Sweat, rain, a little more sweat, some mosquitos, and more sweat.

Chichen Itza Travel Blog

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Cenote
Oh what's a trip to one of the new 7 Wonders of the World without a little complaining about the heat, right? =)

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.
A nice staircase was build into the side of the cenote so that people could descend approximately 3 stories into the this wonderful place. There were quite a few fish swimming around in there and the water looked fantastic. I imagine it's freshwater, and although it's not very big, there are lifejacket rentals right on site if you want to jump in the water for a swim. Just please be careful to use biodegradeable sunscreen as it really is a blessing that Mexico shares its natural wonders with the rest of the world in such an intimate manner - "come jump in our cenotes, go climb our ancient pyramids." Take advantage, but also take good care.

It was really a wonderful experience making our way to such a gorgeous and personal gift of nature. I left truly touched and awed.
The famous pyramid @ Chichen Itza!
Like a cavern, created by a misty god, to show you how beautiful even the belly of his planet is. And then while we were leaving, a party bus full of bikini clad collegiates and beer guzzling frat boys from Club Med arrived. I was glad to have missed them by minutes, as that would have really ruined the experience.

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.
tour in Chichen Itza
I've never sweated so much for SO LONG in my life!

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.
Oh well! What I wouldn't give to this toothless, sweet old man anyway!

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.
Another serpent!
They keep finding things on archeological digs and whenever they have the money - rebuild whatever they can find. One can see this restoration even in the large El Castillo pyramid as one side was left as it was originally found and is in pretty bad shape. One of the smaller pyramids in an older section was completely reconstructed after being a heap of rubble 10 years earlier according to one couple. It's absolutely amazing what archeologists do! They take every rock, tag them, fit them together and rebuild things from thousands of years ago!! What a cool job.

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.
Check out that serpent!
=) We then came back for the sound and light show. I have to say, it was pretty darn awful. But if you can bear an hour of melodramatic narrative and just 3 structures being constantly lit up in different colors (and not well, either), definitely go just to see what it would be like to be a Mayan in this gorgeous city at night. It aroused all sorts of feelings - awe, anticipation, romance and pride. I bet it was impossible not to walk into the presence of just amazing structures and not be immensely proud of your city and your people. A truly awesome sight no matter who you are and I bet evern more gorgeous on a night where the moon was out. It's not a bad eerie, it's the kind of place that gets your blood flowing! Just the past weekend, they said that Placido Domingo sung here for a very exclusive crowd.
some vendors
I bet even he was floored by this amazing place.

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.
pvtjoy says:
Beautiful!
I want to go back!!!!
I love the cenotes!
Glad to hear you are enJOYing yourself!
Miss you here....
Can't wait to see you!
Let me know if you're free when you get in town!
**smooches**
LOVE THE PHOTOS!!!!!

Posted on: Oct 10, 2008
Biglush_23 says:
I love the sweltering heat when your brain finally melts and space and time kinda meld together, like ur brain and the ambient air become one...makes me feel light-headed and then im dreaming again hahaha...except im awake...sorta...

Its a great feeling isnt it, knowing that centuries if not millenia ago, someone else was standing right where you were standing today...probably thinking the same thoughts...wondering about the who what where whys of the daily checklists...thinking about what lies in store for tomorrow. It sounds like you had a moment there with the universe ^^ bravo. Hope you took a deep sip....filled your lungs with the passion it invoked within you ^^
Posted on: Oct 09, 2008
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Cenote
Cenote
The famous pyramid @ Chichen Itza!
The famous pyramid @ Chichen Itza!
tour in Chichen Itza
Another serpent!
Another serpent!
Check out that serpent!
Check out that serpent!
some vendors
some vendors
Chichen Itza at night..
Chichen Itza at night..
V and I in front of El Citadel p…
V and I in front of "El Citadel" …
12 years ago - this was a pile of …
12 years ago - this was a pile of…
Mayan alcohol
Mayan alcohol
Cheers!
Cheers!
The observatory
The observatory
Chichen Itza
photo by: ellechic