Along with its fame Chichén Itzá is one of the most extensively restored Maya sites. Established around 300 AD, it began to flourish between 800 and 925 AD, it was one of the largest Maya cities with a population of 35-50000 people, which was a huge deal back then. The city had a significant influence in the whole region, however started declining in 13th Century. The ruins give us insights in the beliefs and the society of Maya, showing us how knowledgable they were in astronomy, architecture and acoustics. The site contains various small and large buildings, split in two parts – Chichén Viejo (Old) and Chichén Nuevo (New), where the most significant constructions can be found: The Kukulcán Pyramid also called Castillo, the Great Ball Court with the Temple of the Jaguar, Temple of a Thousand Warriors with the Chac Mool on top, and the El Caracol, the observatory of Chichén Itzá.
Chichén Viejo and The Observatory
The Kukulcán Pyramid
Temple of a Thousand Warriors and The Chac Mool
The Great Ball Court and the Temple of the Jaguar
How to get there:
The site is located about 300 km away from the Caribbean coast and can be easily reached by regular buses running from Tulum or any other city on Yucatan Peninsula. We had a day trip with 6 hours bus ride (both way), about 4 hours on site and some waiting in-between. It was certainly a long day, but absolutely worth the effort. I spent about 55 Euros for the whole trip including the buses, entrance fees, the private guide and the souvenirs. Thumbs up! The only turn-off was the souvenir market on the site itself. The commercialised every single meter of the walkways with souvenir stands – such a bummer!!