A visit to the Chichen Itza mayan ruins

Seeing one of the seven world wonders is on the bucket list for many. From far and wide we go to places like Rome and Peru to catch a glimpse of these remarkable constructions. Another world wonder that appeals to the imagination are the mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. This status brings two things with it; there are a lot of visitors but more important: it's especially beautiful to visit.


visit chichen itza

Posing in front of Chichen Itza. You’re not visiting a world wonder every day, after all!

An archaeological gem

Chichen Itza is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico and therefore it’s not surprising that since 1988 it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage. First of all, you should know that the Chichen Itza mayan ruins is not one temple, but an entire temple complex. The wonder of the world with which most people associate the name is the pyramid of Kukulcan. It’s the best preserved historical site from the Yucatán Maya era, for whom it was a pilgrimage site for more than 1000 years.

But at the same time a source of horror

Although Chichen Itza consists of a large number of temples, most tourists are only interested in the pyramid of Kukulcan. This is also called El Castillo and is a sort of pyramid with a temple at the very top. Notice, however inviting it is, that climbing Chichen Itza is out of the question. An American woman fell from the top in 2006 while she tried, so think twice before you try it anyway. Trying also gives you a hefty fine, by the way.
The American woman wasn’t the first to find her dead here. During the Mayan era many people were sacrificed here to please the gods.

chichen itza world wonder

During your visit to Chichen Itza you’ll notice how big the site is. And how much more there is to see!

But also a remarkable piece of engineering

In addition to being a powerful symbol, the Kukulcan is also a real calendar: the 365 stairs stand for the days of the year. During the equinox of autumn and spring, the sun casts a shadow on the stairs that then takes the form of a snake that climbs down. A remarkable spectacle and very ingenious, especially if you know that this pyramid was built such a long time ago.

What else is there to experience in Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza is more than just the pyramid of Kukulcan. Another eye-catcher is El Caracol, a sort of observatory.
The Cenote Sagrado (Holy Cenote of Chichen Itza) is worth your attention and visit: this pool that was used by the Mayans to make sacrifices. The victims (often children) were usually killed first before being thrown into the water.

Six kilometers (3.75 miles) further from Chichen Itza you can find another cenote: the one from Ik Kil, in which you can now swim.
If you rather not swim in the cenotes near Chichen Itza, you can also visit the Tzompantli: a rack where the skulls of these sacrifices are displayed. Where you used to see the real skulls, you now only see sculpted images. Furthermore, you should certainly not miss the temple of the jaguars and those of the warriors.
There’s plenty to see during your visit to Chichen Itza, so make sure that you have enough time!

cenote sagrado chichen itza

The Cenote Sagrado, once a horrifying place of sacrifice near the mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.

How to reach Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza day trip from Cancun

Most travelers visit Chichen Itza as a day trip from Cancun for about $50 to $90 per person. With these day trips you will be picked up in your accommodation and then drive for three hours until you visit Chichen Itza.
A guide awaits your group there, and then you also get some free time to explore the domain.
After your visit to this wonder of the world, you’ll eat something, you’ll almost always visit a cenote (underground lake) where you can refresh yourself and with most tours you’ll end the day with a visit to a smaller Mexican city.

You can also organize your trip from Cancun by public transport. With a fast bus that takes three hours, you pay $13 / £8 /€10 for a ticket (one way). You can also take a bus for one hour longer and then you pay about $7,5 / £5 / €6. More information can be found on www.ado.com.mx.

From Merida

Merida is another big city that is located a bit closer (74.5 miles or 120 kilometers) to this world wonder. You only do half as long to reach it from here as than from Cancun.
With an organized tour you pay about the same as from Cancun. Organizing your trip yourself is of course the cheapest. Bus tickets cost between $7,5 to $9 (£5 to £6 / €6 to €7) for a single journey.

Don’t forget that you have to buy tickets for Chichen Itza in addition to your bus ticket. This costs around fifteen dollars per person, with a part going to the INAH (a government agency that maintains the site). You can take photos here for free, but if you want to film, you have to pay 2 euros extra.

chichen itza visit

Tourists are being thought of! Spread out over the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza you’ll find a lot of nice souvenir stalls.

Tips for your visit to Chichen Itza

  • Chichen Itza is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Most tour buses arrive around 10-11 in the morning. So if you want to take photos of this wonder of the world without too many tourists in the picture, you should arrive early in the morning (already at 9 am).
  • You can also book private tours on site (starting from sixteen euros + entrance ticket).
  • Don’t forget to take a sun block, because especially during the summer it can become very hot here!
  • Often you can enjoy a spectacular light show in the evening. To be sure that it continues, you should check all info on the official website.
chichen itza mexico

One thing is certain… You’ll never forget your visit to Chichen Itza!

Chichen Itza tickets

Do you prefer that everything is arranged for you? Or do you want to make sure that there’s enough guides/availability to wander around the site? Then book your tickets online.


» All tours and excursions to Chichen Itza

Did you like this article? Then please give it 5 stars. Thanks!

Related Post

In this article you'll find a few affiliate links. When you book something with these travel organizations, I get a small commission. You don't pay anything extra for that. You can thus see it as a way to support this blog if you found the information helpful. I use all of these travel organizations myself, and I will only recommend the ones that I really like.

Are you following me on Social Media?

Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
Come join us and get the latest updates!

Like Checkoutsam on Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Check Out Sam | Travel guide, blog and info.