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Guide to Visiting Chichen Itza

Are you a fan of ancient history, or just love seeing cool pieces of architecture? One of the seven wonders of the world can be found in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, and is easily accessible from many Quintana Roo tourist cities.


Prior to actually experiencing it for myself, I was quick to assume that Chichen Itza was just this giant temple that I would see, take a photo of and be good... NOPE! There's so much to see here besides the main attraction itself - In fact, Chichen Itza is actually a whole collection of Mayan Ruins in one area.


 

PLANNING YOUR VISIT


There are different ways that you can experience Chichen Itza for yourself. However, I would highly recommend booking through a tour company. That way you'll be set with transportation, and will have a guide to lead the way and narrate the different sights in the area. We booked ours through Cancun Adventures (coming from Tulum,) and I can't recommend them enough, they were amazing!


You can rent a car and drive yourself, but I would say only if you are familiar with driving in Mexico. Coming from the U.S., I was shocked at how crazy many drivers were around here!!



Speaking of crazy, the crowds on a Wednesday afternoon when we came were insane, which means they are probably like that on most days. It was only overwhelming at the entrance and ticket area - once you get through the gates everything is much more spread out. This is another reason I recommend booking through a tour company, as they will likely already have your tickets for you so you can skip those long lines! If you come on your own, make sure to get there as early as you can and plan accordingly.



 

EPIC SIGHTS TO SEE

As I mentioned before, there are so many different things to see here besides the main attraction itself, each rich with history! Every corner you turn in Chichen Itza will have you struck in awe by the ancient architecture surrounding you. (P.S, these are just to name a few! There's a lot more to see as well.)


Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo)

What many people mistake (including myself prior to visiting,) is that the infamous temple actually has a different name, as the whole area itself is Chichen Itza. And yes, it is just as amazing to see in person as it is in photos! Fun fact: the steps on each side of El Castillo total to 365 - Which represents how many days are in the Mayan calendar!


Great Ball Court


If you've ever seen the animated movie El Dorado and remember the scene where they play ball with an armadillo, this area will look very familiar to you! And not only do you see the playing court itself, but there are all kinds of cool carvings in the rock, as well as some animal sculptures.



Sacred Cenote


You may already know that there are all kinds of beautiful cenotes around some of the tourist cities, but did you also know that there's one at Chichen Itza, too? This one is not open for the public to swim in as it is very deep into the ground, but it's beautiful to walk up and see while you're there.


Temple of the Warriors

Aside from El Castillo, this was one of the most eye-catching! It is a smaller temple surrounded by hundreds of rock columns. Back when the city was inhabited, these would have supported an extensive roof system.


 

WHAT TO PREPARE FOR


There are a few important things to know while visiting Chichen Itza that'll helpful be as prepared as possible.


- Watch out for the scammers. Unfortunately, with this being such a huge tourist attraction, they are everywhere. There's hundreds of tables set up with people selling merchandise, and many will yell and pressure you to buy from them. This is not to say that they are all bad, but be careful who you trust. Some of the sellers would offer you items for $1, but upon you accepting they would try and get even more money from you. Some also have signs saying they take credit cards, but I would strongly encourage you to not use them, as credit card fraud is common in tourist areas.


- Wear comfortable shoes! The different sights at Chichen Itza are very spread out, so be prepared for a lot of walking. Some areas are also covered with gravel, so thin sandals are not going to feel so great! (Trust me... I learned my lesson.)

- Protect yourself from the sun! Yucatan, Mexico has a hot and humid climate almost year-round. It's important to know that a majority of Chichen Itza is out in the open and is not covered, so make sure to pack your sunscreen, hat, etc. If you start to overheat, there are a few shaded areas to take a break in, and there are also some concession stands towards the front to grab some water.


 

Hopefully this list has given you more of an insight on what to expect when visiting Chichen Itza. It's an incredible experience, so take your time and take it all in! I mean, it is one of the seven wonders of the modern world for a reason!



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ABOUT ME

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Hey there, I'm Shelby! Traveling has been one of my biggest passions in life, and so I'm here to share all of my great finds, tips and advice that I discover along the way. When I'm not on a plane, you can find me in Kentucky with my husband and fur child, Zoe (My adorable kitty!) 

I have always loved to write, and after many attempts at blogging again, I find myself here and inspired to share the world. My husband and I both work a typical 9 to 5, but make it a priority to plan as many trips as possible each year. I want to show others that it is totally possible to live a travel-filled life full time or on the side!

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy!

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