Dream Vacation Day At Chichen Itza

By Todd Castor
Staff Vice President, E-Commerce
Pleasant Holidays

My girlfriend Sylvia and I think no first-time visit to Cancun and the Costa Maya is complete without a visit to Chichen-Itza and the surrounding areas of the Yucatan. Here's why...

We began our journey to Chichen-Itza early one morning. An air-conditioned tour bus arrived at our hotel, the Omni Cancun, and we headed west from the state of Quintana Roo into the Yucatan. On the bus ride our guide took the opportunity to chat for a few moments with each person on board, and after a quick stop for a snack, we arrived at Chichen-Itza.

With some of the largest and best maintained Mayan ruins in Mexico, Chichen-Itza is actually two cities: one that was ruled by the Mayans from the 6th to 10th centuries, and another that emerged in the 11th century. The cities' layout is fascinating; the reasoning behind the architecture and placement of the structures reflects the Mayan interest in the calendar, the four seasons, sporting activities, calculus and even population management.

El Castillo (The Castle) is the principal ruin at Chichen-Itza and completely dominates the entire site. The huge pyramid is actually a calendar with four stairways, each containing 91 stairs, plus a superior platform. All these steps add up to 365, the number of days in a year. And the view from above is well worth the steep climb up the stairs.

After a couple of hours exploring the ruins at Chichen-Itza, we visited a nearby hotel for an authentic Mexican lunch and some "folklorico" dancing from Mayan descendents. Our next stop was at an underground aquifer, which are common to this area of the Yucatan and supplied fresh water to the Mayans for centuries.

Our journey back to Cancun followed a quick stop in a Mexican colonial village, where we visited a church several hundred years old and got a brief glimpse of modern Yucatan life.

We arrived back at the Omni around dark, pleasantly tired, ready for a room-service dinner and happy that we set aside some time on our trip to learn a little about the region's rich history and culture.

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