Road Trip to Mayan Ruins – Part 2 Chichen Itza


Chichen Iza

We left Ek Balam and headed back to the toll road, Hwy 180, and headed west toward Merida. There will be another toll plaza, where the right lane exits to Chichen Itza and pay $59 pesos. You have 10-15 minutes to go and just follow the signs. We encountered some road work in the town and it was hard to see the sign. But you make a left where you must go left or right. This trip is roughly 50 km / 35 mi. and just under an hour. Parking was $22 pesos.

Chichen Itza Ruins

Chichen Itza Ruins

Entrance tickets to Chichen Itza were $177 for Foreigners, $125 for Nationals and Students with an FM2 or FM3, and $38 if you have the INAPAM (basically a Mexican AARP card). Students must have serious proof to get the lower rate, being Estudiante on your FM2 or 3, or a valid student ID from your school. Sundays are free for Nationals, Students and those with INAPAM cards. This is quite a commercial place as you will see. Guides are available and the prices are posted. $60 US but you can share that with a small group. We were approached by a man, 84 years old, who was not an official guide and offered to guide us for $400 pesos, came down to $300 and, after we visited the restrooms, came at us again for $200. We later saw him with a group of four people so free enterprise seemed alive and well.

Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and is most depicted in photos of the majestic El Castillo (The Castle), and is 25 meters/82 feet high. It is straight ahead as you enter the park and you are drawn to it. It is a captivating experience and we could not get enough pictures of this marvelous site. You can no longer climb El Castillo. If you stand in front of the pyramids as you travel around Mexico, you will often see guides and visitors clapping in unison. The acoustics reflect the sounds back to you. Some even also come back sounding like birds chirping.

If you turn around, with your back to El Castillo, ahead and a little to your right you will see a stadium of sorts. It was here that El Juego de Pelota, translated simply to The Ball Game, was played. On each side of the field you will see an elevated ring of 2-3 feet. The combatants tried to hit a hard rubber ball through these rings, using mainly their hips, but not their hands. Legends tell two tales, as do the guides that we heard on our journey. One is that the loser was sacrificed. You can see carvings showing a kneeling player who is headless, with another player holding the head. Try not to notice the blood squirting from the neck. The other legend is that the winner was beheaded, as being a more appropriate sacrifice to the gods. We have had many discussions about players throwing the game, as far as the winner getting beheaded legend. If you ever play this game, be sure to get the rules straight in advance.

There are many structures to explore in Chichen. Our other favorite is El Templo de Las Mil Columnas, The Temple of the One Thousand Columns. As you face the temple when approaching it, you will see that you cannot climb on it. You can still get some wonderful photos though. Walk to your right and you will see a path where you can pass through the columns. Good photo opps in this area.

You will also see lots of vendors here. Many sell carvings of a jaguar head. You can blow into it and, with practice or skill, it sounds like the screaming of a jaguar. They come in two sizes and were priced at $120 and $80. We got a smaller one for $50, that I have yet to master. But I can startle the cats in my neighborhood. Chichen Itza tour

Next stop: Merida

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