Chichen Itza

El Castillo de Chichen Itza

The famous Maya pyramids of Chichén Itzá are over 1500 years old and are located only 75 miles from Mérida. The name Chichén Itzá is a Maya word: CHI (mouth) CHEN (well) and ITZA (of the Itza tribe). Some believe people were occasionally thrown into the nearby cenote as sacrifices, and those who survived were believed to be seers.

Yucatan HIRE

The site is divided into three sections. The north grouping of structures is distinctly Toltec in style. The central group appears to be from the early period. The southern group is known as "The Old Chichén." All three can be seen comfortably in one day.

As the most famous of the Maya pyramids on the Yucatán peninsula, Chichén Itzá has been studied extensively and is the most popular Maya ruin in México. Much has been written about it. Try to visit Chichén Itzá early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as the sun can be punishing at midday.

Spanish Center Merida

The main attraction is the central pyramid, also known as El Castillo, the spectacular, massive Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the Chichén Itzá archaeological site. Today El Castillo is one of the most popular and recognized tourist sites of Mexico and as of 07/07/07, it is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. Built by the Maya sometime between the 1000 and 1200 AD, El Castillo served as a temple to the god Kukulkán and is believed to have served as a calendar. Each of the structure's four stairways contains 91 steps. When counting the top platform as another step, in total El Castillo has 365 steps, one step for each day of the year. The structure is 24 meters tall (78 feet), plus an additional 6 m (20 feet) for the temple top for a total height of 30 meters (98 feet). The square base measures 55.3 meters (181 feet) across. Huge sculptures of plumed serpents' heads sit at the base of the pyramid on the northern staircase. At sunset during the spring and autumn equinoxes triangle shadows are formed by the platforms making it appear as if a plumed serpent is descending the pyramid.

If you are up to the challenge, inside you will find a narrowly enclosed staircase that leads to a "chac mool", an altar where offerings to the gods were placed. It is sometimes possible to visit the inside passageway of the pyramid, but we would encourage visitors who are claustrophobic to skip that part of the adventure. Climbing to the top of the pyramid is no longer allowed.

Just beyond El Castillo you will find a large ball court where Maya men played a game called Pok Ta Pok. Anthropologists believe that the object of the game was to hurl a ball through a ring that was mounted on a wall, seven meters above the ground.

Each team had six field players who would attempt to pass the ball - using any body part except their hands - to their captain who would attempt the shot using a racket of sorts. The captain of the team that made the first successful shot was then thought to have been decapitated as a sacrifice to the gods. This was seen as an honor and guaranteed entrance into heaven.

There is a certain mystical energy about the ball court that begs to be experienced first-hand. One fact worth noting is the repetition of the number seven, which was sacred to the Maya. There were seven players on a team, the rings were seven meters high and if you clap your hands or shout in the court, the sound will echo exactly seven times. There are carvings on the stone walls that depict the ball players (some of which are remarkably intact) and after the captain was beheaded, it is said that seven serpents grew out of his neck.

At the entrance to Chichén Itzá, there is an informative museum, a dining room, clean restrooms, a few gift shops, and vendor stands. If you didn't bring a hat, it's a good idea to buy one from one of the vendors outside before you go in.

Most visitors to Mérida take a day tour to see the archaeological site, returning to Mérida the same day, an excellent option if your time is limited. But there is much more to Chichén Itzá than the incredible archeological site. Hacienda Chichén offers birding, eco-cultural experiences with the local Maya community, and Maya spa treatments (see contact info below). Yucatan Mayan Retreat offers Ecohotel & Camping services, in Yokdzonot village, 10 min. from Chichén Itzá.

How to get to Chichén Itzá:
You can travel to Chichén Itzá by daily travel agency tours, rental car, or public bus. If you drive yourself, parking is $22 pesos. You can easily do the trip and return to Mérida by the evening, or you can stay overnight. We recommend you read our article on Transportation in the Yucatan.

If you wish to take public transportation:

Autobuses ADO
CAME bus station
Calle 70 x 69, Centro.
Departures for Chichén Itzá in the early morning. Cost 144 pesos. Takes 1 hour 45 min.
Check for current schedules.

Important Information:
- Climbing to the top of the pyramid is no longer allowed.

- The site is open 365 days a year from 8 am to 5 pm.

- For the first months of inauguration, extended until October 31, 2015, “Las Noches de Kukulkán” light and sound show is only available with registration in advance, completely free. Click here for more info. Click here to see a short video about the show.  
- Entrance fees: ADULTS: 224 pesos foreigners, 150 pesos Mexican nationals.
- Lockers for bags and suitcases are available at the entrance. The smaller ones are  20 x 20 x 20 in. Large 20 x 20 x 45 in. They are free and are available during site visiting hours.
- Parking: Vehicles: 22 pesos. Buses: 33 pesos. Fee is for the duration of your visit, not per hour.
In 2012, the Mayaland Hotel opened a new planetarium building on their grounds at Chichén Itzá. They are showing the dome planetarium show "Tales of the Maya Skies" produced at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California. "Maya Skies" explains the connections between the Maya creation story and their advanced astronomy. The new building is designed to look just like the artist's conception of "El Caracol," the Observatory building in Chichen Itza. Mayaland shows "Maya Skies" alternately in English and Spanish, so contact them for the schedule. If you're visiting Chichén Itzá, don't fail to see the show! You will come out with a deeper understanding of the Maya people. There is more information at Visitors can call them directly: US & Canada toll-free: 1 (877) 240 5864. Mexico toll-free: 01 (800) 719 5465.
Recommended reading:
- New Seven Wonders of the World

Hotels in Chichén Itzá:
- Hacienda Chichen is a unique boutique green hotel found among the haciendas in Yucatán. This colonial hacienda is a serene elegant hotel and Maya Spa retreat, located just steps from the site of Chichén Itzá.



our guide told us that the ruins are owned by a private party. true? Why are all the annoying vendors allowed to encroach so close to the ruins?

