If you are especially planning to visit Chichen Itza this Summer 2022, you might seek a little advice, or may I say, great advice, you judge by yourself. Nevertheless, beating the crowds and making the most of your time in Mexico, is the ultimate goal.
For many years, Chichen Itza Ruins have been marveling visitors as one of the most visited tourist attractions in Mexico. The Archaeological Site has left people from all over the world in awe when they stand in the middle of it.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the Modern World,’ Chichen Itza is home to temples, cenotes, and a unique Yucatan landscape.
So without further ado, here’s our ultimate guide to visiting the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza is one of the main archaeological sites on the Yucatan Peninsula, in Mexico. It was and is still a sacred city and Mayan pilgrimage center founded by the Itza, the so-called “water of the sorcerers”, in the 5th century AD.
The name Chichen means "mouth of the well" and Itza refers to those who founded it, the Itzaes "witches/sorcerers of the water", around the year 435. The name also reflects a little secret that’s starting to be known among tourists. The main building, the Pyramid of Kukulkan is built over a cenote. Cenotes were also very sacred to the Mayans. They believed cenotes were the doors to the underworld, or “Xibalba”. So the name “mouth of the well of the sorcerers” follows after the meaning of it is the opening between the world in which they offered living sacrifices.
As you walk into the site, you’ll notice how religion presided over the daily life of the Mayans. Their bulgings represented this in every way possible. You’ll see many god-figure in the temples and along the sides of the buildings. Many of the great, if not all, of the tallest and more complicated buildings, were an offering to their gods. For example, the building pantheon of gods was related to the forces of nature. In fact, one of the most important activities of Chichén Itzá was its role as a sacred city and pilgrimage center, a function that is retained beyond its survival. The Sacred Cenote was a place of offerings of gold, jade, shell, or wood, as well as human sacrifices.
Today, all that remains of this city are the temples and ballcourts. Chichen Itza fell into ruin after the overthrow of the elite in the 12th century and the onset of the Mayan decline. By the time the Spanish conquistadors first laid eyes on a long-abandoned Chichen Itza in the 16th century, there was little that hadn’t been swallowed by the forest.
From the mid-19th century onward, Chichen Itza was slowly excavated and researched. As the temples emerged from the undergrowth, so too did the tourists. Thanks to its proximity to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Chichen Itza has reached a new zenith as one of Mexico’s most popular tourist spots.
Chichen Itza is located in the middle of Yucatan's humid jungles. With a hat and sunblock, be prepared to get sweary. As you are traveling in the summer, meaning June to September, you'll be visiting during the hottest time of the year, and also the rainiest. But don't worry, there's nothing to be nervous about. Temperatures rise up to 30°C (86°F), some people might be used to it, just keep in mind the region is pretty humid, but there's nothing a nice swim in a cenote won't fix.
Many tourists get excited about the weather and do not take care of getting sunburned beside the hotel pool. Even if you're not lying on the beach, you can still get sunburn when walking the Archaeological Site. Still, this is the best time of the year to visit Chichen Itza, the sun shines bright and makes everything stand out!
In conclusion, a lot of biodegradable sunscreens and mosquito repellent, and you should be good to go.
Traveling to Chichen Itza in Mexico is easy, given that it is one of the country’s biggest tourist draws, but you do need to get your timing right to avoid the heat and the crowds.
Chichen Itza is located almost exactly in the center of the northern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula. That means it’s halfway between the tourist resorts of Cancun (to the east) and Yucatan’s capital and largest city, Merida (to the west). Both of these destinations have airports, but Cancun Airport has by far the best international flight connections.
The easiest way to visit is to join a tour to Chichen Itza. Tours depart from any and all hotels along Riviera Maya, from Cancun down to Tulum. There are also lots of tours from Merida. Here are some Chichen Itza tour recommendations:
From Cancun to Chichen Itza, you can also take an ADO bus (the region’s major bus company). Buses depart from the central bus station rather than from the resort areas. There are also regular ADO buses from Merida central bus station to Chichen Itza.
