teotihuacan by bus
Inside the bus station at Mexico City.

Some Extra Tips for Traveling by Bus in Mexico

Download something from Audible before your trip.  Not all roads are smooth rides.  On routes with mountain roads, potholes, or frequent speed bumps, I prefer listening to audiobooks instead of watching movies or reading, which can make me carsick.

Have cash on hand.  Most Mexican bus stations are on the outside of town which makes it easier for buses to get on and off the highway quickly.  You’ll probably need a taxi into town (although some cities have Uber).

Always arrive at the station a little early.  There can be a lot of departing buses which means it might take you a minute to get to the right spot, check your bags, and settle into your seat.

Keep Reading on sightDOING

Worried about pickpockets? My sister had an issue, which is why I recommend anti-theft underwear (and travel insurance, just in case).

Going anywhere else in Mexico? Check out all my articles like how to visit Teotihuacan or why you should day trip to Hierve el Agua.

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56 thoughts on “How to Buy ADO Bus Tickets Online With an American Credit Card”

  1. Hello Becky, this is a big big help! Ado actually offers almost 50% off discount if ppl book it online. I was doing it but my credit card doesn’t work. And then, I tried Click bus. It worked perfectly! Really appreciate your help!

    1. I had difficulty booking with my Chase Visa cards on Clickbus… after my Sapphire Reserve card was denied, I even called Chase and had them them add a “travel” notice for “Today” to get it to book on a second card… (Chase Freedom)… however that came back denied (by clickbus) about two hours later.

      Then i switched to a BOA Mastercard, added a travel notice online (for “today”) and then booked successfully.

      Good Luck!

    2. I agree that ADO is it one of the best and I have written them from the Texas border to the Guatemala border. But I would disagree that they are they only excellent bus company in Mexico. Mexico has many excellent lines but granted they are one of the best. I will also point out that those who have the INAPAM card as I do and ride for half price.

  2. I just went through the frustration of trying to purchase a ticket online via ADO and having my US credit and debit cards all rejected. Followed your instructions and got two roundtrips from Mexico City to Oaxaca with a significant discount. Also, your code worked. Nice! Thanks for taking the time to post these excellent instructions.

  3. Thank you for this article! You are absolutely right that ADO does not accept American credit cards, and they should say something on their site. Many of us like to plan ahead of time and getting tickets in advance just makes our vacation experience much better. I used Clickbus! Thanks again!

  4. I read somewhere that you can use a US credit card if purchasing advanced tickets via the App — Has anyone tried this to confirm?

  5. Excellent post! The ADO app doet also not accept European Credit cards (we use MasterCard).

    Important addition is that you do NOT have to print your ADO ticket. The pdf on your smartphone suffices. We bought ADO tickets from Oaxaca to Puebla in August 2018.

    Cheers

  6. Kimberly Cortez Munoz

    Thank you so much! I was booking a last minute trip to playa del carmen and was worried I wouldn’t find cheap transportation there but thanks to you your code worked!

  7. Thanks for sharing these directions.

    I followed the directions using both the clickbus website as well as the ADO app, attempting to make the purchase with a US-based credit card (MasterCard).

    Using the ADO app the purchase wasn’t allowed to go through at all. Using clickbus, it appeared to go through at first by sending me an email saying my card was in the process of being verified. Several hours later another email was sent saying my card was rejected but that I could still purchase my tickets using an alternative set of directions that would be sent in a separate email (it’s been 24 hrs and still haven’t received anything).

    Does anyone have any advice or any alternative methods for pre-purchasing tickets? Will be traveling during Day of the Dead so very anxious to book ahead of time.

    Thanks!

    1. @Nadia, It sounds like your card might just be stuck in some sort of fraud check with Clickbus. You might want to either call the bank and tell them you’re purchasing from Mexico and to approve charges or just try again with a different card.