At one time the land was

At one time the land was owned by a private party but the site was managed by the government; that is no longer the case, the government of Mexico owns and manages the site. As for the vendors, this is an ongoing issue at archaeological sites everywhere, and in this case discussions have been underway for some time.

equinox "appearance" of Kukulkán at equinox

I read that on the quinox the sunlight casts a shadow on the pyramid that appears like Kukulkán, does anyone know if that is true, and if so, what day? I would love to catch it! thank you, Mary



Yes it is true! Read our article here:


Chichen Itza Pyramid

Can anyone provide the overall width and heighth of the pyramid? Also, even though general public cannot climb it anymore, is it known if there is openings or tunnels inside the pyramid? Thank you for any information, Tina


Chichen Itza Pyramid

Hola Tina, thanks for the question, we have added this info in the article above. Please read.


climbing the chichen itza

I have heard that tourist are allowed to climb the pyramid now. Is this true?



No, it is not allowed.


Hoping Chitzen Itza is open

Hoping Chitzen Itza is open on Christmas Day??!



Yes it is open 365 days a year.


Chichen Itza Tour

Can someone please recommend a tour company that offers day trips from Merida to Chichen Itza. It would be great if the tour also includes a visit to a mayan village. Thanks!



Hi, just about all the tour companies in Merida have this this article for a list with contact info:
Happy travels!


Chichen Itza

Thanks Juanita! Also, is it open on January 1st, New Years Day?


January 1

Yes it is! 365 days a year. Have fun.


Personal Tour Guide at Chichen Itza

Initially, I thought we would go through a tour company for Chichen Itza, but now, we prefer to hire a personal guide when we arrive there. Any suggestions on how we should go about making arrangements, and how much should the guide charge? Thanks!


light and sound for new years

The Luz y Sonido functions normally on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.


Climbing the ruins

I visited Chichen Itza back in 2002 and was able to climb the ruins. What caused the change in rules?


re. climbing

It was a combination of things...all the people going up and down was causing more disintegration and erosion of the structure...thereby making it ever riskier to climb, creating a real safety hazard.


Climbing the ruins

We visited the grounds a few weeks ago and our guide told us an elderly lady fell down the steps and died, hence they closed the temple to all climbers.



Hello, I have heard this too, I am not sure whether it is true, but it could be...either way, very wise to no longer permit climbing there.


Cost of a tour

Will we be saving money if we hitch on a tour from our hotel or take the bus to the ruins and pay our entrance?
What is the best way to visit the ruins?


Exchanging money

Should we exchange dollars for pesos? I know in Cancun many vendors prefer dollars. Thank you.


re. cost of a tour

You would save money by taking the bus and paying the entrance yourselves. But I recommend a much better to have an experienced guide who will also give you info about the sights you pass along the route.
Juanita Stein, Yucatan Today Editor


re. exchanging money

Plan to exchange your dollars into pesos. The vendors may prefer dollars, but they all accept pesos, which is what everyone uses here.


I was at the ruins this

I was at the ruins this month and I saw that they were digging around the large temple. I didn't catch why they were doing this and have they discovered something new there? Thanks!


Digging next to pyramid

Archeologists found a huge platform underneath the present one. The platform on which the pyramid, the big ballcourt, the group of the 1000 columns etc stand, has been raised by the Mayas at least 10 feet in hundreds of years. Several skulls and an entire skeleton have been found, also jade, ceramic and obsidian objects.


Tour Guide

We are planning a trip in March. Can you pay a tour guide at the door? if so, how much? Tours from the Hotel seem to be too expensive... $60 for adults and $40 for kids. I have two kids one adult. It would be cheaper to ride a bus there then get a guide...Can you do that?


re. tour guide

Yes you can save $$ by doing it yourself. See updated bus info in article above. Contact Renee Tijsma at for a reliable tour guide. There are also guides at the gate but there is no set price, you have to negotiate.



Buenos Dias Juanita,
I will be visiting Chichen Itza in March. I'd like to see the Light & Sound Show as well as tour the ruins. If I arrive on Sunday will my FM3 Visa get me in for free to both attractions?
Muchas Gracias


re. costs

Hola, the free entry on Sundays is only for Mexican citizens.



Gracias para su repuesta!
Hasta luego!



I person I know visited Chitzen Itza and said that a vendor was selling a black ball for $2,000.00 US. Just wondering what this could have possibly been. Thanks.


re. vendor

That is a very good question! The only thing I can think of would be onyx. Of course, depending on the size, this would be VERY heavy!

Yucatan Today Editor


Accomodations at Piste

The Dolores Alba (also in Merida) is a good and economic choice.



Are there tours from Cancun or other beach areas? We are thinking of renting a condo on the beach and want to take an overnight trip to Chichen Itza.


Disgusting disappointment

How this is the 7th wonder of the world, I simply cannot understand.

