Mexico. The Mayan City of Chichen Itza


Chichen Itza Chichen Itza is considered one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, it is the preferred destination for mass tourism that comes every year to the Riviera Maya. Regardless of the tourism we can find, it is a destination that we must know since its state of conservation is unbeatable, in addition to housing the Ball game largest in Mesoamerica. As noted, Chichen Itza, means in May Chi (mouth), Che'en (well), Itz (wizard or sorcerer) A (water) or what is the same, the mouth of the water wizards' well.

Kukulcan Temple

The Mayan City of Chichen Itza

But Chichen Itza It was not always that splendid. The city was abandoned on a couple of occasions. First for theMaya and finally by Toltecs in the mid-thirteenth century. It was rediscovered by the Spaniards in the 16th century, who tried to build a city in the same settlement. They were not very successful and said city, named “Real city“, It did not go from being a mere military camp.

Later it was explored by the North Americans from the year 1840, among which was Augustus Le Plongeon, author of the discovery of the famous Chac Mool, but it is not until 1920 when the first archaeological excavations began to be carried out with the aim of rebuild the city.

Kukulcán by Teobert Maler (1892)

We leave very early from our Hotel located near Playa del Carmen in a rental car. We wanted to arrive at the opening time of the complex, since if we were delayed for a long time we were in danger of encountering the tide of buses that arrive from the hotel complexes of theMayan Bank. They all offer packs to visit Chichen Itza and some Cenote for a reasonable price and very few tourists do not hire him.

Upon arrival we found a fairly extensive parking and until that moment empty. The funny thing, although this will change later, there was no traveling trade in the area. We buy the tickets and access the complex through a dirt track that leads directly to the Kukulcan Temple. This track of about 300m in length will become 1 hour in a large shopping center, full of street stalls where we can buy almost any souvenir without forgetting the corresponding bargaining. I recommend that if you are going to visit more temples by Yucatan, this is the place to make your purchases. In the other temples we will find less street stalls with significantly more expensive prices.

We arrive at Temple of Kukulcán or El Castillo, the symbol of every photograph worth its salt in Chichen Itza. Proud to be one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, although debatable, it has an incredible state of conservation. Not long ago it was allowed to climb up the tower by its stairs, but due to the wear and tear that tourists produced, their access has been prohibited. Do not worry, throughout Yucatan you have temples similar to which if you can climb.

Curiously every year during solstices Y equinoxes you can observe phenomena of light and shadow that simulate a large snake that descends the stairs of the temple.

Kukulcan Temple

To follow a correct order during our visit, we turned to address the Ball game, one of the largest in the Mayan World with 166m long and 68m wide. This is not the only Ball Game that you can find, since there are up to thirteen different games in the area. I can hardly understand how the Maya were able to get the ball through a ring that is really high.

Attached to the Ball Game we have the Temple of the Jaguars with some low reliefs that we should not miss.

Ball game

Crossing again the great esplanade, we pass by the Venus Temple ending in the Temple of the Warriors. Built around 1200 AD, it is influenced by architecture Toltec since the city was in his possession during that time. As has happened in many other places in the world, this temple was built on top of another, logically Maya and dedicated to Reclining god (Chac Mool).

Temple of the Warriors

At the foot of the Temple of the Warriors we have a set of columns called the Temple of the Thousand Columns, Built in the same era.

Temple of the Thousand Columns

We return to the Kukulcan Temple and follow the path to the Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest. Similar to the Castle (Kukulcán) only smaller, it was part of a monumental complex that communicated with the Xtoloc Cenote, located 500 meters away in the east direction.


Continuing our path we meet the Observatory (El Caracol). It is called that because a series of visual loopholes oriented to the four cardinal points were discovered inside. At first glance it is quite demolished, especially when compared to the Mayapan Observatory, but thanks to the similarities with the latter many things have been discovered about him.

El Caracol (Observatory)

And we finally reach the last temple of our visit, specifically Church. Named for the Spanish because it reminded them of Christian temples. It is important to completely surround the building as it has quite interesting decoration.


It is our turn to return along the path made, arriving again at the square where the Kukulcan Temple is located. We only have to say goodbye to him and go through him street market which has been placed in the blink of an eye at the entrance of the complex. More than 100 stands will encourage us to buy a souvenir at really affordable prices.

Practical data

When to go?

Chichen Itza can be enjoyed year-round, even during the rainy and hurricane season, from June to early October. At this time the rains usually appear in the afternoon in the form of showers, but the mornings are usually calm.

How to get?

By rental car or bus, through the dual carriageway that connects Cancun with Chichen Itza, made expressly to reach the complex. All hotel complexes offer tours to visit the Temples combining them with some Cenote.

What to wear

Sun cream, a cap to cover us from the sun, an umbrella in case the flies, some food and loose money to spend on the street stands.

Where to sleep?

Most visitors do not stay near Chichen Itza but on the coast of the Riviera Maya, between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. However we can find accommodation for all types of pockets in the city of Valladolid.

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