Things to Do in Chichen Itza
Here is our Chichen Itza travel guide! Our last day in Mexico, we stepped into the world of the Mayan history, traveling back to 800 B.C. Sneak peaks like this into the history, sweeps you away. They leave you amazed and give you memories you will never forget! There are so many things to see and things to do in Chichen Itza!
Chichen Itza is one of the largest and most accessible archeological site from the Mayan time. It was built between 800 to 1300 B.C. We had a guide with a great passion and knowledge for the Mayan time So it was easy to dream away to find yourself in another time so different from ours.
Chichen Itza consists of two parts, the Late and Terminal Classic part built around 800-1000 B.C. (not to be missed!). The post classical part built from 1000 B.C. to 1300 B.C, is the most famous part due to El Castillo pyramid.
Chichen Itza Travel Guide: What to See
In the older part, we walked among impressive pyramids, massive temples, saunas, and ball courts. The oldest gems of this Chichen Itza travel guide, these were all built with state of the art skills, precision, and technologies. Accompanied by the stories of our guide, they all became so much more than beautiful buildings!
Unlike the Spanish, the Mayans had a strong belief that buildings and heritage of their ancestors should not be destroyed and instead, they used existing buildings as a base and built around or over them. This can be seen by an educated eye by the stones, symbols, and style used, with data present on any Chichen Itza travel guide. Every building is filled with Mayan symbols and luckily some of them can still be seen, given us clues about their meaning and role and the life back then.
But you also get shocked by the stories of the cruelty. These harsh rituals were a big part of their lives and beliefs, and essential to any Chichen Itza travel guide.
Sport was already then important and the ball games attracted huge crowds of spectators. However, the courts were not a place for watching some thrilling games for fun but rather a win or die game. The game was played with a soccer-sized ball that should be thrown through rings high up on the walls. It was not an easy task having seen the small rings. In the end the captain of the losing team would be beheaded…
El Castillo Pyramid
The most famous building of Chichen Itza is the huge El Castillo Pyramid, full of cosmological symbolism and interpretations. The number of stairs of this pyramids is debated. Our guide meant that it consists of 360 steps, 4 sides with 90 steps each. This is while many others mean that it consists of 365 to represent our calendar. Regardless of the number, it is a truly stunning masterpiece. Every angel and part has its own secrets to be discovered, and they can’t possibly fit inside one Chichen Itza travel guide!
Next to El Castillo is the beautiful Temple of Warriors, also known as the temple of thousands columns (in reality it is not thousands but around hundred…). An impressive building where you can still see the inscriptions of the many important Mayan symbols as well as the Chac Mool figure. This is thought to be a place for relaxing but also a place for sacrifices and nunnery.
One of the 7 wonders of the world
The skills of the Mayans as well the Incas is impressive and it is very sad to hear the same story over and over again traveling in this region. “Then the Spanish came and destroyed most of what was built. What you see today is just a very small piece of what existed back then”. One would have hoped, we had learned something from this…
It is no surprise that Chichen Itza was chosen as one of the seven new wonders of the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage area of immense cultural significance. One thing you can take from this Chichen Itza travel guide: no one leaves this place untouched!
Our day in the Mayan footstep did, however, include more than one of the wonders of the world. We stopped by the Mayan City of Valladolid as well as one of the many Cenotes, a natural phenomenon only to be found in the Yucatán Peninsula.
Cenotes are another great example of the beauty and power of our impressive nature. A cenote is a natural hole, a secret cave, not visible from the outside and caused by the groundwater making the limestone collapse from within. This was a very important water and offering place for the Mayas. It is in its way another natural wonder, a beautiful and peaceful oasis!
More from Travel with a Silver Lining
Mexico is a fascinating country, with seemingly endless magical places beyond the things to do in Chichen Itza. Once you’ve read my Chichen Itza travel guide, why not learn more about my other Mexican adventures?
- For a completely different Mexican experience read our Tulum Travel Guide!
- For my favorite Insta-worthy places in this Central American country, read about the Best Instagram Spots in Mexico!
- See the world through my eyes on my top 3 posts: 18 Instagram Spots in Lisbon, My Amalfi Coast Photography Guide and the Top 10 Hipster Restaurants in Moscow!
Booking & Info
Inspired to experience the coolest things to do in Chichen Itza by yourself? Here are some great tips!
- Find the best flight deals to Mexico on Momondo, my favorite all-inclusive travel app. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, click HERE!
- When visiting Chichen Itza, stay at Tulum and discover this magical boho chic paradise. Find the hotel of your dreams through Booking.com, RIGHT HERE!
- Book your transfer from Cancun airport to your hotel and save yourself a headache with GET YOUR GUIDE!
GET YOUR GUIDE is my favorite tool to really experience each place I visit. They offer everything from airport transfers to unique tours and experiences, allowing me to book ahead, not having to worry anything other than enjoying myself. Check out their incredible guide to the Riviera Maya, below!
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