If the pyramid was just there without the insulting vendors, which are EVERYWHERE, then it would be pretty impressive. But the whole experience was ruined because every minute, and I mean that, we were accosted by people trying to sell us things. I don't mind that so much, but when they take the mickey out of you and insult you as well, it kind of takes the fun out of a family day sightseeing, right?

I would highly recommend you visit Uxmal instead of this. It is bigger, more impressive and there are no vendors INSIDE the tourist attraction.

Makes me sick.


chizen itza

I had the priviledge of climbing the pyramid back in the 90's. Fantastic view of the site. It does need to be preserved for future generations. Yes there are vendors everywhere. Just say NO. Sounds a bit harsh but it has come in handy even in Europe and large cities in the states. NO.



Is parking seriosuly around $35 American? That seems really high...


No, parking is only a couple

No, parking is only a couple of dollars. Who told you $35.00 usd? Maybe they were saying 35 pesos? That is the only explanation I can think of....


i was looking at the bus

i was looking at the bus fare price...duh. im sorry. thanks for answering though, a few dollars sounds more reasonable.


no problem, something I

no problem, something I would have done... when are you going? we were just there in March.


My wife and I are traveling

My wife and I are traveling there on our honeymoon next week. we leave tomorrow. We are actually going to cancun and renting a car and driving to the ruins sometime next week. any tips or suggestions for us?


re. my wife and i are traveling

Here are five articles you must read. You will find some amazing ideas for your honeymoon:

Several musts:

Stay here, eat here, or have a drink here:

Stay here or eat here:

Swim here (near Chichen Itza):

Eat here:


Congratulations! We went to

Congratulations! We went to Playa del Carmen and stayed at an All-Inclusive in March. It was fantastic. We actually live in Mexico so we were kind of using Chichen as a stop-over on our way to the beaches! My husband isn't crazy about doing the ruins and all that but it was o.k. Some of his co-workers had told us you could spend days touring around Chichen but it took us about 2 hours! We were ready to head to the beach, food and alcoholic beverages!
The roads around Cancun are good and the road to Chichen is great (there is a toll of about 300 or so pesos so just have that ready each way). Are you staying near the ruins? I would recommend just doing a day trip unless you are ruins-junkies. It can be easily done. The only advantage to staying overnight would be to wake up really early and get to the ruins first thing before the tour buses and the heat. Don't forget to check out the cenotes. There is one at the ruins and there is another down the road across from the Dolores Alba Hotel (we stayed there). I can't remember the name of the cenote but it is part of another hotel. You have to pay to get in but it is kind of cool. I'll look up the name if you're interested. My brain has turned to mush since living here, information over-load!


recommendations for driver/guide...

We will be staying in Valladolid at the end of June and I am wondering if someone can recommend a reliable guide/driver to spend the day with us (family of 4) and drive us around to see the sites in and around Chichen and Valldolid. Also, to guide us through the archeological sites and the light and sound show at Chichen.

Thank you -- Lilia


If no climbing is allowed

Why did I see a group of people climb El Castillo? Yes they were escorted by staff of the site. So who do I contact and how much? Better yet who do I need to know? This took place June2009, and I have pics of the group with staff climbing El Castillo.


re. if no climbing is allowed

From YT Editor: I have no explanation! Perhaps it was a group of archaeologists. You would need to contact INAH and CULTUR directly, the federal and state bodies which regulate the site to find out why this group was permitted to do so. But for the general public, it is not allowed.


Tour Guides from Riviera Maya

We are going to be at the Mayan Palace Riviera Maya in August and would like to take a trip to Chichen Itza. Can you recommend a good tour company that offers transportation and a tour guide at the ruins -- the hotel is charging $110 USD per person for the tour which seems expensive.


Tour Guides from Riviera Maya

From our fellow company "Yucatan Holidays": Of course we can offer a better rate for the Chichen Itza tour! We can arrange to pick them up at the Mayan Palace and the tour for $89 USD including the tour guide, a visit to a cenote and a buffet lunch! Please invite them to visit the website: or tell them to send and email to: [email protected]

Contiunation of "IF no climbing is Allowed"

Believe me it wasn't a group of archaeologists. I know professionals would not have acted as this group did.

Thank you for your time and reply; very informative.


Chichen Itza management

I am currently working on a paper about managing archaeological sites. My priority was to write about Chichen Itza - how many visitors come every year/day? what are the price variations? Where does the funding comes from? What are the impacts of so many tourists coming to the site? etc.. I am really struglling in finding any of this information. If there are people actualy working at the site and could provide (or know where to get) any information I would be very gratefull!

Thank you in advance


re. Chichen Itza management

From the YT editor: This is a challenging task! The 2 bodies which fund and manage the archaeological sites in Yucatan are the federal INAH (they manage all sites in Mexico. Their website is ) and the state CULTUR (they share management of the sites located in Yucatan with INAH. Their website is ) Admission fees are charged which is partly where they get their revenue. Entry fees are here: I don't know what else I can sounds fascinating!


Thank you, Juanita very

Thank you, Juanita very much! Now I at least can reference the prices! I've looked up the INAH and CULTUR websites before and either my spanish is not very good or they haven't got any marketing and management plans posted online...I really wish I knew who to contact to receive any kind of reports regarding Chichen Itza economic performance.
But nethertheless, thank you very much again for taking time and responding to me!
I am fascinated by the maya culture and hope to work there one day.


