Chichén Itzá , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and voted as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, is probably the most popular tourist attraction in the Yucatan, Mexico, with its proximity to Cancun ensuring a steady stream of visitors. Don’t let the large crowds deter you as this ancient Mayan city is definitely worth a visit. The city ascended to prominence around 600 AD and became a regional trading powerhouse. The wealth of the city in ancient times is prominent to this day. Its centrepiece, the Kukulkan temple (or El Castillo) is a baffling piece of craftmanship with many references to a highly developed knowledge of astrology by the Mayas. Each year, many visitors come during the spring and autumn equinox to see an amazing phenomenon: the shadow of a serpent slithering down the pyramid’s northern face with each movement of the sun.
I understand that it’s no longer possible to climb the Castillo. I can understand why but it’s a shame because the views from above were terrific. The acoustics were extraordinary as well. As I stood atop the pyramid, I could clearly hear the conversations of people standing in the square below! You can still stand at the foot of the stairs and clap your hands to experience the amazing acoustics.
The city houses many archeological gems such as the Temple of the Warriors – a pyramid with the great Chac Mool statue at its summit; the Observatory; the Great Ball Court, the largest of its kind; the Temple of the Jaguar with its impressive reliefs; and the Las Monjas complex with its intricate sculptures and masks.
Chichén Itzá is truly enchanting.
[…] superstar, though, is Chichen Itza. About 100 miles west of Cancun, here is a slice of A-list archaeology so impressive (the giant El […]
Haha, yup, Tulum was like a big circus. 🙂 What I liked about it was the El Castillo at the edge of the cliff, overlooking the blindingly white beaches and the incredible colour of the sea. Stunning spot.
I’m traveling through Mexico right now and I’d have to say that Chichen Itza was impressive structurally but I agree that Tikal was a more interesting experience as it was in the jungle.
For me, Tulum is just meh..
Would love to visit Chichén Itzá one day, even if I can’t climb the Castillo – it will still be quite an experience! 🙂
Thanks for your comment Shelley. Yes, Tikal is awesome as well. It was one of my featured ‘Enchanting spots’ a while back. Yes, most of the pictures (95%+) on this blog are mine.
Cichen Itza is a magical place! We were lucky to be there back in 1998 when you could still climb the Great Pyramid. The view from the top is amazing. I think being there, the first of my Mayan ruins got me hooked. This past summer my husband and I got to visit Tikal in Guatemala. It was amazing. You can read about my adventures in my blog!
Your blog is great. Are they all your pictures?
Hey Keith — nice glimpse. I’m hoping to head to Chichén Itzá later this fall!
Thanks for your comment Aye. That’s a pity. Chichen Itza is really worthwhile. Tulum is also a fascinating site (I love its location on the cliffs overlooking the turquoise sea) but I’m not so sure about the ‘circus’ around it. And I’m not a fan of kiddie-trains either. Watch this space. I have another fab enchanting spot in Mexico coming up soon! 🙂
I went to Mexico in the early 90’s and did not make it to this amazing place… what was I thinking. Since the 90’s been to Cancun, Cozumel , Acumal, Tulum, Riviera Maya many times.. but not to CI!! I have head that Tulum is now completely commercialized. And not sure if they allow people to go up to those ruins any more. Like you say, I can understand why!! Hope to make it there soon!
A trip to Chichen Itza was the highlight of a garrish Cancun vacation I went to with buddies in 2000! Ha! While Cancun left a bitter taste in my mouth (my boyfriend & I broke up, I almost drowned, my friend almost drowned, and our group was fighting), Chichen Itza was a pleasant diversion. It was a time where we could still climb the precipitous temple steps, and it was awesome!!! Our guide tried to teach us Mayan Math, and of course, I failed to understand it. It was base 12 or something 🙂
Thanks for your comment Jen. I’m really glad you didn’t drown because I got to know you! 🙂
Hope all is well with you.