Sweat, rain, a little more sweat, some mosquitos, and more sweat.
Chichen Itza Travel Blog› entry 6 of 9 › view all entries
October 8th, 2008 – by: jenn79
We took a trip to Chichen Itza today, right in the middle of the week, as per Joy and Rob's suggestion. They said Chichen Itza was so amazing that nothing else would really compare, therefore the best thing would be to visit sort of in the middle of my stay, a little towards the end. So today it was =) I chose an afternoon tour with a night show because I wanted to see this place after everyone had left, as I was worried about the crowds. It takes a little over 2 hours to get to Chichen Itza from Cancun, and if you get the tour with the night show it includes a trip to the Gran Cenote which is pretty amazing.
God I love Mexico, there's an incredible history no matter where you go, and the sense of closeness with nature is unbelievable. It seems all of their attractions involve some sort of natural wonder, whether it be a sunken limestone pool that you can swim in or a mangrove arch you can float past. We saw an alligator at dinner, and when we went to Xel-Ha we were told by a bunch of snorkelers that there was a barracuda in the river (yeah, thanks for your insane story, Will - I'll never hear the word barracuda and not be traumatized again!). Lord, if we make it out alive with all the ferocious wildlife, I'll be quite pleased! =)
I had completely forgotten to go searching for a cenote to visit, so I was very happy to hear we were visiting one on our way there.
It was really a wonderful experience making our way to such a gorgeous and personal gift of nature. I left truly touched and awed.
Off we went to Chichen Itza! Lord it was HOT and HUMID today. The park is extensive but we had the most amazing little old man tour guide!! I wanted to take him home with me so that he could share the history of Chichen Itza in his humorous, knowledgeable and charismatic manner. His voice was so pleasant and his cadence was very unique, it was like listening to a song the entire time. But goodness, just standing still was difficult. The Mexican sun was relentless and the humidity was off the charts.
The guide was wonderful and so informative. Did a great job of painting the history of the Mayans and Toltecs. The celebrated El Castillo Pyramid is the large one that everyone thinks of when they see Chichen Itza but was actualy rebuilt by the Toltecs. The Mayans worshipped the serpent and therefore got harshly punished by the Catholics who saw snakes as a symbol of evil. And the Mayans created the calendar before the Gregorians did. I missed a lot of stuff because I was running around and taking pictures pretty far into the field.
I had the opportunity to videotape our guide to show what an amazing storyteller he is. Imagine two hours of this incredible informative narrative. At the end of our tour, I ran up to give him a tip and accidentily did the math wrong, handing him $40 in American dollars.
I have to mention what an amazing experience seeing Chichen Itza is. I've seen the pyramids at Teotihuacan in Mexico City, which I believe are even bigger than this pyramid, but there's definitely a very special feeling that this area has. It's so beautiful and serene and awe-inspiring. The guide told us about some amazing ruins in Guatemala and Cebo(?) that I now want to visit. But if you have a chance to see one Central American ruin in your life - this one will not disappoint. It is incredible.
We were actually with quite a few older people who had seen the ruins before. They came back because these ruins are continually restored.
We had an awful dinner that was included nearby and invited at the adjacent liquor store to try Mayan alcohol. I've never seen people more enthused about getting their hands on some alcohol after a rough day of walking in the humidity and drizzle.
Some cautionary advice on what to expect when visiting Chichen Itza. The tour to Chichen Itza will bring you through the heart of the Yucatan. Although you will not stop, you will get a sense of how incredibly poor this area is. Skinny dogs run around, many houses are made of tin and wood. People are along roads trying to sell whatever they can. And then you get to Chichen Itza and there are vendors EVERYWHERE. Some will literally pop out of the ball court to sell you stuff. They will follow you pretty insistently unless you are with a guide who will help to wave them off. But you will find some of the cheapest items here as well. "Hand-woven" dresses for $20, silver bracelets for $15, wooden masks and sculptures, etc. It's like the largest bazaar in Mexico! And having bought Mexican silver with Sybil before, I can attest to it all being real silver.
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