Not disgusted

I made the mistake of going to market 28 before I visited Chichen Itza. One thing you have to understand is that as you are coming into the area, check out how these people live. Most of the masks are hand made on site and are made by Mayan descendants. I did not feel accosted or even intimidated at all, because a simple shake of the head and they said nothing else.
I would love to visit again and go to a different site. Not because of the vendors but simply to see something new. If you think these people bother you, take a trip to Market 28 for 10 minutes and you will understand what pressure really is. (Yucatan Today Editor's Note: Mercado 28 is in Cancun.)


Chichen-itza VS Uxmal

I would like to know the price to enter to both places???
In wich one is beetr to go visit.
thank you so much for all your help.


re. Chichen-itza VS Uxmal

The cost is the same for both, 166 pesos foreigners, 116 pesos Mexican nationals, and it includes the Light and Sound Show. Read about Uxmal here: Many people prefer Chichen, as it is a Mayan icon and now one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. But it can be crowded, and has lots of vendors, so many people like Uxmal better for that reason...fewer crowds and vendors.


I heard about some woman

I heard about some woman going swimming at chichen itza and was cured from constant migraines... could this be true or possible? Have you heard anything like this before?


re. swimming at chichen itza

I don't think you can swim at Chichen Itza, the cenote there is not open to the public. For more about cenotes read this article:


wedding at Chichen Itza?

My fiancee and I would love to get married near a temple or pyramid. We are eloping and it will only be the two of us. Does anyone know if this is allowed?
Does anyone know of a wedding planner or someone that can help us with this?


re. wedding at chichen itza

Please contact: Carmen Laborin Destination Wedding Specialist, Mexico Tourism Board

[email protected]


re. wedding


Question about large silver mural in the museum/gift shop

I was in Chichen Itza about 20 years ago and saw a large, paneled silver, engraved mural depicting, I think, one of the ball games. I wanted to buy it then but had no way to transport it. Do you know if anything like that is currently for sale in the gift shop? And if so, how would I contact the salespeople.


So impressed!!

Hi Juanita, I recently heard about a beam of light shooting out of the pyramid. I also heard it happens quite often. Is this true?? I will make sure to visit all the places you recommend when I visit there!! :)


re. so impressed

Gabby, I have not heard of that! The only light you will see is sunlight, moonlight, starlight, and the Sound and Light Show! :)


Private tour to Chichen Itza

Staying in Akumal 17 Nov to 28 Nov and looking to take a private tour to Chichen Itza rather than a bus trip. Can you recommend someone please?


Entrance Fees

If you arrive in the late afternoon and go to the evening light show, can you pay the full admission price and visit the ruins the next morning? Or is the entrance fee just good for the calendar day which it is purchased? So that one needs to pay the Light show fee and then the full entrance the next morning?


re. entrance fees

One of our readers reports that this is possible! Apparently they will charge you a portion of the fee when you enter for the nighttime show, and the balance when you return the next morning. Just be sure to explain what your plan is.


the gift shop

does anyone know the name of the drink that the mayan people gave at the tour shop thats made from the cactus i remember they said it was around along time before tequila


Chichen Itza, meaning at the

Chichen Itza, meaning at the mouth of the well of the Itza, is a big pre-Columbian site belonging to the Maya civilization. Spreading in the northern center of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, it exhibited multiple architectural styles and was once the major hub in the northern Maya lowlands. On spring equinox, many visitors used to throng this site to see the Temple of Kukulcan wherein the feathered serpent god was seen to descend downwards to the side of the pyramid seen through the light-and-shadow effect.


As i undestand they close at

As i undestand they close at five but the light and sound show start at 8 pm. Can you stay there ? Or how does it work? Thanks


re. as i understand they close...

No, you cannot stay there, you have to leave at 5 and come back at 7 or 8 depending on whether it is the winter or summer schedule (see "Important Information" in the article above for schedule info). Most people go into the town of Piste to have a meal.


Pink pelicans

Do you know if we can see pink flamingos without traveling to rio lagarto o celestun?

Our idea is to stay one night in chichen itza next morning go to cuzama to see the three sinkholes ( do you have another recommendation about sinkholes) . From cuzama we are going to tulum....

My question is , can we find the pink ones near to our route? Thanks


re. pink pelicans

Unfortunately no, the pink flamingos (not pelicans) are all adjacent to the coastal areas. There is another option besides Rio Lagartos and Celestun, north of Merida and east of Progreso, in the view tower at Uaymitun, but this is also out of the way for your itinerary.

More info about flamingos:

More info about cenotes:

Helpful map:



it is my feeling that when paying for admission to this there should not be vendors who are ruthlessly harrassing the whole time your in there with theyre cheap shit should be banned from the premises


Visita a Cancun

Mi esposo y yo pensamos visitar a Cancun a principios de mayo 2011. Quisiera saber: Es seguro actualmente rentar un carro he ir hasta Chichen Itza?, Cuanto tiempo toma llegar hasta allá?, Los alimentos todos son con pique?, Se puede conseguir agua con gas?


re. visita a Cancun

Si, es muy seguro y la carretera Cuota es excelente. Toma aprox. 2 horas. Hay muchos alimentos que no pican, tienes que tener cuidado con el chile habanero, siempre pregunta sobre los chiles. Se puede consequir agua con gas, y asi se llama o tambien agua mineral.


Early departure tour


Can anyone recommend a tour group that leaves early in the morning from Tulum to Chichen Itza? I heard that by the afternoon, it gets very busy and hot. Willing to wake up to get there at opening time at 8am if offered.



