Explore the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza


Added by Tori Marsh

Visit the amazing Mayan city of Chichen Itza, the largest and most well known Mayan Site in the Yucatan Peninsula. Spend the day wandering around the ruins, learning about the Mayan culture, and photographing the famous pyramid. These ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site and are considered one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World."

Located in the small town of Piste, about 2.5 hours outside of Cancun, Chichen Itza is a drive to get to, but well worth it! Most people visiting the ruins go with a guide or a tour company, and this is definitely the way to go. Guides have a deep attachment to the site, and provide visitors with impressive knowledge and unique interpretations of the ruins. I know this isn't usually the most adventurous way to travel, but going with a knowledgeable guide is highly recommended. Popular tour groups include Adventuras Mayas and Experiencias Xcaret. If you feel like adventuring there alone, most taxies will bring you! 

Historians believe that this site was an urban center to the Mayan empire from A.D. 750 to 1200. The most recognizable structure on the complex is El Castillo, or the large pyramid seen on many postcards and photographs. What most don't know is that this pyramid demonstrates the deep knowledge that the Mayans had of astronomy, as they built the structure around their famous calendar. Other noteworthy structures include a famous ball court, used for sport, The Group of One Thousand Columns, believed to be used as a market, and the Temple of the Warriors. 

Be warned though, Chichen Itza has become quite commercialized and touristy. There are many local vendors selling goods on the site, and they even charge people a couple hundred pesos for bringing in GoPros. However, if you can get past this, the ruins are a must visit. 

The ruins are open 7 days a week, and host special events for the solstice and the equinox. There is very little shade on the site, so make sure to wear a hat and bring tons of water. Comfortable shoes are highly recommended. 

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We Went With A Tour

The tour guide was very informative and knowledgeable about the history of the Mayans and the local culture. It was pretty touristy and had so many vendors it was hard to walk through the shady areas without being begged to buy trinkets. The ruins are roped off due to vandalism and graffiti done in the early 2000 but you can get good views from a bit away.

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