Chichen Itza


Chichen Itza is one of the largest Mayan cities, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The site is located midway between Merida and Cancun, and there are bus tours from both cities.

Chichen Itza features a wide range of  architectural styles.  The site was occupied from approximately 600 to 1200 AD, and at its height, the population was over 50,000.

The site features many incredible structures:  pyramids, temples, observatories, places and civic buildings, as well as beautiful, eerie and haunting carvings.

When visiting Chichen Itza, get an early start; the site gets over 1.2 million visitors a year, and can be very crowded (and hot!) by mid-day.  Souvenir vendors are allowed to set up within the grounds, adding to the crowding.

In some ways we preferred visiting Uxmal, which is a smaller site but much less crowded and more accessible.

There is also a nighttime show illuminating the pyramid and other major structures with colored lights, with a recorded narrative and musical accompaniment.



We stayed at the Mayaland resort adjoining the archeological site.  The Mayaland grounds are beautiful, and offer easy access to the ruins, though the lodge is a bit run down and in need of maintenance.  Sadly, the restaurant at the Mayaland resort leaves a lot to be desired; we had the worst meal of our trip there.

On the other hand, the nearby town of Piste has some great restaurants right on the main street.  We particularly enjoyed Las Mestizas [photo], which offers great Yucatán dishes as well as traditional Mexican fare.


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