Altar / Chac Mool

I know climbing the pyramid is no longer permitted but is there any wat (If I pay extra) to visit the altar inside the pyramid where Chac Mool is located?



Tours inside temples

Are there tours within the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen? I would really love to see the murals/frescoes inside. Most books only show a few of the images that give the temple its name, and others describe the frescoes without showing the actual images. Are you familiar with any books that display a comprehensive collection of images from within the Temple? Since I am traveling to the Yucatan in a week, going inside would be amazing.


Vendors Ughhh

Had an awful experience due to the vendors. It would be such an amazing place to explore and underdstand if you weren't harassed by vendors every 10 seconds. I couldn't even hear my tour guide due to the vendors circling me like wolves. Awful and dispicible in my mind.


re. tours inside temples

Contact Catherwood Travels, they do very specialized tours. And check out the books at Amate.


Mystic Places!

I saw the following video on youtube and instantly made me feel like if I was there. Definitly I want to go to Chichen-Itza this year:



Hi, I am travelling to riviera maya this month and I am wondering which tour is the best one? Also I have noticed that websites offer cheaper prices then what hotels are charging? Is it safe to purchase online? Websites like these: Is there any Mayan ruin that i could climb? I believe someone mentioned to me Copa however, i like the look of Chichen better. Also I wanted to do a combo tour of Chichen and extreme sports like ziplining, any suggestions for tour companies? I heard people have bribed staff to let them climb the Chichen is this true?



People keep mentioning that there are vendors bugging them, what exactly do the vendors sell? Stones, clothes?


Re: Vendors

The vendors sell silver jewelry, stone carvings, wood carvings, musical instruments that make a sound like a jaguar's growl, painted leather squares, cloth items, pottery, etc. Pretty much whatever they think a tourist will buy. According to our Mayan tour guides, many items sold on-site were made in China or are not pure silver, and it's supposedly better to buy souvenirs in the outlying Mayan villages if you want something authentic. There are, however, a few young Mayan girls (and their accompanying moms) also walking around Chichen Itza who sell handkerchiefs they've decorated themselves with stitching. According to our guide, that is the only item that truly will cost you only $1. Those little girls & moms were also the most polite and quiet of the vendors I encountered.


Wow!. Very "Mystical

Wow!. Very "Mystical Place!!". I really liked the last photo on that video. Can you swim at Chichen Itza?. Is that water-place (looks like a well) inside Chichen Itza?.



Sorry for the delay in can contact for rappel tours in cenotes. You can climb some of the smaller pyramids, but definitely not Chichen Itza, a bribe won't help you! It is dangerous and the guides would get in trouble, so please respect the rules.


re. Wow! Very mystical

I'm not sure which video you were looking at...but no, you cannot swim in the cenote at Chichen Itza. Click here for more info about the cenotes (sinkholes) of Yucatan.


Mystical Places!

Mystical Places!.

Juanita, thank you for your answer and the information about the cenotes (sinkholes) of Yucatan. The video I was talking about is the following:

As I wrote before, the last picture on that video is amazing!. I want to be there!.

Greetings from Belfast!. Dilan.


re. mystical places!

Well, your country has its share of mystical places too! Thanks for sharing the video link. For another video that will have you near tears with awe, watch the one that one of our country's top TV stations made last year for our Bicentennial. They made one for each of our 32 states, and this is the one for Yucatan. Just wait for the cenote shot at the end of THIS one! Once you pick yourself up off the floor, you'll be packing your suitcase:



A few years ago we had a tour guide to see the ruins. He is now a retired gentleman, went to college in California, and living in Mexico again. He was so well informed about the Mayan's and Mayan culture that we would like to find him to do another tour. Do you know his name?


We are not staying at a

We are not staying at a resort, renting a small apartment instead and arrive on the 26th of July.

How do we find out about the bus schedule and our options to go about it on our own if we choose?

This will be both of our first time in Nexico and this and the whale shark excursion is on our list of things we want to do.



CI overnight

What an informative website! Hoping you can help: My friend and I have planned a vacation in which we initially stay in Playa del Carmen, then have allocated 2 days (Saturday AM to Sunday PM) to spend in the Yucatan, then spend the remainder of our vacation in Cancun. Do you know of a tour operator or driving service that would pick us up from PDC, take us to the Yucatan--where we would like to see CI, and particularly see the nightime light show, and other worthwhile sites/activities, then return us to Cancun? Thanks in advance for your help


re. CI overnight



Drove from Riviera Maya, past agave fields, through villages, stopped at the sinkhole, bought my silver pendant with my initials in gold, and finally reached the ruins! Walking past the vendors - being approached and seeing all the goodies they had for sale was a blast! Beautiful people! Seeing the "pyramid" up close was magical, spiritual even. The ball court gave me chills as did Choc Mool... So far the greatest experience of my life! I love Mexico - Central America period! The history and culture is beautiful!


re. beautiful!

Thanks for your uplifting comments! You have a wonderful, positive way of looking at travel, even seeing the fun side of the vendors which so many other people find a negative. There is always a positive way of seeing things!

-Editor, YT


Enterence fees

Yes it is true you can not go into or ontop of any ruin. Plus they now charge 115 peso adult and childern are 5 peso then you need to pay another fee of 10 dollars u.s.a. to get into the park. Taxi Cabs charge 150.00-180.00 USA dolars to get there, and it is a 2 1/2 drive from progreso.......


retired tour male

We also had this particular tour guide a few years ago and I've thought of him often. I would love to be able to do another tour with him too. We have no idea who he was either. : (



I heard about an event that is happening there on December 21 2012 but I can not find out any inforamtion can you help?


re. event

So far there is nothing official planned for that date, although I am SURE there will be because of all the interest in the Mayan Prophecies.


