Chichen Itza in 90 mins (Plus 4 hours driving)

Chichen Itza Travel Blog

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My brother, Tristan, and I

I have always been fascinated with the Mayans.  There is a certain mystique about this incredibly advanced civilization that thrived in Central America for centuries and then seemed to vanish.  Almost all of us have seen pictures of the reliefs depicting human sacrifice and menacing creatures that are half-man/half-animal.  Scientists are still amazed by the accuracy and complexity of the Mayan calendar, and we all wonder if anything will happen in December 2012 when the Mayan calendar ends.  All of these things had piqued my curiosity and made me eager to explore the cities of these intriguing people.

When I had started planning my March 2008 trip I had wanted to stay at a resort in the Riviera Maya so that I could enjoy the beaches and visit the Mayan ruins.

The ball court
  My younger brother and two good friends had really wanted to go on a trip with me since I had been out of the United States for five months.  Since none of them had passports or could be counted on to get them in time for the vacation, air flight to Mexico was not an option.  We finally decided to take a five day Carnival cruise out of Galveston, Texas.  Right now you are still able to enter Mexico from the USA by land or sea with just your birth certificate.  The ports of call for the cruise were Progresso and Cozumel, Mexico.  It was on the Cozumel day that we opted to go to Chichen Itza.  The shore excursion to the Mayan ruins was $75 USD which my friends were unhappy about.
A pillar with carvings
  They considered this a high price to pay to miss a day of laying on the beach and chasing girls in bikinis.  I was with a group of people that would laugh and shrug off a $200 bar tab, but balked at the idea of spending money to see "some old buildings."  Once I told them I didn't care if they snuck beer on the bus they were alot happier about the trip.  With everyone finally appeased and sedated with cold Corona, we boarded the bus for the two hour ride inland to Chichen Itza.

The Chichen Itza ruins are now part of a national park to keep them maintained and preserve them.  We entered through the main gate and walked through a path in the jungle up to the clearing where the old temple was.  It is safe to say that everyone there was awestuck when they crested the hill and saw the temple and all the other buildings in the complex for the first time.

One of the vendors trying to haggle me out of my shoes (Literally)
  There is something awe inspiring about seeing the monuments from a long gone culture.  Each building in itself was a work of art.  We had a tour guide who explained what the buildings were and some of the details that went into the planning and layout of each.  Since the temple was used in religious ceremonies it was laid out in accordance with the changes of the sun in each season.  Astronomy is a little over my head and not an interest of mine, but the fact that they had achieved such a high level of understanding and knowledge of the natural world blew me away.  Due to the time constraints from the cruise ship we only had an abbreviated tour and then we were given time to explore the grounds on our own.  We walked from building to building absorbed by the magnificence of the architecture and stone reliefs.
A little Mayan woman. Mayans were small people.

All throughout the park are vendors selling souviners.  The vendors are more than happy to take a gullible tourist's money.  Unfortunately, there are alot of ignorant travelers out there who unknowingly pay more than they should for things and this drives up the prices for the rest of us.  Many people just pay the first price offered without even attempting to broker a better deal.  Luckily, the vendors around the ruins love to haggle so if you are a discerning shopper you can get the price down lower.  I personally love to argue and considered the verbal jousting to be a highlight of the trip.  After a little sightseeing and picking up presents for family back home, we boarded the bus to head back to the cruise ship.  Even though we were only there for a short time, it was a great trip.  My friends and I had a wonderful afternoon and managed to soak up a little culture in the process.  I cannot wait to head back down to Central America to see more ruins.  I am currently waiting for some spring vacation time to head back down there.

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My brother, Tristan, and I
My brother, Tristan, and I
The ball court
The ball court
A pillar with carvings
A pillar with carvings
One of the vendors trying to haggl…
One of the vendors trying to hagg…
A little Mayan woman.  Mayans were…
A little Mayan woman. Mayans wer…
The competitors tried to get a rub…
The competitors tried to get a ru…
Some friends from the cruise ship.
Some friends from the cruise ship.
Me and the boys.
Me and the boys.
The temple at Chichen Itza
The temple at Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
photo by: ellechic