Would you ever visit Paris and not go see the Eiffel Tower?
How about going to New York and not seeing Times Square?
Now think about it from another perspective.
Would you visit the Yucatan Peninsula and not take the time to explore the New Seven Wonder of the World that is Chichen Itza Mexico?
We didn’t think so.
Of course, a Chichen Itza tour from Cozumel can be complicated, especially due to factors such as time and distance, but remember that we can get you there in just 45 minutes (more on that later)!
But have no fear!
We’ve put together a list of the most common Chichen Itza facts, tips and tours from Cozumel to make sure you’re properly informed.
So where do we start?
Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins: All You Need to Know
There are a lot of things to consider when visiting Chichen Itza from Cozumel or the Riviera Maya.
To be honest, it’s often times not a tour for everyone. That’s because the trip by bus can be long and grueling, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
Then there’s the heat, the crowds, and the vendors.
However, not only can all these problems be solved or avoided, but there are so many great reasons to pay a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site that the pros heavily outweigh the cons.
Let’s take a look.
- Chichen Itza Weather
- Chichen Itza Hours
- Chichen Itza History
- The Kukulcan Pyramid
- The Feathered Serpent of Chichen Itza
- The Great Ball Court
- Chichen Itza Cenote
- Chichen Itza Restaurant
- Chichen Itza Tour
- Cozumel Cruise Excursions
- Chichen Itza Hotels
Chichen Itza Weather: Sizzling!
It can get hot in Chichen Itza Mexico. Really hot. Too hot. Unbearably hot. Sizzling hot.But, to be fair, it’s like that throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.
As a general rule of thumb, what you’ll find in Chichen Itza is pretty much the same as Playa del Carmen weather or that of Cozumel sans the ocean breezes.
The best way to deal with the heat is by arriving early and always staying in the shadows as you walk around the ruins. If your guide is anywhere near as savvy as our very own Mr. Turtle, you’ll spend most of your time in the shadows and away from the crowds.
It is important, however, to always bring sufficient bottled water, a hat to cover your precious face, and enough sunscreen to avoid going for that red lobster look while on vacation.
Chichen Itza Hours: When to Go
Chichen Itza is open year-round from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. However, if you’re still there at 4:00 p.m. that’s when park guards start politely guiding everyone to the exit.
As mentioned above, the best time to visit Chichen Itza is in the early morning hours. That way, you beat both the heat and the crowds.
If you do go in the afternoon, be prepared — and patient — to deal with large numbers of people and the feeling that somehow your skin is slowly turning into bacon.
Tip: take an umbrella if you have one. It will help keep away those sunbeams.
Chichen Itza History: What to Know
If you have the opportunity to do so, read up on the ancient Maya before making your trip to these spectacular Mayan ruins.
There is so much to learn, and still so much unknown, about this highly advanced civilization that it will leave you speechless.
From precise astronomical calculations and a calendar even more precise than our very own Roman calendar to their mysterious disappearance from all major cities and that famous snake that winds down the Kukulcan pyramid come each equinox, you’ll be fascinated and amazed by everything you read about Chichen Itza Mexico.
The Amazing Kukulcan Pyramid
If you’ve ever seen any image of Chichen Itza, which you likely have, then it’s of the Kukulcan pyramid.
Also known as El Castillo in Spanish, i.e. The Castle, the ancient Mayan spent three centuries and diverse architectural styles to create the imposing and breathtaking achievement that is Kukulcan.
Amazingly, and a testament to their mathematical precision, the giant pyramid has exactly 365 steps — one for each day of the year.
Diverse chambers are located in the interior of the pyramid, and one of the great findings has been that of a red jaguar statue with 74 jade inlays.
The Famous Chichen Itza Snake & the Return of the Feathered Serpent
One of the most renowned aspects of Chichen Itza Mexico is, without a doubt, the return of the feathered serpent.
It is an event that attracts tens of thousands of mostly white-clad visitors each equinox to observe this spectacular phenomenon.
Come March 21, as the sun begins its descent and darkness begin to fall on the northwest corner of the El Castillo pyramid, the shadow of the feathered serpent of Kukulcan, a.k.a. Quetzalcoatl, begins to descend down to the bottom of the pyramid.
