Chichen Itza in Mexico is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. One of the most important archaeological sites on Earth, it is one of the New Wonders of the World.
The site is in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is situated on the highway between Cancun and Merida. You can drive to the area by car or take the Cancun bus. The ride will take 3 or 4 hours. There are also organized tours that can take you to the site. When you get to the area, it is best to explore on foot.
What to See
The Pyramid of Kukulcan is the best known landmark here. It is a temple dedicated to the god Kukulcan. The Temple of the Warriors and the Great Market are also popular sites. El Caracol is an astronomical observatory.
Other areas worth checking out are the Old Chichen, the Cenote of Sacrifice, the Nunnery Complex, the High Priests Grave, the Platform of the Skulls and the sweat-baths.
These baths were utilized by the Maya to purify their body and spirit. The Temple of the Jaguars is famous for its murals and feathered serpent columns. The Great Ballcourt is also a fascinating site.
Chichen Itza in Mexico was a pilgrimage site for the Maya for over a thousand years. In the year 987, the leader of the Toltecs arrived. With the help of the Maya, they turned the area into the largest city in the peninsula. Their ruler named himself after Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god.
In the 13th century, war broke out between the Mayan and their leaders. However, the city remained a religious center for the Maya up to the conquest by the Spaniards. The jungle would eventually conceal the land. It was not until the 1920s that archaeologists uncovered the area.
The entrance fee to the site is 160 pesos. If you want to shoot a video, there is an extra 45 peso fee.
Wear comfortable shoes as the terrain can be rugged. Bring a hat and sunscreen as it can get very hot. Aside from the ancient ruins, the area is a great place to go bird watching.
The towns around Chichen Itza in Mexico are worthy of a visit too. By interacting with the local Maya communities you learn something about the Maya culture, religion and their customs.