The pre-Columbian Mayans are a fascinating civilization. With a culture unique to their own, they had developed beliefs that they originally fathom or otherwise visibly seen from the architectures they built from the ground-up and whose remains are a treasure to the Mexican people. [Read : 6 Days in Mexico Itinerary and Expenses]
Yet, what better way to learn of this ancient civilization than to be at the center of their faith—at the Chichen Itza from within the Yucatan Peninsula.
The mysticism surrounding this unique culture is more than enough to spark interest of anyone oblivious to this unique and old culture. If you are the sort of person who believes in the idea “to see is to believe,” then seeing the archaeological sites of Chichen Itza is a must.
Here are a few things you shall see if you choose to visit this fantastic location.
El Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan
Considered the most-visited and, subsequently, the most popular landmark in all of Chichen Itza, the El Castillo which is also known as the Pyramid of Kukulcan is symbolic of the ancient Maya as a place of worship to the Feathered Serpent God, Kukulcan or Querzalcoatl.
The ancient Mayans are an early adopter of the concept of “upgrade.” When other civilizations would choose to erect as many architectures in dispersed locations possible, they instead choose to overhaul on the existing. As a result, some pyramid-temples like the main place of worship El Castillo contains an older temple inside it.
While the particular site is not particularly ground-breaking, archaeologists had dug their way through it for visitors to check out first-hand.
You must be fond of both history and some sports to know that basketball, as we know it, is not necessarily an entirely new concept conceived from scratch. To the contrary, it was inspired from a sport so primitive, they dated back to the ancient Mayans. What better way to find the link than to see where the play previously took place such as in the Great Ballcourt?
Temple of the Warriors and Chac Mool
If there is anything which the ancient Mayans is known for, it is of their belief in offering sacrifice to their gods. The Temple of the Warriors, specifically the Chac Mool section on top, is the testament to this notion.
Believed to be a site which connects the Mayans with their gods as intermediated by the messengers called Chac Mool, this temple is where an offering is made—usually, in the form of a severed but still-beating heart fresh from a human sacrifice.
Well of Sacrifice
For a polytheist culture, the ancient Mayans believe in the god of rain by the name of Chaac. The Well of Sacrifice, also known as the Sacred Cenote, is a place of offering to this same god. Apart from humans, however, things can also be used to honor or appease this god.
Travel Tips in Visiting Chichen Itza:
- Chichen Itza is open from 9am to 5pm daily.
- Wear hats and sunblock.
- Bring water to keep you hydrated.
- Climbing to the top of the Pyramid is no longer allowed.
- Entrance fee is MXN254 (USD13) for foreigners and MXN168 (USD8)
- Ticketing office is open from 8am to 4pm.
- Book your tour online to avoid inconvenience. GetYourGuide is a reliable site to book a tour.
How to go to Chichen Itza?
Since Chichen Itza Mexico does not have its own airport, tourists coming by plane or cruise ship will likely need to book Chichen Itza tours that leave from Cancun or Playa del Carmen.
If you wish to take a public transportation: By bus from Merida is about 1-2 hours, Cancun is 2-3 hours and Playa Del Carmen is 3-4 hours.
ADO bus can take you from Cancun to Chichen Itza but the bus schedule is only once a day at 8:45am. It’s a first class service and fare is MXN258 (USD13) and travel time is around 3 hours. Alternatively, you can also take the second class bus for a longer travel time.
Where to Stay in Chichen Itza
If you like to spend a night or two in Chichen Itza, Hacienda Chichen Resort is a boutique green hotel in Yucatan Peninsula. It is located within the Zona Hotelera of Chichen Itza, next to the southeast entrance to Chichen Itza archaeological site, between the Maya villages of Piste and Xcalacoop, in the Municipality of Tinum, Yucatan, Mexico. Check rates and availability.
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