How many?????

How many visitors came in the year 2011
Plz tell me as I have an assignment



I love pyramids. Do they have tunnels?


re. pyramids

Not that we know of.


Merida-Uxmal-Chichen-Playa Carmen

Greetings. Am trying to work logistics for an April 2012 trip: 2 nights in Merida, to Uxmal 1 night, to Chichen 1 night; to Playa Carmen 4 nights. Can you help - should we take a bus to each place or rent a car? We are comfortable drivers, but a bus might be more sensible?? Am having trouble sorting out bus schedules... Many thanks!


re. Merida-Uxmal-Chichen-Playa Carmen

A car rental would give you tremendous flexibility and save you time. The roads are excellent and driving here is safe and easy. However, drop off charges could be significant if it is a one-way rental. Here is our list of car rental agencies and an article about driving in Yucatan:
There is a second class bus from Merida to Uxmal which departs from the TAME terminal at the corner of 69 and 70 in Centro (not the CAME terminal which is across the street). Departures at 6 am, 9 am, 10.40 am, 12 pm, and 5 pm. Cost is 45 pesos and it takes about 1.5 hrs. From Uxmal to Chichen is a bit tricky...whether driving or bussing, your best bet is to return to Merida and go from there. There are departures from Merida CAME at 6.30am, 9.15 am, and 12.40 pm, takes 1 hr. 45 min. and costs 114 pesos. The schedule is here:
From Chichen to PDC: 2.35 pm and 4.30 pm, 256 pesos, 3.5 hrs. Same website. Happy travels!


Merida-Uxmal-Chichen-Playa C. -drive/bus

Thank you very much for your prompt, informative and clear response! So helpful.


re. Merida-Uxmal-Chichen-Playa C. -drive/bus

One more thing...the ADO website usually only publishes schedules for up to a month in advance, so you will need to check again in March.


social studys

it was very helpful for my speech.



We will be visiting and want to bring our father to see the ruins. He has very bad knees and can't walk far. Is there anywhere to rent a wheelchair or motorized scooter or anything of that sort?


re. wheelchairs

Unfortunately there are no wheel chair rentals at the ruins.



Is it accurate that Chichen to Tulum is approx. 1.5 hours via bus? That might be a better use of time than 3.5 hours to Playa Carmen? What is your opinion?

We want to do weekend in Merida because it sounds like there are nice weekend events. Then to Uxmal, I guess back to Merida in order to get to Chichen which is awkward, then to the beach. So perhaps Tulum is a better choice? Thanks much!


re. chichen-tulum

From Chichen to Tulum is 2 hrs. 20 min. by bus. From Chichen to PDC is 3 hrs 30 min. by bus. Really your choice should be made based on which kind of beach experience you want, as they are completely different.

Bus schedules here:



This is a great place to go for a vacation, do you have listings on how much would it cost to go there? Thanks for posting this.


re. chichen

To go there from where?


Who to NOT use for Tour

I can tell you who you should not use for a tour. I booked a tour through LASTMINUTE.COM for my daughter and son-in-law. The tour was handled through TOURICO HOLIDAY, Inc. in Florida; who used ENDLESSTOURS.COM in Cancun. Everything came back confirmed and that the agency picks up from all major Cancun hotels. After that I thought to use the agency for airport transportation but did not see the hotel we were using listed on their website. No answer when I called the Cancun agency. So I booked that with another company. That lead me to be really about the Chichen Itza tour. I emailed and was told the agency they use was a very reputable firm and lastminute had never had any problems with them. I again contacted them to confirm that they would indeed be picked up at the hotel, and was reassured yes and given a time. On the day of the tour, my daughter arrived early, waited for over an hour because the hotel told her many of the tours were running late, then called me. After many calls, I was told the driver had confirmed they picked her up; which was obviously impossible since we were calling to find out where they were. I asked that they get a shuttle to take them to the tour (its only 1 1/2 hrs away) and they could met up with them. NO ONE EVEN BOTHERED TO CALL BACK - I KEEP CALLING THEM AND NEVER GOT ANYTHING ACCOMPLISHED. IT WAS MY DAUGHTER'S LAST DAY IN CANCUN TOO!


Phone # for guide tour

Me and my family where in chichen itza en december and we paid for a prive guide tour, his name is Abel. I want if is posible to find his phone # I work for a non-profit human rights organization and we need to interview a this person o any other who speaks english.
Can you please help me with this request> Thank you, Sofia


Fees and toll

I would like to know how much is the entrance fee to chichen Itza and to Ik-Kil? Also, how much is the parking? I am renting a car and will also like to know how much are the toll roads one way. I am staying close to the Hotel Zone. thank you.


Looks like a very

Looks like a very historically and visually interesting place to visit. A friend of mine was just there and she said the same thing.



Mayan Culture RULES!!



It's quite amazing what this place has to offer to travellers! hope once in my lifetime i will go there.


Does anyone know what time

Does anyone know what time Chichen Itza opens on Sundays?? Im taking ADO there, where exactly do they drop you off and pick you up back to Merida?


re. does anyone know...

It opens from 8 am to 5 pm 365 days a year. The ADO bus from / to Merida drops off and picks up at the site entrance.


