All The Details About My Day Trip To Chichen Itza
Updated: Nov 13, 2018
Here is an exact morning to nightfall low down on the tour we booked from Cancun, Mexico to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the "Seven Wonders of the World".
We booked a day trip tour to Chichen Itza because it is actually about a two hour drive inland from Cancun and we didn’t want to have to deal with transportation on our own. The tour company did a shuttle service from major hotels in Cancun to their office location. We weren’t in one of their selected major hotels so we took a quick cab to the nearest one. Only a buck or two cab ride.
At 8:00am you are then picked up by a large coach bus where they check you in, give you your wristband for the day and discuss how the next bus location is going to look. Once you arrive at the next stop, just a few miles out of Cancun, you are brought to their tour offices where many people from different cities are brought together to consolidate where they are going. So people who were going to go on an ATV jungle tour would go on one bus, snorkeling on another, Chichen Itza people on another and so on and so forth. It does seem a little chaotic but your wristband you received at the beginning dignifies what bus you get on to. Therefore the workers at the tourist station had their own kind of chaotic organization going on, and everyone got to where they were suppose to go. It was maybe a 30 minute wait to get onto our new bus with all the folks that were going to Chichen Itza.
The highway to Chichen was recently paved which was great. Made for the ride to be a lot smoother, because only a few years ago it was still a dirt road. So we settled in for a 2 hour drive all while a tour guide was telling stories and history about Chichen Itza. We did make a short stop about 30 minutes outside of Chichen Itza to a small village whose ancestors were Mayan. We were greeted by a shaman who blessed us and told us about the family and cultural aspects of the Mayans. We walked through their village and they made their pitches on handmade items they could make for you for a pretty penny of course. They had a small shop which had many different types of trinkets in it. Tye and I did pick up a small figurine of a white bear which we thought was cute and well priced. You don’t spend much time at the village, maybe a half hour or so. Nice to stretch your legs and use the restroom if needed.
We then proceeded to go to a small resort where we would have lunch and swim in a cenote before completing the walking tour of Chichen. We had about an hour and a half to 2 hours to kill at the resort so we definitely took the opportunity to swim in the cenote. Cenote means “sinkhole” in Spanish and it's a natural phenomenon where the land falls away to reveal a small “hole” or area of freshwater. This resort was famous for their sinkhole and had built stairs leading down to the water, so it was very easy to get into. Once in the cenote, there is a platform you can jump off of into the water, so we decided to take the plunge and get in quick rather than the slow toe dip. The water was cool and so refreshing from the humid heat of mexico. There are natural waterfalls cascading from the walls, as well as vines hanging from the top. There are even tiny little fish that live in the cenote. It all makes for a pretty magical experience, and it was one of our favorite things we did in Mexico.
After you make your way back up the stairs, they have nice restrooms with showers to change and freshen up.
After the cenote swim, I definitely worked up an appetite. The lunch was a traditional buffet style with a large variety of food from tacos to soup, fruit, meats, and of course desserts. We chowed fairly quickly since we spent extra time in the cenote and had to get back on the bus. The ride to the Chichen Itza park was no more than 10 minutes from the resort.
Upon arriving at what I will call “Chichen Itza park” the folks on the bus were split up to small groups all led by a tour guide. Our tour guide handled all the ticketing and entry fees for us which was nice, as we made our way in.
What I didn’t realize is that Chichen Itza is located in a massive National Park complex. The whole area was gated off and it was square footage of the area was much large than I was envisioning. What I also didn't realize was all the different ruins they had uncovered in the area that we had the opportunity to explore. What I also didn’t know is that Chichen Itza is the name of the ruin city, not the main building, and although there is this world famous temple, it is only one building in a vast city of ruins.
From the ticketing gate, you walk maybe a quarter mile through shaded paths to reach the city. Along these paths are vendors. My recommendation is to not buy from here. There are many vendors located throughout the park, all of which have the same items. Only that the vendors at the back of the park are a little more desperate to make a dollar and their pricing is much better than the ones at the front.
At the end of the front path you step into this huge courtyard of open grass were you can see all the ruins around you. Temple of Kukulcan El Castillo, the famous building, stands prominently in the center. I will say that out of all the wonders I have seen thus far, Chichen Itza and the Temple of Kukulcan is truly the strangest. You will see everyone clapping at this temple. Also odd, right? Not clapping to give it applause or anything like that, but clapping to hear the temples bizarre phenomenon. The strong echo of a clap sounds like a bird sacred to the Mayans. There is a story that says this specific bird was used to call to and speak to Gods. So the Mayans built a temple to replicate the sound. It looks completely ridiculous to see all the people clapping at a building, but it really is a wonder that is hard to describe. You just have to experience it for yourself!
Aside from the Temple of Kukulcan, the Ball Court, Observatory El Caracol and The Temple of Warriors were among my favorite buildings as well. All with astrological and acoustical significance that each carry their own strange phenomenon as well. Trust me, experience this your yourself or do some research to better the significance of these wonders. It’s a mind boggler.
Our tour guide walked us through the main complex area tell us all about the strange features of each building and their stories. Then he gave us an hour and a half of free time to walk paths to other ruins and explore the city on our own.
After spending all afternoon in the high sun heat, we were happy to aboard the air conditioned bus to make the journey back home. Another 2 hour ride and a bus swap later, we were back at the hotel drop off location around 4:00 pm. Not too shabby in a day's work of our exploration to Chichen Itza, one of my favorite world wonders.