ADO buses drop people off by the main entrance, but you’re limited on departure times (the earliest bus from Cancun, for instance, usually departs around 8 or 9 am, getting you in quite late in the day). Be sure to book tickets in advance to reserve your spot there and back if you are day tripping.
Another option for getting to Chichen Itza is spending the night in one of the closest towns. Valladolid is a great option or if you’re feeling it, you can check out hotels in Chichen Itza and be just a few minutes away from the site.
Either way, if you want to make the most of every minute you have in the Caribbean, we recommend you schedule private transportation. Choose the perfect tour in Chichen Itza and arrive on time to avoid crowds.
Chichen Itza is around three square miles. Sure there’s a lot to see, but don’t worry, one day trip or even half a day should be enough for you to enjoy the site. It all depends on what other activities you have planned and how long would you like to stay, it’s all up to you. The ruins, a small museum, and a few restaurants are what you’ll expect to see on the site. If you decide to have lunch and take your time with pictures and admiring every building, there’s no rush.
Especially if you arrive early and are one of the first groups to get in, you’ll have the site to yourself and no need to wait for people to take pictures or slow down the visit.
You can see all the temples within the archaeological site in less than three hours. Keep in mind there are a lot of things to see nearby. There are also several cenotes nearby that you can fit into the same day (check out our Tour Plus).
And as this article is here to make your vacation the ultimate Chichen Itza experience, you can even try Chichen Itza and Ek Balam Tour!
Chichen Itza is located just a few minutes away from the village of Piste. This small town offers accommodations for staying as close as possible to the archaeological zone, restaurants, and local businesses for shopping. Besides Pisté there are also excellent hotels in Chichen Itza surroundings with fantastic amenities and great locations for visiting the wonder of the world.
Enjoy the luxury of walking in the Chichen Itza Ruins right from your hotel room…
This is important information, when you visit Chichen Itza keep in mind that there are two types of fees included in your tickets. One is for the Institute of History and Anthropology of Mexico (INAH) and another for the Ministry of Culture of Yucatán (Cultur).
Free admission on Sundays for Mexican citizens and foreigners with residence in Mexico, ID is required.
PLUS, enjoy the great show of Kukulkan Nights, the most incredible light and sound show in one of the Seven wonders of the world, and admire how the Kukulkan Pyramid is filled with colorful images and Mayan representations. The show begins at 7:00 pm, you can get your tickets at Chichen Itza’s entrance starting at 15:00 hrs.
To help you start planning your tour of Chichen Itza here is a nice map of all the ruins you can visit. Afterward, we listed each place, just so you get familiar with them. If you want to know more, check out more information about the Mayan Ruins.
Make not only good but great choices when you are preparing for your visit to Chichen Itza. To make your trip as easy and enjoyable as possible, check out the following tips:
The opening starts at 8 a.m. As summer is high season, expect to find people already in line. Still, being an early bird can always come in handy and even more when on vacation…
Here’s why hiring a Private Transportation is an advantage, you don’t have to wait for a taxi or for the busses to start functioning. Getting there early shouldn’t be a problem.
Well of course you have seen thousands of pictures online but there are specific regulations according to taking pictures and equipment.
Here’s a big “FYI”, camera tripods are not permitted in the archaeological area – not even small ones. Tripods are seen as professional equipment. For this, you are expected to have pre-arranged permits.
Not only that, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), professional pictures, filming or any type of videography is regulated by law. If you would like, you can check out the permit here on their site: https://www.tramites.inah.gob.mx/INAH-01-001.html
If you have a Go Pro or a video camera, you’ll be asked to pay an extra fee of $50.00 MXN, for the same reasons.
Just a few years ago, visitors were allowed to climb the Pyramid of Kukulkan. After analyzing the dangers and seeing the building was being damaged, INAH decided to forbid climbing it.
We want you to have a blast, so we kindly ask you t be careful when it comes to this type of security regulation, accidents did happen in the past and rules are there for a reason.
As this is the Ultimate Summer Guide for Chichen Itza, we want you to experience everything there is to enjoy.
Just a few minutes away, as we mentioned before, are many cenotes for you to jump into after a hot day in the sun. Just imagine a cool swim inside an ancient cave or open-air cenote, that’s just priceless and the perfect way to end up the day.