Events this year at Chichen?

How can I find out about event scheduled this year? concerts? special ceremonies? etc


re. events this year

As soon as we receive information we will publish it here as well as on our Events page. So far neither the state nor federal governments have organized anything!



Can we still go inside pyramids? If so, where?


re. inside

No, the pyramids do not have access to inside.


Current Costs

I'm taking a small school group to Chichen-Itza from Playa del Carmen in March and I have 3 questions. 1)What is the current park entrance fee for teenagers and adults? 2) We plan to take a bus from the bus station. Do you know the current costs for that? 3)If we wait to find a tour guide en sitio (hoping that it will be less expensive), how much is reasonable to expect to pay for a group of 12 people, and then, should we plan a tip also? ¡Muchísimas gracias!


re. current costs

1. The entrance fees published in this article are correct: Entrance fees: ADULTS: 177 pesos foreigners, 125 pesos Mexican nationals, and it includes the Light and Sound Show.
 CHILDREN UNDER 13 YEARS: 5 pesos (same for Light & Sound Show). SENIORS with valid INAPAM card free every day. MEXICAN NATIONALS free on Sunday. Light and Sound show only: 72 pesos foreigners, 46 pesos Mexican nationals. If your group of students is Mexican, you can request a discount by sending a letter on your school letterhead with the date of your visit and the number of students and teachers to: [email protected]

2. The bus leaves Playa bus station at 8 am, takes 4.5 hrs., and costs 256 pesos per person. The schedules are here:

3. Please contact my friend Belisa who owns a resort at chichen Itza, she may be able to help you with more current information: [email protected]


mayan vendors at mayan ruins

Consider this. The vendors may well be descendants of those who built and dwelt at that place. It is their ancestral ground and as such, sacred. Now the govnmt owns and manages these places. Second, the vendors may have few options for making money. It may well not be their preference.


Is there any way to find out

Is there any way to find out about event scheduled this year like concerts and special ceremonies?


re. is there any way to find out

Keep checking our Events page!


Mayan Vendors

After reading some of the complaints regarding vendors, I was worried about what I would find when I went. I found the vendors to not be a problem at all. They weren't obnoxious, and unlike my first time visiting the ruins 17 years ago, there was no one following me around trying to get me to buy something. Back then, there were some little Mayan ladies with their children who followed us trying to sell their embroidered handkerchiefs. It was very difficult to say no, and when we did, we were cussed out. Much better now days. Sure, you have to pass through the vendors to get to the ruins, but they're in stalls. - No problem.


Where to buy..

Good day Juanita,

I visited the ruins recently and, due to a sudden downpour, i missed my chance to purchase a Mayan Calendar from one of the vendors outside the pavilion a I am looking for a reputable shop that is capable of shipping a 12" concrete (?) Mayan Calendar to the U.S.

Any suggestions?




re. where to buy...

Yes! Casa de las Artesanias:

Click on ARTESANIA and then PIEDRA. Good luck!


Re. Where to Buy...

Thank you very much Juanita!

I'll get in touch with them shortly.

Take care.


Entrance fee for FM2


I am from Europe and I have an FM2 visa. In this situation I have to pay for the entrance on Sunday?



re. entrance fee for fm2

Yes, you do. The free entry is for Mexican citizens only.


Hi When my old boyfriend & I

When my old boyfriend & I visited, we rented a vehicle
And drove there ourselves from Cancun. It was the best
Decision we'd make the entire vacation. We naively scheduled
Group Tours for almost everything. They were not only a rip-off financially, they limited time we could spend at sites to the extent we were not even able to enjoy (25 mins @ shell-ha-spelled like it sounds!)

At Chitzen-Itza we picked up a tour guide in main lobby.
He was excellent & inexpensive.

I loved this site. Be sure to make time for stops on the
Drive to and from Chitzen Itza. It is fascinating, colorful and
Loaded with smiling natives who want you to buy souveniers.
Their goods are cool as heck, cheap & highly sociable!


Chichen Itza useful information

GREAT article! You can also find pictures and other useful information at:


FM3 and FM2 on Sundays at archeological sites Mexico

On Sundays the entry is free to Chichen and other sites for foreigners if you show your FM2 or FM3. I hope this information doesn't come too late..


re. fm3 and fm2

Thanks for this information. This is NOT what the archaeological sites tell us, but if it is true it would be wonderful! Did you actually have this experience? If so, I would urge my readers to give it a try but it may also have been a fluke and I would urge visitors not to assume it will work every time.


access sites

Hello Juanita, I have seen it myself -I'm at Chichen everyday- and it's written on a sign close to the entrance (if you are a foreigner living in Mexico and you possess a legal Mexican document like FM2 or 3, on Sundays the access is free). Kind regards, Renée


re. access sites

Hola Renée! I didn't notice this comment had come from you! This is wonderful to know. Thank you!



Hello. My husband and I visited about 2001. He loved mayan culture. we did climb the pyramid then! I have a photo of him ontop standing in the shadows with his straw hat on. one of his favorites! He has since passed.The photo was blown up and placed at his wake, I am visiting with my children NOV 14th 2012 on his 5th year anniversary. I was wondering if I would be able to place a small amount of his ashes there? it was one of his request of me. who would I contact to make this happen? thank you.


re. ashes

I'm going to write to an archaeologist I know and ask her advice. I'll report back soon.

