Chichen Itza is a World Heritage Site located in the Yucatan Peninsula, about 117 miles west of Cancun. It was named last year as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This is of little surprise as its size, symmetry and astrological importance are a testament to the Mayan civilization. There are many tours available, many stopping at the beautiful colonial city of Valladolid where you will also get to see some of the cenotes for which this area is famous. A visit to this grandiose Mayan city is a must for anyone traveling to Cancun.
The Temple of Kukulcan
Dominating Chichen Itza is the instantly recognizable Temple of Kukulcan, which is the Mayan name for Quetzacoatl, and also known as El Castillo. The stepped pyramid has a staircase on each side and at sunrise and sunset during both the Spring and Autumn equinoxes visitors gather from all over the world to observe an unprecedented archaeo-astronomical phenomenon not to be missed. The corner of the pyramid casts a shadow of a plumed serpent – Kukulcan- and as the sun moves, the shadow of the serpent slithers down the side of the pyramid to fertilize the earth. Be sure to arrive early as Chichen Itza becomes packed for this remarkable event.
The Great Ball Court
The Great Ball Court is the largest ball court in ancient Mesoamerica and can be found in Chichen Itza. It measures 166 x 68 meters and is 12 meters high with stone rings for the game and intricate carvings of intertwined serpents on the walls.
The Temple of the Warriors
The Temple of the Warriors is a large stepped pyramid with a row of carved columns at the front depicting the ancient warriors. At the top of the pyramid, protecting the entrance to the temple, is a Chac Mool.
El Cenote Sagrado
The Cenote Sagrado is the most impressive of the cenotes found in this area and measures an amazing 60 meters in diameter with sheer cliffs dropping down 27 meters to the water below. The Cenote Sagrado was used by the Mayans to conduct sacrifices to Chaac, the god of rain, during times of drought. Many objects such as gold, jade, obsidian as well as skeletons have been found at the bottom of the cenote by archaeologists.
Tours to Chichen Itza
These are just some of the Mayan architectural wonders you will encounter here. Ensure to take the time to explore Chichen Itza during your Cancun vacation – truly one of the New Seven Wonders of the World!
For more information on tours to Chichen Itza departing daily from Cancun please contact one of our tour operators listed below.