The world-famous archaeological site of Chichen Itza is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World by UNESCO and a world heritage site. This vestige is located directly in the Mayan region’s heart and was once one of the most important cities for the Mayan civilization. People from all around the world travel to Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen with the single purpose of visiting Chichen Itza; This incredible city of huge temples and interesting history was once one of the most important ceremonial centers of the Mayan civilization. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the site remained closed for the last 5 months. Still, the good news is that it has re-opened, following all health and sanitation standards, to welcome visitors again. So if you’re traveling to Cancun, Cozumel, or Playa, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of exploring it!
Can you visit Chichen Itza in this COVID times?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s even better to visit now than ever. Here’s what you need to know if you plan to visit Chichen Itza now that it’s open again:
First, a brief cultural insight:
Chichen Itza means “at the mouth of the Well of Itzaes” as it is settled next to the Sacred Cenote, a huge sinkhole considered by the region’s ancient inhabitants as one of the main entrances to the underworld. This city was once the most revered Mayan center of worship and pilgrimage. Today, it is toured by more than a million tourists each year, making it the 2nd most visited archaeological zone in Mexico, just after the Pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico City.
Chichén Itza is packed with tombs and temples. Still, the most famous of them all and the reason so many people visit year after year is definitely the Temple of Kukulkan. This imposing pyramid located right in the center of the archaeological zone is arguably the most known symbol of the ancient Mayan culture worldwide. It is also known as “El Castillo.” Dedicated to Kukulkan, the feathered serpent, the god of the sun, this spectacular 4 sided temple is formed of 91 steps that added to the central platform, make 365, just like the days of the year. The impressive building is a reminder of the incredible math and observation skills of the Mayan astronomers. Although it is no longer possible to climb its staircase, admiring its remarkable architecture from any point in the area is undoubtedly a unique experience. We’re sure you’ve seen it in books, postcards, and NatGeo.
Another impressive construction is definitely The Observatory, also known as “The Snail” due to the spiral-shaped stairs inside. It is a circular building on top of a large square platform dating from around 906 BC. It is believed to act as an observatory where ancient Mayan astronomers could observe celestial phenomena.
You can also walk across some large, open fields, where the ancient ball game was played to honor the gods. Ballplayers could use their elbows, shoulders, hips, and ankles to hit a rubber ball, and the goal was to score through a stone ring. Very similar to football, right? Except that winners got the honor of being given in sacrifice to the gods. No golden cup here, though!
There’s a unique vibe surrounding each construction and every corner of this archaeological site, that will make you feel like traveling back to those times of mysticism and veneration of nature and the gods.
We think it’s time to adapt to the new normality and keep enjoying the best of life, and this place is worth a visit now that it’s reopened.
Visiting Chichen Itza during the COVID-19
Visiting Chichen Itza during the COVID-19 era is pretty much as easy as before; However, there have been some changes that you may need to consider:
- The total attendance allowed was dropped to 30%. Take this as an advantage, as the site used to be very crowded before the pandemic. It’s even more enjoyable now!
- Groups must include a maximum of 10 people, including the guide, so forget about bringing your football team.
- All visitors must wear a facemask as a requirement to enter and explore the site.
- People showing any apparent COVID19 symptom will not be allowed to enter the site.
- At all times, visitors are advised to keep a safe distance of 6 feet as much as possible.
And finally, you may be wondering: How to get to Chichen Itza from Cancun or Cozumel? Well, there are many ways according to your travel plans. The site is located 3 hours away from Cancun, and the road is a bit boring (nothing there to see, just a long, long trail). If you’re staying in Cozumel, it takes more time even, as you’ll need to take a ferry to Playa del Carmen and then rent a car; But let’s be honest, taking a 3-5 hours ride just to get to the site sounds like a bummer, especially if you’re looking to make the most of your travel, right? You can also book a tour and forget about driving; still, it’ll take you a lot of time to get there.
So, what can you do now that you are desperate in need of visiting the most impressive Mayan vestige ever? Well, get to Chichen Itza by plane! It’s easy, super-fast, and quite an adventure! Just imagine the stunning views of the Mayan jungle and the site itself from above? And getting to Chichen Itza in less than 45 minutes from Cancun, Cozumel, or Playa del Carmen is honestly the best way to get there. We’ll be telling you more about the whole experience in another post, but right now, consider booking your flight to Chichen Itza soon!
This enigmatic place, declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is one place you must visit at least once in your life.