YT Editor


re. ashes

Here is what the archaeologist wrote:

"Oh, that is a tough one.
I think the best thing would be to try to contact the INAH director of Chichen Itza. Her name is Elizabeth Flores Torruco. The phone number for the office at Chichen is: 52-985-851-01-37 /52-985-851-01-37 FAX and the e-Mail is: [email protected]. I think Elizabeth understands some English but doesn't speak as much.
I don't have any idea if it will be possible."

FYI, INAH is the national government body which looks after all the historical sites in Mexico.


@ Juanita

Thanks you so much! I will email her for info.


any colectivos from Chichen Itza to Ek Balam?


We plan to visit Chichen Itza and then Ek Balam soon. We would like to know after visiting Chichen Itza, can we take a colectivo at Chichen Itza to Ek Balam? Otherwise, we may need to take a colectivo back to Valladolid and then take another colectivo to Ek Balam.

Thanks for your information.



re. colectivos to ek balam

You'll need to take a colectivo back to Valladolid and then take another colectivo to Ek Balam.


Hi. I'm travelling to mexico

Hi. I'm travelling to mexico next may, and stay at playa adventuras, and wondered if there were any tours that would get us to chichen itza early morning before the crowds and heat. we don't mind what time we have to get up to leave our hotel. thanks


re. hi

Hola, sorry, our website specializes in the state of Yucatan, you will need to look for tour companies in the state of Quintana Roo. My guess is that most of the tours leave Aventuras area around 8 or 9 am, arriving at 10 or 11 am. If you really want to go extra early, you'd need to rent a car I'm pretty sure.


Transport from Progreso

I will be going on a cruise to progreso. i want to rent a car from progreso to chichen itza and travel with 5 people. can i rent a car and how can i do so?


re. transport from progreso

Yes you can do this, here is a list of car rental companies. However, this is not a good plan for a cruise ship day. The drive is at least 3 hours each way, and although the roads are good, you do have to navigate through Merida, a big city, and if you get lost you could easily miss your cruise ship departure. Here is our article with some better options for your day in port...I suggest Dzibilchaltun, a beautiful Mayan site much closer to Progreso, with a fabulous museum and a cenote for swimming to boot.


tour group

Hola! I am organizing a small group of around 12 people to visit Chitzen Itza from Playa Del Carmen hotel. I am wondering what type of price I can expect for that many people with transportation and a reliable tour guide. We also want to have lunch and swim in Ik Kil cenote.
And this is going to be on Nov.1 during the Day of the Dead celebrations so I am wondering if there is something or somewhere else to see festivities maybe instead of the Cenote. Thank you!


re. tour group

Please contact any of these tour agencies:


chichén itzá sound & light show

We will be visiting in Nov 2012 - will the S&L show be available by then. The notification gives no date for start of maintenance so it's impossible to guess whether it's finished yet.


re. chichen itza sound and light show

I share your frustration. The reason my article gives no information is because I cannot obtain the information from any source. I have even asked them (INAH and CULTUR) if it will surely be operating by Dec. 21 which of course is THE most important date of the year (end of the Mayan calendar) and there will be huge crowds at Chichen Itza, and they cannot even tell me that!


re. chichen itza sound and light show

shame on them! thanks for your help anyway.


21st December 2012


Thanks so much for all this useful information and help!
Do you know how much it will cost to enter the site on the 21st December 2012 and if it will be open to the public and what is the best way to go about it?



re. 21st Dec.

As far as we know it will be the usual rates and open to the public. If we hear anything to the contrary we will publish it here!


tickets for Dec. 21, 2012

Is there any way to pre purchase tickets for the pyramids in chichen Itza to gaurantee entrance on Dec. 21, 2012? Is any time better than the next for a private party?


re. tickets for Dec. 21

There is no way that we know of to do this. Normally the opening time of 8 am is quietest, before the tour buses arrive from Cancun and Merida, but on this day I expect there will be hordes of people.



I find a website, look, they have coupons and more info for chichen itza...


Uncompleted stairs/access to internal passage

Hi,I had my honeymoon and got to climb El Castillo at sunrise with my wife. We did not get to go into the passage way and I want to know if is still open for the public.
Also, was the stairway reconstucted from the actual way it was found? we noticed that the other 3 sides were in disrepair. How overgrown was the site and when was it discovered covered by the jungle? we stayed over night at the Mayaland hotel and snuck under the fence for the morning visit.thanks for your input. How was the 2012 crowd? I imagine it was not what we found. Thanks.


re. uncompleted stairs

I am going to pass your questions along to an archaeologist I know :)


re. uncompleted stairs etc.

From local archaeologist Julia Miller:

The tunnel to the earlier building buried inside El Castillo is no longer open to the public. Also, people aren't allowed to climb to the building on top of El Castillo any more.

All four sides of the building have been restored but two sides have been more heavily restored (reconstructed) than the other two sides. The differences are due to changes in the style and philosophy of architectural restoration over time -- different sides of the pyramid were restored at different times (and by different archaeological projects).

If you noticed the forest surrounding the areas that you visited, that would have covered the entire site after it was abandoned. It was probably cleared at different times as people used areas of the site and then when the archaeologists started working.

Chichen Itza has been known since the arrival of the Spanish -- it is mentioned a Spanish bishop named Diego de Landa as an important pilgrimage site even after the Spanish arrived.

The site was pretty busy for the end of the baktun!


light show

Does anyone know if the light and sound show is still happening at chichen?


re. light show

Still no date! We will publish the info as soon as we hear!!!


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