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Visiting Chichen Itza

June 3, 2013 - Mexico, Quintana Roo
Visiting Chichen Itza

 

Kukulkan castle, Chichen Itza

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The Mayan city of Chichen Itza is located in the exuberant jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It is surrounded by beautiful natural richness like its “cenotes” word that comes from the Mayan word “Dzonot” which means abyss, and is related to the entrance to the underworld. Some of this cenotes can be explored.

There are hundreds of kilometers of underground rivers that connect one “cenote” to the other.

On the outside of the ruins you will find several options to eat, shop or have a drink. If you are looking to stay in the area a night or two, you can find a couple of options for you to do so. Different styles of accommodations including old haciendas turned in to boutique hotels and in which you can also enjoy of traditional Mayan cuisine, or a typical “Temazcal” (this is a pre-Hispanic steam bath)  you can learn a little more about the costumes of the local people, direct descendents of the original dwellers of Chichen Itza.

Going to Chichen Itza from near cities like; Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Merida or Valladolid, is very easy and you will find many ways to do it, taking a tour is probably the easiest for the conservative traveler, you will find excellent tour providers in all of the nearby cities, luxury air conditioned buses food and drinks and optional stops to visit places of interest, but you are on a schedule and a group of people. If you are more of the adventurous traveler and you like to go on your clock, taking a bus is also very easy, there are buses going every day departing from the main bus station in town (in any of these cities) and if you want to really explore the site you’ll probably need two days. Staying near the ruins is possible as well as staying in Valladolid a small typical town just 40 km from Chichen Itza. Camping in the area is available as well as in some of the cities around the site.

Horseback riding, snorkeling, Scuba diving and other activities are available with several different tour companies, but these can be also booked directly with the service provider and it’s easy to get your own transportation, from a scooter for one, to a car rental or a van with a driver for groups of more than 4 people.

Hitchhiking is legal and safe in the Yucatan Peninsula, most of the roads are paved and have traffic, a good part of this are tourists and people who works directly or indirectly with tourists, so they are friendly and in many cases willing to pick you up.

As in any other place in the world, common sense and intelligence is necessary to hitchhike the roads, do it only during the day and always make sure everything looks alright.

The Mayan city of Chichen Itza offers to the traveler a wonderful landscape to explore its magnificent ruins and fantastic history, this city opens the door to a magical ancient empire that was able to construct massive temples and pyramids without the use of tools like the wheel or the help of animals like horses or oxen. The Mayan civilization was an empire that lasted for thousands of years.

The achievements of the Mayan civilization in the realm of mathematics, astronomy and architecture are simply amazing, and yet, their collapse still is a mystery. Maybe they got lost in the mist of their glory. Some of which we should learn.

To explore the city of Chichen Itza, is to be taken back in time, a time when gods came from the stars and shared their knowledge with the Maya, to then go back to the stars, this according to a legend written in the Popol Vu, a group of sacred books that tell us the history of the Mayan creation of the world, men, and everything that we can see.

Myths and legends coincide in the astronomical and mathematical world, the precision of their calendar is unbelievably accurate, and the mathematical proportion used to build their temples was in harmony with what they believed, and in synchrony with the cosmos.

To witness the magical descent of the “plumed serpent”  Kukulkan, god of the winds who came from the east, represented by a snake-shaped shaded body sliding down the castle during the equinox, invites you to join the ritual frenzy and maybe, be part of the thousands of years of tradition and heritage.

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