  8. This is excellent info, so helpful! My initial attempt to pay with a debit card was rejected, so I recommend using Paypal instead. They probably have a less favorable exchange rate than your bank, but the payment process was quick and easy.

  9. You are a lifesaver! Thank you so much for this. It worked like a charm. ADO bus site kept showing as SOLD OUT and I was in a state of panic. The site you listed had seats and routes available.

  10. Hi,
    I woluld like to buy bus tickets via Clickbus but I read on a travel forum that after buying the ticket, on the day of the travel the purchased seat was not available. It was sold for other people. Is any way to check that the seat I bought is mine for sure and not available for other people? For example after having bought the ticket via Clickbus I check my seat on ADO website and if it is unavailable than it is mine and everything is OK. Am I right?

    1. @Attila, Theoretically that should work but I haven’t personally tried. For reference, I get 3-4 emails a day from people using Clickbus, and never have I heard of any issues so the odds are in your favor.

  11. Greetings,

    Excellent information and thanks Becky and all others for the Info.
    We are planning ( wife and kids) to go to Belize this December, planning to fly from Nashville to Cozumel and take bus from Cozumel to Belize city. I was in ADO website not sure what to type as no where I see Cozumel(San Miguel de Cozumel) listed. If anyone has travelled btw Cozumel and Belize and back, please share their experience and let me know the search

    Thanks
    KG

    1. @KG, I imagine you will have to separately book a ferry from Cozumel to the mainland (Playa del Carmen). Should be very straightforward to then buy Playa del Carmen -> Belice. It’s a full day journey, so pack snacks and entertainment.

  12. Hello Becky,

    Thanks a lot for all the info. Today I wanted to try click bus, so I bought a ticket for my trip which is on the Tuesday 11 December @ 15:45 from Cancun to Valladolid. However after filling all my details and made my payment, which was successful, the date shown on my e-ticket gave me a wrong date of travel. They gave me tomorrow’s date, 29 November instead of 11 December. Have you got anything like that before from people using Clickbus? Thanks

    1. @Nico, I’ve never heard of that before. However, I have encountered plenty of travel dates that revert back to default dates if your payment didn’t go through and you have to start over, etc. Is that something that happened to you?

  13. Thanks so much for this tip! It helped tremendously as I was able to book all my tickets online and spare me the stress of having to go to the bus stations last minute!
    Tickets printed and ready and at great prices too

  14. Hello Becky, and thank you so much for this valuable information.
    I followed your instructions and after filling up all the information and the code you provided, for some reason it leads to a pop up saying “something went wrong try again.” This has happened multiple times already.

    I am using an American issued credit card and I was wondering if you have an idea whether or not this is server issue. It’s a technical question I’m asking I know, but if you came across anyone with the same issue and have a resolution for it, that’d be helpful.

    1. @Jackie, Unfortunately I don’t know what’s going on. Have you tried it without the promo code? They never wrote an expiration date but that may be it.

      1. Hey Becky, so I had to figure out different ways to purchase the discounted tickets as our Mexico trip is fast approaching. I tried paying via PayPal and it worked! Thank you so much for your detailed instructions. Happy New Year!

  15. I’ve booked two tickets on the ADO website using an American credit card and didn’t have issues… Wonder if something changed?

  16. Becky, There are a number of ADO Bus Stations in Veracruz. We are staying in the Centro and there is an ADO Independencia. However, when I check ADO for a bus from Veracruz to Cordoba, it gave me three time choices but how do I know what station it is from?
    Gracias,
    Jeanne

    1. @Jeanne, Usually if there is only one option specified on the ADO website, then there is only one bus station. Are you sure the other bus stations aren’t for other companies or for local buses?

      1. Hi Becky,
        Veracruz has several bus stations. However, I logged into ClickBus and it lists the bus station so I will order my tickets through them.
        Jeanne

  17. Recently while in Tulum We noticed on clickbus that the next day airport buses were quickly selling out. So we rushed to the bus station to purchase since we had no printer for the tickets and discovered additional buses going to the airport from the Rivera Line of ADO that were not on the schedule clickbus schedule.

