Chichén Itzá, Mexico's favorite archaeological site for tourists

Touring the ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the Mayan culture, its calendars, and its rituals. The Temple of Kukulkan, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Caracol, among others, stand out among the constructions of the ancient city.

Chichén Itzá, Mexico's favorite archaeological site for tourists
Visit Chichen Itza and get into the Mayan world. Image by VViktor from Pixabay

National and foreign tourists confirm the archaeological zone of Chichen Itza as the most visited in the country, as indicated by the National System of Statistical Information of the Tourism Sector of Mexico DataTur and the National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Informatics (INEGI) in recent days, receiving close to 2,500 visitors on the first Saturday of August, according to estimates of guides and tourist service providers in the area.

From 8:00 a.m. when the ticket offices opened, there were already tourists waiting to enter to enjoy this millenary Mayan city, considered a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

Among the rules of operation that are carried out as part of the sanitary protocols, visitors are required to use their masks during their stay in the area, and sanitizing gel is given to everyone while they are in line to enter, and although the healthy distance was lost, the temperature was not taken properly, since there were only a few temperature sensors installed, which were not enough for all the people entering.

According to INAH's Institutional System of Visitor Statistics, 215,288 people arrived at Chichén in July. According to service providers, this is a good number. Archaeologist Octavio Suárez said that the number is expected to be higher in August due to vacations.

Cultural importance

Chichén Itzá is the best example of the migratory movements that took place in Mesoamerica during the Early Postclassic period, since it gathers features of material culture from the Maya area as well as from central Mexico, particularly of Toltec origin. In addition, Chichén Itzá was the capital of a large territory in the Yucatán peninsula, headed by the Mayapán league, from 987 to 1200 AD.

The archaeological site of Chichén Itzá is world-famous for the play of light and shadow that occurs every equinox on the steps of the pyramidal base known as the castle. In this, the sun, as it ascends over the horizon, illuminates the western alfarda of the base, creating triangles of light and shadow that seem to descend to the serpent's head on the top of the alfarda.

This event, achieved through the correct orientation and inclination of the planes of the base, shows the great level of astronomical and architectural knowledge that the Maya possessed, which has made them one of the most studied cultures and regions in terms of these subjects, as well as their political and territorial organization and the exploitation of resources. Chronology 525 to 1200 A.D. Main chronological location: Early Postclassic 900 to 1200 A.D.

Visit with a tour

If you are staying in the main cities of the Riviera Maya, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum, you have the option of hiring a tour whose itinerary will depend on each agency. An alternative is to go to the Mayan city almost directly, with few previous stops. You should know that all the tours include a free buffet stop and a visit to the city of Valladolid, about 30 minutes, where you can buy handicrafts.

Other agencies, meanwhile, include stops at Coba, an archaeological site 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Tulum. There is also the possibility of choosing a tour that includes a visit to the incredible Ik Kil cenote in the Yucatan (if you want to take a bath, you must bring your bathing suit and towel). Once at your destination, the agency is in charge of buying the tickets to Chichen Itza and a guide provides explanations about the main points, such as the pyramid of Kukulkan and the Temple of the Warriors.

Visit by car

When there are several people who are going to make the visit, you can rent a car to go and see the ruins. The advantages of choosing this means are several: it is more economical, you can manage your own time, and define a personalized itinerary.