One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, no wonder (mmmh) why I had to see it! Chichén Itzá is the largest archaeological Maya site in Yucatan and most probably the most visited placin the Peninsula e too.
How to get to Chichén Itzá?
- From Piste: there’s a collectivo but apparently ‘not at this time of the day’ when I showed up early in the morning from my hotel. Mmmmh… So I took a taxi for a rather decent price (MXN 70), thankfully!
- From Valladolid: collectivos leave from the same street as the ADO bus (here)
- No need to say there are countless excursions organised from various cities in the whole of Yucatan
Where to sleep in Chichén Itzá?
If you want to be the first one on the site without waking up too early (or if you want to see the night light show) and you can’t really afford the fancy hotels with their private entrance to the ruins, you can do like me and go to the tiny, and let’s face it, not very attractive, town of Piste. I chose a Budget Double Room at La Casa de las Lunas for MXN 756. Big room, nice pool and singing parrots: it did the job!
Not many nice places to eat but after a thorough research, I selected a very local place with only good comments on Google, and no actual menu. The girls from Simple y Rico show you pictures on their Insta and invite you to look at the drinks in the fridge! It costs barely nothing and it’s super good!
Is Chichén Itzá worth it?
It’s beautiful, it’s impressive. I got out of there thinking that the Maya were much smarter than our current civilisation for sure. I have no regrets spending money (and arriving early!) to see these Maya masterpieces.
Now my impression, and also talking to many other backpackers, is that you should rather see this one first because it can be slightly underwhelming if you’ve visited other Maya ruins in remote areas (like Palenque in Chiapas) or with less tourists (such as Uxmal near Merida or Ek Balam north of Valladolid).
The other key point is to arrive as early as you can. Like in many other places, big tourist buses arrive in the late morning, but to me, there’s another major issue. The site is packed with souvenir stalls and stallholders screaming “one dollar, one dollar”. It’s something that definitely takes out a bit of the magic of the place. Especially that they are all selling the exact same thing, that you will see in any other basic souvenir shop. And there are so many that it made me wonder how they even all manage to make money every day. It made me a bit sad and wondering what the Maya would have thought about that.
Useful information about Chichén Itzá:
- Price: MXN 533 (MXN 463 can be paid by card, but MXN 80 for a local tax need to be paid in cash)
- Locker: MXN 100
- Timing: from Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Due to the pandemic, the number of daily visitors is limited to 3,000.
- Site map: https://www.chichenitza.com/maps
- Transport: there’s a small booth in the main building on the left after the ticket office where you can buy tickets for several destinations.
- I slept in Piste, coming from Tulum (check out: 2 days in Tulum) and my next stop was Merida: I bought and charged a transportation card (MXN 100) and … waited in front of the large marketplace until the MAYAB bus eventually arrived (in theory, every hour).
- Last but not least: bring sunscreen! And a cap! The sun is hitting hard quite early in the day already.
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