Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza Mexico

Visit the most famous Mayan Pyramid in Yucatan, Mexico

Chichén Itzá Pyramid

Chichén Itzá is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. If you are traveling to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or one of the many hotspots located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, there are a handful of sights you absolutely must-see. None are more breathtaking than Chichen Itza: one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

The pyramid of Kukulkán is the main temple of this Mayan city. This pyramid contains all the knowledge of the Mayas about mathematics, astrology, and geometry, and its symmetry contains the Mayan calendar.

To help you to beat the crowds and make the most of your time in Mexico, here’s our recommendations to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.

Chichén Itzá means “mouth of the well of the itzaes” in allusion to the sacred cenote located north of the Kukulkán pyramid that reaches 60 meters in diameter and 15 meters deep.

Where is Chichen Itza ?

Chichen Itza is a complex of Mayan ruins centrally located on the northern half of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. In ancient, pre-Colombian times, Chichen Itza was a vibrant city with a diverse population of Mayan people extending well into the tens of thousands. Today, the site is home to the remnants of many ancient Mayan structures, including the famed El Castillo pyramid that dominates the site’s center.

Chichén Itzá re-opening and updates 2020

Best time to visit Chichen-Itza

Located away from the coast in the humid jungles of the Yucatan, visiting Chichen Itza is always going to be hot and sweaty. The dry season, between November and April, is a very good time to visit Chichen Itza as you will avoid rain and the excessive summer heat. 

If not going during the hurricane season, you´ll avoid the rain but temperatures can still rise to over 30 degrees Celsius. In the wet, summer season, temperatures rise much higher, and the climate is much more humid. 

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Best ways to go to Chichen-Itza

How to go to Chichen-Itza?

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 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 has by far the best international flight connections. 

WITH A TOUR: Book a day trip to Chichen-Itza with a tour operator. The tour usually includes transportation, food, entrance to Chichen-Itza with guide and snorkel in a cenote. It is a very good way to enjoy a day trip without having to deal with logistic and organisation. Just be aware that it is a long day starting early.

ON YOUR OWN: Rent a car is the easiest way. The advantage to this option is that you can make your own schedule and decide when and where to stop. It takes about 2,5 hours to drive to Chichen Itza from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. You will have to paid the highway (cost about 385 mexican pesos one way), parking costs 80 mexican pesos.

The ADO BUS company offers service from the ADO station in downtown Cancún to Chichén Itzá daily at 8:45 a.m. with a return bus departing at 4:30 p.m. from the archaeological site. According to the ADO website, the journey takes a little more than three hours. If those times don’t work for you, another option is to first take the bus to the town of Valladolid, since there are many more departures throughout the day, and get another bus from there to Chichén Itzá. Bus tickets are available for purchase online through the ADO website, or in person at any ADO bus station in Mexico. 

Chichen Itza Valladolid

Another option for getting to Chichen Itza independently is to take a public bus from Merida or Cancun to the town of Valladolid, spend a night or two here (it’s a charming place), and use the local colectivos to get from Valladolid to Chichen Itza. Colectivos depart all through the day when full, beginning as early as 7 a.m. The journey costs just a few pesos and takes only 45 minutes. The real advantage, though, is that you can get to the ruins early, long before the buses start arriving from Cancun and Merida.

The small city of Valladolid makes for a great base as it has several museums and a cenote to visit, and there are other (much less visited) Mayan ruins nearby, including Ek Balam.

Chichen-Itza prices in 2023

How much does Chichen-Itza cost in 2023?

  • Adult tourist :$481 Pesos 
  • Adults National : 232 pesos
  • Kids under 13 years : Free
  • Teachers: Free
  • Parking fee: 100 pesos in the parking, 50 pesos if you park outside of the site.

On Sundays, the entrance is free for Mexicans with ID.

If you want to avoid tourists, we recommend going early on weekdays, this way you will be able to enjoy the place better, and you will have more opportunities to take pictures without tourists behind you.

If you are visiting Chichen Itza on your own and want to hire a guide, you will have many opions as they will come to you to offer their services. We recommend to hire a guide before the parking gate to get better rate. The price changes depending on your negociation skills but expect to pay between 1000 and 2000 pesos, so better to be wit a group. 

Chichen-Itza Mayan Site

The archaeological site of Chichen Itza is around three square miles. There are the outdoor temples alongside a small visitor’s center with a museum. 

The vast majority of visitors find that a day trip to Chichen Itza is plenty of time to see the ruins. In fact, at a brisk walk you can see all the temples within the archaeological site in less than three hours. There are also several cenotes nearby that you can fit into the same day (some tours will stop at these, or you can reach them by car or colectivo).

Chichen Itza Temples

Temple of the Warriors:  This temple was influenced by Toltec architecture. It measures 40 meters on each side and has a stepped pyramidal shape with four bodies. At the top of the pyramid is the figure of Chac Mool.

Plaza of the Thousand Columns:  Actually, “The thousand columns” is another temple. It is connected to the Temple of the Warriors and is formed by 200 columns and piles. It is the perfect place to get lost for a while and take a picture.

The great ball game:  It is the largest court in Mesoamerica; it measures around 120 by 30 meters. Is formed by two walls in the center of which are embedded two stone rings, which are the markers of the ball game.

The snail (observatory):  This place had the function of observing the stars. It is located on two rectangular platforms with different orientations. In this way, it was possible to observe the sky and study it.

Pyramid of Kukulkan:  It is the most important pyramid of Chichén Itzá; it stands out for its great size and symmetry. Has a platform of 55.5 meters and has a height of 24 meters. The emblematic figure of the pyramid is the feathered serpent. At the base of the temple, there are two serpent heads, referring to the mythology of the region.

Check our last posts about Puerto Morelos things to do in Puerto Morelos.

Cenotes near Chichen Itza

  • Cenote Na Yah, Pixyah
  • Cenote Kankirixche, Mukuyche, Abalá
  • Cenote Noh-Mozón, Pyxia
  • Cenote Palomitas, Yalcobá
  • Cenote X’Batun

Chichen-Itza Tours

The best Chichen Itza tours we recommend from Cancun, Merida and Valladolid

Other Ruins you can visit

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Book your trip

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