During our time in Cancun we took a day trip to the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza (as our guide said, not to be confused with ‘Chicken Pizza!’). Located in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula and approximately 3 hours from Cancun, the ruins is one of the new seven wonders of the world and when you see it you can see why. Chichen Itza is impressive, though not as big as I had thought. 😛
Before going to the ruins, we were treated to a “not so good” Mexican buffet lunch with a stop at a souvenir shop. For the record, I love mexican food but the food there was just blah. It turned a bit awkward when the cultural dancers came out dancing with empty coke bottles atop their heads going around all the tables and waiting for tips. It was entertaining though. 🙂
Chichen Itza means “at the mouth of the well of the Itza”. Just like the Incas of South America, the Mayans of Mexico lived around the 800 AD. It was one of the largest Mayan cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities in history. I think their biggest contribution was the Mayan Calendar, predicting the end of the world in 2012. Haha! 😛
It was raining when we got there so I rented a big red umbrella which cost 50 Pesos. Luckily, the rain stopped when we started to walk around the temples. Some ancient buildings had been partly restored and I noticed the continuing restoration at the stadium. There were also several uncovered sites that were still overgrown by trees and other plants.
One thing that was disconcerting, though, was vendors are allowed to sell inside the archeological site. A bit of a turn-off, in my opinion, as they were everywhere selling all kinds of trinkets, souvenirs and memorabilias. I don’t see a problem having vendors, all touristic places have them, but not inside the historical area.
Unfortunately, you can no longer climb any of the temples in order to better preserve them, but the experience was still enjoyable.