One of the ‘New’ Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is probably on most travelers bucket lists. For me, it’s one of those one and done places. I came, I saw, I don’t need to come back.
- Make sure you wear sneakers.
- Just as you’d suspect, there are hoards of tourists (especially tour groups) all over the place. We booked a tour as well, just because we were staying in Playa del Carmen, didn’t want to rent a car, and it was about a 2.5 hour drive from us. It’s also about the same distance from Cancún, so if you think that is a closer resort area to stay at, it’s not.
- There are people trying to sell you/rip you off for souvenirs. Before you even get off the tour bus, they swarm around the vehicle like ants on a lollipop. Our guide advised us to just make sure they don’t put anything on us (i,e. hats, necklaces) or else they’ll strong-arm you into buying it. Luckily, those people are not allowed near the actual ruins, and only towards the entrance.
- It is hot. And I mean HOT. When we went in July, it was 97 degrees. Make sure you bring extra water because you’ll need it. I remember reading somewhere that tourists used to be able to climb the ruins. I can’t imagine doing that in this heat. I was already suffering just walking around the grounds. At least it wasn’t humid though or else I don’t think I would have made it out of there alive.
- If you are joining a tour group (which you most likely will be), Chichen Itza is probably not the only stop it will make, which is good and bad. We booked via Viator, which linked us with Amigo Tours. The first stop after about an hour or so of driving, was a town called Valladolid. You can walk around and explore on your own for about half an hour. Next is lunch, which also happens to be in the same vicinity as over-priced souvenir shopping. It’s definitely one of those stops where the tour company gets an incentive for bringing tour buses to. But, I get it. After lunch is Chichen Itza. Before making the drive back to the resorts, there is a stop at X-Cajum Cenote. Also a bit touristy, but it was nice to see a cent in person since i’ve never seen one before. Also, very refreshing after walking around and sweating all day. That being said, prepare for a LONG day. Our pick-up time was 7 AM and we didn’t get back to the resort until 8 PM.