Visit Chichen Itza: Comprehensive Guide to Get You Started
Chichen Itza is one of Mexico’s top attractions that you should consider adding on your itinerary in your next trip. In fact, this should count among the top sites to visit in Mexico as it houses historical facts dating as far back as 550 AD or earlier. If you are wondering what makes this destination unique, here is a comprehensive review of its history, features, and facts that you should know to plan your trip to Chichen Itza from Cancun.
History of Chichen Itza
While you should take a guided tour to Chichen Itza from Cancun or Riviera Maya, it helps to learn a few things about the history of the Mayan ruins found in this area.
Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, about 120 miles from Cancun, Chichen Itza enjoys a rich history highlighting the development of the region from ancient times to modern days. The name of this region was derived from underground rivers that run beneath that also provided a water source for the city. It is this easy access to water that made it possible to construct a city as big as Chichen Itza.
The history about when the Mayan ruins were built differs. There are different timelines given by different historians highlighting when Chichen Itza rose to become a political and economic power. You might find accounts that go as far back as early 400 A.D., while there are those that claim the city began years later, around the middle of the fifth century. What everyone is in agreement with is the fact that the city was a key political and economic center that served the Mayan culture, and it was one of the most established cities in the Mayan region around 600 A.D. It covered about two square miles and part of settlements included residential and commercial structures made of stone. In the outskirts of the city were suburbs with smaller homes.
Chichen Itza Today
Today, there are few of the historical structures made by ancient Mayan civilization that have been restored over the years. These are great attractions that paint the history of the region. Their significance in history is one of the reasons many people visit the site. Below are some reasons you should prioritize Chichen Itza tours.
One of the reasons you should visit the city is to witness its architectural masterpieces constructed by the ancient Mayan civilization. This is one aspect that makes Chichen Itza guided tours interesting as you get an opportunity to walk through history. Part of these masterpieces highlights Mayan Ruins like the Temple of the Three Lintels, The Caracol, and other Classic period structures like the Iglesia.
This is one of the monuments you should visit during your guided tour to Chichen Itza. The monument was constructed before 800CE and served as an astronomical observatory, mainly of Venus. It was also used as a temple to Kukulcan, who was regarded as the god of the winds. The interior is designed to symbolize a conch shell, which was associated with Kukulcan, and to access the second floor, there is a spiral staircase. At over 10 m high, the vault is the largest Mayan structure of this type. It has remained a key attraction that draws curiosity from different parts of the world, the majority of whom come to witness the architectural brilliance applied in its design and construction.
Pyramid of Kukulcan
Also referred to as Castillo (Castle), the Pyramid of Kukulcan dominates Chichen Itza with a height of 24 metres and each side measures 58-9 metres. The pyramid has nine levels and there is a staircase on each side that leads to a single square structure. Inside the summit building are two chambers and around the shields are jaguar relief panels. Seen from above, the view created by the stairways prints a Maya sign for zero. At different times of the year, especially during the autumnal equinox, on different levels of the pyramid you can observe triangular shadows that are cast onto the sides of its northern staircase, and this creates an illusion of a huge snake climbing up the structure. The concept was in honor of the serpent god. This wonder is enough reason to not miss a tour to Chichen Itza Mexico.
Temple of the Warriors
You might also want to visit the Temple of the Warriors while on a Chichen Itza Mexico tour of the Mayan ruins. This is a three-level pyramid designed with two colonnades on its sides to form a semi-enclosed court. The structure was constructed between 800 and 1050 CE. Its interior walls are painted with scenes of warriors and captives, thatched houses, and a lake. Adjacent to the temple is another pyramid ruin, the Mercado, which holds a 36-column gallery at its front. This is something you are not likely to see in Cancun, so it makes sense to book a trip to Chichen Itza to witness the architectural masterpieces that crown the history of the region.
Best Time To Visit Chichen Itza Mexico
Cancun might not have the same weather conditions as Chichen Itza, and you need to understand the best time to beat flow of visitors. The most ideal time for tours is November to April, because you will avoid the hottest months and the rainy season. Also consider visiting on March 20 or 22 and September 22 or 23 to witness the Equinox Snake, an observation on the Pyramid of Kukulkan where you can see an illusion of a snake smoothly creeping down the northern staircase.
For the most suitable means of transportation from Cancun or Riviera Maya to Chichen Itza, we encourage you to opt for a guided tour. This gives you the safest option and you are able to relax since the journey is long. You don’t want to arrive there exhausted, so we can help you pick a perfect way to travel to Chichen Itza.
Tickets and guides to visit Chichen Itza
With many sites offering the sale of tickets to Chichen Itza, you will find different prices on the market. It is advisable to always book a guided tour to Chichen Itza as this comes with many benefits including the fact you can consult experts on different issues. You can check out our ticket sales to pick the most suitable for your trip.
For a successful trip to Chichen Itza from Cancun or Riviera Maya, don’t forget to check out the best prices. Click here to learn more and get started with your trip.