Tags Posts tagged with "Chichén Itza"

Chichén Itza

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Valladolid features a mix of colonial air, magical buildings and a little of ourselves

Known as “the Pearl of the East,” Valladolid is a colonial city with the feel of a traditional Yucatan village. This historic place is a symbol of beauty and magic, as it proudly displays the architecture gifted to Yucatan by the Spanish conquerors. Come and see for yourself what nature has to offer in its many cenotes, a highlight of the area. Let yourself be pampered by the spirit of its people; taste the delicious dishes offered in this city, carefully prepared in the traditional Valladolid way; and take a unique souvenir with you, with one of the many local handicrafts.

Romantic alleyways and neighborhoods with ancient buildings greet visitors in Valladolid, a quiet and majestic colonial city. Founded in 1534 by the Spanish, the old Mayan city of Zací (pronounced zah-kee) became the colonization center for the entire eastern region of the Yucatan peninsula. Nowadays, Valladolid is an important center for tourists looking for adventure, culture or just plain fun. With hotels, recreational centers and its legendary regional cuisine, you can base yourself in Valladolid to explore other colonial spots like Izamal or Uayma, beaches like Rio Lagartos or San Felipe, archeological sites like Coba, Ek Balam or Chichen Itza, and beautiful cenotes like X’Keken in Dzitnup or the breathtaking Zací cenote, located right in the center of the city. You shouldn’t miss it!

Entrance to most cenotes is 30 pesos.

How to get there

Valladolid is in the eastern tip of the state of Yucatan, 160 km (100 mi) from Merida. By car from Merida, take Calle 59 until the city beltway, called Periférico, where you’ll see signs for Valladolid, Chichen Itza and Cancun, as they’re all connected by the same road. When you get to Kantunil you’ll have the option to take the highway (2 hours to Valladolid) or the faster toll road (1.5 hours). By bus, the station is called CAME (pronounced kah-may), and it’s on Calle 70 with 71 in Merida Centro. Buses run at 6:00, 6:30, 7:40, 8:00, 9:15, 9:40, 10:40 and 11:00 am, and 12:40, 3:55, 5:45 and 7:30 pm. The bus fare is 128 pesos, and it takes about 2 hours 20 minutes.


Cenotes are open 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Suggestions and Information

Plan to bring comfortable clothes and shoes to explore the streets and colonial sites in Valladolid. You should also bring your bathing suit if you intend to swim in the cenotes. A camera will allow you to capture and bring home all the colonial sites you can visit, as well as the beauty of the surrounding cenotes. To make the most of your stay, try visiting Valladolid on the following dates: February 2, Candlemas Day, or the Christian Festival of Lights; June 3 and 4, the celebration of the anniversary of the first revolutionary spark in Mexico, which took place in Valladolid; November 1 and 2, Hanal Pixan, the Mayan celebration of the Day of the Dead. Remember, it’s important to respect the area you’re visiting and keep it clean.

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The new wonder of the modern world

The pre-Hispanic city of Chichen Itza was once the most important capital of the Mayan area by the end of the Classic and beginning of the Post Classic periods. When the Spaniards arrived, it was the most revered place of worship and pilgrimage in the Yucatan Peninsula. Nowadays, it’s a sacred place for the Mayans and the single-most-visited archeological site in Mexico.

This city, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, is located in eastern Yucatan, 120 km from Merida. It was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, and is without a doubt the most important tourist spot in the Yucatan Peninsula. At the Chichen Itza archeological site, the inestimable legacy of the Itzá people lives on through the Great North Platform, the Temple of the Thousand Columns, the Cenote Sagrado or Sacred Well, the Great Ball Court, and of course, the Pyramid of Kukulcan, better known as the Chichen Itza Castle. It’s precisely at this pyramid where twice a year, during the spring and autumn equinoxes on March 21 and between September 21 and 23, respectively a spectacular light and shadow phenomenon occurs: the light from the sun creates the shape of a snake descending the sacred temple’s staircase, until the iconic silhouette of the feathered snake is complete. The opposite happens during the summer and winter solstices. Chichen Itza is a definite must on your tour of the Yucatan peninsula.


Foreigners 182 pesos

Mexican national 128 pesos (includes the light and sound show). Entrance to the light and sound show only is 75 and 48 pesos, respectively.

On Sundays, Mexican nationals enter for free.

How to get there

From Merida: By car on the Merida-Cancun toll road. Exit the highway at the Piste village toll booth; the site is a few minutes away from there. It’s 115 km in total. From Cancun, take the Cancun-Merida toll road until the Piste toll booth. You can also take the highway from Tulum and Riviera Maya, through the city of Valladolid. Chichen Itza is 42 km away from Valladolid. There are buses that stop at Piste, 1.5 km (about a mile) from the site. Tours are offered from both cities, and now there are even flights available from Cancun.


Open every day from 8 am to 5 pm. The nightly light and sound show has been temporaly suspended. It is expected to open again, with a new spectacle and night tours on april 2014.

Suggestions and Information

There are unofficial tourist guides by the entrace of Chichen Itza, and you can hire them individually. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes so you’ll be able to walk and tour the site without any problems. Check the weather in advance so your visit won’t be ruined by rain. Climbing the pyramids is not allowed. You have to pay a 45-peso permit to use a tourist video camera; a permit for professional video equipment costs 8,616 pesos. Remember, it’s important to respect the area you’re visiting and keep it clean.


The services offered in Chichen Itza include restaurants, hotels, guides, transportation, souvenir shops, restrooms, ATMs, light and sound show, tourist restaurants, gas stations, payphones.

Nearby places

Near Chichen Itza there are ceveral cenotes, or underground rivers, that you can visit and even swim in. Some tours include this type of activity, with the advantage of including a guide, and especially, meals. You can also visit the colonial village of Valladolid, where there are also several cenotes.





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