Located in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Chichen Itza is recognized as the largest of several archaeological cities associated with the Pre- Columbian Maya civilization. It is among the most visited and popular tourist destinations in Mexico. In 1988, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recently, it was recognized as one of the world’s New Seven Wonders.
This site is open for visits on a daily basis between 9- 5 and an entry fee is paid at the gate. Over the years, the Maya community living around Chichen Itza has developed great sites that visitors can rejoice in the cultural Heritage of Maya people. There are so many cultural activities to enjoy at this place and tourists are advised to schedule at least two days to enjoy most of what Chichen Itza has to offer.
Most travelers opt to get around Chichen Itza on foot. However, this should be done in comfortable and sturdy walking shoes. Climbing the rough stone stairs is always an interesting activity and you should dress appropriately for it. Also, remember not to leave behind your hat and sunscreen as the sun can get seriously hot here. For the culturally interested tourists, there is a lot to learn from the local Mayan communities like their religious rites, cooking, ancient arts, and calendar system especially in the nearby small towns. Chichen Itza is a representation of ancient civilization and you will really appreciate the company of a knowledgeable local guide who will take you around and explain to you about the place.
The most visited landmark in Chichen Itza is El Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan and used to be a temple pyramid that was dedicated to Kukulcan, a feathered serpent god. Locals call it the Castle but visitors cannot climb over it currently. The Interior Temple at Chichen Itza is another highly visited landmark and highly treasured by locals and foreigners. Other attractions at Chichen Itza worthy your time include Temple of Warriors and Great Ballcourt where Mesoamerican ballgame is played in the 7 courts.
The temple of Jaguars at Chichen Itza features murals inside, feathered serpent columns, and stone jaguar. During the ancient spiritual traditions of Maya people, Sweat baths were used for mind, emotions, and body purification and are a popular attraction at Chichen Itza.
If you have more time at Chichen Itza, other attractions that you should also consider visiting include Platform of Skulls, El Caracol, Cenote of Sacrifice, High Priest’s Grave, The Nunnery Complex, House of Deer, The Red House, Akab’ Dzib and Xtoloc Cenote. There are excellent opportunities for birdwatching at Chichen Itza and you will be glad to visit the extensive nature trails found here.
The Yaxkin Spa is commonly frequented by those interested in holistic beauty rituals of ancient Maya traditions. Shopping at Chichen Itza is also an interesting activity especially at The Maya Hut and Toh Boutique where you can purchase Maya craft, jewelry, and textiles. Random Vendors sells statues of traditional Mayan gods and very beautiful paintings that you can take back home with you.