The acient Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá is located between Cancun and Merida.
This large pre-Columbian archaeological site in the Yucatan was built by the
Maya Civilization. The name Chich'en Itza means "At the mouth of the well
of the Itza (people)". For more on the history of Chichén Itzá, visit Wikipedia
Chichén Itzá is the most visited site in the Yucatan and can get very crowded
mid morning due to the large tour groups arriving nearly at the same time. If
you plan to venture on your own to Chichén Itzá, you can avoid the crowds by
arriving early just after it opens at 8:00 am.
How do I get there?
Take a Tour: In Cancun, pick up/drop off is available right
from your hotel. From Cozumel, the tour starts at the passenger ferry.
Rent a Car: The travel time from Cancun to Chichén Itzá is
about 2 hours if you drive. From the hotel zone, follow the highway to Merida
on Highway 180. You will pass a toll (small fee but have pesos handy) and you
will see signs to Chichen Itza. Very easy to get to. Remember to take a map.
See car rental
Take a Bus. Along the hotel zone, the public bus is about
65 cents to ride and passes by the hotels almost very 2 minutes. Take the RI
bus to the bus terminal downtown. It's a good idea to ask the bus driver to
let you know when you get to the bus terminal and sit near the front. At the
bus terminal, buy tickets to Chichen Itza. The bus leaves early in the morning
so check the schedules before you go. Also, note when the bus returns and ask
where you are to meet back to catch the bus back to Cancun before you start
your tour at Chichén Itzá. You don't want to miss the last bus. The bus is airconditioned
and makes stops along the way taking about 3 hours.
If you do this tour on your
own, it's a great idea to
hire a tour guide. Tour guides
will be soliciting near the
entrance where you purchase
your tickets. You can have
a private guide or share
with others. The current
rate is $25 USD for the tour.
Chichén Itzá Highlights
The Jaguar: Go inside the tomb of Kulkukan and see the Jaguar
with emeralds embedded in this ancient altar. The doors to the tomb are not
always open. The path to the tomb is a very narrow stairway to the middle of
the pyramid. Warning: very hot and humid inside.
Night Light Show: Equinox of the Rattlesnake: The Kulkukan's
pyramid has outstanding astronomical purposes and it was found that the sun's
rays hitting the pyramid during a special time creates a seven isosceles triangles
imitating the form of a serpent and as the sun sets, the shadows cast by the
shape of the pyramid appears that the "snake" is slithering down the
Recommended to bring: The area does not have much shade and
during the day, the sun can get extremely hot so be warned. Bottled water can
be purchased at the entrance store and a couple of spots outside. A hat is highly
recommended. The area is large so comfortable walking shoes or hiking shoes
recommended and insect repellent.
The site is very large, about 4 square miles. There is also the evening light
show. To break down the long day, an overnight at a nearby hotel can be easily