One of the largest Mayan cities, an important monument of Pre-Columbian civilization and an area of picturesque beauty, Chichen Itza is located in the eastern part of the Yucatan peninsula, on the main highway between Merida and Cancun, about a 100-mile distance from the latter.
Things to Do in and around the Most Visited Architectural Site in the Country
The name of the site means “at the mouth of the well of the Itza people” and what you will see and experience there is, indeed, that: one of the places that Mayan civilization sprung from and where you can see how ingenious, sophisticated and technically advanced Mayans were. Here are a few of the most important monuments in the area:
Temple of Kukulkan – also called El Castillo, the Temple was built sometime between the 18th and 12th centuries CE and is a majestic pyramid-shaped building that was used by the Emperor himself;
The Great Ball Court and the Temple of Jaguar – a large court with perfect acoustics with a two-story temple on its eastern side. The upper level of the structure faces the Ball Court and is believed to have served as a vantage point for the elite and nobility of the city.
The Sacred Cenote – a large pool of fresh water, the Cenote is 115 feet deep and over 210 feet in diameter and it was presumably used as a site for sacrificing humans to honor the God of Rain.
Places To Eat Near the Chichen Itza
Visiting the large complex will probably make you hungry, but don’t worry, as there are plenty of excellent restaurants and eateries in the area:
Hacienda Chichen – an elegant, yet relaxed restaurant, the place offers Mexican, international and fusion dishes. They provide excellent service and amazing cocktails, too,
Lonceria Fabiola – affordable and friendly, this place will make you feel like a local. The food is authentic and excellent and the staff is very friendly,
Las Redes – another authentic place on the main street that serves tasty local meals and adds great service to impress and comfort the visitor tired after seeing all the beauties of Chichen Itza.
Beaches Close to Chichen Itza
Being located inland, Chichen Itza does not have direct access to the sea. However, if you are looking for a way to combine the intensive cultural experience with some time spent relaxing on the beach, you can easily get to the nearby Cancun – probably the area that has the most spectacular sea views and beaches in the world. You can get there by car or by hopping on one of the buses that leave for Cancun every hour and find yourself splashing around on Playa Delfines, Playa Forum, Playa Tortugas or North Beach.