Finally, once the snake god reaches the bottom, the shadow disappears into the carved head of a serpent Quetzalcoatl located at the base of the pyramid.
If you do decide to go, just be sure you wear bright and colorful clothing just to make sure you stick out in all your brillance like a sore thumb.
The Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza Mexico
Yet another big attraction of Chichen Itza is the site’s large ball court.
Centuries ago, valiant warriors would challenge each other in rituals that would often end in death.
To date, there is still dispute as to whether the winners or losers offered their lives in sacrifice to the gods.
Ball courts such as the one found at Chichen Itza could be found throughout Mesoamerica.
None, however, rivaled the ball court at Chichen Itza in terms of size and importance.
The game involved the attempt to propel a large rubber ball through special hoops located on high upon each side of the court.
Because the use of hands was not allowed, players would have to get the ball through the hoop using just their hips, knees, and forearms.
The Importance of the Chichen Itza Cenote
Researchers are still investigating the meaning and importance of the cenote or sinkhole to the ancient Maya.
Much remains unknown to this very day and will likely remain a mystery forever.
The name Chichen Itza means “At the mouth of the well of the Itzaes”.
The Itza people originated from the area of Peten in Guatemala.
At the end of the Classic Period, however, they migrated north and established a ceremonial and population center at the site we now know today as Chichen Itza.
When we speak of cenotes in regards to Chichen Itza, it’s important we do so using the plural: cenotes.
This is not only because there are two highly important cenotes such as the Sacred Cenote, but because researchers recently made yet another major discovery: the Kukulcan pyramid itself was built over a large cenote.
According to the ancient Maya, cenotes served as a portal to the Netherworld.
Most Chichen Itza tours visit the nearby Ik Kil Cenote where you can swim and even get a bite to eat.
Chichen Itza Restaurant: Regional Cuisine
Speaking of eats, by the end of the Chichen Itza tour most people are pretty hungry.
If you go on your own you can pick and choose from the many different restaurants located outside of the Mayan ruins.
Most tours, however, go to a handful of restaurants that have the space and equipment to serve good food for a large number of people in a quick amount of time.
Yes, we’re talking a buffet-style lunch made up of rice, beans, chicken, fish, fruit, and salad.
The food is good, filling, and more than does the job until you get back to Cozumel.
Chichen Itza Tour: Which to Choose?
This one is pretty much a no-brainer.
Not ones to toot our own horn, but simply from a logistics standpoint it’s clear.
Look at this way.
A one-way trip with a normal Chichen Itza tour from Cozumel will take you almost 3.5 hours just to get there — ferry included.
Our Chichen Itza to Cozumel tour by airplane, however, has you there in 45 minutes and leaves so early that crowds and the sun god, Kinich, won’t punish you.
In addition, Fly Cozumel offers a level of service and quality that is hard to match, much less beat.
Don’t believe us?
Check out our TripAdvisor reviews and see what our clients have to say about that.
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Cozumel Cruise Excursions to Chichen Itza
We know that if you’re visiting the island on a ship and are looking for the best Cozumel cruise excursions for you and your family then there’s one thing of the essence and that’s time.
Whether it be a Chichen Itza tour, an excursion by plane to Tulum or even a charter flight to Holbox for the day, you have to be back on time to make the ferry.
Luckily for you, we have had the honor of hosting hundreds of cruiseline passengers on all of our Fly Cozumel tours and not once have we ever not been back on time.
In fact, our Royal Caribbean shore excursions to Chichen Itza are one of the most popular around!
In other words, not only do you get the best seat in the house but you’re also back in time to continue your seafaring journey with no problems at all!
Chichen Itza Hotels
Do you have time and are thinking about exploring the region?
There are a number of Chichen Itza hotels which offer everything from luxury accommodations to the low-budget and rustic.
However, if you are thinking about combining your Chichen Itza tour with a prolonged visit to the region then you should definitely consider making the hour journey north to the city of Merida.
Known as the White City and the reigning Cultural Capital of the Americas, Merida is stunningly beautiful, surprisingly active, and a city that you just can’t help but fall in love with.
If you can stand the heat…
Did you know that at Fly Cozumel we also offer one-way charters to Chichen Itza?
When in doubt, simply contact our Fly Cozumel crew for more information!