Chichen Itza is one of the most visited destinations in Mexico. In 1988, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most tourists to Chichen Itza come here on a day trip, most of them coming from Cancun. It is located an hour drive from Merida, the famous capital of Yutacan. Local Maya community has developed numerous wonderful sites that tourists can enjoy as they experience the rich Maya Cultural Heritage. For you to enjoy all these great activities, you should plan visiting Chichen Itza for a night or two so that you can see most of the incredible sights.
Getting around Chichen Itza is best done on foot but remember to wear comfortable and sturdy walking shores. It is also a good idea to carry a hat and sunscreen along with you as well as some binoculars as birding and stargazing are great activities to enjoy. Visiting the nearby towns will give you a chance of learning more about the local Mayan communities including their religious rites, cooking, ancient arts and calendar system. One of the major attractions is El Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan which is the area’s most famous landmark. The temple pyramid was dedicated to Feathered Serpent God and the locals nicknamed it as The Castle. The interior Temple is a newer temple pyramid built on top of an older one. The temple is quite an incredible sight even some sacred monuments are slowly being eroded by erosion.
The Temple of Warriors is also a very famous tourist traveling to Chichen Itza even though visitors can no longer climb it. The Great Ballcourt features seven courts where the locals play the well known Mesoamerican ballgame. The Temple of Jaguars is attached to ballcourt complex and features a feathered serpent column, murals inside and stone jaguar. Chichen Itza also has various Zumbul the structures, otherwise known as the Sweatbaths. During the traditional Maya spiritual rites, the sweat baths played a major role and were used for purification of the body, emotions and mind. El Caracol is a circular temple that was used for an astronomical observatory. The High Priest’s Grave is a lesser version of Castillo that was used as a tomb for a famous city rule.
Other attractions that you shouldn’t miss in Chichen Itza include the Red House, Temple of Wall Panels, House of Deer, Xtoloc Cenore and Old Chichen. Caves of Balankanche are located just nearby and houses ancient idols and Maya pottery. At night, the Light & Sound show is worth your time.
Tourists also visit the Yaxtin Spa for holistic beauty treatments that are based on the traditional Maya rituals. Chichen Itza is also an excellent destination for bird watching and there are extensive nature trails and bird refuge centers at the hotel. You can go for shopping at The Maya Hut where you can buy Maya craft, jewelry and textiles. The revenue obtained is used for supporting the Maya Foundation, Bird Refuge Program and local Nature Conservation programs.