Chichén Itzá is a UNESCO World Heritage site comprised of stone buildings in various states of preservation, all of which are connected by a network of roads called sacbeob. The three most well-known are El Castillo (Kukulcán Pyramid), the Temple of Warriors, and the Great Ball Court.
Visit independently or on a group or private day trip from nearby cities on the Yucatán Peninusla, which often combine a stop here with visits to Ek Balam, Cobá, or the town of Valladolid. Alternatively, choose a tour with access to the Mayaland Resort and a buffet lunch.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Many tours are led by archaeologist tour guides, who are well-versed in Mayan culture.
The Ossario group and Central group are open to everyone; Chichén Viejo (Old Chichén) is only open to archaeologists.
Come prepared for the heat with light clothing, sunscreen, bottled water, and a hat.
This popular site can get extremely crowded—book an early-access tour to beat the crowds.
Skip Sundays, when the site is free to enter for Mexican nationals and incredibly busy.
How To Get There
Chichén Itzá is between 2–2.5-hours by car from Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun respectively. Visitors to those coastal resorts will have plenty of options for day trips to the archaeological site, and departures are also available from Cozumel and Merida.
When to Get There
The best time to get to Chichén Itzá is right around opening, before the crowds arrive and the sun is high in the sky. Some private tours and small-group tours offer early access to the ancient ruins. At sunrise and sunset on the spring and fall equinoxes, the corner of the pyramid casts a shadow of Kukulkán, a feathered serpent god, and creates the illusion of a snake slithering down the north side of the pyramid.
The Cenote Sagrado, a sinkhole gateway into an underground body of water 197 feet (60 meters) in diameter, is an impressive natural site at Chichén Itzá. However, you can't swim in it. Another nearby cenote is Ik Kil, and some Chichén Itzá day trips combine visits to these freshwater sinkholes on the Yucatán Peninsula with a stop at the ruins.
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