  18. What is best way to book ado from Cancun airport to Westin in hotel zone Cancun. We will be flying standby and want to know if we can purchase bus ticket at airport for ADO.CAROL

    1. @Carol, Yes, there are tons of buses and open seats on that route. It’s usually the long-distance buses (2+ hours) that sell out and/or offer advance purchase discounts.

  19. Hello Becky,
    Thanks for all your info, we did enjoy it!
    I only want to comment that we had NO TROUBLE AT ALL buying bus tickets with our ( dutch) visacard. They always accepted it!
    We’re still in mexico, so maybe I will comment more later.

    Kindest regards,
    Yvonne and Leendert

  20. Hello Becky,
    thanks so much for this guide!
    Even though it seems to now be possible to book tickets through the ADO website, I can’t seem to access the website for the past few days, so clickbus might just be a lifesaver!

    The only thing I don’t understand is that I cannot select an advance discount (the drop-down menu only shows adult, child and senior) – no matter what date or route I select. Do you have any ideas what might be the issue here?

    Thanks so much and best wishes!

  21. Thank you for this great article – have been able to book advance tickets today (for October) with clickbus using the discount code and paying with paypal. Knowing this means I can book in advance and budget better for my trip.

    Thanks again

  22. Cassidy Bradford

    Thanks for the super helpful post! I just wanted to update anyone looking – I’ve tried to book tickets on the website via PayPal but it hasn’t worked at all. I tried the app to reserve and pay in-person but it also didn’t process. I even tried to purchase through ClickBus and haven’t had any luck! Now we’re planning to head to the ADO ticket counter when our flight lands and just buy our tickets then. Tickets are already appearing to sell a bit but we’re hoping we’ll be able to make it work!

    If anyone has any recommendations for trouble-shooting, let me know. 🙂

    1. I have tried many times over 5 years, including the last few days, and couldnt do it. In fact, today it isnt taking my Mexican credit card either. There are no problems with the cards themselves. And the ADO web site is not taking my Paypal today either.

  23. THANK YOU! Just what I was looking for, I can’t believe there is an article out there for this exact issue but that’s the magic of the internet.

    I used PayPal, Chase CC, no issue.

  24. Anthony Morgan

    Thanks Becky. Appreciate the post. I just purchased my tickets. But I do have a quick question: I printed my tickets out, do I still need to go to the ticket counter, or do I bypass the counter and just find the correct bus??

  25. What are the prices if you purchase in person? Also if you use the app, are you not getting the price it shows on the app? And if that’s the case, are you by passing the click bus fee?
    Thanks for your help.
    Jessica

    1. @Jessica, Prices in person are the same as the non-advance purchase prices online. App prices are exactly as listed, but you must pick up the physical tickets at a station 2+ hours in advance which is obviously inconvenient for a lot of travelers. If you have time, yes, you’ll save on the Clickbus fee. I personally found the few dollars worth it to gain back 2 hours of my vacation.

  26. Kim Bayly-Jones

    Hi Becky,
    Love your blog – even the ‘I won’t be returning to Melbourne’ post (we are Aussies – not from Melbourne though). Just booked our first ADO GL bus in Mexico via Clickbus and it couldn’t have been easier thanks to your very helpful information. I’ve now got a 10% Clickbus code to share if anyone wants it (I think we can only use your code once) so – cb-Kim6n3g . Looking forward to our first trip to Mexico in August, and will be reading all of your posts before we go.
    Thanks again
    Kim and Sue

    1. @Kim, Hope you have a wonderful trip to Mexico – it’s a country I genuinely love. (And sorry about the Melbourne thing…I did like everywhere else I went in Australia!)

  27. Becky, I cannot stress strongly enough how helpful and informative this article is!
    I’ve booked my tickets a week in advance for a great price. Thank you so much!

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