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Thursday, 24th of April 2014
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Chichén Itzá

Map Location

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 online.

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 information.

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.

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 pyramid.

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 set up.

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